Friday, July 9, 2010

Our story -- these links might help

As folks in the North are coming down to Cuenca to check out the City (and then decide if they want to relocate here), we've been getting a ton of emails with questions...We think we should answer on-blog, just because so many folks are wondering about the same things.  All valid concerns. 

Some questions deal with health care, some with banking, politics, safety, weather, transportation... you name it. The topics seem to come in phases and we've answered many of these concerns on past blog entries.

 The latest, common question is:  "Do you think we will like Cuenca?"

Our answer is:  It depends.

It depends on your tolerance for a new and different culture.  It depends on your tolerance for change.  Moving to another country IS hard as you adjust and settle in.  Harder for some, depending upon your reasons for coming and depending upon what you're leaving behind.  Some expats will tell you that one day, it just 'clicked'...light at the end of the just started to get easier.

We always tell folks to read everything you can find on Cuenca!  Ecuador isn't for everyone, and only you can make that hard decision.   There are many good blogs out there that you can learn from.  Wish we'd had all that information when we first started looking at Ecuador!  All expats have their own story.  They will tell you of their good and bad days and then you can make an informed decision if Cuenca is right for you.

Some new expats and visitors want to make Ecuador a 'Little America"...please don't come/stay with that in mind!  You will only be frustrated and unhappy... Ecuador is NOT the USA (good and bad). 

We tell folks to 'pack your patience'.  Easy to say, but it means that you will be frustrated with the slow response from vendors, the culture shock, the colder weather and almost daily rain at this time of year...  You may be frustrated with the language and trying to could be frustrated with moving several times before you find just the right place...

Yes, you will hate the traffic and deisel fumes and the noise.  No, you will not find a Walmart, a Costco, a Nordstrom.  Yes, you will pay a premium for Jif peanut butter and other imported items.  Yes, you could be frustrated with new laws and rules, they change all the time.  Yes, the 8300 ft altitude could slow you down and you might get sick.  Yes, there are pickpockets (and worse). 

Most expats go through the whole range of emotions as they settle in.  Some rant, some cry, some complain about everything, some are so homesick it tugs at the heart.  But, those who do stay, do adjust and they end up happier for it.  If you are a couple, you might even find that both of you are not on the same page at the same time. Everyone adjusts at their own pace.  Some never do adjust and they just move on, either back to where they came or onward west, east, a bit more north or further south. 

We'd like to add to the 'pack your patience' advice...  Also, bring an open heart and mind, gratitude, and peace and love for all.

Yes, some days are the pits, but that's 'life' anywhere. 

Here's a secret...we play a little game at the end of each day.  We've been playing this game for as long as we can remember.  As we sit down with a cup of tea or a glass of wine at the end of a long, busy day, we ask each other:  "So, what good happened today?"  Some day's recap is long and entertaining...some days we struggle with finding the good!  Some days we agree that the only good that happened is that the sun came up and we witnessed yet another beautiful sunrise!  Or, we share a little act of kindness which delighted us...or where new blooms are in the neighborhood.  Or, even that the day could have been so much worse.  No matter what the day was like, we always agree that tomorrow is yet another day and we are grateful for another chance at starting over (sometimes with the same list!)...Just might get lucky the 2nd (or 20th!) time around.  And, we do get lucky some days...another step forward........another good day where everything falls into place.  Just life...just like anywhere we've ever lived.

To paraphrase one wise blogger:
It's complicated.  It's Cuenca!  It's ok.

To make it easier for you to read our story, here are some links:

Our very first blog entry, December 2007:

Packing, planning and sorting for the move:

1 year here (and how we adjusted):

Life now in Cuenca:

Hope this helps. 



  1. Such a wonderful blog today - rich, honest, hopeful and wise! The timing was perfect for us, as we prepare to leave this Tuesday for our first trip to Ecuador for a month's vacation. Perhaps we will run into you folks when we are in Cuenca.

    Garth and Orilla Bogart
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

  2. Wow, thank you so much. We are treasuring all these bits of wisdom as we prepare for our trip in August to Cuenca.

    Jack and Claudia
    Grants Pass, Oregon