Monday, November 12, 2012

It's a New Dawn, It's a New Day

As we go toward our 4th year here in Ecuador, we've been looking back on our lives in South America...

We always have to smile when new arrivals ask us if we 'really like Cuenca'. Our regular readers will already know the answer is a BIG YES! Si, Si!! Our vibrant, beautiful Cuenca suits us just fine.

We find ourselves humming this  'Feelin' Good' song often -- the first link below is the original by Nina Simone.  The 2nd version is by another huge talent, Carly Rose.  We like them both.

You can read all you want about Ecuador, but you really got to visit in person to really experience it. 
A one-day or even a week or a month's shot doesn't even tap the surface.  If you stay longer, you could fall in love.  Or, you could hate it.  But, only you can decide.

Come with your eyes wide open.  There are alot of differences between being a traveler/tourist and resident.  There are always frustrations with getting used to a different culture, different language/s, different ways of doing things. 

No question, it can be a hard adjustment for newcomers.  When we first arrived, there were a lot less services and products and our Spanish was pretty much horrible.  We were exhausted just getting here!  Our health wasn't the best, we were way too chubby, we suffered from the high altitude, we got lost all the time. 

Our story of our 'early days' will be different from your 'early days'. That's because Cuenca is a different place now and you will also have different points of reference than we did 3+ years ago.  Now there are so many more choices, including nice places to live.  Be sure to read current experiences on other blogs and forums and update info if it's a topic that's important to you.  Things change on a dime here... weather, residency requirements and processes, where to find something, internet and TV options, how to bring your pets and other treasures in...

We did have some hard early days...  You know, the kind of day that you just want to end quickly!...  full of little frustrations, that while each event was not particularly bad, the culmination of bad moments in a day just sent us to bed early with a good book!  Enough! 

But, we always know the dawn will bring a new day with new beginnings.  We get to start over each morning.

We also have those perfect days, where everything goes right, that you don't want to end...the vendors that did everything according to plan, fresh, hot rolls right out of a *working* !oven (and you find the 'good' butter in the freezer!), the perfect dinner and company, the hottest water and best water pressure, the happy llamas and parrots, doggies and sheep in the neighborhood, the rose that blooms right before your eyes, the internet connections that are like grease-lightening, the bluest of skies...

Those little magical moments have kept us going... the knock-your-socks-off sunrises and sunsets here in the Andes, the unexpected kindnesses of strangers, the little, sweet smiling children with their request to hold your hand and sing a song for you...just makes your heart melt.

Many who come to Cuenca will have those frustrating, no-good days.  You can't find a taxi in the rain, can't find something you need, can't seem to get anything done, can't find a good cup of coffee, standing in line for hours, can't sleep because of the noise or some new worry, a new allergy that makes your nose run non-stop, an unhappy baby that cries for hours...
But, it's not because you're in Ecuador,  all those frustrations can happen anywhere. 

Looking back at our first days here, what a difference!  Now, we're mostly comfortable, speaking more of the language to navigate around, finding most stuff we still miss and think we still need (or finding good alternatives).   Today's Cuenca is definitely a different place than the Cuenca we found when we first arrived.  The City has changed alot!  Lots more services, more good restaurants, more road and building construction, different laws, more traffic, more noise, more people...both more gringos and Ecuadorians returning home.  More scams and more crime, too.

Just remember as you get your bearings...  Cuenca is not paradise. Yes, you will still find folks with the manners of a pig.  You  could find unhappy detractors, too.  But, also remember that the Cuenca area is almost a half million people!  You will find like-minded folks at the expat gatherings around town (see forums and other blogs for schedules and locations), you will have lots of choices for friends.  Also, remember...Ecuador is not the USA, both good and bad. 

Wishing everyone the best as they embark on their 'new dawn, new day, new life'!


  1. Rich and Nancy... First timer here and I love your blog. I will continue to read the older posts so I might learn from those who have gone before me. Thanks for all the information. George

  2. Hi George, welcome!
    Hope all of the info is useful to you as you pack and plan.
    See you in Cuenca!