Our computer counter tells us we've lived in Cuenca now for 1463 days! Happy Anniversary to us! 4 years to the day!
Who would have thought...
We have blogged about all the changes here in Cuenca since we first moved here 4 years ago.
We have seen more road and building construction, more old buildings renovated and preserved, more choices for products and services, more cars, more noise, more people coming and going. We've seen more crime and more scams, too.
We guess we've changed some, too, in these 4 years...we're 4 years younger, of course!
Talking with other new expats, we found our early life here was pretty typical. Not to say that all experiences are the same, but there is a common thread. Many newcomers are just giddy tourists, loving it all, every minute. Everything is new and exciting! As time goes on, and the tourist turns into a resident, then the normalcy sets in... and it's hard. You'll have the good and bad days as you find a place to live, find your favorite markets and restaurants, find your friends, and more. It's true...it always seems to take longer to get anything done, always with a few twists and turns.
Some new expats just 'go home', where it's easier with language and culture. And, we admit, we did have those brief homesick moments in those early days, funny how you can forget the reasons why you came here in the first place! And, all those reasons will still be there if you go back from where you came.
We came to South America for the adventure! Lower cost of living, good health care, respect for elders and women, the generally peaceful and traditional culture and family life, better food and more walking...all big pluses, too.
We are so grateful to have the opportunity of living here and experiencing this wonderful Ecuador.
Lord knows the residency process isn't easy or quick! The one thing we expats all seem to have in common is the perseverance and patience needed to get the papers in order to apply. We're still amazed we did it! But, we always tell newcomers, when they're frustrated and whining about the process, to think of the Ecuadorians who are trying for legal residency in the USA. Now, THAT is hard, loooong and expensive! Puts it all in perspective, doesn't it?
Remember...just because you *want* to live here, you're not automatically entitled, nor appproved. You got to do the paperwork and follow the rules. No guarantees. No amount of screaming and cussing and tears will likely move the paper any faster, just for you. Instead, be patient and prepared, kind and respectful... works better....and your blood pressure will be better, too!
One important item, which we never want to take for granted, is the close friends we have.
True adventurers, all of them! Independent, kind, upbeat souls, who make their luck and happiness and live their lives to the fullest. We are so happy to count them as friends and 'family'.
What we're posting today are some pictures of the things that haven't changed. Some are those we first loved about Cuenca: A UNESCO City, with lovely buildings in the historic area; mild climate for the beautiful flowers; gorgeous, big skies and surrounding Andes mountains, beautiful and peaceful countryside. There are still fun parades and celebrations, interesting art/crafts and lively music. Yes, there are still surprises that make us smile!
Street art and the blue buses, still polluting, still 25 cents/ride. (The City has plans to replace some of the buses with the new light rail system, targeted for next year.)
You still need hats or umbrellas when the sun is intense.
We're excited to see what we'll see as we head into our 5th year in this beautiful Country we call home.