Saturday, March 30, 2013

15 days and counting!!

Oh my, not much more than two weeks before we head to Ecuador for a month. We're both excited and can't wait. Of course there are still lots to get done.
  • Tuesday we see our primary care doctor. We need shot updates, an Rx for Diamox for altitude sickness and a copy of all our current prescriptions.
  • We have to be sure the foster home for our pup, Sadie is going to work, and if not we have to make other arrangements. 
  • We need to contact our financial institutions to be sure we can use our ATM cards.
  • We need to be sure all bills have been paid in advance.
  • Contact Verizon to set up Stu's phone, if possible
  • Get change for the trip ($5s, $1s, quarters and dimes)
I'm sure there is more but that's it for now.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spanish...oh the challenges!

Well, our latest attempt to help learn Spanish was to program in some DirecTV channels that are in Spanish. We found four that sounded worth following. It's interesting to watch commercials that are familiar.

I'm sitting here watching a commercial for Clorox and then one for Kraft cheese. I can pick out a few words here and there. The big thing is to get a feeling for the sound of the language, otherwise it's going to sound even stranger when we get off the plane in Ecuador. LOL!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Working on our lists....

Our trip is inching closer. Now that we are done with our big Disney trip with our youngest granddaughter,  we have more time to think about our trip prep. We have our doctor appointment set and we'll get paper copies of all our Rx in case we need something while there. I think we're okay on shots. If we were planning on visiting the coast or the rain forest, we'd need something more.

We bought the neatest briefcase bags that allow us to charge multiple items at once. Plus we can leave the phones/tablets inside and just plug the bag in to charge them AND the internal battery. We were so impressed that we ordered the larger capacity battery from the manufacturer and will use the smaller one as a backup.
These will work any time we travel, can't wait to use them. So, our luggage is set as are our briefcases. We're pretty complete on our clothing lists as well as toiletries/OTC meds. We've read blogs, books, forums and groups till our heads are spinning. Now it's time to relax and just let the time flow until we LEAVE!

Spanish? Sigh....still working on it. ;-)

27 days and counting!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Reading, reading and MORE reading!

I know I've already mentioned several books we've bought and read to help in our research but since I recently bought a couple more, here is a recap.

In order of usefulness FOR US: [Note - the first four are actually tied for first place]

  1. Living and Retiring in Cuenca: 101 Questions Answered
  2. Expats in Ecuador: Life In Cuenca
  3. Becoming an Expat in Cuenca, Ecuador
  4. Why Ecuador? [free pdf file]
  5. Our Ecuador Retirement...The First 8 Months **On sale for $.99 on Feb 6-8, 2014
  6. Why Ecuador for me

We're starting to focus more on learning Spanish but it's a challenge. Sigh... We also have our first Gringo meet and greet set up for April 18th with Len and Sharon. Excited to hear all their input and learn more about their experiences.

33 days and counting!!!

Friday, March 1, 2013

A new Ecuador Expat Perspective

One of my favorite "hang-outs" is the Ecuador Expats group - it's a private group and sometimes conversations can get quite heated. All of us newbies ask a lot of questions and two of the most popular are "What do you wish you had brought with you?" and "What are the biggest negatives for you?".

One newer regular who recently moved - lock, stock and barrel - to Cuenca had this to say today. With her permission I am posting it here. It put a big smile on my face and gave me hope that we CAN adapt! Thank you, Jan!
I have a "bone to pick" with some of you. As you know, I have only been in Cuenca for 2 weeks. I would NEVER try to set myself up as any kind of expert on anything Ecuadorian. And, I was told that attitude is everything and be sure and bring your happy with you. BUT, I was also told that decent pots and pans were impossible to find unless you paid dearly. I was told that good knives were hard to find. I was told that makeup and perfume, can openers, and blankets were expensive and of poor quality. I was told that the air pollution was horrible, and the noise was infuriating. I was told to leave your jewelry behind, to be hyper aware, and to expect to be pickpocketed or worse.

I have found Cuenca to be clean, and (at least in my neighborhood) relatively quiet. There are stores with plenty of choices for household goods. Maybe these things are not at Wal-Mart deep discount prices, but darnit, they are here.

These gripes probably have more to do with the fact that we did not take an exploratory trip in advance; we just up and moved here. Had I had the opportunity to see for myself, perhaps I wouldn't have made the mistake of bringing a "third world" mindset. Cuenca is not third world. Is there poverty? yes. Problems? sure. Do we bring our cultural differences in our breast pockets? Of course.

Everybody has their own filters through which we view our circumstances. I am not ever going to become one of the "wise ones" who tell others how to see the country. But my best piece of advice is this: when someone tells you anything about this country, you need to remember that your filter may be different. My mother once told me that the best marriage was between people who agreed on the definition of the words "dirty" and "clean." Don't make a marriage with a country based on someone else's definitions.

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