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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