Friday, December 12, 2014

What a year it's been!

Hard to believe we have lived in Ecuador for a year now and what a year it's been. We've moved three times (counting the move to Ecuador), gone on a mini-vacation to Madre Tierra in Vilcabamba, taken two trips (for Stu, one for me) back to the US, visited some Inca ruins, welcomed a new grandbaby, visited local doctors and bought medications without any hassle (no Rx needed for most), wrote 128 blog posts in this blog (another 144 in my author blog and 28 in our US personal blog) and so much more.

My personal perceptions? I still love it. We have settled into a bit of a routine but that was to be expected. I've learned more Spanish than I thought I could and Stu isn't far behind me. I've started cooking more (Stu was doing most of the cooking), using natural ingredients and a few canned items. No, not the same as the US since there tends to be less sugar and salt in many things.

The city still intrigues me, there is always something going on when we visit. I hope we will visit more next year, now that we are a short bus ride away. In our first apartment it took more effort to get to El Centro so now we don't have an excuse.

I still have to be very careful where I walk, especially in El Centro. We warn all visitors and newcomers to be careful, don't look up and keep walking. Those taking photos are especially prone to falls. Here are a few photos I've taken of the sidewalks in Cuenca to show you why.

In addition, many are narrow, fitting one person at a time. When construction is done on buildings you often have to walk in the street. Yes, there are a few good areas but most of the time you have to watch for uneven surfaces, protruding metal objects and loose blocks.

When we came back from our trip to the US this past Sep-Oct, I realized how much I had missed the kids. They flip from laughing to serious and back again, but they are so adorable (spelled the same in Spanish but pronounced differently). Here are a few shots of children in Cuenca that I've taken over the last year, you can see more in my album:

There is still a LOT to do and see in the local area. We hope in 2015 to travel more outside the city and visit some of the surrounding areas. 2016 will be the year we can travel more than 90 days (actually up to 18 months out of country) outside Ecuador so we want to see a little more of South America.

We've made all our major purchases, the final being our washer/dryer. Okay, so if we find a really nice recliner...LOL! I will work on updating our budget page since it doesn't accurately reflect what we are currently paying.

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