Thursday, June 30, 2011

An Exciting New Stage of Life

The goal and theme of this blog :is to share adventures of my first year in Cuenca, Ecuador and surrounding areas. I hope the information and pictures are interesting, entertaining and fun for friends and family.
A Very Brief History:  I grew up on a farm in Idaho, attended college in various places with a masters degree in psychology from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon.

As an adult, I've lived in Berkeley, CA, Alexandria, VA, Richmond, CA and for the past 32 years several places in the Portland, OR area.  Since I turned 20, I have always lived near a large city but never actually IN a large city. I usually lived in a suburb.

In Jan, 2011, after working 27 years in the mental health field, I retired early (age 61) and, with my husband Lenny, prepared to move to Cuenca, Ecuador.  We sold all of our belongings except for a few precious things and found homes for 3 of our beloved pets. We said goodbyes to dear friends and beloved family members. Next we packed our suitcases and my sewing machine, put our 16 yr old calico cat Feisty into an airline-approved carrier and took off for a new continent, a new culture and a whole new life. We arrived on May 14, 2011 which began our Ecuadorian journey.

My goal with this blog is to chronicle some of my experiences and observations in the first year living as a minority in a Latin American culture. Both writing and photos will help me express my experiences.  I will describe the fears and hopes, the intimidating things, surprises, unexpected finds and the joys of living in a new culture and learning a new language as a new chapter of life unfolds.

I have no intent to sugar coat everything about our experience but I also do not intend to continuously complain about things.  I have elected to live in a different culture, a different country and expect there will be surprises, know there are things we miss and hopefully I'll have some insights to share.

And here is my first insight:  why, oh why didn't I take Spanish 30 years ago!?  I'm learning as fast as I can but WOW it is tough not speaking the primary language of the country.

Cuenca is Ecuador's 3rd largest city with around 400,000 people. It is nestled in a basin high in the Andes mountains, at 8200 ft alt.  The city was selected to be a UNESCO world heritage sight becuase of the beautiful Spanish colonial architecture which overlays a rich history of Inca, Canari and other ancient peoples. Cuenca sits just below the equator but is not hot or muggy because of being very high in the Andes.  The days are mild and the nights get chilly year around, usually around 40-48 degrees f at night. It rains often but not for long. Part of the year is quite dry. When the sun bursts out, it can feel quite warm even when it is only 75 degrees. The humidity is rather low most of the time. More about Cuenca in my next post.

Hasta luego,

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