Sunday, August 28, 2011


Randy an I have found a kind of cadence to our life here. Randy has offered his assistance to a fellow expat and friend. Ed, has a wonderful Wood Art Gallery in the La Esquina de Artes, on Av. 12 de Abril. Ed cannot leave the shop unattended; but he needs to make new pieces for the gallery. Randy goes in for 4 hrs about 3 days a week, and takes command of the shop for Ed. Randy gets to practice his Spanish, and visit with local expats who stop by. It's a win win for everyone!

I have filled my days with trying to learn new skills. I am not doing so well at Spanish, but I am pretty impressed with how my knitting is coming along.  I did some scarves, and then when Kelsey was here, I whipped out that hat for her. It was somewhat of a success. I am determined to make another that fits better. I have a friend who lives down the street.. Her name is Karen as well! She is a wonderful knitter, and very patient with me. I decided that I needed to advance my skills, I have had to hustle to her out 3 times now for her to save my scarf.. but I think I got it now. Here it is in process..

My friend Brenda and I went to a shop months ago to check into Weaving classes.. as in on a loom... not baskets..Well we finally got our time availability together to go sign up for lessons. Friday we signed up and on Saturday we went for our first 3 hour lesson. I think Brenda said it best, " I feel an addiction coming on!"
Brenda's scarf

My scarf
Our other favorite things to do is play cards with our friends. We have a monthly Texas Hold 'em that we go to, and Randy has a Tournament Texas Hold 'em that he attends.. we have friends who stop by and we play Gin Rummy, or Randy and I will play Spite & Malice.. we keep a running score.. I am ahead this week. He is just too nice.

We often stop at Kookaburra's to say hello to Chris and Jenny; and who ever is around while we are there. Sometimes we get a show of Chris's other skills... I have heard him called the "Bee Whisperer"...
He is urging the bee to crawl on his finger.. as I was cringing way

Here little bee.. see we are going on a little sweet trip to the back..
 There was a tragedy to this story.. Chris tried to pacify one little guy, and it ended badly for both.. Chris got stung, and the bee lost his stinger..I had the bees all fired up with my waving them away, so the one little guy was not falling for Chris's sweet finger trick. Sorry Chris for your pain on my account!

When we are not causing harm to the local friend and bee population one of our other pastimes is reading. We have a Book Exchange here in Cuenca, as well as a Used book store but Randy and I prefer our Kindles. We think they were one of our better investments..well that and his recliner...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


NOTE TO READERS: Photos have nothing to do with this post..just odd ball ones I threw in.
When we first moved to this house, we were the only "Gringos" in a house in this area..oh yeah, there are condos a few blocks each way with other expats in there, but really, we felt like we were striking out into a new adventure in this neighborhood.

We are just a few blocks from what is known as the Puertas Del Sol neighborhood, or fondly called Gringo-landia by us expats. Randy & I were smug in our announcements that we were not quite over that far, and we were smack dab in the middle of locals.. with high hopes of making friends with them. Well we did make an acquaintance with two; but to be "friends" is stretching the truth a bit too much. We wave, and the ones that speak a bit of English try to speak a bit more with us, but the thoughts we had about our relationship with the neighbors has just not come be.. Probably because we have not pushed our Spanish to the level that we feel comfortable speaking with folks beyond a few pleasantries.. we start stumbling when we are trying to speak "off the cuff".

Well back to our smugness.. we are not smug any more.. we now have two fellow expats living right around the corner from us... in houses!

Manon, was staying here with us for a few weeks before she found her rental house; and because it needed massive renovations before she could move in, she moved to a hostel (Nuestra Residencia) right across the street from her house  (how handy is that!) She has now moved in to her newly restored home, and has even had two big parties; one to thank those that helped her move in and one to just have fun!

Manon is a wonderful friend, great cook, and just a hoot to be around. We have exchanged keys, and we run back and forth at all hours of the night and day between houses, exchanging food, using the internet, household items, and whatever needs we think of .

Today, our housekeeper came over to meet with Manon so she could talk with her about cleaning her house. Well we could not get Manon to answer her phone.. I took the keys and we marched around the corner and I rang the bell long and loud several times before a sleepy "who is it" came over the intercom..(yes, some house have cool intercoms and electronic locks on their gates). We were buzzed in and Manon met us in all her morning glory, sleepy eyes..oh crud.. you have someone with you! Luckily Manon is as casual as I am, and she just laughed, and then hugged our sweet housekeeper. After some false starts and Google Translate I left them to get on with the house cleaning.

It is very wonderful to have that trust and comfort with folks that you would never have met if we had not moved to Cuenca!

Our second new neighbors are Joe and his son Joseph. They have also remodeled their rental, gotten a business license and now are serving dinners in their home. Its like a Supper Club, you have to be on a special email list to get invited.. and the dinners are always full, they can seat up to 40 guests. Their home is wonderful, the food is always fabulous, and both are amazing hosts. The last time we were there Joe played the Grand Piano, and Joseph sang a bit.. We all joined in and it was fun to hear everyone singing and see all the smiles as they enjoyed a wonderful evening.

Ok, so now we need some Twilight zone music... the funny story about these two neighbors is that they are both from the same state, lived across the river from each other, took bridge lessons from the same teacher.. and never met each other till they moved to Cuenca.. is that not freaky? There are many other stories like this that we have encountered since we have moved here. People have attended the same schools, never met till moving here; good friends in the states have said, hey a friend of ours is living down in Ecuador, their name is so and so... Yep you guessed it, the person living here in Cuenca, knows that person or is  really good friends with them! Maybe I should change the music to "Is a small world after all"..

So as we welcome more and more folks to our neighborhood, I hope they don't think we are odd when we start to hum the twilight tune, or It's a small world, as we hear all the similarities that we have...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I titled this the way I did to let my family know its not really a very interesting post if you are not interested in moving to Ecuador. Most of my family are still shaking their heads, and letting us know its ok to change our minds..

It has come to my attention, that I am meeting folks on forums and Facebook who have alot of questions so I thought I would just do a listing of all the sources that I have bookmarked and used when we were investigating Ecuador. Yeah, I'm lazy that way.

So here you go.  My advise, "Google" every which way to find info, read it, take notes, and then come to visit. While here.. DO NOT BUY REAL ESTATE! (ok, soapbox is gone).  sign up for the Gringo Tree on the left column!  local newspaper! Use your Google Translate to help!   FREE online Spanish

If you are a Face book person we have a wonderful group on there as well..  COMPLIATION OF EC BLOGS  Connie wrote a great book, its on Kindle and you can get it put on your computer if you do not have Kindle.. 2.99 worth every penny.

OK, now go forth and RESEARCH! We have all done it. It's time consuming, and confusing at times. We all have different ideas of what is acceptable, don't take our word for it.. research and if you think it might be interesting.. come visit.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


We have notoriously put out the welcome wagon to all our friends and family, offering a place to stay and a warm reception. We offered our daughter a visit but only if she would come for a month.. tickets are pricey for those of us on a fixed income.

I posted last time about her arrival and our time in Otovalo, but have not brought you up to date of our trials and tribulations once we arrived in Cuenca.

As soon we arrived in Cuenca, we marched over to the Coopera so they could see all the wonderful fruit and veggies available. We bought every odd looking fruit possible so they could make smoothies and try them fresh.
We had bus passes and keys for them, bus routes, maps and several tours of Cuenca, with a list of options of fun things to do while they were here... then Kelsey got sick..she swore it was the water, (I recently heard the term water snob, and I think it might apply in this case. grin). No matter that we assured her our water was very clean; even cleaner than most as we have a Ozone thingy on our kitchen faucet..and her cold we figured she got from the flight.

Well she got well, and no sooner had she gotten better.. I got sick.. well its not so bad that I got's that when any one gets sick, especially me, Randy becomes the bearer of woe and goes on and on about how he is now going to get sick; and everyone knows how he HATES to be sick.. and.. well you get the idea. I think the word in Quechua that fits is Wa Wa... (it means baby).

Well the "kids" as we so charmingly call them, have done very well getting off into town after a few forays with us. While I was sick, they managed the buses real well; found their way to several museums and coffee hang outs with out issues. They have even been to see things we have yet to see!

We did drag them on the double decker tour bus on Saturday. We had stopped in at the Itur office to see what days were "English" days.. we were told that every day it is in English.. not so.. Luckily, Daniel has alot of Spanish under his belt and we have been on this tour about 4 times previously, so we were pretty up on the things they were talking about, even if we didn't quite catch all the Spanish.
We trooped off to the California Kitchen for  a wonderful lunch afterwards, and then we all bussed back home for a  nice laid back afternoon. I realized I was still not well so Sunday was another down day, and the kids managed to make it to town in the afternoon.

Today we were supposed to go to Giron falls. Due to our bank having internet issues and other business related chores we asked our friends Sharon and Jacob to accompany Kelsey and Daniel to the falls. Sharon and Jacob are in their 30's so their stamina is much more in line with Kelsey and Daniel's anyway! I will look forward to the photos, that's more my speed.

They have to fly back to Quito on the 9th, so we are trying to mash all the other things on our list into these last few days. I am hoping for clear skies and lots of stamina!