Hi, my name is Nancy Watson. My husband, Chuck, and I have lived in Cuenca, Ecuador for about two years. We moved here from the United States, Richland, Washington to be exact.
When and how did you decide to move to Ecuador ?
Chuck and I have been retired for about 8 years. After we retired our new vocation became traveling. Because the winters in eastern Washington are bleak, each year we picked a place to travel during January and February. In 2007, we chose Ecuador. The reason we chose Ecuador is because we had frequent flyer miles to redeem and Delta had just opened a route to Ecuador. They had plenty of seats available for us to choose.
We spent six weeks in Ecuador. Three weeks were spent on the coast and three in Cuenca which is located in the Andes mountains. We found the coast a little too hot and humid for our tastes but when we got to Cuenca we loved the springtime weather.
The following year we decided to escape the northwest winter altogether. We rented an apartment in Cuenca from October to April. The furnished apartment had four bedrooms so we invited everyone we knew to come and visit us in Cuenca while we were there. We had over thirty friends and family who visited us during those seven months.
While we were wintering here, we bought a condo. At first we were just going to return to Cuenca for winter months, but we later decided that this is the place we wanted to live year around.
We returned to the U.S. and sold all our worldly goods and returned to Cuenca in November of 2008 and applied for residency.
Have you ever lived abroad before?
This is the first time either of us has lived outside the U.S. We have traveled to many countries, but always returned to our home base in Washington state. We had traveled in Asia, Russia, most of Europe, Africa, Central America and Peru before we came to Ecuador. We will continue to travel the world; the only difference is that our home base in now Cuenca, Ecuador.
What do you like the most about Ecuador ?
The thing I like best about Cuenca is the moderate temperatures year around. We have a very comfortable life here. Here in the Andes homes do not have heating or air conditioning. It isn’t needed. If we get too warm, we open the windows. We close the windows if we are too cool. That is all that is needed to stay comfortable.
The Ecuadorian people are beautiful inside and out. It seems to me that the invisible protective wall we put around ourselves in the U.S. does not exist in Ecuador. Smiles and greetings are very common.
How is / was the cultural shock ?
For us there was no culture shock. We have traveled to so many different countries and experienced so many different cultures that we were able to ease into our lives here with little difficulty.
Do you miss anything from your homeland?
We miss our family and friends very much. Chuck and I travel back to the U.S. two or three times each year. This gives us a chance to hug our children and grand babies.
When did you start blogging?
I actually have been sending out stories and pictures of our travels via email to family and friends for many years. In early 2008, I decided to start a blog for the same purpose. This way I would not clutter the recipients’ mailboxes. As you can see, I still start each post out with Dear Family and Friends. This is the way all my email stories started and I wanted to keep the same format. Chuck and I love to share our adventures. We have so many friends tell us that they travel vicariously through our posts.
Did you make new friends with your blog?
Once I started posting to the blog the numbers of people who were reading it grew over time. People would write to us about their hopes or plans of retiring in Ecuador. We have met several people through the blog who are planning to move to Ecuador soon and many who we are now friends with in Cuenca.
When did you register on expat blog? Any particular reasons?
I joined Expat-blog last year. I submitted the blog to be linked to your site because I wanted to share our lives with others that are interested in an ex-pat’s experiences. It is great that there is a site for people to go to and easily access ex-pat blogs from all over the world.
Which advice would you give to people who would like to retire in Ecuador ?
My advice to people who would like to retire in Ecuador is to come to here and visit. Stay as long as you can and get to know the different areas of this country. Although it is very small (about the size of the state of Nevada) it is very diverse. One can retire to the coast with sandy beaches or to the mountains. Experiencing Ecuador first hand is the only way you can know for sure if this is the country for you.