Alice in Wonderland

We moved here from SE Palm Bay, Florida feeling like Alice after she tumbled down the rabbit hole. Things are certainly different and we wouldn't miss this adventure for the world. Biggest challenge is learning Spanish but with a wonderful tutor for 2 hours twice a week we are making headway.
We love the food, the wonderful people and the beauty of Cuenca. It is heaven on Earth in our opinion.

You have a good attitude and that is the biggest and best predictor of success and happiness as expats.  You are certainly in for an adventure, and it will be a good one with both challenges and disappointments.

Nevertheless make sure you do not always look at everything only through rose-colored glasses but acknowledge both the good and the bad, and learn to accept it.  It will help to make some good Ecuadorian friends, and maybe to get involved in community and volunteer activities with Ecuadorians and not necessarily avoid expats, but do not hang out with them too much.  That will not only help with your Spanish but open the door to greater appreciation and understanding of the culture and the people.

Indeed that is a positive attitude and I agree the best things about living in Ecuador are the people, language, beautiful diverse scenery. I’ll add climate too. And IMO the quicker you cease seeing it as an adventure and more of transitioning or assimilating and making it “home”, the better.  And as someone put it, things will start to come alive and light up for you as your Spanish improves.

And OsageArcher advice corroborates that reality because as aforementioned the beauty of living here is engaging with society. Continue to learn Spanish and you can develop a nice social life with locals. Never give up on Spanish, don’t fall prey for the convenient expat bubble that many expats opt for.

And let’s face it as retirees, and semi-retired folk, these challenges are beautiful and rewarding ones. Ecuador is definitely a winner.

LOL vsimple the only thing I can disagree with you is, you should never cease looking at life as an adventure - it's the only one you have and it is or should be an adventure, although we may not always be able to keep up the level of wonder and astonishment and openness that it deserves!

You have a point OsageArcher.

And I would like to add to the OP never be discouraged by what some expats, even long time ones claim about social life with locals as being impossible. That is simply their experience. It might seem like that initially but with patience and effort it is possible.

Locals here, at least in Quito, are reserved at first but that changes over time when trust develops. I just had a wonderful holiday with friends, with one even taking me to his grandmother’s house for colada morada and simply because I asked him where is the best in town.

At one time I sprained my foot and my friends would get me what I wanted including getting all items on my grocery list. To give you another example of how kind people are here, I complimented one of my friends, a simple family man, on his sweater. The next time I saw him, he handed me a bag with the same sweater (his) in it. I was so embarrassed, and was thinking, “what a big mouth.” It’s funny now but this illustrates how friendly and kind people are here.

Again it takes time, and IMO develop friendships that don't involve money such as a service especially so in the expat industry.

Believe me, we never look at the world through rose colored glasses. Nor do we judge all from the behavior of one or two. If we did that, than our experiences are the port with customs would have soured us and we would be leaving instead of settling in to our new home. We have been here 5 months and have been adopted by two Ecuadorian families, one in Guayaquil and one here in Cuenca. We have made some wonderful friends even with our limited Spanish. Life is good here and you must be willing to adapt and learn or you will not be happy here.

Oh my friend, life is an adventure and one to be savored and enjoyed. Yes, not all is fun or even wanted, but how you deal with life and your attitude towards it makes all the difference in the world. My grandfather told me once that growing old is mandatory and growing up is optional. I opted out years ago.

We take all the advice and talk with a grain of salt. We have found that those expats who complain and speak negatively about things here are the ones who are unhappy that the Ecuadorians don't all speak English or behave like Americans. I feel sorry for them as they are missing out on so much. We refuse to live in an expats community for that very reason. Yes, learning a new language at our age is hard, but oh so rewarding. We felt at home here in Cuenca the first time we were here and never felt at home in the U.S. There was something missing and we have found it here.

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