About Me

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In October, 1997, my husband Mark and I, decided to move to Ecuador. We settled in Cuenca, the third largest city. It is nestled in a valley surrounded by the Andes Mountain range. It has been an amazing aventure.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Chola Cuencana Dress

If you are in Cuenca you will certainly see the indigenous women walking around in their native costume. So I decided to tell you a bit about it.

The women are called Chola Cuencanas and they wear their outfits with dignity. The outfit consists of a skirt called a pollera, a lace blouse, shawl and is topped off with a Panama Hat and as you can see from the photo it is beautifully embroidered.

It takes approximately 9 yards of material to make the skirt and it is rather heavy. I swear a burn hundreds of calories every time I where mine. The blouse is made up of beautiful lace and sequins and the shawl is edged with crocheted lace.

They have outfits for everyday and special ones for special occasions. Additionally, gold earrings, necklaces and bracelets can be worn as accessories. One of these ornate outfits can cost from $700.00 to $1000.00 (not including the jewelry, just the costume) depending on the detail and fabric. I was fortunate that a very dear Ecuadorian friend made mine and give it to me as a gift. I am so proud to be the owner of this awesome piece of local history.

And here's the final look...of course I don't have the long, dark braids...but you get the idea.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Problem Has Been Fixed

Many of you may have tried to access my blog only to be directed to another site. Someone hacked into my blog and caused this problem. In any case, thanks to information given to me by a friend, I was able to solve the problem and I´m back in business. I hope my readers will return.
Here are some new pictures of our little Critters. Believe it or not they keep us sane and happy. Hope you enjoy. Oh, by the way, the last one is Mark, he's not a critter. Smile.

It´s Finally Official

It's finally done. Today we received our Ecuadorian Citizen Cedulas (identity cards). After two and a half years in the process and another four months trying to get the names straightened out, we got them. We are now duel citizens. It is a glorious day.

Our Territory in the Campo

This is a scene from our territory. We have spectacular views, but it means walking a lot uphill. It's great when you go downhill, but you know what that means...you have to go up again. However, it is beautiful and it keeps us in shape.
I had the pleasure to be accompanied by these two handsome fellows. The one on the right is a regular pioneer. So precious.

Why Should I Learn the Language?

That is a good question, especially if you're not a studious person or you're up in age. However, anyone can learn enough of the language to get by and even form friendships.

Even if you do not have plans to socialize with the local population (personally, I don't know why anyone wouldn't want to get to know these lovely people) learning the language is essential to being a well rounded individual, happy and contributing to the society where you live. If you live in a Spanish speaking country, frankly it is ridiculous to expect to hear English when banking, shopping, taking taxis or buses, paying utility bills, etc. You live in their country as a guest, so why do you feel entitled that they should speak your language? Make the effort to learn the basics so you can communicate and get things done.

A very helpful book to get you started is entitled "Madrigal's Magic Keys to Spanish A Creative and Proven Approach" by Margarita Madrigal. It is available on Kindle. The copy I have was first published in 1951, 1953 and 1989. To make things fun the illustrations are by Andy Warhol. Yes, it may seem to be a bit outdated, but the book actually gets you speaking, reading and writing right away and instantly builds an extensive vocabulary. I still refer to it from time to time to brush up on my Spanish skills even after living here for 17 years.

Another practical way to learn is start practicing with the locals. They appreciate the effort and will correct your errors, in a very polite and nice manner.

So start learning the language, don't be shy and enjoy your new life in this exciting country.

Until next time...

Suggestion for Moving to Another Country

I decided to write some information about what to expect if you wish to move to Ecuador. This information can be useful if you're planning to go to another country other than Ecuador, but since I've lived here for so many years my expertise is, of course, on Ecuador and especially regarding the City of Cuenca.

People move for different reasons, some for economic concerns, others want to serve "where the need is great", others want a cultural experience. Whatever the reason you will face many challenges some expected and others not so obvious. Therefore, my next few posts will address some of the issues you will face and I hope the information will be helpful. First of all, do your homework.

Try to research the country or area you will be moving. But, be open minded and don't take everything you read on the internet as gospel. There is a lot of good information out there, but there is a lot of information that is misleading and downright false, so use common sense when researching and weigh the information carefully.

Next, make sure you know the country's travel and residency requirements. Here in Ecuador you can enter the country on your passport (from most countries) and receive what is called a T3 (tourist visa) which will allow you to stay in the country 90 days. If that isn't enough time you can request a type 12 tourist visa at an Ecuadorian Consulate in your country or if you are already in the country you can request it here before your 90 days expire. A visa 12-IX will allow you 180 days.

You should endeavor to learn the local language. Even if you plan to be part of an expat community or attend an English congregation where you will be speaking mostly English you will still be living in a country that speaks another language. You will be much happier and the people around you will be happier if you at least try to speak the local lingo. Don't think you are too old to learn, anyone can learn enough to get around if you just put some effort into it. In Ecuador, the Ecuadorian people are very patient and kind and love it when you make an effort to speak to them. So put your inhibitions aside and go for it.

Don't be afraid to try the local cuisine. Just because it's different doesn't mean it isn't tasty. Ecuadorian food is a delight. You have quite a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, chicken, pork and beef. The pork is especially good and is some of the best in the world. I'm from Texas and take my pork very seriously. I'm not so crazy about the beef, again being from Texas...but there are places where you can get a pretty good tenderloin. That's all I'm writing about today. I don't want to overwhelm you with too much information at one time. Come back again soon for more posts.