The Kicks and Perks of Life in Ecuador

The very thought of moving abroad seems like such an adventure, doesn’t it? The world is full of so many intriguing locations. Which country would you choose? Which city?

If you actually pull the trigger and relocate, then the adventure truly begins. Everything is new, exciting, interesting, frustrating, and exhausting all at once. You’re meeting new friends—maybe learning a different language—adapting to a foreign culture, and exploring surrounding areas.

What happens after you live there for a few years? Does the thrill wear off? Are you sitting around downloading old episodes of Cheers to stay “busy”?

Well, that all depends on you.

My wife and I moved to Cuenca, Ecuador three-and-a-half years ago. We initially went through our fair share of stumbling and bumbling trying to get a grasp on our new life. We knew no one and had Spanish skills capable only of ordering at Taco Bell. Each piece of the puzzle seemed so hard and took so long.

But we didn’t come here expecting a turnkey experience. We knew there would be challenges and struggles, yet we were excited to embrace this adventure and decided to just keep smiling no matter what.

That attitude continues to serve us well. We know folks here who watch a lot of TV and don’t seem to do much, and if they’re happy then we totally respect their choices.

While our own life certainly has more routine than it did when we arrived, we’re always open to try something new. What we did today is a good example.

We were meeting a couple we barely know (and their friends that we didn’t know at all) for lunch in an unfamiliar part of the city. Let me pause this story for a moment. Would you do that? I don’t mean if you were living abroad. I mean right now, in your present life. Would you get on a bus and travel to the other side of town to hopefully find a restaurant you’ve never been to and share a meal with people you don’t really know?

I didn’t think so. Welcome to the world of unexpected things we do all the time.

After a few complications, we arrived a half-hour late. No big deal—we weren’t even the last ones there. A lovely meal was shared and we all enjoyed each other’s company.

Next we boarded another bus and rode out to the mall to take in what turned out to be a remarkable bonsai and orchid exhibition. A third bus brought us home for a long and well-deserved nap.

We needed to rest because we weren’t done yet. This evening we walked a few minutes down the street to Paradise Park, where the symphony was performing a special outdoor concert. Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture was accompanied by thundering cannons and a spectacular fireworks display. A 12-piece mariachi band came out and had everyone up dancing. What a treat!

What happens when you live abroad a long time? For us, the adventure continues…

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