Moving to Cuenca, Ecuador at 69

I’m sitting on the patio of the Villa Nova Inn in Cuenca, Ecuador enjoying a few beers. I’m watching the sun go down, looking out over the manicured grassy banks of the Tomebamba river. I can hear the laughter of children in the new Parque de Madre just across the river.

I’m happy.

Back in January 2013, I decided to leave the Canadian rat race and seek a more relaxed and fulfilling way of life. But where, on my $1,000-per-month pension?

I decided that Ecuador seemed to be a place where I could live off my pension.

However, at 69 years old, I’m still a very active and high-energy person. I wasn’t ready to just sit around and do nothing. I wanted to do something that would not only give me work satisfaction but also top up my pension.

Teaching English was something that appealed to me, so I headed for Ecuador to do a reconnaissance trip and personally go to a few schools in Cuenca, to see if I might be able to teach there. Two of them asked, “When can you start?”
I was in! Cuenca felt like the right place to be.

I returned to Canada and took a certification course to become an English teacher…and did some volunteer teaching, to help me feel more at home in the classroom.

By September of 2013, I was back—a full resident, on a pensioner’s visa, ready to take up a teaching position. I was asked to teach conversational English to students at the Faculty of Hospitality at the University of Cuenca and I jumped at the chance.

I only work a few hours each week, helping aspiring young hospitality workers to equip themselves for the workplace. Tourism is a growing business in Ecuador and their economic future depends on being able to meet the demands of that very competitive market.

With my help, they will engage more professionally with visitors looking to book a room or order a meal. That gives me a huge sense of satisfaction. I’m contributing something of value to the country I’ve decided to call home.

And at the end of my working day, I can stroll down to the Villa Nova Inn and order a beer.

I’ve found my paradise and I’m happy.

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