Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How Our Journey Began

The quest that led us to Ecuador began with the weather.  Here in Southwest Missouri, like in so much of the United States, summer this year was very hot.  We always have heat and humidity here during the summers, but as the days of temperatures above 90 degrees with high humidity succeeded one another for week after week, I found myself wishing for cooler days.  I spent all my time indoors; when we went to the country, I couldn't stay there overnight.  The heat affected Ray, my husband, as well.  He is an outdoorsman -- he's worked on farms and ranches and as a builder his entire life -- but he couldn't handle the heat this year.  What were we to do?

We had planned, after my retirement from teaching at Missouri State University last May,  to retire on 40 wooded acres we have near Willow Springs, Missouri.  Ray had built me a small studio where I could work, and for us to stay in while he finished the big house.  We were all set to have electricity brought to the property and, for the winters, we had a wood stove.  The winters get cold here.  So, I was all set -- heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer.  But it occurred to us that living in an artificial environment -- indoors a good deal of the year -- was not what we wanted.  More than once we had tried to think of places we'd been to and liked that had "perfect weather" for us.  We thought of a few but, when we investigated them, we found that we couldn't afford to buy the amount of land we'd want, even after we sold the house here in Springfield and the property in Willow Springs.  And we didn't want to live like paupers.  We are not extravagant people; we live in jeans, tee shirts, and boots; but we did not want to spend the rest of our lives in an apartment or in a small house with a small lot.

Last summer, I was in the house reading the paper and drinking a cup of coffee when Ray came in.  He'd been on the internet, and he asked me "What do you know about Ecuador?"  I knew where it was, and the two main cities, and that Secretary of State Clinton had just been there, but that's about all.  He'd read an article about the best places to retire overseas, and he started investigating them.  More and more, over the following days and weeks, we came to focus on Ecuador.  We read all the sites -- International Living, Pro-Ecuador, Ecuador Central -- and started finding and reading blogs by expatriates who now live in Ecuador.  We focused on Cuenca as the place to visit and set about making plans to go there.

We were in Cuenca for a little more than a week earlier this month.  I had been skeptical about retiring outside the United States.  We spent our first night and part of a day in Quito, which we liked very much.  That evening, we flew to Cuenca, checked in at the Villa Nova Inn, and had dinner at Cafe Wunderbar.  I was so impressed with the city and the people we met that first night, especially a couple we met at the cafe who were also staying at the Villa Nova, Paul and Natasha.  The four of us became good friends and we know we will stay friends.  But the Ecuadoran people at the inn, in the stores we went to, in the cafes and restaurants we ate at were all friendly, helpful, and patient with our almost non-existent Spanish. 

Ray liked Cuenca right away; I'm sure he wanted to move there the first day we were there.  It took me a day or two longer.  We'd walked up to Parque Calderon and sat there for a while.  A sort of serene feeling came over me.  To find such an oasis of calm in the middle of a big, bustling city seemed to me to be a miracle. We loved the old city, and walked all over the streets.  By the end of our third day there, I was determined to give Ecuador a try.  We started the process to become residents and will be in Cuenca by the end of the year.  We are going to look for some land so Ray can build a house; in the meantime, our lawyer, Dra. Lina Ulloa, is finding an apartment for us.  She's really great; she has a move-to-Ecuador website, too.  It's

In future posts, I will be sharing pictures and relating our experiences as we move there.  Ray -- Alpha Dog -- will be offering his views, too.

DocBop (Dr. Barbara Turpin)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

1st blog post - This and That.

We figured that starting a blog was a lot easier than trying to keep up with which friend or relative wanted what information about our pending move to Ecuador. In addition it will be a lot easier for them to keep track of us when the move is complete and we do - who knows what, who knows where ?

Barbara's tractor is on the list of things to sell before we move. Anyone interested ???