An Expat Experience of San Fernando, Ecuador (A Lesson about Abundance)


To be honest, my message is a simple one.  I suppose, that’s often the case.

You see, Ecuador is teaching me about abundance—

A lot about it—

That abundance is, as you might have guessed, so . . . well . . . abundant!

For example, I had heard how affordable the country is—that the economy is strong—that my US dollar would go a long, long way.  However, my North American mind could never have imagined buying twelve tomatoes for a dollar or twenty long-stemmed roses for four.  Who in the US or most parts of the developed world could anticipate spending eleven dollars for a month’s worth of electricity or having a $5 gas bill during the “winter” months?

But, as it turns out, the cost of living hasn’t been Ecuador’s greatest value to us as expats.  Rather, it’s the people and place itself we’ve come to care about– even more.

You see, when we moved here, I imagined we’d meet new folks and see lovely mountain landscapes.  I understood that both Ecuadorians and the foreigners living here would be friendly, that seeing the Andes is on a number of “bucket lists.”  Still, I hadn’t anticipated making quite so many new friends or seeing places of such staggering natural beauty.

And so far, Ecuador has offered an abundance of both.  We’ve been blessed.

I don’t know what I expected.  It’s not that I hadn’t hoped for either of these.  It’s something else entirely—the sheer surplus of each, I suppose.

And this past weekend offered a bounty of both all over again.

Saturday we had dinner with friends Juan and David and Susan and Fred at a place called Joe’s Secret Garden, and Sunday those same folks came to our house for breakfast, followed by a day trip to San Fernando, a very small town about an hour from Cuenca, by bus.

(If your travel in Ecuador takes you to Cuenca anytime in the near future,  eat at Joe’s Secret Garden.  You won’t be disappointed.  Service is only on Saturdays, and reservations are required)

Though we are still not completely unpacked since the arrival of our shipping container from the US more than two weeks ago . . .

That's my dog Lucy in the backpack carrier.  (Sara's image)

That’s my dog Lucy in the backpack carrier. (Sara’s image)

Boxes piled in the living room--(Sara's image)

Boxes piled in the living room–(Sara’s image)

. . . still, the house is in good enough shape to entertain a few folks, which is something, if you know us, we love to do.

Dining room with roses (Kathy's image)

Dining room with roses (Kathy’s image)

Four of my paintings and drawings are finally hung on the wall above the green chair.  (Kathy's image)

Four of my paintings and drawings are finally hung on the wall above the green chair. (Kathy’s image)

Our art from Haiti has also been hung.  (Kathy's image)

Our art from Haiti has also been hung. (Kathy’s image)

Sara prepared a lovely meal.   I baked great buttermilk biscuits.  But the day trip with friends turned out better than either of these.

We missed the bus from Terminal Terrestre to San Fernando, so we hopped one instead to Girón, since it’s only about 9 miles from the smaller town we wanted to visit.  (If you plan any Ecuador travel, be sure to see both Girón and San Fernando.  Bus fare from Cuenca to Girón is only one dollar.)

Fred, Kathy, Susan (left to right)

Fred, Kathy (center), and Susan–(Sara’s image)

Sara and Kathy aboard the bus to Girón--

Sara and Kathy aboard the bus to Girón –(Susan’s image)

Approaching Girón by bus (Sara's image)

Approaching Girón by bus (Sara’s image)

Once we arrived in Girón and proceeded to catch the bus on to San Fernando, we discovered it was crowded, with standing room only, and only enough of that for about two or three of us.  Since I had an accident the day before, I wasn’t anxious to squeeze in and stand for the entire trip on twisting mountain roads.

Kathy had a close encounter with a chair, a wall, and an electric drill.

Kathy had a close encounter with a chair, a wall, and an electric drill.

So instead, the six of us hired a pickup truck taxi to drive us up the mountain to San Fernando and a nearby lake, known to the locals as  “Laguna de Busa.”  The town itself is at an elevation of more than 9,200 feet (2800 meters), close to that of Quito.

During our drive up, David rode in the back.

P1010826

The rest of us sandwiched ourselves into the cab.

There was some pretzeling involved.  (Susan's image)

There was some serious pretzeling of arms and legs involved, but we finally all fit.  (Susan’s image)

The ride to San Fernando was spectacular.

Stunning!

Stunning!  (Sara’s image)

Even more stunning?  (Sara's image)

Even more stunning? (Sara’s image)

The stunning never stops!  (Sara's image)

The stunning never stops! (Sara’s image)

Approaching the tiny town of San Fernanando--  (Sara's image)

Approaching the tiny town of San Fernando– (Sara’s image)

The lake nearby San Fernando itself didn’t disappoint either.  We took tons of photos.

Kathy considers an image.  (Sara's photo)

Kathy considers an image. (Sara’s photo)

Snap happy!  (Kathy's image)

Snap happy! (Kathy’s image)

Sara took more photos than anyone.  (Susan's image)

Sara took more photos than anyone. (Susan’s image)

Isn't Juan a cutie?  (Sara's image)

Isn’t Juan a cutie? (Sara’s image)

I love the shadow in this shot.  (Sara's image)

I love the light and shadow in this shot. (Sara’s image)

This mountain looms over the lake.  (Sara's image)

This mountain looms over the lake. (Sara’s image)

A closer look at the cliffs--(Kathy's image)

A closer look at the cliffs–(Kathy’s image)

The opposite view from lake--(Kathy's image)

The opposite view from lake–(Kathy’s image)

This reminds me of the Pacific Northwest of the US.  (Sara's image)

This reminds me of the Pacific Northwest in the US. (Sara’s image)

Jesus watches over the lake.  (Kathy's image)

Jesus watches over the lake. (Kathy’s image)

Large rock near the lakeside--(Kathy's image)

Large rock near the lakeside–(Kathy’s image)

This dog also kept an eye on things.  (Sara's image)

This dog also keeps an eye on things. (Sara’s image)

The ride back to Girón was equally lovely.

Leaving San Fernando--(Sara's image)

Leaving San Fernando–(Sara’s image)

Another rock formation--(Sara's image)

Another rock formation–(Sara’s image)

More loveliness--(Sara's image)

The skies never cease to amaze me–(Sara’s image)

The sky above the mountains is always amazing.  (Sara's image)

Abundant beauty, right?  (Sara’s image)

When we returned to Girón, the sun came out.

Sunlight near Girón--(Sara's image)

Sunlight near Girón–(Sara’s image)

We had time to kill before the bus left for Cuenca, so we visited the local Mercado.

Susan, too, took lots of photos.  (Kathy's image)

Susan, too, took lots of photos. (Kathy’s image)

We saw a number of women in traditional dress.  (Sara's image)

We saw a number of women in traditional dress. (Sara’s image)

At the Girón Mercado--(Sara's image)

At the Girón Mercado–(Sara’s image)

These women watched.  (Sara's image)

These women watched. (Sara’s image)

Sara and I both photographed this woman.  (Kathy's image)

Sara and I both photographed this woman. (Kathy’s image)

A lovely, if serious, face--(Sara's image)

A lovely, if serious, face–(Sara’s image)

A boy plays with his mother's braid (Sara's image)

A boy plays with his mother’s braid (Sara’s image)

Before leaving Girón, we talked to local children and had ice cream cones.

Little boy in Girón--(Sara's image)

Little boy in Girón–(Sara’s image)

Ice cream cones were 50 cents.  (Sara's image)

Ice cream cones were 50 cents. (Sara’s image)

All aboard the bus to Cuenca--(Sara's image)

All aboard the bus to Cuenca–(Sara’s image)

The trip home was equally lovely–

Can anyone explain why the skies are always so amazing?  (Sara's image)

Can anyone explain why the skies are always so amazing? (Sara’s image)

–Except for the pig and guinea pigs being roasted.

A weekend feast--(Sara's image)

A weekend feast?  (Sara’s image)

But even lovelier than the trip itself, were the friends we took it with.

Susan is an author whose novels you’d enjoy.  Below is the trailer for her soon-to-be-released thriller, The Plan.

She was the first to welcome me to the writing group I joined several months ago.  Her husband Fred is a psychologist.

Fred and Susan--(Sara's image)

Fred and Susan–(Sara’s image)

Below is a video Susan created about our day in San Fernando.  (To visit her website on e-publishing, click here.)

David and Juan, you probably remember.  I wrote about our previous trip with them to the Girón waterfall.

Juan (L) and David (R)--We call them "the boys."  They call us, "the girls."

Juan (L) and David (R)–We call them “the boys.” They call us, “the girls.”

We’re an unlikely group—a gay couple, a lesbian couple, and a retired heterosexual one, as well—much older, even wiser, and with more energy than the four younger of us combined.

We’re happy.  We’re blessed.  And we have the friends who guarantee that both continue.

When did you last learn a thing or two about abundance?  Have you ever had friends who were much older than you?  How did you feel the last time you saw something beautiful?

121 thoughts on “An Expat Experience of San Fernando, Ecuador (A Lesson about Abundance)

  1. Thank you for a fine trip and a beautiful one.

    As I sit here at a bay window looking out on the verdant canopy that is tenuously turning ochre with autumn proceeding, it is a beauty.

    There is vast abundance here in the US, only it seems the powers that be are and intend to continue to place it high on a shelf out of reach to the poor and the ever shrinking middle class.

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    • Great to hear from you, Robert! I miss being able to see the leaves changing in the US this time of year. Fall (when I lived in Kentucky or Pennsylvania) has always been my favorite season. Strangely, it’s spring here in the southern hemisphere. Gotta get my brain around that.

      And, yeah, what’s happening in the US now is tragic–even criminal. At least everyone can enjoy the changing leaves.

      Hope your week is going well!

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  2. What a lovely post. Truly lovely. Chris and I talk often about how much we have and how blessed we have been over the years. We definitely have had the tough lean times and that has made this time of “abundance” all the sweeter because we can actually do something at times to help others . That is kind of how Comments for a Cause came about—-out of our blessings we are able to do a little bit for someone else. Abundance does not always mean monetary abundance. I have an abundance of wonderful relationships—you included—that show me every single day that there are things that money can’t buy–true and sincere and authentic people are my biggest blessing.
    The photos are lovely and now I want to come visit you even more. So happy that you have found such wonderful friends already in such a short time but then—that does not surprise me at all.

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    • Yes, yes, Beth Ann. It’s always sweeter to enjoy abundance when you know what it’s like, also, to have less. Great point! And your “Comments for a Cause” is an awesome example of your ability to give back. I love it!

      You’re also correct that relationship blessings are the most important. Sometimes we forget that. Sara and I, as least, are reminded of that, especially now that we’re in a new place.

      So wonderful to hear from you! Hope you and Chris will come visit us in Ecuador one of these days.

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  3. What stunning views! Breathtaking images of the mountains! I love hearing how well you are getting settled in, and how nicely your home is coming together, too. Exactly like you, too, to be looking at the abundance and joy in in all…rather than feeling overwhelmed (I think I would!). Thank you for sharing your lovely weekend! Hope your injury is healing quickly.

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    • Thanks you, Cindy. My nose is, indeed, healing well. Silly accident. I’m going to have to write about it.

      Also, we have at times felt over-whelmed, I must admit. But mostly it’s been amazing fun. I tend to be the one in our relationship who feels overwhelmed. Sara more often goes with the flow. She helps me in that regard.

      Hope your week is going well and you’re getting to work on some of those paintings you mentioned!

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  4. What a fabulous trip! Loved the video … as wow … you saw some beautiful stained glass!!!!

    Meanwhile, something doesn’t seem right in this though: David. Susan, Fred, Sara, and Kathy go to Joe’s in Ecuador.

    Hey Kathy …. I think you need an Ecuadorian hat!

    Thanks for sharing!!!!

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    • Oh, but you left out poor Juan! He, too, went to Joe’s. Does that make it sound better?

      It’s wonderful to hear from you, Frank. I will try one of these days to get you a hat, if you send your head size. Just can’t send it back till someone comes to visit. Too expensive to mail.

      Better yet–come visit and buy a hat. This is an amazing place. We’d love to have you! Just got a new queen-sized bed for one of our guest rooms.

      Take care, my friend. Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. I am so tremendously happy for you and Sara, my heart beats a dance for you place high in the mountains where you seem to have found a new home. Beautiful, stunning truthfully.

    I will not be envious. I will simply send you much love, hugs and hope your days are filled with continued joyful discovery.

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    • Thanks, Val. So glad you’re happy for us. SO far there are nothing but positives about our experience here. We are so, so delighted. About the envy, I say–bless your dear, dear heart. It’s okay to envy. We are in an enviable situation. But thanks for the love, my friend. We love you, too, and want you to visit!!!!!

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  6. Len and I sat together with our tea — Oohing and Aahing our way through this beautiful virtual tour. We’re grateful that the internet affords us the opportunity to “live vicariously” through your wonderful global posts.

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    • Thanks for sharing my post with Len. Glad you both enjoyed your virtual tour. I, too, am enjoying some morning tea–my second cup of the day. Wonderful to hear from you, Laurie. Take care and continue to have a wonderful week!

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  7. Yes, Juan is very handsome but unavailable. Tell Fred that I want to discuss the Unus Mundus with him, when he has time. Kathy, I think our wardrobes may be interchangeable. I’m sending Maggie a link to this piece. Tell me the story of the WHY natives all wear the same hats. Have you seen any flying saucers, down there? The last time I saw something beautiful, I ran for the camera, snapped a pic…..but the pic didnt do it justice; it was just a fragmentary representation; God may have a scrambler embedded in rainbows and waterfalls.

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    • Ha, ha! Love the idea of God having embedded a scrambler in rainbows. That’s a hoot!

      I’m delighted to hear you dress so well, JK! It takes talent doesn’t it? I must have gotten my fashion sense from my mother–the other Judy. NOT!

      Thanks for sending the link to Maggie. I look forward to meeting her in person.

      Will try to pass along your message to Fred. I’ll at least forward it to Susan. Don’t have Fred’s email address.

      Don’t know how to explain the hat situation. Gonna have to look that up. I think I was once told that whether the hats were white or black has something to do with ethnic background. The Canaris, for example, wear white ones, I think. Or maybe it’s black. Gonna check that out.

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  8. Was home Monday, working and thinking about our new friends and how much fun we have together. This is what retirement is supposed to be about. Redefining and reshaping our lives. Meeting new people, exploring new territories. We’re having it all. Thanks for the beautiful blog. Sometimes our families worry about us, being so far away– strangers in a strange land. But as you can see, our days are wonderous. This peek into a Sunday afternoon will help!

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    • Great to hear from you, Susan. Thanks so much for the comment. It was such a fun day.

      You’re right–love your definition of retirement. Even though we aren’t exactly retired, it still applies to all of us–retired and working folks alike.

      Thanks for being a part of our wonderful Sunday. Can’t wait till we do the Cajas.

      Hope you computer/internet issues are resolved.

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  9. Oh Kathy, how I love hearing about your new life, your new friends and your happiness. I know what you mean about abundance. Here in Florence I am surrounded by beauty. Every corner I turn there is something more memorable than that I have just seen How lucky we are to be able to enjoy this. And in my real life ie in Wellington, I am also happy and blessed.and as you say with friends (and family) to ensure this continues.
    Look forward to reading more of your adventures.
    Hugs from Italy. Judith

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    • It’s wonderful to hear from you, Judith! I so enjoyed your Florence post yesterday. What a gorgeous place–and one I’ve never been. Looks abundant, indeed.

      I’m delighted you enjoyed this post–and glad you, too, are blessed with abundance both there and at home! What rich lives we all lead!

      Hugs to you, too!

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  10. I am not ashamed to admit that I am amazed and jealous that other human beings have such glorious visions before them every single day. Stunning. Wait….I wake up every day with David. (Too mushy? I let it stand!).

    We are an across the board friend maker. We have friends in their 70s and up. And friends in their twenties. And very lucky in our abundance of friends.

    🙂 I love your trips!
    Hugs to all! colleen

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    • And WE are so blessed to be among those friends! Truly, dear Colleen.

      Plus, I think your David comment is darling. Just don’t let that go to his head. LOL

      Delighted you enjoyed this virtual trip to San Fernando. Can’t wait till we can take you to see some of these places in person. Hint, hint.

      Hugs to both of you from both of us!

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  11. Sara’s shot of the rocky outcropping, in which you talked about light and shadow, reminds me of an alligator slithering into the water. Cool pic – actually, they all are! I love your diverse group of friends. Bet you’re all a fun group when you hang out!

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    • So glad you enjoyed the photo, Mark. I’ll pass that along to Sara. I agree that these images are especially lovely. We are fun to hang out with. And, by the way, Susan, I believe, is from Ely, Nevada originally. I’ll have to ask more about that to see if Tara’s family knows her. I think she worked for the newspaper there. Her background is in journalism.

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      • I swear. Think her father was superintendent of schools or something like that. Gotta check to see if it was in Ely that he held that position. Either that or Susan moved there for the journalism job. I’ll check that out.

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  12. I love those hats. And the faces beneath them are lovely.

    My last abundance as yesterday. In the middle of a very developed location, I got to watch a hawk hunt about 10 feet away from me. Wonderful.

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    • Oops, I saw your second comment first. Silly me.

      I think the hats are cool, also. I need to do some research and then write about them. I think there may be some significance in the color.

      How cool about the hawk! That sounds AWESOME! Hope you’ll fly over to my blog again soon. Wonderful to hear from you!

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    • Thank you so much. It is healing nicely. I need to write about that accident sometime soon. I’m an accident waiting to happen–always dropping things, always falling.

      And glad you like our home. We do, too. Thanks again.

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  13. I’m just loving these posts of yours. It’s neat to see how your home is coming out of the box and shaping up so beautifully. Fun, friends, food and fabulous sights. Oh how I wish I was there celebrating Ecuador’s abundance with you. I suppose I’ll have to settle for celebrating it right where I am.
    Love and peace always,
    TT

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    • Thanks so much, timethief! Glad you’re enjoying them. The house is, indeed, coming along. Thanks for noticing. We’re beginning to feel settled. I’ll celebrate abundance here–you do so there. That should begin to cover the basics in North and South America, at least. Love and peace to you, too!

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  14. What a delight to read and admire the photos and dream of Ecuador. I swear so many posts are blessing posts, even if the word is never mentioned. I do enjoying looking at the people in traditional garb especially and thinking how inexpensive it would be to visit there. As for friends being older, that has often the case. Abundance and beauty? Surrounding always, when I remember to look.

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    • Your last sentence here is so important. Too often we don’t notice the beauty and abundance that is already there–if only we’d take the time to look. That is key. I thank you for that reminder. I love it. So glad you enjoyed the post and photos. You are a blessing, my friend.

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  15. First: Stunning photos. Truly. I can’t pick a favorite.
    Second: The best abundance is the one you seem to be doing the best with: Friends.
    Third: For the millionth time, the house is GORGEOUS!
    Fourth: I miss you two.
    I’ve been having a rough week. Nothing I can share so openly here, but, damn, these photos give a person a wonderful reminder that there is hope and beauty in this world, even if it doesn’t feel like it here in Ohio. Great post, Sista!

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    • Wonderful to hear from you, dear Miranda! We miss you, too. Sorry the week hasn’t gone well. I’m happy about your weight loss. Sorry so much else stinks.

      Glad you enjoyed the photos. I’ll be sure to tell Sara. I have to agree that the ones she took this week were especially good. Glad you like the house, as well. Having our books and art makes a difference.

      Love you, Sista!

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  16. Your posts take me away with you. It is great to read how you’re exploring your new home and I really feel the sense of wonder you get when you’re travelling through this beautiful country. I look at those cliffs and the wide open spaces and feel like I would want to hike for weeks through there, or even better, never leave 🙂

    Your place is looking lovely, too! We are about to move (not nearly as far as you have, just to another city, and still in Western Australia) and I am not looking forward to all the boxes!

    Take care of that face :/ Ouch!

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    • Thanks, my friend. I’m so happy you enjoy my posts. I’m honored to hear that.

      Yes, the landscapes in the highlands of southern Ecuador are stunning. They, indeed, make one want to get out and hike and hike and hike some more. The urge to explore is huge.

      So glad you like the house, as well. It’s coming along. Sorry to hear you, too, are going to have boxes to face. That’s no fun, is it? We are still trying to figure out where to put everything. It’s taking longer than we’d anticipated.

      Thanks, also, for mentioning my nose. I’m going to have to write about that accident, but fortunately I’m healing nicely. Take care. Hope your week is going well!

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      • Well, I’ll be glad for the move itself, since we’re moving to a lovely little city on the coast and the suburb we currently live in is not that nice. But the logistics of moving four small children, a dog, three cats and a chicken is proving to be a bit of a headache 😀

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  17. So many great things in this post Kathy. What a great excursion! The scenery is stunning from every angle.
    I can’t imagine how you injured yourself with an electric drill!
    I love the shots of the mercado.
    The dining room looks so inviting. How terrific that you’ve hung your artwork. That always makes a house a home, doesn’t it? (Nice shot of Ralph!)
    I’m so happy that you and Sara have found such wonderful friends.

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    • Thanks, Jackie. So glad you enjoyed the post, the photos of the house, and Ralph. It was a fun day, and we are beginning to feel settled in our new home–both in terms of our home and in terms of the friends we’re making. Life is good. I’m going to have to write about the accident with the drill–a crazy accident. I was VERY LUCKY! Great to hear from you, my friend. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

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  18. That is some truly impressive scenery, Kathy! I’m glad that you and Sara are expanding your circle of friends. But maybe you should add a bodyguard to your posse to keep an eye specifically on you — and to keep you away from drills and walls. That injury to your face looks like it hurt. Not many women would be ready for their close-up after that. But you’re not like many women and I mean that as a compliment.

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    • Thanks, LA! I suppose, you’re right. I’m not like lots of folks of either gender, maybe. Sara insists that’s the case–and it’s not always meant as a compliment. Mostly it’s teasing, however. I’m gonna have to do a post about the accident. As I said to Jackie, I was lucky. You know how accident-prone I am.

      Glad you enjoyed the post. Hope you have a wonderful weekend. Will you get to see some more films, or is the festival over?

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      • Milton and I are seeing Blue is the Warmest Color on Friday. If you’re not familiar with it it’s a lesbian love story that won the Palme d’Or this year at Cannes. The buzz is that ft’s terrific. We think it is a great choice to end our 2013 NYFF. The sex is graphic so it is going to be rated NC-17 over here. Yee ha!

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  19. Such stunning, panoramic photos. Everywhere you look it must be just breathtaking. I also love what you’ve done so far with your place. Those green chairs and other furniture, did you bring it from the states or get it there? My favorite photo is one taken by Sara of the three women in traditional garb. So very colorful. Love that you’ve made such good friends. I feel like I could easily blend in to your group. Oh, if only I was as adventurous as you are.

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    • I think you’re pretty adventurous, Monica! Now, you just need to come and bring that new orange bike with you. I think you could do some great riding here.

      I think you would fit into our group EXTREMELY well. Hope you will think about a vacation here some day. Come hang with us. We have a new bed for our guest room.

      We bought the chairs here. We brought no furniture in the container–only the art chairs and tables I’ve painted–lots of art and so, so many books!

      Have a wonderful weekend, my fried. Hope you get some biking in!

      I’ll tell Sara you enjoyed her photos! I like the same one you do. However, I think the one with the little by and his mother’s braid is so sweet.

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  20. It really seems like you’ve found paradise. Already, your home is gorgeous, as are your friends ( I loved the shot of everyone taking pictures. And I absolutely loved Susan’s ‘trailer’). When you first announced that you and Sara were moving permanently to Ecuador I couldn’t imagine it, couldn’t understand the motivation, but I get it now.

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    • So glad to know you’re beginning to get it. Also, Cuenca is considered the artistic capital of Ecuador–lots of writers and visual artists in town. Plus, all concerts by the symphony, etc, are absolutely FREE. It’s all subsidized by the government. We can’t believe that it’s all, not only affordable, but downright FREE. We’re attending a modern dance performance this weekend.

      I’ll tell Susan you enjoyed her trailer. I thought that was pretty cool, as well. Glad you like my photo of the three photographers, as wel

      Lots for free international film festivals, as well.

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  21. Life looks SO good in Ecuador. Love the hats at the market too. Some of my very good friends are a decade or two older than me, and a few are a decade younger. It’s attitude to life that matters isn’t it, not how long we’ve been living it. Not got anyone in their 20s though and weirdly, I didn’t have many older friends when I was in my 20s either. Mmm…

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    • Thanks so much! I, too, love the hats. However, I haven’t purchased one yet. Don’t know why. We did buy one for Sara’s father, however–a Panama hat, which should really be called Ecuador hats. They are made here, but were made famous during the building of the Panama Canal, where workers and engineers wore them.

      Isn’t if fun to have friends of all different ages? It’s much more interesting, I think. Maybe in your 20s you just weren’t mature enough yet to appreciate people of all ages–or you might have been too busy getting your life started to even think about it. I expect the latter.

      Have a wonderful weekend, my friend!

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      • I’m so glad you explained the Panama hat thing! I was about to write Panama hat when I first commented, then got confused…

        And thanks for your generosity, but I think immaturity and insecurity made me a bit less open to new people in my 20s. Thank heavens I met a good man who helped me grow upwards and outwards. x

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      • Oh, you are more than welcome. That’s how I feel about my Sara. She has helped me in similar ways–largely opened the world to me. I understand. How wonderful to finally grow up—-for the most part.

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  22. Your living room is bright and welcoming and I’m sure your new friends in Ecuador feel the same way 🙂
    And omg, the views are stunning indeed! Look at that gorgeous Ecuadorian sky! I declare I am blown away, but what I loved seeing most on this post is your happy face, taking it all in. How lovely. But lady, that injury on your nose looks nasty! I do hope it doesn’t hurt.
    As for abundance, well I got a good dose of natural beauty and travel-happiness in Sri Lanka and I’m loving every bit of sharing it on my blog!
    Thanks for sharing all those gorgeous pictures Kathy, this post was a lovely window into your world.

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    • Thank you, Mun! It’s wonderful to hear from you.

      I have SOOOOOOO been enjoying your Sri Lanka photos. You know, Sara worked there a lot following the 2004 tsunami–while what amounted to a civil war was going on. It made me anxious back then when she had to travel there. I remember her one time being at the airport in Colombo when it as under attack by rebels. So it makes me especially happy to see the more beautiful side of what Sri Lanka has to offer.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the photos, our living room, etc. And my nose is healing nicely. Thanks for your concern. Hope you’re having a lovely weekend.

      Like

  23. “But, as it turns out, the cost of living hasn’t been Ecuador’s greatest value to us as expats. Rather, it’s the people and place itself we’ve come to care about– even more.” = LOVE~!!

    Your living room looks so lovely and inviting, and the pup looks right at home 🙂

    Loved all the photos, too 🙂

    Abundance — last time I felt/saw it was today, driving down the road where an apple tree had dropped a bunch of apples over the road. The squirrels were digging it!

    MJ

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  24. I R-E-A-L-L-Y liked your story. I thought the photos were incredible. The way you capture faces is what I found moving. My partner and I live on a remote island in the Dutch West Indies and I find that we have a strong sense of who we are now and a stronger sense of the world around since we left The States. I started a blog a month ago. It isn’t easy do it plus everything in life but I think like you it is a way to express yourself and share some of the tiny beautiful stuff that is around us if we just stop for a moment and enjoy it and it doesn’t cost a dime.

    Like

    • Thanks so much, Colin. It’s wonderful to meet you–and I look forward to checking out your blog.

      I’m just curious, which island do you live on. I’ve been to Curacao, Aruba, and St. Maarten. Whichever island, it has got to be gorgeous!

      Yes, I think living abroad gives one a stronger sense of who they are. I suppose that makes some sense, the more I think about it.

      Sorry it has taken me a couple of days to respond to your comment. It was a busy weekend. Hope you will come back soon!

      Like

  25. ****But, as it turns out, the cost of living hasn’t been Ecuador’s greatest value to us as expats. Rather, it’s the people and place itself we’ve come to care about– even more.***

    well, I wouldn’t expect anything else from you, Dear.

    Fabulous photos.
    Love the ladies in those hats. I NEED one.
    Is that a real pig?
    How do you girls find all the cute dudes there?
    Your house is cozy and welcoming.

    What is your fave. food there?

    Stunning. Heavenly.

    Xxx LOVE from MN.

    Like

    • Hi, Kim, it’s great to hear from you. Hope you are doing well.

      So glad you enjoyed the photos, and yes, that is a real pig–really dead pig. I’m not a huge pork fan, but seeming these guys being roasted always makes me sad. They still look kind of real. I think my favorite food here has got to be some of the amazing soups, which are served here with a popcorn garnish. Popcorn is in fact served with most meals–often as an appetizer.

      Thanks for stopping by. Hugs and love to you, too, my dear!

      Like

  26. Missing blogs again! What up with that? That is why wordpress created “the reader” page!

    Anyway Oh my the Abundance Sounds amazing! I think I will serious consider moving down your way! All the amazing photo ops and wonderful new friends ! You did well!

    Hugs Jeff

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  27. Thanks for sharing your experiences and photographs with us. You’re someplace I’ll probably never get to see in person. ‘Stunning’ isn’t quite adequate is it?

    (Sorry about your little incident. I’ll bet that was painful.)

    Like

    • Thanks, Christine. Yes, the nose thing was painful, but, thankfully, I’m now pretty well healed.

      Yes, it’s a gorgeous country. At least for now you can take a virtual trip here. I’ll be your guide. LOL

      Take care, my friend!

      Like

    • Oh, thank you. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I’d love to know where you vacationed in Peru. We have not been there yet. We’ve only been in Ecuador a little over 5 months, and most of that has involved getting settled, getting our container, getting residency visas, etc.

      I appreciate your stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment! Hope to see you again soon!

      Like

      • My pleasure, Kathryn! It sounds like an exciting adventure you’re on. We spent four days in the Amazon — the highlight was the Tambopata Reserve where we observed some spectacular wildlife–exotic birds, sloths, monkeys, etc. Then we headed to the Andes– beautiful and fascinating, and of course, Machu Picchu — simply stunning. I hope you have a change to get there one day! I look forward to hearing more about your adventures in Ecuador.

        Like

      • Thanks for sharing a bit about your trip. Our entire 5 months here so far have been spent getting settled. We want to go to the Amazon, and Machu Picchu is an absolute must. Hope you are having a lovely weekend!

        Like

  28. I’m not surprised that you’ve quickly found some true and sincere friends. You have a generous heart yourself, Kathy. I’m sure people can’t help but be drawn to your kind personality.

    Like

    • Oh, you’re so sweet to say that, Terri. It’s not just us, really. There are some truly interesting folks living here. But I thank you for your kind words. You’re pretty generous yourself, my friend! Happy Saturday!

      Like

  29. Kathy, I’m so behind on reading your posts, as well as those on other blogs, I am not even going to try to read the words of your many commenters here.

    As always, I think you are working for the Ecuador tourist commission: you sell Cuenca and life high up in the Andes every time. I love Sara’s photo of the wise woman — how beautiful and intriguing; also the close-up of you, too. The scenery panoramas showing the tree line are telling of the altitude. How beautiful.

    I, too, have an abundance of caring, supportive friends. Friends are so important — I’m a people person, anyhow — and I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by these friends. This is a statement in personal abundance right here. Abundance, too, is that it appears that expats in Cuenca are respected for their individualism. More and more here in the States “all about me” and materialism crowd ever closer into my life, making it increasingly difficult to navigate the interstices.

    Let’s see … to answer your questions: The last time I saw something beautiful was the North American dogwood outside my second-floor studio window yesterday — the leaves are turning to warm shades of deep green/red, red, and gold — burnished in golden autumn sunlight. A little thing, the beauty in nature. I felt like I was in heaven. I have few friends older than I; usually I am older than everyone else. However, now at 72, I do have two women friends who are a decade older, both intelligent and vibrant — they show me where I am going and how I can be, as long as I stay active and take care of myself; this involves getting up from the computer chair occasionally — or, ideally, hiking in the high mountains, as you and Sara and friends, do. Regarding abundance — the golden sunlight on the varicolored dogwood leaves shows life’s abundance for me. When I came to Delaware to take care of my mother, who suffered from dementia, a decade ago, I left everything behind; my belongings remain in storage, still, in Southern California until I can afford to bring them back. So, I really enjoyed seeing all your boxes, and then the unpacked books placed on the shelves.

    Once again, thank you for sharing in thought and pictures your experiences.

    Like

    • Bless your heart, Samantha. Don’t worry, my friend. Just come when you can. If I were you, I wouldn’t try to catch up. Just leap ahead. All of your blog friends will understand. We’re happy to see you whenever. I know how busy life gets.

      I’m happy to hear about the abundance in your life–friends, the dogwood outside your window. I’ve never had a dogwood, but I hear they change colors in the fall stunningly.

      Hope you can bring your things from California soon. There are some things I don’t like to be without. Not the kinds of things most folks miss–but art and books. It’s that way for both Sara and me.

      Hope you’re having a lovely weekend, my friend!

      Like

  30. Oh, and not that I haven’t said enough already, I meant to add that I LOVE Susan’s trailer and I visited and bookmarked her blog to return and read more later. She’s got some good info I can apply towards promoting and marketing my books.

    Thanks for posting the link, and thanks, Susan.

    Like

    • Oh, I’m so glad you liked Susan’s stuff! I will let her know. In fact, we’ll see Susan and her husband this morning. She has so much to offer! Thanks for letting me know. She really will be happy to hear that.

      Like

    • Oh, I’m so happy you enjoyed this post and our photos of San Fernando. It was a wonderful place to visit. It was weird to have spring arrive at this time of year. I’m so conditioned otherwise. I can’t wait to hear from you, as well! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!

      Like

  31. I opened this post hoping to find a map to a money tree. No such luck! I am however so very happy for you that you are so rich in your amazing life. Beautiful photos. :). I agree, Juan is a cutie. I thought at first the dog was a bear…. Then I realized it was just so up close.

    Toodles for now,
    Lindsey

    Like

    • Hi, Lindsey! I need to go back and see what dog photo you’re referring to. Must be one of Lucy, my Maltese. Sorry–no money tree–but Juan is great to look at, and what a sweetie, he is.

      Wonderful to hear from you! Hope all is well in your part of the world! Thanks for stopping by.

      Like

  32. Abundance– YES! Have you heard of a book called The Desire Map, Kathy? It’s by Danielle LaPorte and was previously only available as a whole media package on her website but will be released as an honest-to-god book in January 2014. Anyway– this book has changed my life! It’s all about naming our “core desired feelings”– the feelings that drive everything we do and encompass what we most want to feel and experience in our lives. (Basically, the book guides the reader through the process of inverting the traditional goal-setting process. Instead of saying “I want a giant house!”, you start with how you most want to FEEL, like, say, abundant, and maybe a giant house would help you feel that way (or it could make you feel panicked– that’s the whole point of starting with the feelings.)

    All of that said, one of my core desired feelings is ABUNDANCE. I am in love with feeling abundant, and so many things (some might even say an ABUNDANT AMOUNT OF THINGS) make me feel this way. Nature, people, synchronicities, color, art, music, etc. Even reading this post makes me feel super abundant, so thanks for the reminder of what I most want to feel in my life! 🙂

    Like

    • I’m not sure if I’m thinking of the same person, but is this the same woman who has a book she sells on her site about writing a book proposal? I don’t recall. It’s been a while. But, I’m not familiar with the work on abundance. Pretty cool! I value the same things, Dana, as you probably remember.

      Like

      • Yes! Danielle had the Big Beautiful Book thing going on for a while, but she has since released Fire Starter Sessions (which is also amazing) and the big focus now is The Desire Map. Everything comes highly recommended by moi. 🙂

        Like

  33. Wow! Stunning images, Kathy. It looks like an amazing place. I’m a little jealous that you moved much farther away, yet managed to get unpacked. We’re still living out of boxes here. I might have to move to Ecuador. You’re making it tempting with these beautiful images. 🙂

    Like

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