It may sound strange, if you live in North America or most parts of Europe–
But our house here in Ecuador has no number, and out street has no name.
Still, it’s no U2 song we’re living.
Rather, we’ve settled in a house we love, a place that’s begun to feel like home, one where we’re reaping the rewards of no residential postal service and, therefore, no junk mail to clutter our counters, to litter our tables, desks, and drawers.
Even better, it’s in this house our Cuenca adventure is being written.
It’s here we’re being rooted, from here we’re telling a new story. It’s this space that grounds us in the present, gives us past places to remember and future spaces to anticipate.
So when we decided to sell our house in the US and move to Ecuador, no one in either of our families was terribly surprised. Our parents, siblings, and friends were accustomed to us packing our belongings and trudging, two spoiled dogs in tow, to whichever corner of the planet had suffered the most recent natural disaster.
(Some of you may not know that Sara has been an international aid worker for more than two decades, having directed Habitat for Humanity’s response to both the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.)
So settling into a new home, far from the US, is nothing new to us. What is unusual in this instance, however, is that we’ve sold our house in the US. In the past we’ve lived overseas for a year at a time but maintained a residence in the States simultaneously. This time around we’ve uprooted ourselves completely, gambling on the rich culture, staggering beauty, and strong economy Ecuador has to offer.
And in the past 8 months, as we’ve made a home for ourselves on a new continent, we’ve not been disappointed, not once, not even for a moment that either of us can recall.
Since moving to Ecuador the first of May, we lived for a month in a short-term rental in the heart of colonial Cuenca, before finding a more permanent place to live a bit further from the city center, and shipping a container to Ecuador with all the things that make our house a home—our art, our books, personal pictures, and a few family heirlooms.
As it turns out, we just finished celebrating our first Christmas in Cuenca, both with friends who visited from the US and the many new friends we’ve made since coming to Ecuador.
In honor of that and the fact that so many of you have asked to see photos of our home here in South America, I’ve decided it’s time to take you on a tour of the 4 bedroom house we rent in Totoracocha—a middle class, Ecuadorian (as opposed to expat) suburb—east of downtown Cuenca, south of the Cuenca airport, and just north of Monay Shopping Center.
(By the way if you’re wondering about housing costs in Ecuador, it might interest you to know that we lease our home for $350 a month. And utilities are equally affordable. Per month, our gas bill is about $5, our electric $12-20, our water less than $5, and home phone $2-3.)
Johnny’s Room (Johnny is my nephew from the US. He’s living with us for 6 months.)
So, if indeed, home is where our personal stories get started, Sara and I are drafting a new chapter of that tale, and we’re doing it here in the Cuenca house where we’re now nesting.
And this week, we’re feeling even more at home in Ecuador, since my 20-year-old nephew has come from the US to live with us for six months.
Johnny’s arrival, the presence of actual family in our new country, makes Cuenca feel cozier and more comfortable than ever.
Where do you feel most at home? What’s the place you feel most rooted, most grounded? Does your current house or apartment feel like a place you’d like to permanently live?