First, the response to this blog's reappearance has been phenomenal. I'm honored that there appears to be considerable interest in our adventure and will attempt to reciprocate by keeping each post interesting.
Second, a quick disclaimer is in order. Cynthia took issue with my liberal use of the word "we" in the previous entry, so for the record this blog reflects my views and observations only, and I will be more diligent in correct pronoun usage from this point forward. Translation: OOPS!!
In our previous episode we had decided to leave the US but didn't know where we wanted to go. Early research revealed that a lot of places are as or more expensive to live than here. Then for us there was the factor of weather. Coming from the South we've never been fans of extreme cold. After the first summer here in Vegas we quickly learned that scorching heat isn't our thing either. Dry heat feels better? True, but wet, dry, or in between 115 degrees is damned HOT!
Oh, there was also the distance factor--as in distance from our two Eastern time zone children. Being an extremely close family we didn't want to reside so far from them that we'd rarely see each other, especially with grandchildren at least being talked about.
OK, inexpensive, great weather, and not too far away. That pretty much narrowed the search to Latin America. Cost-wise Costa Rica would have been a great choice 15 years ago; for Panama it seemed we were about 5 years too late. Buenos Aires was really impressive until I looked it up on a map--must have been sleeping when I studied Argentina in geography. Yikes, it's WAY down the coast of a really long country!
Then somehow, and I don't even remember how because this all happened so fast---somehow we looked at Ecuador. And then we found Cuneca. Or maybe Cuenca found us.
Low cost of living---definitely; spring-like weather year round---wow!; Eastern time zone and only a 6 hour non-stop flight to NY---perfect. Plus Cuenca is a UNESCO World Heritage city with colonial buildings & cobblestone streets that reminded us of our previous home town of Charleston, SC. About the same population (1/2 million) too.
So before we were even sure how to pronounce it (KOO-WANE'-KA) we booked flights to check it out. Our plan was to schedule as little as possible so we could experience just being there. Hopefully within 10 days anything glaringly wrong would reveal itself.
That didn't happen. No amount of online investigation (of which I had done PLENTY) can reveal the spirit of a place and its citizens. We found Cuenca to be even more charming than we expected, in large part because the people there are so incredibly kind and sweet-natured.
A lot of couples probably sit around with a glass of wine and dream together about---maybe---someday---just chucking it all and heading off to some faraway place. Others, like several couples we met in Ecuador, actually take the next step, visiting and performing "due diligence." But when it comes down to finally, irrevocably saying, "Yes, we're going to do this," very few pull the trigger.
We returned from Ecuador and said "yes."