Cynthia and I went to a party recently. We knew a few people there but had never seen, much less met, most of the guests. This isn’t unusual anymore. So many new folks have moved to Cuenca since our arrival over 2 ½ years ago that we just can’t keep up.
Upon introduction several people who are new to the city realized I am Edd of “eddsaid” and shared how much they enjoyed my writing. One even said she had gone back and read every single post I had written.
While such compliments were humbling and deeply appreciated I was also a bit embarrassed because lately I haven’t blogged much. This hasn’t happened due to lack of desire. The truth is I’ve been frustrated that it hasn’t seemed like there’s been anything interesting to write about.
When we hit town one comical episode followed another as we tried to adjust to being strangers in a strange land. After as long as we’ve now been here, you either have sort of figured things out or you’ve gone back home.
So what to write? I bought groceries at the Supermaxi and we watched a movie? I went to the gym and ran some errands? Sometimes our days are no more interesting than that, and I just can’t bring myself to chronicle such mundane “events.”
But reflecting on the comments at the party I realized something. While I’m no longer like a character in a sitcom or reality show, I now have a perspective to share with readers of what expat life looks like after several years.
The initial buzz of energy that accompanies showing up in a foreign country makes for exciting writing, and readers enjoy vicariously stumbling and bumbling along. Expatriation, however, is truly more of a marathon than a sprint. Deciding to move all the way to a place like Ecuador and leave your old world behind isn’t exactly a casual decision. Deep soul searching and extensive preparation precede taking your seat on the plane.
Life happens moment by moment and it’s easy to overlook how things change. When I think about it our physical surroundings are the same but so much is different. We came to Cuenca with no grandchildren; in a few weeks there will be three. The exotic travel we had planned is currently on hold with more trips back to the US to visit family.
We were social monsters for the first year; now our evenings usually end early after a meal prepared at home or a dinner with friends. I planned to retire; I’m currently a partner in a tour company, correspondent and speaker for International Living, and a freelance writer.
And Cuenca itself continues to evolve as well. As opposed to the continued doldrums in the US, this place is absolutely booming. New construction and important infrastructure improvements are evidenced everywhere. So too I observe a different attitude with many of the expats arriving now.
Gosh, there’s a lot more to write about than I realized. I apologize to faithful readers for my woeful lack of production on this blog, and thank you so much for hanging in there with me. I’m not really a New Year’s resolution kind of guy, but I promise to share with you the perspective I now have in 2013.