Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Have We Made a Big Mistake?

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Cynthia and I have been house sitting for our daughter and family this past week here in New Jersey. After enduring months of constant snow in the yard a change of scenery was in order, so they've been relaxing in Cancun--well, as much as you can with an infant and a toddler. Ironically we're off to Cancun ourselves pretty soon to speak at International Living's Ultimate Event.

In the meantime we've enjoyed a lovely springtime vacation. You might be thinking, "Hey, dude, you two are retired. Aren't you always 'on vacation'?" Well, technically yes, but I find it interesting how a change of scene affects your perspective. Even when you're doing pretty much the same things it somehow feels different when you're doing them someplace else. Do you agree?

We've still gone to bed and gotten up whenever we felt like it, and our waking hours haven't involved anything extraordinary. In fact, Cynthia not being at her usual yoga classes and me not going to the gym regularly are the only disruptions to our Cuenca schedule.

But now that I think of it, that's all the schedule that we have. Absolutely nothing else in our lives is planned. How weird that releasing such a small amount of structure seems so liberating. Each day has felt like we have all the time in the world!

For at least our first year in Cuenca every day was exactly like that. Zero schedule. Occasionally one of us would say to the other, "Do you think we should be at least a little bit organized?" Then we'd look at each other, laugh,and say, "Nah."

Somehow over the past five years we've allowed a whole hour a day three times a week of scheduled activity to creep into our world. And I'm sitting here wondering if it's cramping our style. I think maybe we're slipping. Please excuse me. I've gotta go talk to Cynthia about this right now.


izzie11 said...

I think your life sounds amazing. We spend most of our lives adhering to one schedule or another and a whole list of "to do's" - when it comes time to retire from all of that, I believe we all deserve the luxury of waking up when we want to and being as organized or disorganized as we want. It's great that you are busy with those things that bring you pleasure.

A question, if I may, I'm planning my first trip to Cuenca and wonder if you would be so kind as to suggest a place to stay. I want to get a feel for Cuenca and find out if it's the place for me to retire. I am alone, but my youngest son might accompany me on this trip. Would appreciate any suggestions you have. Thank You!

Edd Staton said...

I would be happy to. Email me at to let me know how long you plan to stay and how much you hope to spend per night for lodging. Also when you're thinking about coming--holidays (of which there are many) tend to attract a lot of visitors.

Eattheapple said...

Hi Edd,

I spent a few hours yesterday reading your blog. We plan to retire early and will visit in September. We do want to be apart of the community. We are in our 30's and I was curious if the expat community is mostly older or is there a mix of ages.

Thanks for info and keep up the good work.

Edd Staton said...

Wow, a few hours?? I'm impressed with your stamina! The answer to your question is "yes" and "yes." The expat demographic is mostly folks 60+ but we've been happy to see more and more younger people moving to Cuenca in the past year or two.

savannah bogle said...

Regarding the health care many expats get frustrated because they do not know how to make an appointment. will get a spanish speaking operator because we are in Ecuador. The whole process is very easy. i requested my GP who speaks fluent English and my specialist speaks English. I found them to be great doctors and empathetic. They spend time with you. They don't just give you ten minutes then rush you out of the office like in the U.S. I have cell numbers for them. I get my free meds at the IESS hospital. For 72.00 a month copayment I will learn how to make an appointment.

Edd Staton said...

Couldn't agree with you more, Savannah. As I've said before, if your Spanish isn't up to par just pay a facilitator $10/hour to help you with appointments.

Yohann said...


Very nice blog! bravo!
We are french, and we really wanted to try their luck in Ecuador! (Cuenca--Guayaquil--Quito)...
Currently, we live in Sri Lanka!...but we would like to move...
We are looking for owners who seek a couple can keep their villa
in the year ....
So if you're interested! ... Write us !!
See you soon!

Yoan and Lila

Michael D said...

Edd and Cynthia:

Visited EC back in January with my wife and we were only able to spend a couple days in Cuenca but pretty much fell in love with it. Also enjoyed spending some time in Loja and Quito - all wonderful places to live.

Since we've been back however I have read numerous stories of the serious mold problem in Loja and Cuenca that appears more than likely to be a combination of the "eternal springtime" climate in those areas and lack of circulation in the building designs.

We are in the initial stages of looking at possibly relocating to Latin America at some point in the future but this mold situation could prove to be a real problem. I suffered chronic respiratory problems for most of my life before relocating to CO about 17 years ago from New England. With the semi-arid climate here in Denver my respiratory ailments pretty much disappeared altogether. I cannot imagine going back constant colds and allergies and sinusitis.

My question to you then is this: Having lived in Cuenca for quite a number of years now - is the mold problem REALLY as bad as I often see it reported?



Edd Staton said...

Yohann, we often leave for a couple of months at a time but our building is secure and we have no need for house sitters. If you don't already do so, I suggest you subscribe to GringoTree and Gringo Post. These are two online publications about all things Cuenca, and you can keep up with current real estate info there. Let us know when you make it to Cuenca, and thanks for your kind comments.

Edd Staton said...

Michael, I've lived here over five years and my initial reaction to your question was, "Huh??" I googled the subject of mold in Cuenca and saw a few negative comments from like three years ago. My guess if that any mold problems would stem more from substandard construction than Cuenca itself. There's actually a gringo doing home inspections here now (a very "foreign" concept in Ecuador). If you decide to settle in Cuenca I'll be happy to put you in touch with him.

Michael D said...

OK thanks Edd. I guess I'll just have to see what it's really like for myself if/when we relocate to EC.

Yohann said...


Thank's for your answer!
Ok...We get in touch!
All the best!