Three weeks from today we'll be in Ecuador!
Just a few facts about Cuenca to give you a sense of where we’ll be:
Cuenca is in the South of Ecuador, just north of the Border with Peru. The full name of the city is Santa Ana de los Cuatro ríos de Cuenca, because of the 4 rivers that run through the city. It is 8,400 feet high, and nestled in a Mountain valley. Why did we pick Cuenca? It is big enough (600 people in the metro area) to need English teachers and to have good public transportation. It has a lot of colonial architecture and is very walkable. And it has a mild climate.. described as “eternal Spring” but maybe a bit more fall-like (50-70 degrees F).
Our to-do list of details to take care of on the home front seems to be getting longer. But we’ve been very fortunate with all the big items: finding a great renter for our house, friends willing to store our car and use our piano for a year, and a teaching position (English for preschoolers) that lets us get a year visa and that will allow me to work the same hours as the kids’ school.
I’m struck by three things as we move closer to this family adventure becoming a reality.
First, it has been easier to make happen I might have imagined. Sure, we’ve been pretty deliberate about lining things up, and about saving to fund our adventure. And we’re fortunate that we have jobs that are willing to keep us employed (in Doug’s case) or give a leave of absence (in mine). And there are a lot of little details to take care of. But in the end, it isn’t as much of a stretch to make it happen as we expected.
Second: it is so different arranging to go abroad now than it was 20 years ago. That probably goes without saying. But the internet makes the logistics much easier. There are services for everything: Air B&B to line up initial housing; services that will scan your mail and let you decide what to shred, scan, or have mailed to you; banking done remotely which is essentially the same as we do now. The ability to stay connected via Skype, blog, Facebook, etc. just didn’t used to exist. I’m a bit ambivalent about this last convenience. When I’ve lived abroad before it has been the sense of immersion, of being in a totally different world and of having to make a concerted effort to connect with home that has helped define the experience. I’m interested to see how the experience is different in a more connected world. And also grateful that we’ll be able to maintain contact with family and friends.
Which brings me to the third observation. We fully expected that at least a few people that we told about our plans would think we are crazy. And maybe some have, but they haven’t said so to us. Without exception, our family, friends, work and school have been very supportive. Even those who are sad about us being so far away for so long (and we share that sadness!) are supportive of our goals. We can’t wait to share our experience with you!