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The Best of Living and Retiring in Ecuador

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December 17, 2011

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Christmas in Cuenca!

We celebrated Christmas early this year with our son's visit last month. Actually, we celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas and his birthday all in the same week. His thoughts on Cuenca were not what we expected; in fact, he totally didn't like it! It took us off guard because we thought he would fall in love with this lovely city like we did and would want to stay for the rest of his life. I guess, Cuenca is more for the retired folks (maybe!). At least I have referred to it as a "Retirement Village without Walls." Keep that in mind if you plan to send the kids down for a vacation; you just might want to save that money for a vacation in the States instead.


Christmas in Cuenca is celebrated with less commercialism than it is in the States which is a relief. In fact, shopping is just starting in earnest this week and we've been going to parties night after night. And a popular gift exchange item is an umbrella (you can't have enough of them!). We tend to lose them quite often, so we enjoy having a few spares on hand. In fact, if you're thinking of a visit in the future, bring lots of rain gear.


For now, we're planning on picking up as much rain gear as we can when we return to the States in August: Rain boots, rain coats, and umbrellas. And it's pretty safe to say that the rain isn't going away, so we've decided to revel in it!


By the way, we've found some great deals on airplane tickets $550 roundtrip from Guayaquil to San Francisco. It's been our best deal yet. Save $10 Instantly on Last Minute Airfares and get Additional $15 off using Coupon. Book Now!

CHRISTMAS SHOPPING:


It's been easy for us to do our Christmas shopping this year as we asked all of our family and friends to donate to the orphanage that I volunteer at "La Esperanza." And the rest was done online, including stocking stuffers. Stocking Stuffers - 35% off Hundreds of items at BarnesandNoble.com!


Since my husband is teaching at CEDEI as an English teacher and as online certified TEFL instructor, our time together has shifted a bit. But the good news is we're both covered under the IESS public medical plan, we get free Spanish lessons, and we have Social Security through the Ecuadorian system. For now, we're holding on to our private medical insurance as well, so we're doubly covered just in case something falls through the cracks.



*** TO RENT OR BUY: One of the first questions we receive when folks come to town is, "Should we buy or rent?" I have to tell you that the jury is split down the middle on that one. Half of expats rent and the other half buy (for a variety of reasons). Some of the "realtors" in town might persuade you that it's fiscally irresponsible not to purchase a home (condo), while others may tell you just the opposite. More and more expats are finding business opportunities as a way to see a better return on their investment. Instead of pouring money into a roof over their head, they are choosing to open a restaurant, run a tourist agency or continue their U.S. business in Ecuador, which includes CPA's, internet marketers, and even chiropractors!


Whatever you do, please don't be in a hurry to make a decision! We have seen many expats come down here and in one week buy up several properties and regret it. We have a simple saying in our house: "If it's now, it's no!" You should never feel pressured to buy or invest in a week's time.


Property prices are going up about 10 percent each year and because of that, many expats feel that if they don't buy this "instant," they will miss the boat! If that's your philosophy on life, then you may feel more comfortable buying the first thing you see (but I would definitely guard against that). We've seen too may tragic endings to those who jump into something before due diligence has been paid.

Living and Retiring in Cuenca -- The Book

For the last month, I've been asked to speak at the University of Cuenca and the Polytechnical University (Salesiana) about my book, Living and Retiring in Cuenca: 101 Questions Answered. The tourism majors are using it as a text, as well as some of the English classes. The two most common questions I receive are: Why did you write the book and what made you decide on Cuenca as a retirement destination? It's been a learning curve for me because I originally wrote the book to help make the journey a little easier on folks who were planning to retire in Cuenca. I figured that someone should profit from our experience and not have to struggle through the entire process. I never thought it would be of interest to Ecuadorians, much less interest to students of tourism!


Writing is what I do and my little book just reached a milestone on Kindle this month (selling 1,000 copies). It's not a big deal, but the reality of the book industry is changing (Kindle is outselling paperbacks). Here are some interesting statistics: The average book sells 500 copies (Publishers Weekly, July 17, 2006). Only 25,000 books sold more than 5,000 copies. Another 200,000 sold fewer than 1,000 copies. The average U.S. book is now selling less than 250 copies per year and less than 3,000 copies over its lifetime. When you look at those statistics you have to wonder why in the world would anyone aspire to be a writer? The answer is simple: We write because it feeds our soul and not our pocketbook!

Cuenca and Chicken Soup

When we were preparing for our journey to Cuenca, I had several meltdowns along the way: we had a wedding to plan, a house to sell, a book deadline, and sorting through 36 years of marriage in just three months! When we ran out of time, we ended up taking things to the incinerator because Goodwill wasn't accepting any more items. One of those boxes was labeled "wedding"! I stayed up the rest of the night trying to recover the information for our son's wedding preparations. I told my husband -- at the time -- that our life would make a good Chicken Soup story someday. Well, it turns out that our life did make a good story! Chicken Soup for the Soul: Say Goodbye to Stress will be out on May 22, 2012 with our journey to Cuenca titled: "Just Breathe!" I will be doing some book signings while we're in the San Francisco Bay Area in August 1-22, 2012 and I look forward to meeting you when I'm in town. I will let you know the dates and times.


Coming in January: I will be addressing the top three reasons why people leave Cuenca and don't come back! Yes, as much as we love Cuenca, there are some folks who don't feel the same way. It may not be what you want to hear, but it may help you in deciding whether Cuenca is right for you.

Living and Retiring in Ecuador Seminars

While I'm in the States (August 1-22, 2012), I will be doing some seminars on "Living and Retiring in Ecuador" which will be done in conjunction with my book signings. A complete schedule of times and events will be coming in January. If you're going to be in the San Francisco Bay Area during that time, please let me know. You can contact me through my "contact button" at: www.thebestoflivingandretiringinecuador.com

I will be available to answer your questions and address some of your concerns about living and retiring in Ecuador.

Living and Retiring in Ecuador: 101 Questions Answered

The Kindle book, "Living and Retiring in Ecuador: 101 Questions Answered" is available at Amazon.com. Thanks for all the positive feedback and for making it such a success.

Remember: You don't need a Kindle device in order to read the book. You can download it to your iPad, iPhone, Blackberry or Android. You can also preview a chapter for free!

The price is $2.99 for those living in the States and $4.99 for those living overseas. Here's the link:

http://tinyurl.com/3berelc

Ecuador Resources

Articles:

"Travel Safety in Ecuador": http://tinyurl.com/76fbhuz

"Retirement Overseas: You Can't Afford Not To" http://tinyurl.com/6bpqzqp

"Culture Shock Overseas": http://tinyurl.com/6aoe8sf

"How to Find a Condo Rental in Cuenca": http://tinyurl.com/5rgvc8u

"The Waterfalls of Giron": http://tinyurl.com/5vduvsn

Websites: www.southofzero.wordpress.com www.cuencahighlife.com www.ecuadorforums.com www.thebestoflivingandretiringinecuador.com http://living-and-retiring-in-ecuador.blogspot.com

Find us on Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/6bnz8fo

Save Hundreds on your Car Insurance! (US Residents only) Click here!

May 2011 Newsletter

The Best of Living and Retiring in Ecuador

Keeping you up to date every week on happenings in Cuenca

May 15, 2011

Get the bigger picture with a 50-inch Samsung(r) Plasma HDTV. Go Here

Happenings in Cuenca

Welcome to the Best of Living and Retiring in Ecuador. Every week, I will bring you up-to-date information on what's happening in Cuenca.


I've received a lot of e-mails in the past couple of weeks from folks who are going to be arriving in Cuenca at the end of May and during the month of June. To all of you who are visiting, I want to say a warm "bienvenido"! We know you will love this city as much as we do and we hope you'll enjoy your time and decide to stay.


Here's What's Happening:


CONSULAR MEETING: For those of you who will be in town on June 3rd, the Consular General from Guayaquil will be in Cuenca. The meeting is scheduled at the California Kitchen (Gaspar Sangurima and Presidente Borrero). The meeting starts at 12:30 p.m. Lunch reservations can be made by calling: 08-311-1740 or e-mail the restaurant at: [email protected]


This is a great opportunity to get some of your questions answered. If you're not able to attend, please feel free to e-mail me with anything you would like me to ask on your behalf. Just drop me an e-mail at [email protected] and put "consular" in the heading.


Some of the main topics for discussion are: consular services, Social Security and other federal benefits. If you have any questions regarding the meeting, feel free to call the American Citizens Services Department at 04-232-3570.


NEW CONDO COMPLEX: There is a new 93-apartment condo complex going up in Cuenca. If you would like more information on getting in on the "ground floor" of this development, visit: http://tinyurl.com/6cephtv

Language Learning

We're back in language school! Actually, we're using the services of a language tutor, Noshy Pinos. She comes to our home on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 90 minutes of grammar, conversation and cultural studies. Noshy is also available for other things like: new resident services, translation, shopping/utilities, contractor coordination and shopping for hard to find items.


Noshy also helped us get our electrical bill straightened out (it was under the wrong name). It helps to have someone who knows the system. You can reach Noshy at: [email protected] or 08-762-2730 (Movi) or 09-150-5795 (Claro).

Safety in Cuenca

We have been fortunate in that we have had no problems with security in Cuenca. However, certain precautions should be taken especially after dark and while riding the bus.


Our language instructor recently shared with us some good tips on keeping safe on the bus and on the streets of Cuenca:


*On the bus, sit on the aisle seat.

*Carry your backpack in front of you.

*Don't talk on your cell phone while on the bus.

*Keep your jewelry at home; don't wear expensive rings or watches.

*Have your money or bus card ready before you get on the bus.

*When walking on the streets, walk on the sidewalk and not near the walls.


We have done all the wrong things and still have not had any trouble in Cuenca. If you are well traveled and have been to other parts of the world, you know the basics of keeping safe on the streets. Always be aware of your surroundings and take extra caution after daylight hours.

Playa Perdida: A Great Fiction Book on Expat Life

If you want to get a taste of Expat Life, you need to read the book "Playa Perdida" which is available on amazon.com Here's the link: http://tinyurl.com/3onyjkc

Living and Retiring in Ecuador: 101 Questions Answered

The Kindle book, "Living and Retiring in Ecuador: 101 Questions Answered" is available at Amazon.com. Thanks for all the positive feedback and for making it such a success.

Remember: You don't need a Kindle device in order to read the book. You can download it to your iPad, iPhone, Blackberry or Android. You can also preview a chapter for free!

The price is $2.99 for those living in the States and $4.99 for those living overseas. Here's the link:

http://tinyurl.com/3berelc

Ecuador Resources

www.southofzero.wordpress.com www.cuencahighlife.com www.ecuadorforums.com www.thebestoflivingandretiringinecuador.com http://living-and-retiring-in-ecuador.blogspot.com

July 17, 2011

The Best of Living and Retiring in Ecuador

Keeping you up to date every week on happenings in Cuenca

July 17, 2011

Work-At-Home Jobs paying up to $15-$100 per hour. Click here to apply today!

Happenings in Cuenca

This has been the month of visits from blog readers and others who have decided to check out Cuenca. Unfortunately, July has been a month of rain--almost every day! But this week, finally, we're getting back to some normal weather: morning sun, afternoon clouds and evening rain. My friend, Trisha, is visiting from Pennsylvania and during the first ten days of her visit, she said, "This isn't what I signed up for!" It rained every day--all day! I thought she was going to pack up her bags and leave, but thankfully she didn't! She's staying at a lovely hostal: Hostal Nuestra Residencia for $15 a day, which includes breakfast, use of a large living room, kitchen, dining area, beautiful backyard and a fireplace patio area. The owners speak English and are delightful hosts. It's about a ten minute walk to "el centro" and it's situated right along the Tomebamba River. Tel: 593-7-283-1702. There's also TV Cable and internet, so you've got a home away from home. E-mail [email protected] yahoo.com or [email protected] Tel: 593-7-283-1702.


All the rooms are all well appointed and my friend is thrilled with all she has received and the help that the owners have provided.


Here's the link to the website: www.hostalnuestraresidencia.yolasite.com


TO WORK OR NOT TO WORK:


Many expats that come to Cuenca are what I would term as "semi-retired"; they still have some type of internet business; they are writers; they teach English or they have an import/export business. The sky is the limit as long as you have an internet connection. As a writer, I have kept up relationships with editors that I have worked with through the years and they provide regular part-time work for me. I can work as much or as little as I want. It's one of the perks of being a writer--you can do it anywhere in the world as long as you have internet.


Recently, my hubby has decided "you can only have too much fun," and has decided to go back to "work" teaching English as a second language at one of the language schools in Cuenca. He passed his TEFL certification and will begin teaching at CEDEI in September, specializing in Business English (20 hours a week). The course is not that difficult, but it's time consuming. He's been working eight hours a day (seven days a week) for three weeks to finish up the 13 modules before we head to the coast for vacation next week. The extra income will come in handy as we plan to send our kids down for vacation next summer and once Mark is certified he can teach anywhere in the world.


We have found that expats fall into two categories: those who work part-time doing something, including volunteering at orphanages and schools, and those who feel like they have put in their time and just want to "chill." There is no right or wrong way; it's a personal choice.


My friend from Pennsylvania is volunteering at an orphanage while she's here--teaching English--and is enjoying her time very much. Whether you volunteer or decide to work for pay, you can find a lot of opportunities in Cuenca.


BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY: This week in the Gringo Tree (internet newsletter) there was an announcement regarding a "cafe" for sale which looks like a great opportunity for those who are looking to invest in a business: "Trendy upscale cafĂ© located near hospitals, banks, businesses and high-rise condo buildings in Cuenca's best neighborhood. Offered as a "turn-key" business with all permits (including alcohol), staff, customers, vendors, menu's/recipes and equipment in place. Current revenues average $3,400 per month in only 25 hours per week of operation (Monday through Friday, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.). Plenty of potential for revenue growth with developed clientel. Owners have too many other projects. Asking $20,000. Inventory list on request. Email [email protected] or call Bill at 08 317 9741."

Pets in Cuenca

More and more expats are bringing their pets with them! Some have hired pet brokers to "smoothe" over the rough edges of transporting their beloved pets to Ecuador and others have actually done all the paperwork themselves. But once you get your "little darlings" to Cuenca, then what?!? We adopted our Shih-Tzu puppy, Mocha, during our first few months in Cuenca and have normally left him with friends when we planned to be away. But I'm pleased to announce that there is now "Hostal del Perros" available as a "home away from home" for your precious "babies." Aunt Hazel and Uncle Wally will be pleased to take care of your "children" while you are away. Mocha will be staying with them for ten days while we're at the coast and we couldn't be more pleased. In fact, we're afraid Mocha won't want to come back home with all the amenities they have available, including a large yard, garden and "casita" for the larger dogs. The contact information for "Hostal del Perros" is below:


Hostal del Perros General Torres y Avenida de Las Americas, Cuenca, Ecuador. Boarding Facilities for that Important Member of the Family -- Bringing North American Boarding Standards in Cuenca Proprietor: Hazel Mountz E-mail: [email protected] Within Ecuador: Internationally: Hazel: 095818515 Hazel: 011 593 95818515 Wally: 092781646 Wally: 011 593 92781646 Home: 2824621

Culture in Cuenca

Recently I wrote a blog post at http://living-and-retiring-in-ecuador.blogspot.com about the differences culturally regarding how family is perceived in Latin America versus the U.S. I received so many e-mails, I thought I should address some of those in this newsletter. Many of our Ecuadorian friends have a hard time with the fact that we have chosen to retire here without our family. It does seem odd when you think that most Ecuadorians spend a good portion of their life in America, earning enough money to come back to Ecuador to build a home large enough for their entire family--sometimes three generations under one roof! Americans seem to have more of an independent spirit and we're taught from an early age to make a go of it: to spread our wings and fly! We came to Ecuador for the affordability and quality of the medical care and whether we'll be here forever remains to be determined. But for now, it's the choice we have made and our family supports us in that decision. Tonight we talked with our two sons and our daughter-in-law on Skype; we had them right in our living room. Our oldest son is visiting in November and our youngest son and his wife plan to visit next summer. We are making it work, although at times; I must say it's difficult.

Playa Perdida: A Great Fiction Book on Expat Life

If you want to get a taste of Expat Life, you need to read the book "Playa Perdida" which is available on amazon.com Here's the link: http://tinyurl.com/3onyjkc

Living and Retiring in Ecuador: 101 Questions Answered

The Kindle book, "Living and Retiring in Ecuador: 101 Questions Answered" is now available at Amazon.com. Thanks for the positive feedback and for making it such a success.


Remember: You don't need a Kindle device in order to read the book. You can download it to your iPad, iPhone, Blackberry or Android. You can also preview a chapter for free!


The price is $2.99 for those living in the States and $4.99 for those living overseas. Here's the link:

http://tinyurl.com/3berelc

Ecuador Resources

Articles: "Retirement Overseas: You Can't Afford Not To" http://tinyurl.com/6bpqzqp


"Culture Shock Overseas": http://tinyurl.com/6aoe8sf


"How to Find a Condo Rental in Cuenca": http://tinyurl.com/5rgvc8u


"The Waterfalls of Giron": http://tinyurl.com/5vduvsn


Websites: www.southofzero.wordpress.com www.cuencahighlife.com www.ecuadorforums.com www.thebestoflivingandretiringinecuador.com http://living-and-retiring-in-ecuador.blogspot.com


Find us on Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/6bnz8fo

Work-At-Home Jobs paying up to $15-$100 per hour. Click here to apply today!

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