I'm not sure what it is, but as soon as LAN Airlines touched ground in Cuenca, we felt at home! Everything went so smoothly we wondered if we had done something "wrong."
We expected delays, lost luggage, and language barriers, but instead everything fell right into place.
To our delight, two dozen roses were waiting for us in our condo and the sunset from our balcony was simply amazing. Mark swept me off my feet and took me via taxi to "El Vino" -- an Italian restaurant. Eugenio, the owner, conversed with us in Italian which smoothed over any language barriers that we might have felt. We speak Italian (mostly) and mix in some Spanish words as we learn them. Eventually, I guess we'll switch over to all Spanish at one point, but I'm not ready to let my Italian disappear completely.
During dinner at "El Vino" we heard English and then the word, "Amish." I turned around and said, "We're from Lancaster County." There were gasps, oohs and ahhs, and finally we realized that the group of students sitting next to us were from Franklin and Marshall College (right in our own backyard!). They were delightful and one of the students announced, "My parents are thinking of retiring in Cuenca!" It was such an amazing introduction to a foreign culture (another confirmation that we are exactly where we are supposed to be).
When we returned home, one of the tenants in our condo complex greeted us in English and said he was from "Coatsville, PA"...right down the road from where we lived in Lancaster. It's a small world.
We have been delighted and amazed at the generosity of the Cuecanos; they are warm and friendly, helpful with directions, and are fast becoming our friends. One thing that has amazed us is the non-presence of flies (just bees). The weather is simply amazing and the few sprinkles of rain showers during the day are simply a prelude to rainbows in the sky.
Today was our busiest day ever since we arrived on Saturday. We had to pick up our passports at the airport (TAME),get color copies made of our passports (at a speciality store), go up one block and have our documents notarized, find a "stationary" store to buy an envelope, take a taxi back to the airport, and send our documents via courier (TAME) to our lawyer in Quito. Hopefully, that will be it and we will receive our censo and cedulla within 21 days. I am guardedly optimistic that all will go smoothly, but I know from our Sicilian experience with said documents that it's NEVER over until it's over.
Afterwards, we went shopping at Supermaxi and Sukasa, then to pay our rent downtown, and back home again to fix "supper" which consisted of fresh pineapple, bananas and tiramisu. (not all that nutritious, but oh so good!).
The day wasn't complete without a bus ride (50 cents). We made a few blunders, including trying to put the 50-cent piece in the wrong slot. And then I saw a photo op and quickly switched seats. Bad move (on my part)...no switching seats while the bus is moving!
This evening right before sunset there was a rainbow that formed as Mark handed me a bouquet of roses. I'm not sure how he sneaked them in, but he kept his promise...one rose for every day of my life while we live in Cuenca (he's covered for at least the next two weeks!).
"Casa dulce casa" is not just a phrase, it expresses exactly how we feel about our new home in Cuenca, Ecuador!
Until next time...hasta luego!
Concetta y Marco