One of the greatest things about Cuenca is meeting new friends! We met Mike and Kim last Sunday at Parque Calderon; they are here celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. They’re also checking out Cuenca as a possible place to retire, but I think leaving the grandkids might be an obstacle (I can only imagine what that would be like!).
We had a great time yesterday enjoying “almuerzo” together, walking along the Tomebamba, dodging buses as we crossed the street, and setting up a dinner date for Tiestos (Juan Jaramillo 7-34 y Borrero). It's a must for anyone visiting Cuenca as Juan Carlos (the Chef) makes such a great impression and his food presentation is nothing short of spectacular. I’m always amazed—shocked really—at his ability to remember everyone’s name. It doesn’t matter if you were there a year ago or last week; Juan Carlos will remember!
Mike and Mark have a lot in common; they were both former pastors and now Mike has a great job with the city (Southern California). Kim and I hit it off because we know what it’s like to be a pastor’s wife and we’ve traveled the globe in the process. Both Mike and Kim have an affinity for languages (Kim taught Latin), and Mike already sounds as if he has lived in Ecuador all of his life.
We’ll meet up again on Friday at Tiestos and then attend church together at Centro Cristiano on Sunday before they head back to the States to ponder their decision about “retirement” in Ecuador. It’s no small task to consider all the possibilities. I remember waking up at 3:00 a.m. in a cold sweat and thinking, Are we crazy—what in the world are we doing? I came here “blindly.” Mark visited once in February 2010 and blurted out, “I’m going to Cuenca with or without you!” Actually, I only have myself to blame for that one. Six months before Mark's trip, I had researched an article on “The Best Places in the World to Retire” and Cuenca kept coming up as #1 for the past nine years (minus a year or two being bumped to second place).
Mike and Kim will have a lot to think about in the next year as they ponder the possibilities of retirement in another country. I think we painted a realistic picture for them (at least I hope we did). Whether they remain in the States (close to their grandkids) or if they come to Cuenca, they will always be “nuestros nuevos amigos"!