Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Why We're Here!

Today when we were with some of our Ecuadorian friends, they asked us why we chose Cuenca as a place to "retire." I think it baffles their mind that we left the States and came to Ecuador. For us the decision was simple: we couldn’t afford medical insurance in the States after my husband’s retirement. One more catastrophic event and we would have been bankrupt. Unlike so many, I have not been so fortunate with my health. I’ve lived 15 years beyond the doctors’ “expiration date,” so every day is a precious gift!
When we explain it to our Ecuadorian friends, they can’t believe what we have paid in medical bills through the years. I prayed many times, “God, heal me or let me die.” He chose to let me live for which I’m grateful; I was able to see our boys through safe passage into adulthood.

We are thankful for the medical care in Cuenca, which was our number one priority, but we got so much more than we ever anticipated in the way of extras: perfect climate, affordable living, lots of sunshine, mountains, four rivers, and loving people to share life’s journey with.

Most of our time is spent with Ecuadorians because they teach us so much, especially how to really live life. They are generous with their time, their resources and their ability to make the language fun for us. We only speak Spanish when we’re with them and they're quick to correct any mistakes (all mistakes!). Knowing Italian has been a great asset, but also our worst enemy. We still revert back to Italian without even knowing it, until someone brings it to our attention. "Que paso!"

We're grateful to be able to learn another language and culture. We mostly hang around folks who want to do the same. We know one American couple who has diligently gone to language school for a year and have a tutor as well. They are mastering the Spanish language in their 60’s. Some expats have no interest in learning Spanish and that’s okay if that’s what you choose to do, but you’re missing another whole world!

Maybe it was our missionary life in Italy that makes us gravitate toward lanugage learning. I’ve gleaned a wealth of information from the Ecuadorians and how they view Americans, which will be a topic for another blog post!
We’re learning to say that we’re not “jubilados” (retirees) because to Ecuadorians that means we’re wealthy. When we say "jubilado" they rub their fingers together (money, money, money). We explained to them that not all Americans are wealthy, but in their eyes we are. When you realize that the average Ecuadorian makes between $264 and $340 a month and the average indigenous person makes $30 a month, it changes your perspective.

We came here for the medical care, but we’re staying because we have fallen in love with Ecuador!

Until next time...hasta luego!

P.S. Happy Birthday Cuenca -- 454 years today!


Sue and Pat said...

Connie, good post!! I think I will enjoy learning the language. I am so verbal that I will HAVE to learn the language. I will probably get on some people's nerves trying to practice my Spanish. I look forward to finding out.

Connie Pombo said...

Hey Pat, looking forward to your return. Remember to check out those garage sales for used textbooks. I speak "ItaloSpanglish." I switch over to Italian and never realize it, until I see the blank stares! I've almost come to grips with the fact that Italian will always be in my frontal cortex! Un abrazo fuerte!

Chantal said...

I am sooo glad that I stumbled upon your blog.
Not ony is it very informative, but it is fun to read ad well.
I will be eligible for retirement in 2013, and until then my husband and I will gather as much information as we can about Ecuador, because we strongly suspect this is where we want to be!
Looking forward to read more ...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...