Saturday, January 31, 2015

Ecuador is in the Super Bowl!

Los Frailes
It sounds strange, doesn't it? Ecuador is in the Super Bowl, but it's true. Although it's a commercial spot (the first one ever done by a country), it's going to be a hit.

At 3.8 million dollars for 3 minutes (or 30 seconds) depending on what version they use, you will be impressed. In fact, I keep watching it over and over again!

We'll be attending a Super Bowl Party with some dear friends and I'm looking forward to the commercials, but I guarantee the guys will be glued to the game.

So whether you're a Seattle Seahawk's fan or Patriot fan, be sure to watch the commercial on Ecuador!

Here's the link:

Until next time...hasta pronto!

Connie and Mark

Friday, January 30, 2015

We're Going to be Grandparents!

When we were home for Christmas, we received the best gift ever. I can't share the whole story because I wrote a Chicken Soup story about it for the Christmas Edition regarding how they told us (priceless). But let's just say it was one amazing moment and we're still not over it.

Jon and Kim 
Mark and I wake up every morning and say, "Can you believe it...we're going to be grandparents?" Now that the official announcement has been made, we are released to shout it from the rooftops!

What does that mean for us living in another country? Well, I have to tell you that I've already made plans to set up house in their basement and write by night to pay for my room and board. You think I'm kidding? I'm the one with the portable income -- meaning, I can write anywhere in the world. My hubby isn't so fortunate; he works teaching English in a classroom. We're two years from receiving our Social Security and at that time, we'll triple our income so we're already counting down the days until we turn 62 and can travel more.
Jer and Audrey at their engagement party
We live perfectly fine on our $1,317 a month, but my writing and Mark's teaching income pay for all our vacations and trips to the States, so we don't have to touch our savings. We are so thankful we bought our condo a year ago -- best investment ever! You can never go wrong with investing in property in Cuenca and if you buy in the right place, you're guaranteed to make a profit the moment you sign the "escritura" (deed).

So we're happily counting down the days until August 11th (the due date of the "Pombino") and also the week of my birthday. We've heard and actually seen what happens when expats have grandchildren. We've seen couples get divorced, separated, and/or change their lifestyle -- meaning spending weeks to months at a time in the States. We don't plan to be one of those couples.

This is a big year for us: a grandchild in August; we're both turning 60; our older son is getting married on Oct. 3rd; it's my parent's 65th wedding anniversary and our 40th. I'll be flying out for the birth and staying until the wedding. Mark has to teach, so he'll be joining me in Maryland where the festivities will take place.

We are now in the phase called "postparenthood," which means our children have their own lives and we have ours. Many couples never get past parenthood, meaning: they're still clinging to their children. We will not and cannot do that. We love our kids, but they need to follow their own dreams and make their path in life and we'll be cheering them on from the sidelines.

At the Christmas Gala -- Mansion Alcazar
An event not to be missed!
Christmas Gala at Mansion Alcazar

When we were home I saw how our friends are still stuck; they're babysitting their grandchildren and still working full-time. They literally don't have a life. Mark and I raised our kids in a foreign country (Italy) and never had any help with childcare. One or both of us was always with our kids and never needed a babysitter. I worked nights at the hospital and Mark took the day shift. Our parents lived thousands of miles away and we survived.

We had this discussion long before we heard the news that we were going to be grandparents because in the last 4-1/2 years in Cuenca we've seen the good, the bad and the ugly that can happen with grandchildren in the picture.

It's one of those "talks" you need to have long before you hear the words, "You're going to be grandparents!"

Until next time...hasta luego!

Connie & Mark 

P.S. I've been writing a lot lately and have quite a few Chicken Soup stories out this year: Power of Forgiveness; Hope and Miracles; Thanks to My Mom; and finalist in Time to Thrive (due out May 5, 2015). Also, the second edition of 101 Questions of Living and Retiring in Cuenca will be out and another Kindle book that I'm working on.

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