A former high school classmate and cherished old friend when reconnecting with Roger through Facebook quoted the old saying: "When God closes a door, he opens a window." The years have seen a number of life changes for us that make that adage ring true. After being blessed with good fortune, a wonderful son and great experiences, we decided to look out that window and prepare for more of what this wonderful life has to offer. We hope through our blog to share our journey from this point forward with family, with friends and with many others. Hopefully we'll make some new friends along the way. We hope you find our tales of some interest, even amusement and perhaps an inspiration for you to treat each and every day as an opportunity and an adventure to share with those who are an important part of your life.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cock-a-doodle, ho-ho-ho...the story of the Christmas Chicken and Happy Holidays wishes from Ecuador!

As we continue our journey, "juntos en el camino de la vida", we are headed toward our first Thanksgiving and Christmas in our new Ecuadorian home.  With all the traveling we've done and with being in temporary apartments in both 2010 and 2011, this will be our first full, "at home", Christmas in two years.

our holiday polar bear

Someone asked recently if Suzanne enjoys decorating for the holidays. The answer is obvious to anyone who has ever visited our home during the holiday season.  This year her Arizona friend Lenore will surpass her with a total of 14 Christmas trees.  That's probably only because we had to sell a bunch of our Christmas things in order to fit in the 20 foot container we brought to Ecuador.   We also won't have a decorated front yard and a front driveway lined with lighted trees.  Heck, we even decorated our 9 foot Saguaro cactus when we lived in Arizona!

Suzanne's Santa collection
is always out for the holidays!
 Anyway, we still brought a lot of our favorite decorations with us.   Traditionally, the Yazell's decorating efforts for the Christmas holiday begins in earnest on the weekend following Thanksgiving (Black Friday, of course, being reserved for shopping!)  However, here in Ecuador, we have begun earlier than usual.   We are having an open house in our new home and it is taking place the Wednesday after Thanksgiving so Suzanne wanted all the holiday stuff in place.  We also had to do some unpacking and checking as most of the holiday stuff went straight into the storage closet from the container.   Some of that stuff we hadn't seen in almost two years!

OK, so it's been busy in the Yazell household the past several's a pictorial review of just some of what we've been putting together:

Suzanne collected these Anri nativity figures as a child.  It has been
an important part of our holiday decorations each and every Christmas season.

Nearly every nook has something
for the holiday on display!

This is Holly,
 one of  our special Christmas bears

Rusty is one of  our regular bears.
He gets to wear a special headband
just for the holiday occasion!
Christmas tress, of course, are important, but we don't have as many this year.  Here's a look at what we're doing in Ecuador:

Our tabletop bear tree in the upstairs
family sala.

Our back patio is the home
of our Latin America tree.

Our Snoopy tree is in the den.

Roger, of course, had to have a special wine
tree.  The cork ornaments are actual corks
taken from some of his favorite wines

Roger's wine bar also features a "Wine Santa" bringing
gifts of good wine to all good boys and girls!
(provided, of course, that they are of legal drinking age!)

Our musical Snoopy, decked out in his holiday
shirt, stands guard next to the "Peanuts tree".

Back in Arizona, this tree was our
"secondary tree"  The 10 ft tree we had in Arizona
 would not fit here, so this has become
our main living room just did fit!

Suzanne loves angels and you'll always find some in our house
all year around.  However,  there has to be a special one
just for the holidays and here she is!

There's no longer a tree for our antique ornaments so Suzanne set
some display containers for them at a few points in the house.

We even have a "Christmas Cheerleader"
sure to help get our guests in the holiday spirit.
O.K. It's finally time for the special story of the Yazell family "Christmas Chicken"!   During one of our many trips to Mexico, Suzanne fell in love with a brightly colored, red and green, paper mache rooster with an equally colorful sombrero.  She purchased it, brought it home to Arizona and declared that it would a perfect addition next to our patio tree which featured ornaments from the desert southwest, Mexico and other Latin American countries. Roger immediately dubbed this work of art, "our Christmas Chicken".

Anyway, when the Christmas Chicken comes out, you know the holiday season has officially begun at the Yazell household!

Cock-a-doodle-ho-ho-ho...happy holidays everybody!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Bye, bye for now..."South of Zero"

"South of Zero",  the award winning, internationally acclaimed blog from Mary and Steve Beckman, goes on hiatus as of the end of this week and we Yazells mark this change with mixed emotions.  We are happy because of the reason for this hiatus.   Mary and Steve are entering the final phase of achieving a long sought goal of relocating to Ecuador from California.  In the very near future, they will be joining our Cuenca community of Expadorians (a phrase, by the way, that Steve coined).  We  understand and share the celebration and joy of making this kind of goal a reality.

But, for us,  there is a touch of nostalgic sadness, as well.   Our personal journey began after someone first suggested Ecuador as a retirement location.  We began to explore, research and read as much as we could about this land.  The more we learned, the more we wanted to know.   It wasn't long before we discovered "South of Zero"  Not only was it a well done daily synopsis of the best Ecuadorian blogs, but Mary and Steve also provided reference sites that aided and abetted our search for information.  Soon "South of Zero" was as much a part of our morning routine as our cups of coffee.

Through "South of Zero, we got to read and share the experiences of many who had blazed the trail to Ecuador before us:   Bob N Rox, Chuck and Nancy Watson, the Kimblers,  Bill and Dean Keyes, Rich and Nancy Hedges, Jim Mola, Connie Pombo, Edd Staton, Clark and Brenda, Mick and Kathy, Mike and Patti, Nan, Lilya, Lourdes, Michael, Jason, Donna and many, many more too numerous to name.     Factual information helped us in our quest but there was always something extra special about sharing the personal experiences of those who preceded us, or like us, were in the process of moving.  Since our transition, we've become friends with many of those wonderful people we had first met through "South of Zero".  We are indebted to "South of Zero" for being the catalyst in many wonderful opportunities to develop great relationships.

We are indebted, as well, because of their contribution to our own blogging efforts.  Most of you that have become regular followers of "Juntos en el Camino de la Vida" first did so by way of "South of Zero".  In fact, our readership analytics tell us that somewhat over 60% of our 30+ country readership comes to us from "South of Zero".   Some of these readers have contacted us, some have made the transition to Ecuador and some have become personal acquaintances, as well.

Roger and Suzanne in Cuenca near the Rio Tomebamba
So it is that we (and many of you) will miss our daily dose of "South of Zero'.  However, it is good to know arrangements have been made to keep us all connected to the South of Zero blogroll through "Xpadorian Blogs"  (  "South of Zero" will return in the future but will now reflect Mary's insight to her own transition.  We are absolutely looking forward to reading and sharing that experience.

We are looking forward, as well, to welcoming the Beckmans to Cuenca.  And so we say to Mary and Steve:  Thank you for your past efforts in the blogosphere.....May you enjoy good fortune and safe travels during your transition.  See you soon and godspeed!