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.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Fielding questions from people back home:

One of the reasons we chose to write this blog is to provide a journal for family and friends back in the USA so they would know what we were up to in our new adventure.  We have been amazed at how many questions the blog itself as well as our postings on Facebook generated from friends and even for folks we've never met.  Here's a recent example of how many of the questions get generated:

There is a Facebook for alumni of Roger's high school.  There's a lot of postings about what's going on in everybody's life and some days it's almost a chat room of hi's, how are ya's and what's happening over there?   Recently we posted the following photo and status update:

Evenings like this one on our back patio with a glass of wine
....yeah, this is why we retired to Ecuador!!!

Among the comments that were posted in response was the following from a former neighbor and friend:   "how many ex-patriates live in your area? Is it a pretty large group? How does the cost of living compare to the states? Just curious........thanks!

Here is how I responded....we thought it might be of interest to our readers here, as well:

    The Cuenca metro area is about 600,000 population and there are about 6,000 full time expatriates from the US and Canada and maybe 2,000-3,000 more from Europe. We have a lot of seasonal tourists and it seems like there are more ex pats coming here every day. Cost of living is part of the attraction but what is touted in the retirement magazines can be somewhat misleading. Some of my favorite affordable wines and even a box of Tide cost twice here what they would in the U.S. Most of my clothes have to purchased back in the US or custom made here due to size differences. However, we live very, very nicely on my SS and two pensions. When Suzanne's SS kicks in, we will live almost as well in retirement as we did when we were both working full time and will be able to travel two to three months out of the year. Our house is  3+ bedrooms at 2300 sq ft in size and cost us about $150,000. Real estate is advancing rapidly (more so condos) at about 15-20% a year and some blame the "gringo invasion". It, however, is mainly being driven by Ecuadorians returning from the US and Spain (as well as other countries). They've been offered incentives to come back and start businesses and are also attracted by the new scholarship programs here for their kids. Cuenca has been said to have the fastest growing middle class of nearly any city in South America. Most condominium buildings here sell out before they are finished! Affordable health care is a really big blood pressure medication which had a $35 co-pay in the US costs me just $7 total here and my doctor's visit just increased to a whopping $25 ($30 for a house call...yes they do that here!) and that's the whole bill not the co-pay! I pay $5 for a great haircut (that includes a horrifying 20% tip) and lunch downtown with a glass of wine for both of us comes in under $15. My utilities (telephone, water, electricity, gas, internet, garbage collection, fire protection fee) in total never run over $100 per month and my annual property taxes are about $150. Add to the list the fact that this is the most biologically diverse country on earth and probably one of the most beautiful, and you begin to understand why we are here!

  As long as they continue, we'll keep responding to the questions.   Know that we continue to love and enjoy our journey "juntos en camino de la vida".