Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Then You're Left with Yourself Once Again

Petra Taxi
There was some puff pastry left over from our last company, so on Sunday morning, Brian rolled it out and Shelley sprinkled apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins & pecans all over it.  Rolling the whole mess up, we cut it into rounds, similar to cinnamon buns and cooked them in the oven for breakfast.  They were absolutely wonderful!  After the chores were done, we both got dressed and Shelley walked part way to town before splitting off and headed out on her own.  Fredi was thoroughly confused, dragging on the leash as she & Brian headed to town, wondering what Shelley was up to.  Shelley wandered through the neighbourhood, being quiet and contemplative and ended up back at home to read her book until Brian & Fredi showed up. 

Brian reported that he hooked up with our new friends and some folks they were helping to adjust to Cuenca as they were also planning on eventually moving here.  The park was vibrant & colourful and everything good that we enjoy about it.  The young Ecuadorian man that we had introduced as a "helper" has now been recommended to several other people, so we're glad to see that he appears to be building himself a new business.  The sun was shining and Brian & Fredi really enjoyed their outing.  Fredi collapsed and slept right after the long walk, first of course, greeting Shelley effusively. 

2nd Century Roman Amphitheater in Amman
There was hardly anything written on our list for shopping on Monday (2 pkgs hamburger ($4), laundry detergent ($9)) but we still managed to spend $110.  We bought frozen shrimp (just because) ($7) and and a box of wine ($5) as Brian was going out to dinner on Thursday, so that bumped the cost up a bit.  We ran into a relatively new friend and chatted in the grocery store for awhile and then as per usual, came home where Shelley put away the groceries and Brian took a very thankful and very happy to see us Fredi for a walk.  That evening Brian went to La Terrace Bar & Grill for dinner to celebrate a birthday and Shelley & Fredi lay on the couch reading & watching TV.  (Ok...Shelley played on the computer as well.) 

Brian got home and naturally Fredi went nuts and as it was quite late she needed to go outside immediately.  Brian said the party was great!  At least 20 people attended and the birthday boy was overwhelmed!  It is gratifying that when one of the expat community has a special occasional you realize how many acquaintances you make in a short time.  All together a satisfying evening! 

Bedouin Sheep & Goat Herd

The morning dawned dark and overcast on Tuesday.  We had planned on taking Fredi to Parque Paraiso but decided against it, thinking it would probably rain.  It never did.  We spent the day mostly inside puttering and that was OK too!  Up bright and early on Wednesday, Brian set off to Gualaceo & Chordaleg on the bus with another couple to see the sights and have a bit of a road trip.  Shelley & Fredi stayed home, went for walks, played on the computer, read & watched TV. 

The first thing Brian commented on upon arriving home, was the cost.  "We spent $3.45 each on today's entertainment, which included all bus fares plus a hot lunch".  Chordaleg is famous all over Ecuador for it's multitude of shops that sell gold filagree jewelry.  Nobody bought anything but our friends were all agaga on their first visit to this village.  The bus trip was colourful and entertaining with all kinds of village people & students & music & chatter both there and back. 


The last few years of both Brian & Shelley's working careers, we diverged from our main path and worked at things that were different.  In both our cases, it was an attempt to bring back a joy of work.  The process seemed to succeed better for Brian than for Shelley.  After 35 years in the radio business and a couple of years of retirement, Brian went back and became a security guard for 8 years.  He quickly worked himself up from a concierge type security guard doing night shift, to a roving supervisor to an account manager.   The company he worked for was open and concerned about their employees and he managed to make a couple of good friends & was on excellent terms with most of the people he ended up supervising.  Shelley roved from job to job, working for the Federal government, the Post Office, a sales office and doing temp (scut) work in numerous other offices.  This was after spending 20 years working for labour unions and before that as a paralegal.  She was seeking "job satisfaction" and instead found the same-old, same-old.  

Both of us enjoy our retirement.  We never find ourselves bored with the life we've set up for ourselves and don't miss the stress & pressure of work.  This isn't always the case for retirees.  Some people fade away, unable to adjust to all that time on their hands.  Others find controversy & intrigue in the newspaper & their private lives that isn't necessarily healthy.  Some settle in front of the TV or behind a bottle and cease making the effort to live.  In Canada, at least, a lot more legislation has been put in place so that people are not forced to retire, so it becomes an option rather than a requirement.  As we continue to insist on being individuals, this seems a good thing. 

Dead Sea   

So, the thing is, does moving to Ecuador or some other exotic location alleviate any of the above negative symptoms?  The answer is no.  Ecuador had become our home after only 2 years.  One adjusts to the strange and different and then you're left with yourself once again.  Keep it in mind!

Our friend Jan, late of Canada, late of Holland and now living in Saudi Arabia (working on a high speed rail project) just took a holiday to Jordan.  The pictures on this blog showcase only a few that he forwarded to us so we could get just a taste of another exotic locale. 


  1. Great post, Shelley! I think it's important for folks to know that happiness is not a place; it's a state of being. You need to come to Cuenca fulfilled as a person, not expecting that Cuenca will fulfill you! As always, I love reading your blog and all the wonderful pictures. Besos y abrazos!

  2. Because I have a daughter living in Cuenca I've taken to scanning through everyone's blogs and was surprised to see your current one featuring pix of Petra. Your friends snaps are superb, I made two visits there some time ago now and fell completely under its spell.....thank you for reminding me....