Wednesday, June 10, 2009


We had some bad news about Brian's brother and it sent us into a tail spin about what we should do. When you're only a couple of miles or half a Province apart, it's much easier to decide to pack up and go for a visit. When you're a continent apart, the decisions get harder. People often ask us about the down sides of living as an ExPat; leaving friends, family & a familiar community and choosing to live basically as an outsider. In many ways it's a free-ing experience but in others it makes resolution difficult. Shelley continues to go through ups & downs with a kind of home sickness. Some of the children are difficult about our decision to relocate; others are happy for us and give support. Probably our major pet peeve about Ecuador at this point is the driving manners. Horns being honked & a complete disregard for pedestrians continues to make Brian mumble under his breath. In the end, it's a balancing thing; a list of pros and cons. Our pro list to be in Ecuador continues to be the longest by far.

Sunday took us on our regular run downtown to see what was playing at the gazebo in the main square. The group there was late starting (over 30 minutes) and were absolutely terrible. Both the vocals & the instrumental guitar made you wince. While we were giving the group a fair chance, a small family took a shine to Fredi and asked permission for her to sit on a teenager's lap while she had her picture taken by her boyfriend/brother. They were very grateful and showed us the picture. Fredi was as gracious as she could be. Having given up on the group, we ran into a friend of ours as we were leaving and went off to have a cappuccino together. Our friend was in "glow" having just finalized the purchase of an apartment. It'll be several weeks before move in day however, as the present owners will take 30 days to move out and then there'll be some renovations done. Nevertheless, we were very pleased for our friend. We talked about being so far away from family, the bit of a crime spree going on near the river in Cuenca (muggings) & the best way to go about getting a hair cut when your Spanish is minimal.

Monday we had another day with intermittent internet. Regular readers may remember we'd gone downtown to our provider some weeks ago and set up an appointment to have our modem checked as their on-line diagnostic seemed to indicate it was faulty. Not unusual in Ecuador but no one ever showed up to check our modem. Our internet magically came back so we didn't pursue the problem any further; this may be their diabolical plan. Some friends of ours had a similar problem: no internet, call company, make appointment, no one comes for appointment, etc. but their internet never came back on its own and they use a different company than we do as their provider. At this point, we're waiting until at least tomorrow to see if it magically comes on-line again and if not we'll have to go to ETAPA and try and make another appointment. It's a good thing we're retired, if we were working with this kind of service it would be extremely frustrating. You know, taking time off work for the appointment to no avail because no one ever showed up. (PS:- Had internet back by 2 p.m. that afternoon & much faster than it has been lately.)

We took Fredi back to the Vet to have her stitches removed. It turned out she did have 3 small stitches as well as the glue stuff they use. Immediately Fredi was placed on the examining table she began to tremble so there's certainly some memory there. Brian suggested that he hold her for the stitch removal and the Vet agreed. Fredi was calm and very good, held in Brian's arms while the Vet fussed a bit to remove the stitches. We've purchased a special pet electrical razor so we can cut Fredi's hair ourselves. Shelley's going to test drive the whole thing later on today. She plans on starting on Fredi's underside until she can get used to it. Poor Fredi (!) but at least now she won't have to go back to the Vet until she's due for her one year old shots. (PS again:- Although we sheared massive quantities of hair from Fredi, she ended up not looking that much different. We now have Fredi fluff floating all over the apartment. We'll tackle her yet another day once we've all settled down from the initial experience.)

Shelley's hay fever has been acting up quite a bit lately. Although she usually tries to get by without medication, the face rubbing & dripping nose finally got to her. We got 16 antihistamines at the drug store for $4. One pill will keep her relatively sniff free for about 8 hours. They've just cut the lawn near the river which had grown to about a foot high so Shelley's thinking that getting rid of all those dandelions and clover might go a long way to improving her hay fever. Everybody keep their fingers crossed for her! (3rd PS:- Cutting the lawn outside our building seems to have done the trick; Shelley's hay fever ceased being in over drive by the next day.)

We had a couple over for dinner and Brian made his slow cooker chicken cacciatore while Shelley whipped up her Mom's lemon meringue pie. Fredi was cute, the guests were highly entertaining & we spent a couple hours talking about our feelings on Ecuador, how we met our respective spouses, food in general, health now that we're all getting a little older and prides & prejudices at home and abroad. We both commiserated on our respective internet problems and congratulated each other on making it to this wonderful retirement. As the day before our evening with our friends was filled with frustration & angst, spending a few hours in pleasant company was greatly appreciated.

Brian went back to the dentist to have him check his teeth after all the work that he had done. The dentist said everything looks great and it cost us $220 to have his plate re-lined. He dropped off the plate at 8:30 in the morning and picked it up at 12:30 p.m. so the service certainly was wonderful as well. Now that he's back on track, he just needs to get his teeth cleaned every 3 months to ensure he keeps them. Having only 3 teeth left now makes dental hygiene a priority. Too bad he didn't feel that way 30 years ago!

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