Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Have We Mentioned?

Remembering a Typical Day: Up at 6 am, getting the kids up, fixing them breakfast & nagging them to get ready. Then off to day care and school, work, meetings, lunch, meetings, work. Picking up the kids. Off to the store to get something for supper. Cooking. Some minor cleaning; maybe a load of laundry. Rushing off to the community centre for the kids swim lessons. Bathing the kids, getting them to bed, having a bath yourself. An hour of TV. Suddenly it's 11 o'clock and other than riding on the bus and bath time you've had no time for yourself. Alternative: Up at 5 am, off to work, meetings, work, lunch, meetings, work. Working dinner. Off to more meetings and more work and more meetings. Watch the news. Shower. Crash into bed. It's midnight.

Have we mentioned we're enjoying retirement?

It was drippy out on Friday. We've had virtually no rain all week, so it was OK that it was drippy out. Nevertheless, we needed to get out for at least a Fredi-walk and a bit of fresh air for the 3 of us. We decided to go to the spice store and see if they had pecans. We'd tried twice before unsuccessfully but this time they in fact did provide. We got a medium as well as a small size package of chopped pecans for $7.50 total. The woman in the store did the international rubbing thumb and fingers together to indicate they were pricey when we asked for them. It was OK. We wanted them and don't use them all that often. We also asked about currants but they didn't have any. A customer in the store suggested SuperMaxi but we've looked there to no avail. When we told her this, she advised us we'd have to go to Guayaquil in that case to get them. We managed to make it home before it really started to rain and Shelley made pasta salad for a soiree we're planning on attending on Saturday.

It was a bit muddy outside on Saturday, so we took Fredi for a sidewalk walk around the neighbourhood, ran into a couple of friends and chatted for a bit, bought a box of wine to take to the soiree that evening and generally spent most of the day simply puttering around. The soiree was great! We talked to lots of people we know and a few people we didn't and generally all had a good time. There was tons of food!

What do we miss? Not too much, obviously, or we wouldn't still be here. Shelley misses her girls; the easy contact; being there for them. Brian misses prime rib; but we've been advised of a place where we might be able to get one, so eventually we'll try it out. We miss the sound of lanyards clanking on masts during a windy spell in the marina but our building provides a lovely wooing noise when the wind blows, so it's not too bad. Shelley misses the constant "newness" in products in the grocery store and elsewhere. Every time we'd shop in Canada there'd be something new to discover on the shelf; here it takes a little longer. We miss having the pedestrian right-of-way. That takes some getting used to. We don't miss the cold. We don't miss the crabby people in the city. We don't miss work. We don't miss the general feeling of stress or tension we lived with for so long that we didn't even know it was there, until it was gone. We miss Canada itself. Funny huh? We miss people talking about hockey instead of politics. (Note: Shelley is equally bored by both.) We don't miss the constant rain. We don't miss $3.75 bus rides or $30 taxi rides. Do we belong here yet; belong in Ecuador (?) like we did without thinking in Canada. Close. The people here are generally very accepting. No one gives us a second glance on the bus these days. We crowd in and jostle with the best of them. Everyone smiles at Fredi and we feel welcome. Is that us or them? Perspective changes over time and becomes relative. It's a day-by-day process. We continue on, happy with our decision. It's OK to miss a few things. We know this; we didn't run from, we journeyed to.

It was another great day on Sunday and we walked to the park, sat around for an hour and then got Brian's roast pig. Monday we went shopping and Brian took his hand at trying to make pie crust for a meat pie, using left-overs from beef stew. His pie crust turned out like Shelley's. Tasty but cobbled together (somewhat). Neither one of us seems to have the knack of rolling out crust. We tried putting it in the fridge for several hours this time before rolling it out. That helped, but the whole process is really an art. Maybe between the 2 of us, we'll eventually get it! Brian insists that this is his first time, so he didn't do all that bad. By the way...the meat pie was absolutely delicious.

As Shelley's income tax finally came through, we headed off downtown to buy her a new blouse in celebration. "Hey!" you say. "Shelley got a new blouse also when Brian's income tax went through. Doesn't that man deserve a helicopter?"

And we let a profound silence settle around those words.

Afterward we went and had a cup of lime tea & then sat in the park for awhile listening to The Wabash College Men's Glee Club from Indiana do their thing. They're apparently on a tour of Ecuador from May 19th to June 2nd. They sounded lovely and the audience was very appreciative even though most of the songs were sung in English. They did, however, do the Ecuadorian National Anthem in Spanish to much clapping when it was finished.

Please note: all (except for the last one) of the pictures in this blog were taken from a temporary wall put up around a construction site.


  1. As cool as a helicopter may sound...and look, do your best to avoid the impulse! If you must, get a small rechargable one and play with it for a while. There only about $30 here in the states, and will most likely give you what you want before ending up in the corner. As for the prime rib....ahhh, now that is something that can not be substituted! Why not go to the meat market and have someone cut you something to order? You might find an Argentinian restaurant and treat yourself. Query some of your red meat eating American friends as to where to find your prize. I'm guessing that most Americans don't give up steak eating when they move to EC...especially the Texans!

  2. Thanks for the comment. We've been looking for prime rib for 2 years now with no luck. However, we just learned that we can go to a market with a cutting chart and possibly get our prime rib. The problem is that the beef here is not grain fed as we're used to in North America. There is one cut of steak which is a tenderloin called lomo fino and is very tender and juicy, so you can get a decent steak here. As far as the helicopter is concerned, Shelley thought your suggestion was absolutely wonderful!

  3. Wow! I just found your blog. This whole blog thing is new to us. We are planning our first trip from S Oregon to Cuenca this August to see if we are crazy or if the idea of retiring there will work for us. We will arrive Aug 4th and plan on 3 weeks stay. Any suggestions on a place to rent, as that will give us the best idea on our adaptability to Cuenca life. Thanks! Jack & Claudia (hope I did this right)

  4. Our friends rent a two bedroom apartment for short term lease. You may wish to contact them at: http://sites.google.com/site/adoberentalincuenca/home When we first came to Cuenca we stayed at the Hostal Macondo http://www.hostelbookers.com/hostels/ecuador/cuenca/6186/ If you're just looking for a room we can recommend it.

  5. Brian-Black Hawks in the Stanley Cup finals. We were hoping for an Original 6 final w/Montreal (since the Wings crashed out), but no luck. Creo que Ud. merece un helicoptero.

  6. Re: Roast pig......that you have mentioned more than once and the place that will cut your meat from a chart. So glad that Brian has done the research on this. Look forward to picking your brain here.

  7. I am ready to buy (your) Brian the friggin' helicopter myself! Maybe (my) Brian can fix it if it breaks?

    Looking forward to seeing the two of you soon :-)