Call Someplace Paradise -- Kiss It Goodbye...
My husband and I have been doing research for a couple of years now on Ecuador as a retirement designation. Based on what we have learned so far, it sounds like a nice place to slow down and enjoy a simpler life.
We currently live in Southern California and are sick to death of smog, crime, traffic jams and the high cost of living. Sure hope all us gringos don't mess it up for those who could truly appreciate the lifestyle Ecuador offers.
PS: My husband has taught himself to speak Spanish and practices every chance he gets. I am investing in Rosetta Stone's five level Latin America.
As the old saying goes, the only problem with going on vacation is that you take yourself with you. The same can be said about becoming an expat. We take our opinions, life views, expectations, etc. with us when we move to another country.
Parts of Ecuador have smog, crime, traffic jams and a high (relative to the rest of the country) cost of living. Although, coming from SoCal, you might laugh at what's considered smog, crime and traffic jams here in Cuenca.
And even though Cuenca has the highest cost of living of anywhere in Ecuador, it's still less than half of what most people in North America spend for a near-equivalent lifestyle.
The best thing anyone can do to prepare for living here is to be willing to accept things as they come. It's sometimes enormously frustrating to live here. Government bureaucracy is time-consuming, often stressful and definitely crazy-making!
So if we can learn to go with the flow, understand that mañana usually doesn't mean tomorrow -- it means later (or not today), and release our expectations, we'll all enjoy living in Ecuador much more. And Ecuadorians will enjoy having us live among them.
Note that I used "we" and "our" in the last paragraph. I include myself here. I've been here for over 3 and a half years, and I still sometimes find myself frustrated at how things work here. But then, I was often frustrated with how things worked in Canada before I left.
I hope you and your husband find what you're looking for here in Ecuador. Learning Spanish is the best thing you can do to make your life here (or anywhere in Latin America) more enjoyable and less frustrating.
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