There are many North Americans moving here to Cuenca, especially in the last few years.
However there are very few who have lived here long enough to learn the language, love the people, and become fully integrated into the Ecuadorian culture and lifestyle with all its idiosyncrasies, while still maintaining a level of understanding of how hard it can be for many newly arrived expats.
Cathy Vicente is one of those people. She's one of those who have lived here, loved here, and never want to leave here.
"I started out in Ecuador as a Peace Corps worker over 17 years ago," Cathy told us.
"I thought I'd finish my two years working out in the rural areas and go back home. Never did I imagine I'd stay and make my life here, but I fell in love!
"With a man first, and then the city of Cuenca. Actually, I finished my work in August of '94 and got married in October! Now I have two beautiful daughters, 14 and 12, and couldn't be happier."
She has never had only American friends or lived among anyone but Ecuadorians since she arrived. That gives her a very special understanding and perspective of things that confound many gringos.
'Just be patient.' That's the main thing I tell people moving here. The life here is slower and more relaxed. There are so many opportunities to take advantage of, and yes, things take longer, but it's part of what makes life easier and less stressful.
'Just learn to relax and know it will get done, but probably not today!'
Cathy loves living here, and also loves to go back to Connecticut to visit her family there every year. But she wouldn't move back, she says, because she loves her life and the relaxed, stress-free lifestyle of Ecuador.
I've worked in almost every school in Cuenca teaching and managing English teaching. All my husband's family are from here, so I have experience with just about anything you can imagine, and I enjoy helping others adjust and grow to love Cuenca.
I can breathe here. I can relax and spend time with my daughters, and weekends with my family.
You know what it's like in the states—non-stop! You don't have time to remember your name! You have to be working all the time to pay bills. Here it's just about having time for your life. I wouldn't change a thing about my life now."
Cathy became a full-time translator in early 2010 after doing it part-time, along with teaching, for many years. She has translated for the University of Cuenca and for LNS, a publishing company for whom she translated a series of children's books into English.
She has also done a lot of work with Spanish websites, translating them into English. (If you've ever looked at the English version of some Cuencan websites, you know that Cathy has no shortage of work in store for her!)
Cathy Vicente, thank you for making life in Cuenca a little easier for expats. And thanks for buying the condo we've been renting. Otherwise, we'd have missed out on making a new friend here!
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I just want to thank you both soooo much for creating this web site. I am originally from Cuenca but moved to New York 11 years ago and have not being back since. My husband and I are planning on visiting Cuenca over the Summer and this web site has helped me a lot.
When I came to the US we still had the "sucre," the bus ride cost 1,000 sucres and a pack of trident gum would cost 3,000 sucres. I am very nervous to go back, but thanks to your web site I now know what to expect.
My husband is American and Captivating Cuenca has taught him a lot about what my great city has to offer, things that I had forgotten about myself! :)
Thank You both so much! I cannot wait to visit Cuenca!!