10 Years of Blog Archive

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Few Unique Experiences and Memoirs of Expat Life

We’ve listened to a lot of narratives retold to us from expats living abroad and we have also recounted some of our own. In fact, every couple or individual that has moved abroad has their own story to tell, which keeps the traveling abroad bandwagon quite interesting. 

Some stories are sad, some funny, and some end with a twist of violence and crime, like the Colombian couple who told us of guerrilla shootings, kidnappings, and bombings near an airport in Colombia. That’s why they moved to Cuenca, Ecuador.
Yes, everyone’s story is unique; and they like to tell us what they love, what they hate, why they left and why they are staying

Why Expats Don’t Like Ecuador

We have been entertained with some pretty eccentric anecdotes from expats that moved from Cuenca because they couldn’t get their favorite brand of peanut butter, or apple pie filling, or salami. We can almost understand the peanut butter thing. When it comes from a health standpoint when all you can buy is peanut butter with added flour, sugar, salt, and other chemicals and preservatives in it, it can be a bit distressing. You either do without, or you learn to be self-sufficient in the things you need. We practice the latter if at all possible.

Some folks have told us the food, when eating out in Ecuador is bland. Yes, that’s right when you do not season your food it tends to be bland!  Ecuadorians are not much for the rich, saucy, spicy food and I can personally attest to that when having Ecuadorians over for dinner on several occasions. Any amount of sauce or seasonings, it’s MUY Rico for them and they will just stare at the food in their plate and giggle as to not offend the chef. So funny and so cute.

Aaah, the stories and expat experiences we have been amused with…one couple told us they still have not gotten used to the culture of Ecuador and they’ve lived here almost four years! There is a lot to get used to and we all know what some of those things are, so there is really no need rehashing anything that puts a damper on Ecuador.

Why Expats Stay in Ecuador

We have also been entertained on why people love it in Ecuador. We’ll go first. We love Ecuador because of the abundance of healthy foods at a decent price that are grown/produced/manufactured right here in Ecuador, and well, we have a 3 bedroom 3 bath house with yard for $250!


Expats love to tell us how cheap a doctor’s visit is, or how cheap their rent is, health care, food, utilities, etc, etc.  Expats sure do love the low cost of living that Cuenca affords, and when we compare to back home, yes, everything seems reasonable.  Most pensioners can get by quite comfortably in Cuenca Ecuador and that keeps their hat hanging on the coat rack, as you might say.  But for the Ecuadorians the cost of living is not low…it’s just normal or rising…just saying.

Sure, there’s a lot to like about Ecuador and everyone has their own experiences and stories to tell, like the couple who explained to us how they would never move back to the U.S!   Wow, they must really love it here. Another couple from Canada, where it snows and is freezing 8 months out of the year, told us how much they love the weather in Cuenca; they say, “It’s perfect for them!” Yes, it’s perfect for them as they slowly thaw out in Cuenca. (Yes, laughing out loud).

And here's a few more from us while were having so much fun! These were taken from an article we wrote called Reminiscing about Our Life in Cuenca Ecuador.

Doing Errands: When we go out for the day to take care of things that need done, we often kid with each other saying, “I wonder how many things on our “to do” list we’re going to get done today? A good day is getting a least one thing done, a REALLY good day is accomplishing two things on our list, and an amazing day is completing three errands. Why? Well mostly because of schedule differences with the local business community, or because of circumstances changing on that day, or people not showing up, or just because things are done VERY different here. You’ll see when you get here...lol...anyway, we do not have very many amazing days, usually really good days though.

For the first year or so, the newness of everything about living abroad kept us in a euphoric type existence. “What’s the hurry anyway”? And that’s the attitude you have to have if you move here. Everything gets done eventually anyway, just not USA PRONTO, PRONTO, as you'll see in our next story.
Processing Paperwork:
It’s funny how when it is all over you stand back and laugh about it, but when you are going through it, it somehow is not that funny.

Just to give you a hint of what processing paperwork is like here: how many times can you hand over the same paperwork for five people in a given month? How about four times, will that work for you?  Instead of telling you all on the same day that “This needs changed, we need this document for that person, and this sentence needs to read clearer and this needs translated…"; they will only tell you one thing your paperwork needs and then the next time you go in, they’ll let you know one more thing, and well, by this time days, weeks, even months have passed...and there is new immigration laws, and you need one more piece of paperwork from the states… In a hurry does not compute in Latin Land so, do not be in a hurry... I guess you'll see when you get here...

Until we write again...here's a few other articles you might like. 
We're an Expat Family of Five, Living Frugal, Healthy and Happy Abroad. We live in Cuenca, Ecuador and travel the Ecuador coast whenever we get a chance. We just adventured throughout the country of Panama for five weeks! Come along and enjoy some of our experiences with us!


  1. Who do you recommend to help me get pensioners visa?

    1. Hello, we wrote a Cuenca guide book that lists the paperwork you will need for getting a pensioners visa in Ecuador. Many people are applying on their own without the need for an attorney or assistant. We do not have any recommendations at this time. Thank you for commenting.


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