Saturday, March 17, 2012

A seat in the house

I used Skype for the second time today. The first was months ago with poet MichelleFleming-Bendo, another resident of San Mateo, and being new to the technology, we were basically testing it out. The image I saw was like a reflection from one of those distorting mirrors, but her voice transmitted fine.

Anyway, this second time, I naturally had reservations about how well Skype would work, especially since the fellow I’d be talking with is an American expat living in Ecuador. This time not only the audio but the visual connections produced quality sound and image.  It was great meeting Gerard Tretton.  How did this connection come about? Someone who read this blog sent the link to him. He sent a message inviting me to join the closed Facebook group he started called "Ecuador Expats."  And I did. The group is for expats in Ecuador and people considering moving there.

Gerard was obviously interested to know about my intentions regarding Ecuador. He said my plans sounded good.  I’d be studying Spanish, living in one place, and with a three month home stay with an Ecuadorian family, have sufficient time to taste the country's flavor---enough to know if moving there is a desirable option. He assured me if I decided to live permanently in the country, I could easily do so on $1200 USD a month. I felt reassured hearing this on a live feed from someone living in Cuenca, my destination city. He also said there are enough English speakers in the city, both Ecuadorian and expat, so that an American could communicate while living there without knowing Spanish. But he said the Ecuadorians respect expats who learn Spanish as a second language.  If I decide to live in Ecuador, he said, obtain a six month visa, make the move and then apply for the pensioner visa once in the country. Gerard said established expats help new immigrants get settled. It’s great to have him on my Skype list. We got along fine and I'm sure we'll be using Skype again.
To read those posts in the Facebook group, "Ecuador Expats", was like having a seat in the very household of Ecuador.
Here's a list of a few subjects members have been commenting on.   
  •  Stomach distress caused not having adjusted to the food.
  • Outstanding symphonic concert held at the Banco Central. 
  • A robbery.