I’ve been back in San Mateo since October 28th, my three month stay in Ecuador completed as planned.
Since then I successfully filed for bankruptcy, and moved to a new abode, still in San Mateo, where the rent is $390 less. I now have a good, working budget, and I’m saving $540 monthly to build a more than sufficient reserve of funds with which to move to Ecuador--- for an extended stay of many years. I plan to move to Cuenca in 2015.
Yes. Living in Ecuador is an option, after all. I choose to exercise it. I can live in Cuenca contentedly. I did before. There’s something in the very air of that city that’s charming. The clouds seem more white, the sky more blue. The people as a whole have kind, warm-hearted souls. Time after time I experienced the kindness of Ecuadorians helping me to adjust to Cuenca or to remedy one form of problem or another. A lady I saw often in the Parque Calderon wrote down the name and phone number of a friend who speaks English to aid me with directions. A young Spanish language tutor led me to a crowded cell phone office to get my newly purchased smart phone activated, translating for me the whole while. I wouldn’t have known how to get there or make myself understood without his help.
I sensed conservatism about the people of Cuenca, and it refreshed me. Many of the elderly men who walked on the avenues downtown wore second hand looking suits and ties. The many churches built 450 years ago in the Spanish colonial style reinforce the sense of a past not dead but living. Cuenca steeped me in a culture so different from that of my own that I returned to the United States changed. Things don’t seem to bother as much as before. I own a confidence I didn’t own before because I did something that proved a capability I didn't know for sure I had.
I took the following photos of different places and people in San Mateo, as a present for my Ecuadorian friends in Cuenca.