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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Selling our Books

Chuck and I gathered up many of our books and took them 350 miles (round trip) to Portland, Oregon. We love Portland and decided taking the books to sell to Powell's Book Store would be a good excuse to get away.

We loaded up our car trunk and back seat with 16 boxes of books. Two boxes we sold at the main book store and when they found out how many books we had, they suggested we take the rest to their warehouse.

We made enough money from selling the books to pay for our gas, hotel and entertainment in Portland. We are starting to feel lighter.

I have been busy this past month selling things on ebay.

Tuesday, we are off to Seattle to visit family. From there, we will fly to Dallas, TX on Thursday and spend a couple of weeks with my mom. Then on to Georgia....more family.....and finally to Puerto Rico to visit our daughter and grandson. We will be gone the whole month of August.

We have given away a ton to Goodwill and other items to friends. We still have many things to dispose of yet.

I have many items that I will post on ebay in September.

As Chuck says...."Every little bit counts."

Monday, July 21, 2008

One Chance in a Million!

As part of our moving to Ecuador, Chuck and I read the Ecuador Forums every day. This is a site where you can talk with others who actually live in Ecuador already or are planning to possibly relocate some time in the future. The link is a great place for getting questions answered.

The other day I was reading this site and saw that a person, Bob Wilson, had introduced himself from Washington state. Another reader posted our blog for him to read since we too are from Washington and are moving to Cuenca.

Sunday night Chuck and I received a phone call from Bob. He had been to our blog and was surprised to find that we live in the same town. Since Richland is a town of about 35,000 people, this is quite a coincidence.

What is really a coincidence is that Bob and his wife, Sonia live only on the next block. Yes, we are in hollering distance of each other.

Bob and Sonia came over tonight and we exchanged our ideas about Ecuador, Mexico (Sonia's home country) and retirement abroad in general.

We have other friends, Randy and Karen, from Richland who are planning on retiring in Cuenca also. We hope to be getting us all together soon.

Here is a picture of Chuck, Sonia and Bob as we visited this evening.

Goodness! Would the last person to leave Richland for retirement elsewhere please turn out the lights!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Life we are leaving in Richland, Washington

I have been quite nostalgic lately. I keep bouncing around in my mind that we are leaving the life we know here in the United States and moving to Ecuador. Sometimes one can get the feeling that people who move away from the USA do so because they don’t like it here. For many of us that is not the case. We love our life in Richland, Washington and the surrounding area. Even though we are anxious to get to Cuenca, Ecuador (because we love it there too), I think it would be therapeutic for me to share with you what we are choosing to leave behind and why.

We are leaving behind our modest home where we have lived together for the past 23 years. For the most part, we raised our children here.

Chuck has put many hours of work into making our backyard a place of enjoyment.

His love of roses will follow us to Ecuador thank goodness!

We live in a semi-arid climate. It rains only 7 - 10 inches a year. This equates to predictable warm and sunny days in the summers. It also means that when you drive outside the irrigated city, there are no trees, but dry countryside that has it's own beauty.

We live in wheat and wine country. We are surrounded by wheat fields and vineyards.

Not far away is some spectacular places like the Columbia Gorge

or beautiful Mount Ranier

so why are we choosing to leave this paradise?

Well, to me, it is only beautiful in Richland from mid-May until mid-October. After the trees loose their leaves and the sprinkler systems are shut off, everything becomes a dreary brown. Also, we are far enough north that on the shortest days of the year, people are virtually leaving for work in the dark and coming home in the dark. On the shortest day of the year, the sun has set by 4:30pm. I find these seven months hard to bare. I spend my days longing for the summer to return.

The only time in the winter that I think it is beautiful here is when we have a rare snowfall. Having grown up in Georgia and having never seen snow until I was well into my twenties, I have never grown tired of it.

So I am now getting insight into my nostalgia. I am sitting here in Richland during the best of times and blocking out the long dark winters.

In Ecuador there is no summer or winter as we know it. The days are consistently 12 hours long. (6:30am - 6:30pm). The trees have their leaves all year. The flowers are blooming year around. You can get fresh fruit and vegetables at the market year around.

Here in the United States, there is a dark cloud hanging over our country. That dark cloud is FEAR. Fear of terrorists, fear of the falling economy, along with a deep division of our people along political lines. We do not watch television in our home, we choose to not watch it in order to minimize the effect of the "gloom" in our lives.

In Ecuador, we have found a peace that we have not had here in the United States for a long time. We do not feel the dark cloud of gloom there. The biggest issues are small, like difference in culture, as not having the repairman call and let you know he is not able to show up for an appointment or not being able to buy a $5 item with a $20 dollar bill because the vendor does not have enough change.

We will be traveling home to the United States multiple times each year. We both have parents here, our children, grandchildren and many friends. We are not dropping off the radar. We will just be living our day to day lives in a more peaceful and healthier environment.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Vino Blues

I knew getting rid of "things" was going to be a challange, but I have just said a sad good by to my little red Vino scooter.

Chuck bought us a matching pair of scooters about 6 years ago. He bought them as a surprise for me and I have always loved that little scooter. I rode it to work for years and Chuck and I even took some road ( backroad ) trips on them. I used it for getting around town all the time.

Here is a picture of our scooters down at the park on the Columbia River. We had scooter seat covers made for them. The seat covers were a plaid that matched the color of our scooters perfectly. They worked great until they got all bleached out by our hot summer sun.

I even found some shoes that matched my scooter. I called them my scooter shoes and wore them when riding my scooter.

Chuck sold his scooter a couple of years ago to some friends. At the time I was shocked that he would break up the matching pair. But, since we had bigger scooters (Scarabeos) he never rode his little one anymore. I later learned that the lady we sold it to had sold the scooter to her friend.

Here is a picture of Chuck and I on one of our trips.

Here are our scooters waiting for the ferry in Seattle.


But the ending is not too sad. We had not advertised my little Vino, even though we knew we had to sell it before we moved to Ecuador. Our scooter friends knew my scooter was going to have to be sold.

The other day I received a call from a lady. She said that she had heard my scooter was for sell. She told me that she had bought our other scooter from our friend. It is on Orcas Island and she was interested in buying my scooter.

Now our two little scooters will be back together again.