Join me on INSTAGRAM, my name is ecuadorchick.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Beach Bound

Dear Family and Friends,

We are off to the beach. We rented a condo in Salinas for a couple of weeks and we are going to enjoy the warmer weather, lots of good seafood, good friends, the ocean and the beach.

Our friends, Bruce and Charlie are coming with us for the first week. We are leaving this morning and driving Puff Puff through Guayaquil to Salinas on the coast.

Chuck had originally planned to drive on Sunday (tomorrow) because the Sunday traffic is lighter, but after we learned about the census, (mandatory stay in your house from 7am - 5pm), we decided to make the trip today and have our heads counted in Salinas.

The second week, our friends, Randy and Karen will be joining us at the beach.

We are told that we will have wi-fi in the condo so I am looking forward to sharing about our vacation in Salinas with you.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Our Thanksgiving in Cuenca, Ecuador

Dear Family and Friends,

Many of you wonder if and how we celebrated Thanksgiving in Ecuador. Let me share with you our Thanksgiving celebration today.

We had a gathering of over 100 people at the California Kitchen. They served a Thanksgiving buffet that was as good as any I have had back in the U.S.

Just like in the U.S., it was a time for giving thanks and sharing with our friends. Our friends are like family here.

Did we have a good time? You bet!!

What is Thanksgiving without children? Johnny, son of Bill and Loretta, was our token child. He felt right at home with all us old folks.

Here is part of the line of people patiently waiting to get their turn at the buffet.

And what did we have to eat? Well, due to the hungry crowd, I chose to just take a picture of my plate. As you can see, we celebrated well.

I went upstairs to take a picture of the scene below. All the folks enjoying their Thanksgiving meal in the beautiful courtyard of the California Kitchen.

I took a photo of some of the desserts available. What you see is what was left after everyone was so full that they could not hold another bite. We did not miss out on anything.

While we were all gathered together, Kathy Wesson, introduced herself and made a presentation about an orphanage that has very special needs. You can read about this by clicking here.

So you see, we did not miss out on Thanksgiving dinner here. We did miss having our loved ones close however. That, my friend, is the hardest part of being an expat.

Nancy (and Chuck)

Monday, November 22, 2010

This and That in Our World

Dear Family and Friends,

It seems like a long time since I have posted on our blog. We have been busy, but honestly, I am never too busy to take a little time to share with you. Maybe I just have had a bit of writer's block. At any rate, I will share a few pictures with you regarding what has been happening with us.

Audrey, Chuck's sister, and Jim, her husband were here for a couple of weeks recently. They had their friends, Jeff and Lynda from Santa Rosa, California meet them here. Since Audrey and Jim were sharing Cuenca with their friends, they rented the Adobe. The Adobe worked out perfect for them as it had two bedrooms and was right in the center of the action. You can see some pictures of their experience by going to Audrey's blog. click here

While they were here in Cuenca, Chuck and Clarke lined up a zip line trip. Here they are waiting at the California Kitchen for everyone to arrive for the upcoming adventure.

They enjoyed the festivities of Cuenca Independence and Chuck took them on a day trip to see the orchids outside of Gualaceo.

Just before they left Cuenca they treated us to dinner at Tiestos.

Chuck and I meet people in Cuenca who have come to check it out. Some end up moving here. Here are some folks, now our friends, who sought us out. We shared some time with them while they were visiting.

From left to right: me, Brad, the famous Carol of California Kitchen, Brad's dad, Don and Cindy. We enjoyed a delightful lunch together.

Karen Kimbler has recently returned from her trip to the U.S. We are so happy to have her back. We celebrated with a wonderful dinner at the California Kitchen.

The other day I caught Chuck out standing in our garden. I grabbed the camera because this is as close as he can get to farming in Cuenca. Chuck is in his element digging in the dirt.

We ride the city buses here quite often. But it is important to be cognizant of the time of day when riding the bus. At some times it is just too in the picture below. I was sitting toward the front of the bus. I turned and snapped this picture. The bottom line is since I must exit out the back door of the bus, when the bus came to my stop I couldn't get out. I just rode it to the end of the line and got out on the return trip.

I don't think I have shared the pictures below before. They are some fun pictures I dug up of Jenny and Chris Bluefields, owners of the Kookaburra restaurant. The first is of Jenny, Jason and beautiful Donna.

This picture is of Chris chatting with Barbara Adams.

Both Jenny and Chris are beautiful people. Such an asset for Cuenca.

Well, that's about it. Just a few things that have been happening in our lives lately.

We are looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving at the California Kitchen with friends on Thursday. We have so much to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving to you too.



Friday, November 12, 2010

Unsung Heroes Among the Ex-Pat Community

Dear Family and Friends,

Up front I must say that Chuck and I are not volunteers in Cuenca. We do, however, contribute money to many causes around town and the world for that matter.

There are, however, many expats who use their retirement time, here in Cuenca, to help out schools and organizations that can use a helping hand. These are the "unsung heroes" of the expat community. We don't know who they all are because they are busy, behind the scenes, doing good work for others.

Today, I received an email from Carol Evans. The Evans family are the owners of the California Kitchen restaurant...a very popular restaurant in Cuenca. They are using their precious day off (Sunday) to support SOLCA, a Cancer Specialty Hospital in Cuenca and FASEC ( Foundation for Assistance of Cancer Patient's).

I would like to share her email with you because not only the Evans family, but other expats are working together for this wonderful cause.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Dear Friends,

We wanted to bring to your attention a very special fundraiser for SOLCA, a Cancer Specialty Hospital in Cuenca and FASEC ( Foundation for Assistance of Cancer Patient's). They offer Hospice Care for needy patients and lodging for their families outside of Cuenca. It is indeed a much needed service and our family and many others are privileged to assist at the Fundraiser, It will be held this Sunday, November 14th from Noon to 4:00 P.M. , located at the Del Rio Mall Convention Center.

Bertha and Patricia, owners of Villa Rosa Restaurant have put this fundraiser together for many years and have spent a great deal of time organizing this event. We thank them for their tireless contribution that benefits so many needy families.

There will be food booths representing many different countries and the American Booth will have as volunteers working in the booth, Kathy and Mick Wesson (they will provide Cole Slaw and Chili), Mike and Pat Grimm, Connie and Mark Pombo, Angie and Jim Barnes, John Crosby , and Edward will be providing Boston Baked Beans. We will be serving Hamburgers, Potato Salad, Chili, Baked Beans and Cole Slaw. Edd and Cynthia Staton will be preparing Barbecued Ribs and volunteering their time to work in the American Food Booth.

We hope to see all of our Friends and Valued Customers on Sunday for a great day of Fun for a very worthy cause.

Many Thanks,

The Evans Family
California Kitchen

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

If you read the blogs of other Cuenca expats (and most of you do) you will recognize the names of some of the people who are volunteering their time to work in the American Food Booth. This is just one example of what people are doing here to help others in the community. There are many of you unsung heroes. I looked up "unsung heroes" in the online dictionary and it said "a person who makes a substantive yet unrecognized contribution."

To all of you who volunteer your time here in Cuenca, I want to recognize you. There are many, many people and I don't know who you are....but THANK YOU!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Local Establishments featured in Foreign Newspaper

Dear Family and Friends,

We are so proud of Carol and Lee, owners of Carolina Book Store and Jenny and Chris, owners of Kookaburra Cafe. Both are expats living here and operating businesses that serve other expats as well as local Cuecanos.

We learned that their businesses were featured in the India Times newspaper yesterday. That is real cool.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Memorial to Mike Byrd

Dear Family and Friends,

Chuck and I have been married over 25 years. Before our lives together, each of us were married to another. Chuck and I brought 5 children together when we married. Chuck brought Lyle and Merri and I brought Matt, Kylie and Michael into our marriage.

Yesterday, Mike Byrd, my previous husband and father to my three wonderful children, passed away. He had been in bad health for many years and his passing, although very hard to accept, was merciful.

Although, Mike and I chose not to continue our marriage, we had a relationship that was cemented together by our three children.

One thing that is hard about living in Ecuador, over 2,000 miles away from our children, is not being able to be with them as they are grieving the loss of their dad. We are staying in touch with Skype, and they know my heart is with them, but I wish I could be with them in person as they face this loss.

If you are a regular reader of our blog, you may know Matt. He comes to Ecuador each year to visit with us during his vacation. Matt wrote a memorial to his dad on his blog that he would like to share with others. You can read it by clicking here.

Talking about such personal matters is not our usual blogging style, but sharing with others is part of our grieving process.

Thank you for your warm thoughts of love to Matt, Michael, Kylie and me as we say goodbye to Dad and Mike.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Home Again...Jiggity Jig!!

Dear Family and Friends,

I am sitting here at 11:00 am, at the computer, in my house robe, sipping coffee and finally catching up on emails, and posting to the blog. I realize I am delinquent in letting you know we arrived back in Cuenca safe and sound.

To be honest, I have had brain burn out. Traveling, sleep deprivation, and getting adjusted to the altitude has had me running sluggish lately.

We got back in Cuenca last Wednesday night. Thursday was spent unpacking, doing laundry and generally taking it easy.

Friday we were a little more rested. This was a good thing, because it was my birthday and we went out for a little celebration. I didn't take my camera but you can see some pictures here. It is so nice to know we are loved. That is what makes the world go around...right??

Speaking of love, we caught up with Brian and Shelley at Parque Calderon on Sunday. I swear Freddie had missed me. I sat down beside her and put my hand out, palm up and she just laid her little head in my palm. She kept after me to give her attention. There is a lot to be said about animal is from the soul. Soul to soul love....that is the highest love there is.

Audrey and Jim arrived Saturday night. They are here for a couple of weeks to enjoy Independence Day in Cuenca. Since they are renting the adobe from Rich and Nancy, they will be right in the middle of all the action with friends, Jeff and Lynda, who arrived yesterday.

No pictures this time....mainly wanted to let you know we are still on this planet and where on this planet we are. We are doing great...just recuperating.

Our love to you,
Nancy (and Chuck)