Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fourth Week in Cuenca

Tuesday was the beginning of our fourth week living in Cuenca. The majority of the things you associate with getting settled into a new home are done. We have a beautiful apartment (12 month lease) with all the luxuries we had in Decatur (minus family of course). Our landlady Martha, and building manager Edgar have become good friends, and they enrich our lives daily by challenging us to speak more Spanish, and to enjoy what Cuenca has to offer. We are comfortable walking to the farmers market called Feria Libre for our fresh fruits, vegetables, rice, and to a nearby bakery for delicious cinnamon rolls (and more). We can also walk to Super Maxi (similar to a Publix), but we limit our purchases to cheddar cheese, chocolate, and few other things due the higher cost of goods. Being a vegetarian household, the abundance and affordability of fresh fruits and vegetables is awesome, and we have reduced the amount of processed foods in our diets by at least fifty percent.

Nick at soccer practice
Nick is playing soccer three times a week, and has already played one game, and has another game tomorrow, so Susan and I soccer parents again. I ride the bus (#7) with Nick to practice three times a week, and then spend the 2-3 hours reading my kindle, or talking with another soccer dad in a mixture of Spanish and English. It takes us about 15-20 minutes each way on the bus, and I must admit it is nice to ride a bus here instead of driving to practice in Decatur. So far, I do not miss having a car at all,!

Susan teaching English
We are have our very own students (Joaquim, Ebony and Lisabeth) who visit each morning for their daily English lessons, and in exchange helps us learn Spanish. Depending on how early our students arrive, or whether Nick has soccer practice determines who the teacher is each day. Lately, Ebony and Lisabeth have been hanging out with Susan for 2-3 hours after classes are done to watch English language cartoons on my laptop.

Cuenca Bus Card
With the help of our upstairs neighbor Edwin, we are the proud owners of our very own prepaid Cuenca bus cards! The card has set us free in Cuenca. No more worrying about change for the bus before leaving the house. The card itself cost us $1.75 (we bought two), and we loaded $10 on each card which is enough for 40 bus trips each. Yes, the bus cost $.25 per trip, and we haven't found anywhere we cannot get to by riding the bus, and it feels safer than using MARTA in Atlanta.

Nick Spanish Language School

On Monday, Nick begins Spanish lessons at Amauta Spanish School to prepare for his placement exams for the Santana School at the end of the month. His lessons are two hours a day, Monday-Friday, with a pupil-to-teacher ration of 2-1, and last for four weeks. Once Santana School begins September 7th, the plan is to continue Nick's Spanish lessons for one hour a day, 2-3 times per week to help with homework. Santana is a private IB certified school which teaches in Spanish with the exception of ten hours per week of English lessons, and as parents we are excited by the opportunity to have Nick become bi-lingual.

Now that we have been here a whopping 24 days, I must admit I love it here, so here is a list of ten things I enjoy about living in Cuenca.

1. Public Transportation is cheap, reliable, and safe.
2. The availability of fresh fruits, and vegetables has made me forget all about Whole Foods.
3. Weather is unbelievable.
4. Ecuadorians are friendly, helpful, and smile when we say hello.
5. Green! Everything is green, and beautiful. Hard to have a bad day when you are surrounded by the natural beauty of Cuenca.
6. Smiling children playing outside.
7. Walk-ability. We can get just about anywhere by foot with relative ease.
8. The sounds of the city. I may be strange, but I enjoy the sounds a city makes, and it gives off energy that makes me feel alive.
9. Spending time with my wife, and son without having to rush off to work, soccer, or somewhere else as we did in Decatur.
10. Safety. I have yet to feel uncomfortable, or as if I should be worried about my safety anymore so than I felt in downtown Decatur, and I feel safer here than in downtown Atlanta.

If anyone ever reads this blog, we hope our ramblings are at least entertaining, and maybe even a little helpful. Take care all.


  1. Steven,
    I'm following your with much interest. Sounds like things are going well. My wife and I are visiting Cuenca over Christmas for the time. We are excited with the possibility of moving there in about a year. Your comments are similar to others who have made the move and reinforces our desire to explore further.

    Paul Domer

  2. We made the move sight unseen, and haven't regretted it for a minute. Beautiful city, friendly people, and the weather is fantastic.