Friday, October 28, 2011

Busy in Retirement

When we decided to move to Cuenca, one of the main reasons was so Susan and I could both retire full-time, and enjoy just being together with less stress. After three months we have gradually found little things to do, which are adding up to making us a very busy couple.

We started out teaching English to Evelina, Joacquim, and Juan Jose after being in Cuenca for a two weeks to give us something to do a few hours a day. This lasted until school started in September, and recently resumed two evenings a week after the families asked us to resume classes.

Susan was an Air Force Medic, and instructor for thirteen years, and saw a volunteer opportunity to work at a cancer hospital once a week. So now, Susan, along with several other expats volunteer there time once a week to assist nurses at FASEC, which is a cancer ward for under-privileged patients who are from out of town, or are without any family in the area. They make bandages, speak with patients, and help in any way possible to make the lives of the patients better.

Cuenca Flats ( is a property management company which originally was developed to help our landlady and friend Martha lease the other apartments in our building. It has now grown to include nine apartments, a commercial office space, and a country home we are listing soon for $200,000. I thought I would design a little website, and be the gringo go-between to get the word out, but now we have two Ecuadorian clients, and one expat client, and more inquiries for apartments than we have apartments to lease. We are in the process of uploading three new apartments, and beginning the possible renovation of another apartment ourselves. Also, we have made several friends in our building, and are trying to do our best to help newcomers with their transition to living in Cuenca.

Our good friend Trish purchased a cafe called Moca Cafe Bar ( on Gran Colombia earlier this year, and has been a very hands-off owner. She asked Susan and I to help her come up with some ideas to grow the business, and after a few meetings we decided to expand the hours to include mornings beginning November 1st. The last few days Susan, Trish, and I have been developing a new menu, looking for new vendors, purchasing new equipment, and developing a website and Facebook page to promote the cafe. Last night Susan and I waited on customers, and learned the menu, and how to make different things. Beginning next week we will be opening Moca from 8:00am - 12:00pm, Monday - Friday to see if we can entice new customers to give us a try for coffee and breakfast during the week. It is an upscale cafe, complete with Wi Fi, music, and is a nice romantic setting for coffee, dessert, or a nightcap without having to go to El Centro. Last Wednesday was our first Happy Hour (Wednesdays 4:00pm-10:00pm), and we invited our friends and neighbors to join us, and everyone enjoyed themselves. Moca will give us an opportunity to practice our Spanish on a daily basis, so our goal is to be semi-fluent on our one-year anniversary (July 12, 2012) of arriving in Cuenca.

So, we came here to retire, and spend time relaxing, and enjoying our time together. BUT, as you can see, even in retirement, Susan and I still seem to get ourselves involved in plenty of things to keep us busy. Susan keeps saying that at 37 she is too young to retire, but at the wise old age of 52, I believe you are never too young to retire. So, we will enjoy working together for a change, and see if we can expand our network of friends, and our understanding of our new country. Life is good.

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