Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rumors travel

According to Wikipedia a rumor or rumour (spelling differs between American and British English) is often viewed as "an unverified account or explanation of events circulating from person to person and pertaining to an object, event, or issue in public concern".

Rumors can hurt people, families and business. Rumors have been around from the beginning of time. I myself have listened to them but I would check with the person themselves before saying anything. I think it is the smart thing to do.
Here in Cuenca the Gringo (Gringo (Spanish: [ˈgɾiŋgo], Portuguese: [ˈgɾĩgu]) is a slang Spanish and Portuguese word used in Ibero-America, to denote foreigners, often from the United States. The term can be applied to someone who is actually a foreigner, or it can denote a strong association or assimilation into foreign (particularly US) society and culture. While in Spanish it simply identifies a foreigner, without any negative connotation,[1] in English the word is often considered offensive or disparaging) population is small in comparison to the Cuencano's. So word spreads fast good or bad. For instance if a store gets in American Peanut butter the community will know fast.
In this day we have many ways to receive rumors. Face to face, Facebook, Yahoo groups, Blogs and the list goes on. We have a responsibility to ourselves and each other to verify this information with the source. We should try not to hurt people intentionally.
Last year we met some people that started to try to spread rumors to our landlady but she knew us and asked us and it was fine, but it still hurt to know that people would try to that.
My POINT of this blog post is to get you to THINK before you share news/information.
Rumors hurt! Thanks for reading, Susan

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


We have been living in Cuenca for slightly more than thirteen months now, and hopefully are daily lives will begin to slow down over the next couple of months. Our son Frank is scheduled to arrive September 10th, so we will have three of our five children living with us here. In the USA we would have never considered inviting our older children to move back home, but here families treat each other differently, and it is more accepted to have unmarried adult children living at home. Our oldest daughter Courtney has already taken more of a leadership role at Moca, and the goal is have Susan train Frank once he arrives, so he can work at Moca with Courtney, and our manager Jenny. This will allow Susan and I, along with our partner Trish to act as mentors, and provide assistance when necessary. Susan, and I came here to retire, and the time to sit back and relax is becoming a real possibility with the arrival of Courtney and Frank.

Our other business, Cuenca Flats is gradually winding down, and we are limiting ourselves to managing only three properties for the immediate future. Managing properties is time consuming, and the money we earn does not impact our quality of life, so we have reevaluated the properties, and eliminated all but three. From the very beginning we let everyone know we weren't real estate agents and never had any interests in becoming one. We knew a few people (Ecuadorians) who owned properties, and they asked us to help, and we did for the most part. But, lately as more and more expats move to Cuenca I have become disenchanted with working in an area (real estate) that exposes me to so many expats, and so few Ecuadorians.

Let me explain the reason for my disenchantment. I grew up in San Antonio, Texas. We used to call San Antonio the capital of Northern Mexico when I was growing up. I was always comfortable being surrounded by the Hispanic community, and felt I had more in common with them than people for Minnesota, Virginia or Oregon. The Air Force sent me to live in the Azores for four years, and I loved the Portuguese culture, and left many friends behind when we returned to the USA.  My Air Force career of twenty-five years introduced me to many cultures, and countries beyond the borders of my home in Texas. I grew to understand that there were many great cultures throughout the world, and people regardless of where they were from, were just like me, but shaped by the uniqueness of their own culture and experiences. So, when we discussed moving from Atlanta, Georgia, we weren't moving out of a dislike for our own country, but instead in search of expanding our experiences, and those of our fourteen year-old son Nick by living in a different culture, and by not having to work any longer. Nick is now on his way to being bi-lingual (Spanish-English), and has matured so much in the last year, and I feel is because of his surroundings, and the additional time he spends with Susan and I compared to back in the USA.

So, in the last month in attempt to surround ourselves with more opportunities to experience the local culture, we have moved out of the very nice apartment in an affluent neighborhood to a house in a middle-class Ecuadorian neighborhood where we are the only expats. Our house is older, but our landlord allowed us to refinish the wood floors, paint, and refinish the kitchen ourselves (cost and labor) to make it our own. Our neighbor across the street is very friendly, and greets us with a smile when he sees us, and I have been accepted into the group that plays futsal in the park near our house. I am proud to be a Texan-American, and I am very fortunate to have grown up with an abundance of amazing opportunities that my family and country provided me. I am also proud of the twenty-five years I served my country, and feel great pride in what I accomplished as a member of the Air Force. And as a result of being raised in such fortunate circumstances, I know am blessed with the opportunity to live in Cuenca with my wife, and children. So, I will continue to offer a helping hand to an expat when I see they are in need of one, but I want to spend more time relaxing and getting to know my new neighbors, and understanding their culture.

While I will NEVER be accepted as a local, my hope is to be able to practice my Spanish, and grow as a person through interacting with my neighbors on a daily basis. I don't want to change my neighbors or my neighborhood, but I want to earn the trust of my neighbors, and to be a small part of the community. Hopefully they will gain something from interacting with my family as well. When you get down to it, we are all human beings, very similar in physical form, but our minds and beliefs are shaped by our experiences, and the people and cultures we interact with during our life. So, it is time for a change, and for me to take a big step back from all the things (Moca, Cuenca Flats, etc...) I have been involved in for the last year to relax, and get to know my new neighborhood, and my new neighbors.     

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

First Dentist Visit in Cuenca

About two weeks ago I started having a toothache. We were in the middle of moving into our new house when the pain started. I self medicated with motrin. Last week I started trying to call some dentists that were on a list on a Facebook group. They must have been on vacation or busy. I wasn't able to reach any of them.
My husband emailed our friend Oscar to get his wifes information so I could go see her. Today I got to go see her. Dr Paula Dominguez 097-868-908. She was very gentle with me since I am not a good dental patient. Her office is located just off of Solano on Daniel Cordova Toral. so far with my experience with the doctors and dentists in Cuenca they don't have assistants when you call you usually talk with them directly. Even at her office it is just her.
I asked her how much a cleaning would be for those of you interested she stated that it would be $30. I am not sure what others charge, but she is really nice and gentle.