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cccmedia
8/24/2015 07:07 EST

Dear Ellie,

Cuenca has become one of the world's hottest places for re-locating Expats.

Cuenca has more Expat meetups, events and field trips for Gringos than any other place in La Republica.

Just this month in Cuenca (August 2015) there have been or are scheduled: art opening, contemporary dance, museum visits, disco night, earring workshop, EC movie project, and birdwatching.

And that's just some of the events listed at www.gringopost.com

Also check the websites of Cuenca Highlife and Gringo Tree (www.tribelr.com)

cccmedia

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GringoinQuito
8/24/2015 07:38 EST

This has to be a joke

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JamieP
8/24/2015 09:24 EST

What is the joke?


I've never been there so...

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withoutego
8/24/2015 09:47 EST

ellieliggett,

I have lived (been based in) Cuenca for about five years. I travel a lot but for about three of those years I have had the same apartment in the city of four rivers (Cuenca). Lately I have lived in Vilcabamba but haven't given up the apartment in Cuenca.

First question: Are there many expats in Cuenca, Answer: Yes

Expats you know come in many flavors. Lets crowdsource the percentages. I'll jog the crowd...

I will guess 60% USA, 20% other Latin American nationals, 10% Canadian, 10% Euro and other. this might amount to six thousand souls total. This is close to a pure guess, slightly informed by my meeting so many folks over the years in Cuenca.

The question of just how many gringos there are is one kicked around a great deal. The government, if it knows, doesn't publish a number. Truth is many are there and not counted, under the radar, with stale visas.

Total population in greater Cuenca...400,000 maybe.

Second Question: What activities are available to them. Lots of stuff. Cuenca is trying, with some success, to become a cultural center. Theater, including an Expat group. Art galleries, Writers groups. Knitting and weaving. Gringo nights and social functions for charities. Lots of watering holes where people meet, something not so common in the states anymore.

Touring the Provence around Cuenca is easy and inexpensive, lots to see and do in the little towns an hour or less away. Day trips for a few dollars.

Whatever hobby you've had up north will be available in Cuenca. I have a dozen or so.

Learning Spanish is a major hobby for me. Not absolutely necessary for you but obviously available.

Half a million people to try the new language on. Teachers of Spanish are easy to find. Friends too. Have friends who speak no English and who are not learning it. That's when you will learn best. Takes a while.

Shopping in the market might almost be a hobby. Oh, please note....you bargain over price. You don't have to....but to do otherwise is like going to a party and sitting in the corner looking at your shoes. Technically you attended the party.

A gringo I know was so proud to have bested me in buying mandarins that it must have been a hobby for him. Twelve for a dollar. Ya, the market is something to do.

I have never heard anyone who managed to stay after making the move, who said they were bored.

The ones who couldn't adapt, maybe 75% over several years, were not bored just frustrated. No hobby or outside cultural thing would have made the difference for them, they needed the familiar routines of the states or where ever they were from.

Have you ever been to Ecuador? Have you ever lived outside your native land?

What hobbies or activities do you have now?

nosy ain't I ? It's another of my hobbies.

sinego

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DocStJohn
8/24/2015 11:45 EST

Cuenca presents unending foodie offerings, Elegant Costly Dining on the New and Unusual, as it nightly pimps it's wares.

Hey wallet, over here, over there!

The city filled with Plentiful Drinking Oases, sating ones thirsts for Cavorting, Partying, Folly and Fun.

All are available to Charm and Enchant.

How quickly the lure of this city vanishes, not unlike a momentary apparition, as soon as the Stock Market takes it's dive.

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GringoinQuito
8/24/2015 11:55 EST

The joke is, that if you do the most simplest research on the Internet , or on this forum you will have these most simplest of questions answered. They have been covered thousands of times.

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novato1953
8/24/2015 13:38 EST

Cuenca is the sharp talon of the Anglo-Saxon toehold in Ecuador. Good place to put your English to practical use. Actually this Forum posted a message in 2013 citing an Ecuador government census from 2010 showing Cuenca was called home by 3,600 of what was then 22,000 U.S. citizens resident in Ecuador. Last July, NBC news said there were 7,000 Americans in Cuenca. Plenty enough for a bowling league, anyway.

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ellieliggett
8/24/2015 23:52 EST

My husband and I traveled to Ecuador 3 years ago--visited Quito, Cuenca Salinas and Manta and some other small towns but really liked Cuenca.
I love to read, music of all kinds, nurture plants, swim and walk and travel. Love trying new restaurants too. We will be arriving in Cuenca Sept 2 and have applied for residency and rented a
furnished apt. We are looking forward to a great retirement there. We need to learn Spanish--our first big task to take on, besides learning how to get around the city and country..

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withoutego
8/25/2015 08:43 EST

ellieliggett y esposo (hubby)

Great. I will be in Cuenca a week after you arrive. Look me up at the Wind Horse Cafe. Big guy, always drawing (I have Debujo syndrome) so sketching is my therapy. I am getting better but I'm still looking drawn, sketchy.

Good to read that you are serious about Spanish. Advice....

1. be a parrot. imitate the sound of the word or phrase from a native speaker. Repeat it many times. Nail it !

2. Listen to Spanish radio or TV even though you don't understand it. The sound, like music does, will seep into your mind. You will start picking out words you've learned.

3. carry a dictionary. The rules for pronouncing written words in Spanish are not difficult to master. That way you can come close to the spoken from the written. Look at the Cuenca newspapers. The photo will give you clues to the caption.

4. Never be embarrassed to use what you have learned. The classroom is NOT the place to learn to converse. No more than it would be for learning to ride a bike. Both are physical and interactive.

5. The most important rule is NEVER give up. If you only learned a word a week...in four years you have two hundred words! Plenty, more than most expats. Useful too. Back off, take a break, but always return to it.

Simply going to class is not learning. Its like being religious simply because you go to mass every Sunday, a ritual. Making counter offers for onions in the market, that's learning. Thinking on your feet. Reacting in Spanish directly, instinctively.

Buena suerte y hasta pronto
(good luck and see you soon)

sinego

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golferfred
8/25/2015 08:50 EST

It really depends on your "mental" age. In Cuenca they roll up the streets at 7 at night except Friday.

I'm chronologically 70 years old but am not ready to walk around the city with the gringo hoard to look for things to "watch", and the best places to drink or eat. Cuenca is boring for all but those with "old" minds.

If you still have mental and physical energy left any place but Cuenca is better.

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aazar
8/26/2015 11:19 EST

Great advice!!!! The more one interacts with the locals the more it becomes real. It is such a high to be able to think and speak in another language! And it happens so subtly, one day you can't speak a word and then after being persistent and diligent, one finds that they can speak and even think in another language...just visualize that.

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withoutego
8/26/2015 13:22 EST

aazar

It is a strange process, learning Spanish. About 18 months ago something in my brain snapped and suddenly people started commenting on my improved Spanish...People who spoke no English. I felt it too. It was after I had been away for a while.

There is some sort of settling process in the mind....IF you push it, give it the effort. Its like breaking thru some barrier to another level.

Yes it is a high, spiritual and human. Something earned for sure, you can't buy it. Takes time.

As I have said elsewhere, learning another's language is a sincere sign of respect . People appreciate your having invested the work. It is work. It is best a labor of love.

sinego

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kmoriarty45
8/26/2015 17:49 EST

I call it the " Ah ha ! " factor. One day you just 'get it'. Sin ego is right, it takes time and - the older you get the more effort it takes but eventually, you will make that breakthrough.

If you hang around people who only speak English, it's not gonna happen. You need to immerse yourself in the language and begin to think in it.

Everyone learns at their own pace. For some it comes quicker than others, but don't get discouraged. Keep at it.

I had an accident a few years ago which caused some problems with my cognitive retention and linguistic memory skills. I get frustrated because I am no longer as fluent in Spanish as I was as a kid.

Thank goodness my wife, who speaks virtually no English ( nor does anyone else in the family ) , is very patient with me and understands me - only too well, sometimes - and we communicate very well.

My ear has become accustomed to the machine gun pace of the Spanish spoken here on the coast and while I'm no way near being a native speaker, I am able to carry on conversations with friends and relatives but I do a lot more listening than talking - which is always a good thing.

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withoutego
8/26/2015 18:59 EST

Kmoriarty45

Another point! the rapid speech. I get gigged by gringos for speaking Spanish rapidly. I think they are used to a classroom pace or a native going slow just for them. Its not natural even in the mountains. Not painfully slow anyhow.

Also, understanding has been for me like breaking down a puzzle then reassembling another puzzle in response.

Being able to do that quickly helps, even if you choose to not speak fast its useful to process quickly. Again, only thru practice.

And for Dios sake watch the person you are talking to. Their face tells you how you are doing. If they start to nod off or check their watch excessively, you are speaking too slowly.

being shy and easily embarrassed are killers in the language learning game.

True too about listening. Very useful. When your Spanish speaking friends get used to this they will pause their conversation and explain things, hopefully also in Spanish. As soon as possible go to Spanish only mode. Pantomime and writing and anything else but avoiding English.

Challenge yourself to memorizing one word a week. If you remain in Ecuador and God grants you another ten years. That's three thousand words!! That's a huge vocab.

True, when you've learned all those words you die. But, you'll go to heaven for your effort and with luck it'll be a Spanish speaking heaven.

Those gringos who expect Ecuadorians to learn English will of course go to Spanish speaking infierno, donde se les enseñará español por el diablo. So you might as well start learning up here where its cooler.

Susan, you are a scholar. What was Lucifer's native tongue? Back before he was fired for insubordination.

sinego

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GringoinQuito
8/26/2015 21:13 EST

One of the best investments I had made was to sign up for an intensive Spanish course at the Catholic University here in Quito. 5 days a week, 3 hours a day, for 8 weeks. $325.00. I also made and still make a conscious effort to surround my self with Ecuadorians and only speak Spanish.

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ellieliggett
8/26/2015 23:05 EST

Thanks--good to know that a breakthrough can occur.

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OceanHideaway
8/27/2015 01:28 EST

Funny you should mention Lucifer -- which is a Latin name for Venus actually -- so he would speak Latin.

But Venus the morning star in ancient Semitic Cannanite myth is Attar... and to really melt your mind .. that would be ..Astar, Astarte, Ishtar (Esther) and in South America... Amar, or Amari ...all of the names of the Goddess...

Comparative religion and mythology -- it can really rock the world.

BTW I decided to download DuoLingo on my smart phone and they made me take a little test. Now My background before coming to Ecuador was 2 years of poorly studied HS Spanish and then living in South Florida for 25 years. I have been here for 7 and when I took the test scored a 10... more than halfway through the units -- just by living and working and communicating in my community. Plus I have good friends who correct me when I need it.

I still use a translation program and I still have a little dictionary -- but communication is about getting the message across -- it starts with fingers and mime, numbers and objects and being polite -- get that down and use it and the Mercado is yours :)

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withoutego
8/27/2015 08:20 EST

Susan,

No, can't buy the fallen angle having Latin as his first language. Maybe I will ask that question in the Q&A session at orientation. For the newbie damned. Or the new bedamned.

Sure he speaks Latin and Greek and English too, with an upper class accent if he wants to. But when he gets down with his homies and has a few drinks, really loosens up, what language?

The various testaments used to transmit the faith(s) had to be written in the language of the current power in the world, Greek then Roman (Latin) good choices because the word survived. Hebrew too, because that tribe is all about surviving.

But the scribes who moved the canon from spoken to written, an innovation back then, to preserve it, they spoke languages now lost to all but scholars. The evil one's native tongue was much older. No doubt lost too. A shame, it would be ideal for cursing in, drawing those lightning bolts like one of Nicola Tesla's coils.

I love religion, as only an athiest can.

oh, to remain on thread....living in Cuenca. Its cooler than it used to be. Not hip cooler, cold cooler.

sinfe

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OceanHideaway
8/27/2015 16:55 EST

Well you said Lucifer -- that's the Latin name... so that's the Latin speaker...

You know that in the Original ...in Hebrew (ivrit) the Adversary is Ha'satan and is actually not evil but the one who acts the part of the examiner...think of it as the prosecuting attorney. In fact in my culture there is no "heaven" nor "hell" -- believe me my people have experienced sufficient hell on earth to learn hopefully that it exists right here and the purpose of life is to keep it from occurring.

...so if you want to be picky... the ha'satan would speak in a manner that Ha'shem and a'dom (man) can comprehend -- so it all depends I suppose on who is being questioned...nu?

I do enjoy pointing out how things change as you go from Original to Septuagint (Greek) to Latin to English KJV ...and what is lost in translation -- and my very favorite example is Exodus 30:23 ...go check out what "calamus" was in the original (and still is in the Tenakh) ...and you will never again wonder why Moses and his brother and all the Priests of Israel saw great visions in the Sinai ... Go ahead, research...it's fun and very enlightening :)

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kmoriarty45
8/27/2015 18:04 EST

I believe, if memory serves, that Lucifer means Light or Light Bearer in Latin, That's why matches were called lucifers at one time.

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OceanHideaway
8/27/2015 19:31 EST

Bringer of the Dawn -- actually :)

Amara -- in the parthenon of South American gods is the Deminine diety who rules over the Sun setting and rides in on the Milkyway -- Venus is the morning star and the evening star depending on the time of year

A star ...Estrella... again Ester...Ashtart...Ishtar...Astarte Atar...Amar...Imar...Ima...Ema...(Mama) ....

The Feminine ... the "Mother Goddess" (the tripartite Maiden/Mother/Crone (Priestess) -- and why was the Bringer of Light (Wisdom) thrown out of "heaven" for questioning the Masculine "god" --

Yes it is the battle of the sexes -- and replayed in the heavens in the Pre Abrahamic religions and ...She lost...but still exists hidden but there if you look for Her.

Right there in the Hebrew in prayers ...(the one) Who commands us to fulfill the ritual ...Asher ...

And in the Christian tradition too... Mary the Mother, Mary the Magdelene and Hannah, the mother of Mary (St Anne) -- is another representation of the Maiden, Mother and Crone.

The Goddess culture and the Female Diety show up all over Ecuador -- the coast is he location of the oldest civilizations in the western hemisphere and the human migration patterns carried the myths of the fertile crescent onward with them to the very ends of the earth.

And we know that one man's myth is another man's religion.

The more we know and understand, the more we learn to respect what we do not fully comprehend -- and acknowledge the right of everyone to their own beliefs as we would trust them to respect the right of us to ours.

And that is how we learn to live in peace in a world of great variety -- like a mixed bouquet in a vase.

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windshadow
8/27/2015 21:31 EST

I think it is warmer than previous winters!

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aazar
8/28/2015 00:03 EST

sin ego, It is interesting that you said it is a labor of love! You are correct. Love is being alive, and if speaking Spanish or French or what ever other language takes one's fancy, is what helps one be more alive, then that is where one will be in the "now". Communicating with those beautiful people who are so much more spiritual than 99% of the gringos in the USA, will bring one that much closer to oneself. I love breaking through barriers, I do not mean being an outlaw, but the barriers built by humans living in societies. We are always so busy building walls to keep others out, or to possess...that we forget what it really is to be alive. Learning a new language and then being able to think in it or listen to others speak in it and be able to follow their train of thought is like traveling to a different universe with one's mind.
What is really cool is that once one has the Ah ha experience, or that break through, then other Ah ha experiences can follow more easily. Ya, I can go for those Ah ha moments...if it keeps me feeling alive.
Each new language one learns is like an opening or a portal which opens up..and allows one to see the same old world through a new light. One is changed forever, and there is no going back.
My favorite therapy is traveling and practicing another language. It always opens my heart center, and brings me back to my spiritual center. Now learning to write, well that is another challenge. LOL

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windshadow
8/28/2015 17:38 EST

It is a good idea to keep your dictionary wrapped in foil so that, you know, your safe and all from word shifting aerosol spray!

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Flyboy27
12/2/2016 20:06 EST

Hello, are there surfers that live in Cuenca and make biweekly or monthly trips to the coast for surfing? I have read there are many little hostels along the beaches, perfect for a week surf trip or weekend surf trip? any thoughts about this would be helpful. Thanks very much. CW

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withoutego
12/3/2016 04:40 EST

I have to report that a friend here in Vilcabamba and his wife have decided to move to Cuenca. There isn't enough going on in our little village. This after a year plus.

Very subjective and sometimes it takes a while to know. Personal litmus and often not predictable. Best to remain flexible and not surprised when after a year or two you have the urge to move.

One of the things for the inner life to engage (reducing the load on external stimulus) is learning language. Old minds and brains benefit in the same way old bodies are maintained with exercise.

I have finally found a Spanish teacher who loves the Latin American and Iberian authors I enjoy reading. Of course she is from Europe. So for the rest of this southern stay I will have a guide to the Spanish originals of books I've read in translation over the years. Having nothing but McGuffey's reader in Spanish would be a drag.

We're born. We find stuff to do. We die. We repeat the proceeding (according to some) until we get it right. Claro? Vamos a la vida proxima!

sinego

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