2012 Cuenca Perspectives Collage

2012 Cuenca Perspectives Collage


My mission in publishing this blog is first to provide a living history of my settlement and life in Cuenca, and to provide myself and the reader with a journal account delineating my reasons for why I have chosen to settle in Cuenca. Second, the posts are my way of staying in contact with family and friends back in the states, and to provide them with an understanding of a country and culture that most North Americans have little knowledge and awareness. Third, the blog is open to one and all who wish to compare and contrast the experiences of expat bloggers living in Cuenca, so that you can determine whether or not from your perspective Cuenca is an appropriate move for you. Fourth, my blog provides another example of how expats view and interpret life in Cuenca. Ecuadorians and Cuencanos who may read this blog are especially invited to post comments that may enhance all expats understanding and appreciation of Cuneca and its people, or to correct any misinterpretations in my assumptions and perceptions of Cuencano culture. Finally, I hope I can convey the feeling of love and appreciation that grows within me each passing day for this heavenly city nestled in the Andes and its very special people.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Celebrate, Celebrate, Dance to the Music!

Oh man! Talk about time flying. It’s already been a week ago today that I spent the day in Quito getting my sedula and censo. I swear it feels like I was just there two days ago.

My attorney was Gabriela Espinosa. I arrived to her new office, where she relocated her staff in early August. Gabriela’s new address is 18 de Septiembre E7-26 y 6 de Diciembre office 82. Before I could even approach the building receptionist/security, a young man behind me introduced himself as Andreas and announced that he was Gabriela’s assistant. He speaks English very well. We made a short stop in Gabriela’s office, procured what files we needed and we were off and running. The censo was taken care of first. Andreas went ahead to meet with officials to be sure they would have my birth place in the computer, so the process would not be hampered when my turn came up to answer the questions on the form, since my place of birth was not likely to be already listed in the computer.

The next stage was the long process. Over 400 people with numbers ahead of ours. The waiting was going to be hours. Andreas disappeared for about forty minutes to take care of paper work unrelated to my case. When he returned we talked for about thirty minutes. With still over 200 numbers to go, I suggested we go across the street where there was an arena. The entire front of the arena was ensconced with one restaurant after another, with the vast majority of them in the fast food milieu. We stopped at a Chinese restaurant. I assumed it was a franchise, because we went up to the counter and had a choice of about eight different meals from which to choose, as they were displayed on the wall high above the counter. Andreas and I both went for the “Big Buddha”. We highly recommend it. Lot’s of variety of tantalizing, generous portions on the plate. The dinners were quite good by Ecuadorian standards of Chinese cuisine. We followed lunch with about a six block walk, anything to prevent us from having to return and sit any longer than was necessary. It wasn’t too long after our return that our number was called and the sedula business was taken care of.

Andreas did say that criminal records are now once again required by those seeking residency in Cuenca, but medical records continue not to be required as they once were.

We returned to Gabriela’s office. I signed a form giving them power of attorney, so they could pick up my sedula and send it to me with a routing number where I would need to pick the sedula up at the Cuenca Airport. Just take it for granted that you will have to call the law firm to determine when the sedula was forwarded to you and what the routing number is. I picked up my luggage and headed out of the office to discover that there was a monster storm raging outside. Then it began to hail heavily. Not golf ball size, but large enough and plentiful enough to encapsulate Quito in a sheet of white that reminded me of Chicago in March when one might find everything suddenly covered in an half an inch of snow. It was such a stunner, after such a beautiful day of sunny weather.

At the slightest hint of a slow-down in the rain, I realized I had to get about fifty feet from the front of the office building over to the corner to hail a cab. By the time I reached the corner the rain was mercilessly pounding down again, and the streets were so cover in water that I didn’t think any cab would come close enough to the curb for me to throw my luggage and myself into the taxi. Almost immediately, a cab stopped to pick me up. I was surprised, because the driver already had a female passenger sitting in the front seat with him. They both were cordial. We attempted some conversation, but the language gulf was too big.

The fifteen minute ride took fifty minutes to the airport. The streets were flooded something awful. I hadn’t seen flooding this pervasive since my monsoon days in Mumbai back in the 70’s. Of course, Mumbai had no storm sewers back then. Some shop keepers were using push-brooms to keep the water from flooding into their store entrances. For other shop keepers, it was a lost cause. Their sidewalk levels were lower than the street, and the water forged its way right into the stores. At times I saw children pounding around with their shoes in the hail, and attempting to pick it up just like kids would pick up snow in the states.

The flight was twenty minutes delayed. I arrived in Cuenca. There had been no rain, let alone a storm. Everything was Cuenca. Everything was tranquil.

I was now a resident of Ecuador, and more excitedly a genuine Cuencaneo. Mucho orgullosomente! My good friends Gil and Deborah Castle threw me, and Larry and Karen Schunk a celebration dinner in honor of the three of us just completing our residency process. With Deborah cooking one of her fabulous meals, we couldn’t have asked for a nicer evening. (Sorry D, P, S, and L back in the states. No photos of the celebration.) I’M A CUENCANO! VIVA CUENCA!


  1. Congratulations Jim! We have just returned from our first trip to Cuenca! We loved it. We hope to make it our home sometime in the next couple of years. Lots of obstacles and roadblocks but somehow we will make it work. Looking forward to sharing Cuenca with you someday, John & Robin

  2. Congratulations Jim! Doesn't it feel good???

  3. It must be very liberating to finally have your residency completed. Congratulations!

  4. Thanks everybody. Nancy, it feels real good! Glueten Free Gringo, after a five-and-a-half month wait, it's very liberating. John and Robin, if you want it bad enough, you'll make it work. Look forward to seeing you.