Monthly Archives: June 2012

What will I Do in Boquete ?

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This is a very important question!” Your so young to retire!” That’s true, and since I’m not planning to do hair ,what will I do?Of course this is something I’ve put a lot of thought into ! After nearly 30 years of enjoying a very successful career as a stylist, I feel ready to do something different. The one aspect of my job that I feel really defines me is the social interaction. I really love connecting with people. Feeling like I may have made someone’s day a little bit brighter is extremely rewarding to me. I also really enjoy getting to know people and discovering what I have in common with them. There’s always something to learn from everyone I meet ! I hope I’ll be able to find this kind of social satisfaction in Boquete . The creative pleasure I get from styling hair I will miss so much but my hope is that I’ll be able to pursue some other kind of artistic endeavor that will fill that void. There are many artistic things I enjoy doing, sculpture, painting, writing, reading, gardening, photography to list a few. And of course one of my favorite hobbies is learning new things . For instance, blogging! This is proving to be a really fun and somewhat challenging new learning experience. And using this platform ,(blogging), has the added benefit of continuing to connect with all of you.

I’ve always wished I had more time and energy to do some kind of volunteer work. I love children and perhaps I’ll find an opportunity to contribute to a local organization that helps children in some way. I hear there is a brand new library in Boquete , and that volunteers are needed to read stories to children! That sounds like a job made for me!! Reading is one of my passions! Sharing my love of literature with children would be incredibly rewarding! Of course I’ll have to learn Spanish , one more motivation to work on that! I’m sure learning Spanish will take up a lot of my time, especially in the beginning . I really look forward to being able to communicate with my new Panamanian neighbors . I’ve never learned another language so I expect it’s going to be a huge challenge !

I’ve been in contact with a very sweet woman who I met last October when Scott and I spent two weeks exploring Boquete . We were so lucky to have found Seela and her husband Al online while searching for a short term rental. They had a beautiful little casita on their property for rent and we jumped on it. While we were there we got to spend some time with them, picking their brains about every little detail of life in Boquete . They were so generous with information and having all that first hand knowledge really confirmed for us that we were on the right path. I recently sent an email off to Seela to see if she could provide a bit of 411 about what kinds of things there are to do there. Boy , opportunities abound! She sent me about a dozen web sights of different things to get involved in . From a Gourmet group(right up our alley!), to gardening and book clubs as well as a community theater that always needs volunteers( Hair&Makeup, anyone!). She was very encouraging about our impending move and I know I already have one new friend! It’s also nice to know about all the many opportunities there are in Boquete to get involved. I suspect after I try a few different things I’ll find just the right place for me to make a contribution and feel useful.

Another aspect of this new lifestyle that I’m looking forward to is having more time to spend with my best friend! I’m really looking forward to having time to explore our new country and have adventures together! Our life right now requires us to spend more time apart than together. Truth be told, I enjoy spending time with Scott. Doing projects, traveling, and on occasion , just being lazy together . We are a great team! So when I’m not pursuing hobbies or volunteering , I’ll be enjoying time with my guy! Of course I’ll have to dump him out of his hammock first ! Lol!!! No, believe me, Scott won’t be just lazing about, he also has many plans of his own. Much of his plans have to do with tools and wood and making stuff! And he longs to become, “Scott-of-the-jungle!”. I’m sure he will find some nice strong vines to swing from and I can see myself yelling…..”Watch out for that treeeeeee!”. Ha! Ha! Ha! Sooooooo, let’s get this adventure started! We’ve got lot’s to do!!!

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Decisions! Decisions!

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Now that we’re back to reality it’s time to buckle down and get serious about this part of our adventure. So far, for us, the first step of expatriating has been making lists individually and collectively about what’s important to us . Then we spent tons of time researching online. The next step was actually exploring the locations that were strong
possibilities for us.

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Leaving Cuenca on Wed, & heading home Thurs

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Wed morning we checked out of our Villa Nova Inn. It was time for the treacherous but scenic van ride back to Guayaquil . We left at 6:30am Thurs morning so we arranged to spend one night at the Palace hotel , where we stayed one night at the beginning of our trip.

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Pictures from Panama, 2011

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I thought, to be thorough , I should post some pictures from Panama. There are some from Boquete, some fun zip line photos from Boquete , and some from the Carribean side of the country.It’s only a 3 hour drive by bus, probably faster by car , to get to the Carrabian .

 

 

 

 

Day 8 & 9 in Cuenca

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Poor Scott caught a bad flu bug yesterday so sadly our exploration of Cuenca seems to be pretty much done for now. Today he is still down for the count and tomorrow we head back down to Guayaquil . He’s feeling a tiny bit better but still needs to stay close to the Banos. For lunch yesterday I just ate the remnants of our picnic but for dinner I decided to wander out on my own .

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Day 7 in Cuenca

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Yesterday was an extremely restful and even lazy day for us. It turns out Sunday is a family day throughout this lovely city. Most restaurants and stores are closed and the streets and parks seemed almost deserted. It is a very Catholic culture here, hence all the many, many churches. But what I find most touching about the Cuencono’s is how evident it is that family is cherished.

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Day 6 in Cuenca

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A few observations about life in Cuenca.

1. Here you don’t see beggars just standing on a curbside with a cardboard sign… They actually do a little show while you sit at a red light! And I mean, a pretty darn good show, juggling , balancing acts , a guy had a soccer ball and he did a crazy balancing act with the ball on his head doesn’t sound impressive but I know I could never even attempt it! In my humble opinion, they deserve a hand out, they actually did something creative to earn a fewcoins ! After they finish their show they dash around to the cars and nearly every car gives them something .

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Scott’s Birthday Dinner in Cuenca

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I neglected to post the pictures of the lovely dinner we had on Scott’s Birthday on Thursday night. I know Pat ( Scott’s Mom) will appreciate seeing them. Dano recommended this restaurant , Tiestros. The chef came out from the kitchen to introduce himself to us and asked where we were from. We told him we were from California and he scratched his chin , thinking and said… I will make surf & turf for you!! …… Ok?

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Pictures of Day 5 in Cuenca

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Today was a relaxing day. We didn’t have much of an agenda so we did a bit of wandering through Old Town and just looking around. I took some pictures of some pretty sights . Some graffiti I found interesting and some of the old Colonial buildings . We wandered upon a panama had museum. Little known fact….. Panama hats originated here in Ecuador ! Why they call them Panama hats, I haven’t a clue. But all the indigenous women wear them here. We also went to one of the other markets . This one , San Francisco Market is in a building unlike the Fiera Libre which was outdoors.

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Day 4 in Cuenca

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Today is Scott’s Birthday! So as I’m writing this post he’s upstairs taking a glorious siesta! We’ve already had a pretty full day so he gets to do anything he wants!😘. Later this evening we are going out to a nice dinner . Dano recommended a place in Old Town called Tiestros. We went over there this afternoon to check it out and made a reservation for 7:00. We’ve been told its a gastronomic treat for a special night. Supposedly the chef comes out of the kitchen to chat with the diners so we all know I love to chat so it should be fun.

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Pictures of Day Two in Cuenca

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20120612-223359.jpgThis is Dano, he’s a great tour-guide!20120612-223716.jpg Fireworks at the festival

20120612-223951.jpgThey fill these paper balloon things with fire then just let them float off into the sky! The sky above the park is filled with these colorful things ! So cool!

20120612-223731.jpgJust a pretty tree in the park

20120612-223705.jpgFloating balloon!

20120612-223642.jpgA couple of them actually floated into the church!

20120612-223624.jpgScott choosing some sweets…. Hard to decide, it all looked so yummy!

20120612-223612.jpgthis is one of those structures that has the fireworks on it. They light it up and those pinwheels spin around!

20120612-223549.jpgAn Ecuadorean family in the back of their truck.

20120612-223539.jpgDriving through old town with Dano

20120612-223518.jpgA store window in the old town.

20120612-223502.jpgWe had lunch with Dano at one of his favorite places.

20120612-223452.jpgThe church in Turin , so many beautiful churches.

20120612-223442.jpgthe view of Cuenca from Turin

20120612-223427.jpgMore view of the city

20120612-223411.jpgand one more!

20120612-223345.jpga friendly alpaca

20120612-223323.jpgUs at the waterfall

20120612-223314.jpgThe waterfall

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Day two in Cuenca

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We started our day with coffee out on the veranda of our inn . It’s been a beautiful day, just a bit cloudy but no rain. Up here in the Andes we have read that in one day you can experience all the seasons throughout the day. So I was prepared for at least a bit of rain but it was sunny and warm all afternoon. Of course it’s only 4:00 right now so I have a feeling rain could come yet.

We met Dano on the other side of the bridge just beyond where we are staying. He took us to a tiny hole in the wall breakfast restaurant called Bannanas. We had a very good breakfast and he opened up his map and showed us some of the areas he thought we might be interested in seeing. We had asked him if he could show us some of the surrounding areas just on the outskirts of the city .

After breakfast we were off! We decided to head South of the city to some more rural areas that are only 30-40 min away. Through the Yungulla Valley and into Guron. Dano took a side trip to a water fall he thought we would like to see. El Chorro Waterfall. There were upper and lower falls and the lower was just a quick hike so we did that one since we were not prepared for a 4 hour hike to the upper one. It was very pretty, I’m glad we stoppe to take a look. this area is very beautiful , it reminded us a little of the Napa area with the rolling green hills , it was pretty desolate as far as stores and restaurants. There really wasn’t much at all nearby to do or places to buy food or anything else we might need.

Next on the agenda was an area just above the city with spectacular views, Turi. Not a bad possibility. Set above the city and kind of on the other side of a big hill is a kind of secluded little area that was rural enough for us yet close enough to the city where if we wanted to go out to dinner it wouldn’t be a big deal. Another area we drove through was Tarquy and San Joaquin . Also areas we thought were pretty good.

As we both expected its hard to find a smallish town outside the city but not too far outside the city that provides amentities like a largish grocery store , a few decent restaurants yet access to the larger city for things to do or for supplies we may not find in the small town.

We will explore some areas to the north and to the east on Thursday with Dano. I’m so glad we were able to connect with him because we are getting to see much more than we could have on our own.

We just got back from joining in on the festivities in Park Calderon. It’s a religious observence that lasts 7 days. There are tents everywhere piled high with sweets! There’s music and jugglers and lots of street performers. It seems like all the families in Cuenca Come out to just stroll around in the park together and enjoy the scene. At the end of the evening they have these huge structures that have these pinwheel like things on them and they light them on fire and they turn into an amazing fireworks display! Then they shoot more fireworks right above the crowd! Sparks fly really close and it’s so beautiful . Another really cool thing going on in the square are these colorful paper balloon type things, almost like giant lanterns , they fill them with fire and just let them float up into the sky! There were dozens of them floating away, I wish you could have seen it.

Another successful day exploring a very beautiful place! Hola! For now……

Day one in Cuenca

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Our day began with a trip to the airport in search of our lost baggage.  This journey ended with success!  Baggage in tow, we hoofed it to the place where we were  told we could hire a shared van to Cuenca.  The 3 1/2 hour drive up, up, up to Cuenca was pleasant. Not exactly first class, no wine, but it was not bad. One especially windy stretch of the road became terribly foggy we could hardly see at all but the driver never took off his dark sunglasses! Yikes!   After arriving in Cuenca we caught a taxi to our hotel, Villa Nova.  It’s a nice place right by the river. Our room is facing the river so the sound of the rushing water is quite pleasant. Read the rest of this entry

Travel Day…Ecuador Here We Come!

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We left San Francisco at 11:00pm on Saturday , our first leg was a 4 hour flight to Chicago. Arriving in Chicago at 5:00am Sunday . Now after a four hour layover we are on a 4 1/2 hour flight to Panama City. Then a 2 hour flight to Guayaquil , Ecuador. Whew!!! Our connection in Panama is kinda tight and I think we are leaving Chicago a bit late, oh well.. We’ll see what happens .

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“You”re LEAVING the US?”, And US! 😱.

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Many people wonder, “why?”. Why do you want to leave the States? Well….. How to summarize five years of much contemplation. It began with a conversation we were having during a desperately dark , scary and sad period in our lives several years ago. We were dreaming of escaping our sorrow and the difficulty life at that time had presented to us. Im not sure if it was me or Scott , probably me, who said,”let’s just leave ! Move out of the country! Just escape!”.
It was an appealing dream at the time to just run away and start over. We both knew at the time that it wasn’t anything even remotely possible for us. But, boy was it therapeutic to just talk about what it would be like to move to a different country and start a new life, learn a new language, assimilate into a different culture, make new friends. Where would we go? What would our lives look like? How would we do it? How would we shed all this baggage we’ve accumulated , house, business, cars, debt, all the material possessions that define this life here. It all just began to feel so unimportant and burdensome .
Our priorities were definitely beginning to change. As we looked around at all the things that we were working so hard to have, we just felt like we were ready for something entirely different. This change of heart was likely precipitated by this very challenging period of time in our lives. When life gets very precarious it tends to make you stop in your tracks and really look clearly at what’s important to you. Both Scott and I now realize that we are just done spending the majority of our life working really hard for a really costly house in an expensive area and taxes. Both of us want to slow down, work less and have more time to enjoy each other and life.
Now that we’ve survived that most difficult time and life is good, our dream is rapidly turning into a reality. And that reality is no longer a means of escaping unhappiness but packing up our happiness and taking it on an exciting adventure! So this is the shortest answer I could muster to a Query that has many scratching their heads and saying….”You’re leaving us? Why?”. We are really hoping to have lots of house guests in our new home, where ever that may be! I’ll be bribing you all with Scott’s delicious food and a private tour guide , if that doesn’t do it well then you’ll be missing out on an adventure. 😊

Mistakes and Boo-Boo’s!!!

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Ok…… I am embarssed!!! 😝😁. I promise I know where Seattle is!!!! Really, really I doooooooo! This blogging idea is gonna be challenging for me! I don’t quite know how to edit yet so after I push that “Publish” button it’s just gone forever. So for the record, Seattle is in Washington! Darn it! Note to self……. Read and RE-read before pushing that button! Please forgive my sometimes lame attempt to write. I hope my writing skills improve in time but until then, I really feel very humbled by how vulnerable it feels to share my thoughts via the written word. Im much better at just talking !!!! But I really love to dive in and learn new things these days soooooooo I will keep tryin! :). After I posted this I learned how to edit so the mistake I had made on the previous post is magically gone! Tada!…… But I’ll share with you what my boo boo was so you can appreciate my horror . I said that the blogger who I follow, Dano, is from Seattle, Oregon !!! I’m pretty sure that won’t be my last silly error, I know you all will love me in spite of my very un-skilled writing abilities! 😁. Lol!

Our first visit to Cuenca, Ecuador ☺

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Today is Tuesday and we are leaving Saturday for our first visit to Cuenca Ecuador. Im really looking forward to exploring the city. I have spent a lot of time reading blogs and forums and books and info online about this colonial city 8000 ft in the Andes. The architecture and landscape looks so beautiful. One blog that I have especially enjoyed reading is written by a man named Dan, or Danno, He moved to Cuenca just over a year ago from Seattle, Washington with his two cats and his dog. I have really had a great time reading about all his adventures in his new home. He has done so much in his first year and I have admired his spirit of adventure and his humor about the things that frustrate him.

Dan posted a message on an e-mail message board called the Gringo Tree that he is willing to drive people around Cuenca in his spare time. When I saw his posting I was really excited and responded right away. So we are connecting with him when we arrive and are planning to spend two days with him exploring some of the smaller towns outside of the city. He seems like a really nice person and I cant wait to pick his brain about his life in Cuenca.

The other exciting event that I have schedule while visiting Cuenca is A cooking class. Again on the Gringo Tree I spotted a posting for a Tamale class at a ladies house. It sounds like as much of a social event as a class. Anyone who knows me knows I love social events! Especially when the $10.00 fee includes wine!! Scott can focus on the cooking while I cover him on the social end😃. Looking forward to meeting other gringos who live in Cuenca. I know no matter what, it will be really fun to experience a new culture, meet new people and spend time in a beautiful city! Cheers! Life is good!!!!

Life is Good!🌴

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Life is good! Now it’s time for a change. A BIG one! (change, that is ). We have spent the past five years researching our dream of moving to a different country and now we are getting closer to actually making that dream a reality. As our adventure is fast approaching I have been thinking that I would love to share our process with all our friends and family.

I have recently discovered Blogging! I know, I’m very late to the game! But I have been very busy making people beautiful, and it’s a lot of work! Lol! So, turns out, reading blogs is REALLY fun. I have learned so much from reading blogs written by other people who have already made the leap and moved from the US.

My hope is that my friends and family will appreciate following my blog as an entertaining way to stay connected. I hope you will forgive my spelling errors and grammatical faux paise ! A writer I am not nor do I claim to be😁. But I do love to write and to share my experiences . Hopefully you will find my ramblings entertaining !