I was born in Lincoln, Nebraska and raised by my single/divorced Mom, Wilma. Growing up in a household comprised solely of three generations of women, I learned from experience to regard women, even back in the 1950's, as capable, intelligent, caring and self-sufficient. In that context, my Mom was my role model. Even though she's no longer alive, I feel her with me everyday. I see her Spirit in the beautiful butterflies of Ecuador, I hear the tinkling of her laughter in the Tomebamba's gurgling sounds and I feel her urging me forward in every adventure I undertake.
Cuenca, Ecuador is my third ex-pat community experience, so I have some familiarity with the culture shock of being an "extranjero" a newcomer/foreigner in a strange land. Previously I've lived in Ajijic, Mexico and Paris, France. Traveling and writing are the most pleasurable things to me. Like one of my literary heroes, Mark Twain, I've made opportunities happen which provided me with experiences of working in a variety of jobs throughout my career, in many, many different places. It has made all of the difference.
One of my big career moves after graduating first with a B.A. in English was to work for the Women's Bureau, USDOL.
Through that position, I was able to travel around the U.S. to assist in developing job opportunities for women in the workplace. My biggest sense of accomplishment was in helping to establish the first apprenticeship training program (chef/cooking) at a State Women's Penitentiary. That involved visiting the prison and meeting with inmates many times. It was a humbling experience, realizing that it could have been me locked away, if I had made different choices in life. I felt that if those women would devote their prison time to earning their apprenticeship certification, they had a better chance of making a new life for themselves and not getting caught up in the vicious cycle of recidivism.
I have lived in Cuenca since 2010 and yes, the city has changed over time, particularly within the ex-pat community. There are many more opportunities to network and get connected on both social and volunteer levels. But once you've made your decision to move to Cuenca, it' still a good idea to get a solid base established first. And that's how my book can be of help to you.
Do contact me if you are considering relocating to Cuenca. I'm more than happy to share advice that I have learned by trial and error and/or can connect you with any of the women interviewed for these articles on this website. Bienvenidos a Cuenca, Ecuador!