​Golden Girls in Cuenca

Dean Keyes

Moved to Cuenca from:  Tucson, Arizona

Living in Cuenca since January 2010

Hometown:  St. Louis, Mo 

Married to Bill, a wonderful musician who just successfully had triple by-pass surgery here in Cuenca!

Hobbies: Art, Quilting, learning Spanish

Former occupation: Corporate Banker

Source of income: Social Security and retirement pension

Why did she move to Cuenca?

​"We have always been interested in Latino culture, so we moved to Tucson, AZ after my retirement. After four years we found it rather boring because there was such segregation between the Anglo and Latino cultures. We wanted to experience life in a more inclusive Latino culture. We "came cold" -meaning no scouting trip first - to Cuenca and we have never regretted our choice!"

​"We feel we are part of the "economic refugees" from the States who have moved here because our retirement monies go further here. I even convinced my sister and her husband to retire here and now they live next door to me!"

How does she feel about living in Cuenca?

"I feel that living in Cuenca is like living back in the U.S. during the 1950s. You don't need a car here because there is an extensive bus system. I also appreciate having so many small business here, so you can receive services easily- like alterations or having a piece of furniture built- and not everything is a big corporation."

"Both Bill and I feel we have a richer lifestyle living here in Cuenca. Here, we feel free. We have made friends with several Ecuadorians, even though we are not fluent in Spanish." 

Did she know Spanish before she moved here?

"Other than learning "Spanglish" in Tucson, I didn't speak Spanish before I moved to Cuenca. We've had three different teachers since we've been here and really, we have learned so much Spanish from our housekeeper!"

What's her favorite thing about living in Cuenca?

"I like it because it doesn't feel like a big town. I'm one of those people who never meets a stranger, so I'm constantly running into people I know when I'm out and about. It also feels good to know there are people you can count on."

"I have always had a keen interest in painting and a lifelong desire to be an artist. Since I've moved to Cuenca, I enrolled in a master-level art school where the Ecuadorian artist actually came to our house to view my work before I was accepted into his school. So being able to paint and grow as an artist is a thrill for me."

How's her health since she moved here?

"Better! Since we don't have easy access to fast food and since Cuenca is a 'walking-around' city, I've lost weight and feel much better. When we first moved here, I used a cane. But now with swimming and walking, I only take a cane if I know we're going to walk a long ways. I have an artificial hip and I feel I'm in great shape." 

Did you have an "Ah-Ha" moment when Cuenca started to feel like home to you?

"​Well, we are both people who have always been open to change. Right from the beginning, we felt at home here in Cuenca. I tell everyone that the longer we live here, the more we like it!"

Her advice to other Golden Girls still living in the U.S.?

"Well, I'm impressed by how many single women are moving to Cuenca. This city is a safe place, in my opinion, and everyone's money will go a lot further here than if you were still living in the States. We brought a 20 foot container down with us with items that were important to us. But whether you're coming down with just suitcases or a container, bring plenty of towels and linens because the quality of linens just isn't good here."