Moved to Cuenca from: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Hometown: Born in El Dorado, Arkansas
Living in Cuenca since: October, 2014
Current occupation: Retired!
Source of income: Social Security
Why did she move to Cuenca?
I moved, simply, because this was the only way I could stop working! On my 69th birthday in July, 2013 I realized I "wanted to take a breath between work and death." By the following July, I was on my way!
A friend introduced me to the idea of retiring overseas. I did my homework (attended an International Living conference and learned more from those in attendance than many of the presenters), read daily online, studied the country and it's history. I came 'cold' (no look-see visit) have no regrets.
How does she feel about living here?
I absolutely love living here (but I love wherever I am)! There are special moments that happen virtually every day.
The expat community is warm and welcoming--and I'm the type of personality who will spot an expat on the street and introduce
myself. It takes an effort, but it is well worth it.
How was her Spanish before she moved here?
I'm 'old' and have memory issues so don't know if I will ever speak Spanish very well. I am getting along fine with speaking very little Spanish in Cuenca. I lived in New Mexico for 26 years and it surprises me how much Spanish I had picked up. (For example, on the signs in the New Mexico grocery store aisles, items are listed in English with Spanish 'subtitles'.) Taxi drivers in Cuenca help me refine my pronunciation! Do Not Try This in the countryside! Take a Spanish speaker with you.
What's her favorite thing about living in Cuenca?
The stunning beauty of the city. The friendly folks I have met and continue to meet. The sizzling social scene--there is anything and everything one could want to do here. And, if there isn't what you want, start a group/class!
How is her health since moving to Cuenca?
I've always been very healthy and guess I was in better shape than I thought. I've lost only a couple of pounds but (sob!) no more. I've had no problem adjusting to the altitude (Albuquerque is a mile high city so perhaps I was somewhat acclimated?). I looked to the locals and learned to climb steep hills or stairs very slowly.
Did you have an "Ah-ha" moment when Cuenca started to feel like home?
I had to return to the states after being in Cuenca for 10 weeks and could not wait to 'get back home!'
Her advice to other Golden Girls still living in the U.S.?
I have moved many times in my life. I've lived in 10 states, 3 in the past 15 years, so I have a "moving muscle." I know how to
do it and what it takes. We have all heard "wherever you go, there you are," so please consider that. Check your expectations.
Be flexible, be adaptable, be open. And, perhaps most importantly, truly understand and accept that "This Is Not the USA."