Born in Manitoba, Canada
Living in Cuenca since 2011
Hobbies: Weaving, travel, learning Spanish
Former occupation: Licensed Real Estate Broker
Source of income: Social Security & savings
Why did she decide to move to Cuenca?
"When I retired as a Real Estate Broker in Phoenix, I first tried living in northern Ecuador, in Cotacachi. Although it's beautiful there, I felt the community was too small and didn't offer enough cultural opportunities. After a quick trip to Cuenca, I knew this was the place for me. I love to travel and I love new places, new people and different cultures. Part of my decision was based on the fact that I wouldn't be able to afford my middle class lifestyle in Phoenix once I retired. I'd been to Ecuador before and knew it felt right to me."
How does she feel about living in Cuenca?
" I am so comfortable living in Cuenca. I love the Ecuadorian people because they are so warm and responsive. They make you feel welcomed. I've never had a bad experience here and feel safe walking all around town."
How was her Spanish before she moved here?
"I didn't know any Spanish before I moved here and after taking classes, I'd say my Spanish is passable." Patricia is a great example of a Golden Girl who uses her smile and warm personality to communicate even when she may not know the Spanish word she's searching for.
What's her favorite thing about living in Cuenca?
"I have so much more to do here than I did in Phoenix. And I have made wonderful friends here already. I enjoy playing bridge at the Cuenca Bridge Club with other English-speakers twice a week. I've learned to weave and now I make many shawls and scarves. I go salsa dancing once a week. I don't pay for Direct T.V. (local company where you can get U.S. television shows) but I have a DVD player and can buy 4 DVDs for $5.00. I also watch movies via Netflix on my computer."
"I'm part of the weekly Buddhist meditation group that meets every Sunday at the Wind Horse Cafe and I belong to a monthly book club that meets at Bananas Cafe. I've made beautiful friendships through both of these."
How's her health since moving to Cuenca?
"I like to walk and Cuenca is definitely an easy city to walk around in. I don't need a car here like I needed in Phoenix. I walk almost everywhere or take the bus. I prefer to eat vegetarian foods. It's great to be able to buy organic fruits and vegetables so easily here. So, I feel like I'm in really good shape and I haven't had any major illnesses since I moved here."
Did she have an "Ah-Ha" moment when Cuenca started to feel like home?
"No, not really, but that's probably because I've lived in different countries and cultures before. I recently spent a year traveling solo in India. I've always felt welcomed and accepted by Ecuadorians."
Her advice to other Golden Girls still living in the U.S.?
"Just do it! You'll be glad you did. I had some trepidation before I came but I made myself do it and I'm so glad I did!"
"It sounds like a little thing but if you wear hard contacts like I do, bring some solution with you because you won't be able to find it here."