I never quite pictured my laidback friends, Judi Porter and Jackie Poehner, as staunch feminist members of the bra-burning NOW [the National Organization for Women], fighting for equal rights and marching for same-sex marriage rights. When proposition 8 passed in California which banned same-sex marriage, and Judi and Jackie were at risk of losing their teaching positions due to their sexual orientation, they pulled up their roots and headed to the suburbs of Portland, Oregon. There they lived for the next 30 years as same-sex partners, without much ado. When Jackie and Judi started contemplating living abroad for their retirement, they knew their checklist needed to include social acceptance and legal protections for those living in the LGBTQ culture. And Ecuador became a viable option.
Back in February, the sound of sirens blaring broke the calm of a normal working day here in Manta. I wondered what all the noise was about since the sirens seemed more like a parade than an emergency. It didn’t take long to find out; the president of Ecuador, Lenín Moreno, had come to town. He went through the city and headed out to the airport on the east side of Manta, by the sea.
When I was a kid, I spent hours playing softball with my cousins, batting the Swiss-cheese-yellow plastic ball between us. My grandmother, “Big Mama,” deemed it safer than arming us rowdier kids with hard balls.
If you follow Ecuadorian Facebook groups like I do, you’ll see that there’s a question just about every potential expat asks at some point; which area should I live in? The simplest answer for most of us comes down to what we’re looking for.
Loja was our choice for a number of reasons. It's a small city, population 200,000, and it's a cultural capital. It's a younger city with several large universities and several art and music colleges. We were looking forward to concerts and art displays and a continuous diet of events and celebrations.
A friend suggested Kathy and Tim book a private jet. They balked at this at first. They feared it would cost them an arm and a leg (maybe two legs). But then they crunched the numbers...
Would you think I was crazy if on New Year's Eve I joined a group of revelers carrying an effigy…and I later burned that effigy to a crisp, while wearing red underwear, and walking in circles around the fire with my suitcase, eating a bunch of grapes?
Once I moved, figuring out how to use my U.S. phone abroad was of the highest importance—since my sisters in the U.S. are likely to call the Ecuadorian embassy if they haven't heard from me about four times a day!
Of course, I worry about what would happen if I fall down and can't get up. Who is going to take care of me? This is a question that has loomed into view. So, I began researching options on in-home care—and found a lot of good ways to be prepared, "just in case."
Ecuador's towns are each unique, and usually offer their own specific local speciality. For example, Cotacachi is known for its leather goods, Ibarra for its ice cream, Cayambe for its biscochos, Otavalo for its huge artisanal market, and Illumán for its hand-made sombreros, just to name a few. Less-well-known finds are also plentiful—and make exploring this country even more fun.