We had a record 36 inches of snow for the month of February -- we broke all the records for the month of February (and it's not even over yet!).
We received two storms -- back to back and another one is headed our way next week. I hope they're wrong about that one!
We are slowly digging out, but life has come to a halt. My hubby has five days until retirement and I think the remainder of those days are going to be spent at home! And then comes our new life. I wasn't going to share what it was until I knew for certain, but who knows if anything is for certain -- right?
I've started a blog regarding our journey and I planned to reveal it once my hubby returned from his exploratory trip (February 24 - March 3, 2010), but since he already spilled the beans on Facebook I might as well share it here and link you to my new blog "Living and Retiring in Ecuador." Yep, you heard me right -- we are planning to retire in Cuenca, Ecuador!
I know... I thought the same thing, but as many "ex-patriots" have made the journey before us, it doesn't seem as crazy or far-fetched as it did in the beginning. Ecuador's currency is the US Dollar, the electric is 120 volts (same as the US), and Cuenca was rated the "#1 place" to retire in the world by International Living, beating out Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, and Italy!
A person can live well on $500 a month (excluding rent). If you figure that property taxes are $30 a year and electric is $3.00 a month, you can see that it is a hopping place for retirees. At present we are applying for our resident visas, which shouldn't take longer than 60 days once we get all the necessary documentation. Ours will be a pensioner's visa which means we can support ourselves on our pension alone.
Cuenca is regarded as an UNESCO Heritage site, filled with Spanish colonial architecture, cobblestoned streets, balconies bedeckled with flowering pots, and a view of the Southern Andes (Cuenca is 8,500 feet in altitude). There are modern shopping malls (Mall del Rio) filled with all the modern stores we have in the States and "yes" even PayLess Shoes and Kentucky Fried Chicken (I don't even eat fast-food in the States!). There are modern theaters (one is a 10-screen cineplex that shows only English-speaking movies) and even modern supermarkets (SuperMaxi) and SuKasa which is HomeDepot, Lowes, and Cosco all rolled up into one.
Ecuador is still considered a third-world country, I guess because you can ride the bus all day for 25 cents or take a taxi from one part of town to the other for $5.00 (the absolute most that can be charged). Or the fact that there is a 5-star hotel (El Dorado) in the center of town, an Austrian Tea House, WiFi on every corner, and "yes" there is "perpetual spring." There are only two seasons: spring and spring! Average temperatures range in the 80's during the day and 50's at night.
Americans are flocking to this place to buy up property. A modern condo runs around 30K; however, we will rent for a while until we decide on a suitable place to buy (probably the west side of town with a few of the Andes in the foreground). Actually, the "mountains" are called the southern and northern sierras and we will be living in the "southern sierras."
So what does our family think of this? Actually, I think they were shocked in the beginning, but now that they know we have four modern hospitals (one is an American Hospital), and more conveniences than I have in the States I think they will be paying us a visit!
And what about my writing? Well, I will probably still write, but about my adventures in Ecuador because we plan to do some traveling in this amazing country, including the Galapagos Islands. I've been asked to blog for a travel site on Ecuador and to be "editor" for the "How-to" section of an Internet blog site, but for now I am going to try to finish my book, "Coffee Lover's Devotions to Go" and start packing. I gave Mark permission to rent something while he is on his exploratory trip (we will be communicating through Skype).
Did I mention there is a church of 4,000 people (Calvary Chapel) and a Bible Institute in Spanish and English, so we are going to volunteer our time. Yes, we were former missionaries and Bible College graduates!
Who says that retirement has to be boring? We're starting a new adventure. So the blizzard of 2010 is bringing lots of change for us...good changes!
Living Life Passionately,