Entering Paradise

So many of you are asking WHAT am I doing and WHY am I doing it and WHAT is the food like and HOW is the coffee, that I decided to resurrect this blog and post snippets of my everything Cuenca, Ecuador to hopefully reach you who are interested.

Although this post is long, I’ll aim to be pointed and pithy, as I know you have a life too. If you want to know more, email me at jodimqhill@yahoo.com.

Here she is, tucked in the Andes, in all her glory: Cuenca, Ecuador

First the WHAT: I’ve moved to Cuenca, Ecuador to hopefully establish residency, a two-year process.

WHY? My bucket list is short: live abroad.

Why Ecuador?

  • they make it easy to live here as an expat–I’m applying for a professional residency visa
  • the weather is PERFECTO (50’s at night, low 70’s by day)–no furnaces or AC here
  • the US dollar is the currency
  • living is affordable, many retirees are down here living well off their Social Security
  • the locals are friendly and patient with expats, even those who don’t know much Spanish. Like me.
  • It is a safe place to live (little violent crime…this is not Colombia)
  • the city is GORGEOUS. I hear the country is gorgeous too…Galapagos Islands, Amazon Rain Forest…places like that…

Why Now?

  • Charlie and Emily (our kids) are launched and finding their way in adult life
  • Our parents are young and pretty healthy and don’t need us around to care for them
  • No grandchildren, yet.
  • Essentially….no one needs us right now

What about Rich (he’s my husband of nearly 30 years)?

  • Rich is staying in Minnesota to sell our home and liquidate a bit. With the kids launched, it seems a good time.
  • Depending on his work situation, he may join me, or stay in frosty Minnesota and visit often. It all depends…

A snapshot of my three days here:

  • Leave Minneapolis/St Paul airport Wednesday morning, layover and delay in Atlanta, arrive in Quito, Ecuador after midnight. Sleep at hotel closest to airport (Quito Airport Suites), eat complimentary breakfast that includes scrambled eggs with unbelievable flavor and fantastic coffee, hop a taxi and catch a 9:45a flight to Cuenca.
  • Thursday: Arrive in Cuenca around 11am and check into a budget-friendly, very wonderful Hostal Macondo. This is the view out my modestly furnished room with a private bathroom.

This is the walkway to my room


Thursday continued:

  • Hung out electronically with my most favorite and faithful tech guru ever, JR Reineck, to get one one of my laptops working properly. If you or your business needs/wants a tech expert, or if you just want to connect with a wonderful man who is super smart and has a huge heart: Reineck Enterprises, Inc. You cannot go wrong with JR.
  • Ate dinner at the New York Style Pizza place across the street


I ordered the Chicken Milanese (I think). I never did figure out what the packets of mayo were for. Do you know?


  • Retired for the night after shooing a tiny spider out of my bathroom sink with an “I  can handle this” running through my mind.


  • 4am found a LARGE, very alive brown spider in the bathroom sink. Squelching a scream, I grabbed some tissue, wondered if it was poisonous, then grabbed gobs of tissue, went for the squish, and sent it to spider heaven, down the toilet.
  • went back to bed after ripping apart the bedding looking for spiders. Pondered on the pillow whether the big spider was the tiny spider I shooed hours earlier…could they grow that big in just a few hours here in Equatorial Ecuador? :O Or was it the mama of the baby and did she have hundreds of babies in my bathroom? :O :O This place is extremely clean, so it is just weird. No, I haven’t seen another spider, so far.
  • Awoke with a migraine. Oh joy. Monster spider got her way.
  • Ate a splendid complimentary breakfast made fresh to order at my hotel. Eggs and fresh fruit juice and fantastic coffee.
  • Went and bought a large and comprehensive map of the city: Plano Turistico Informativo de la Ciudad de Cuenca at Papeleria Monsalve
  • A deliberate looking for God moment: Sat, prayed and meditated on Psalm 121 (Scripture recommended by a pastor’s wife here in Cuenca I’ve only had email contact with. I hope to meet her soon) in the New Cathedral off Parque Calderon (central park area)


  • Met my facilitator, Isabel Mosquera, who helped me get an Ecuadoran phone # and is helping me find a place to live and is coaching me on a few hundred other things. She’s a native Cuencano, in the same stage of life as me, who lived in Toronto for years. Isabel is fluent in English and Spanish, is prompt, professional, smart and incredibly kind. I know she’s got my back and that makes all the difference. If you’re moving to Cuenca, she has a host of services she provides, including processing your visa for you. She’s at 099 460 6669 – isabelmmosquera@hotmail.com.
  • While walking back to my hotel, I got lost…walking up and down the same street. If you don’t think this is possible, you don’t know me. Some store clerks and street vendors watched me pass by them at least six times. No exaggeration. I’m sure they’re talking about it.
  • Found out Dad is, for sure, cancer-free! Woop, woop! Praised God!
  • Fearing I’d get lost again, I ate dinner at a corner hamburger fast food place within sight of my hotel. I ordered the hamberguesa median, not knowing what that meant. It was a hamburger with a fried egg in it, a new concept to me and rather tasty. The fries were fresh…they were cutting them when I arrived. $2 for dinner at Charlie’s on Tarqui Street (I can’t find it online…it is a super small spot)


  • The sun came out and it became warm, sunny and sensational! The sun makes the colors of the flowers, grass, trees and rivers come alive! Jaw-dropper kind of day, but then most every day will be like this! OH MY!
  • Ate the comp breakfast, muesli and yogurt (flavor was delicious) and fantastic coffee. Avoided older expat man trying to make a move…
  • Walked to Wind Horse Cafe, an expat hangout, and did some more computer figuring using their free wifi. Overheard Boomers discussing Medicare and Trump, but not in the same conversation…One said he will not return to the country if Trump gets elected. The Wind Horse serves organic everything (I had the chef salad and a fantastic cold-pressed iced vanilla latte), is run by friendly and helpful US expats, and has a meditation room that has Buddhas and Hindu figures in it. Yep, it’s a Boomer hangout.
  • Strolled to one of the four rivers in the city, the Tomebamba River, and sat mesmerized by the flowing water.
  • Met Isabel to look at a house for rent I was directed to through a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend (the theory that anyone in the world is reachable through six connections is panning out for me). Will keep looking at places on Monday.
  • Meandered back to Parque Calderon and caught these cool cats busting a move (video here)


  • Crossed the street to a tourist eatery, Raymipampa, which is next to the New Cathedral and ordered the Arroz con Pollo and a tasty coffee con leche (coffee with milk). $1o on the dot was the bill. The rice with chicken was nothing to write home about but they did take credit cards and the server was wonderful. He coached and catered to me well.


  • Came back to my room and wrote this post for you.

Thanks for reading ALL the way to the bottom. You’re a hearty soul and probably a very good friend. More later…



13 thoughts on “Entering Paradise

  1. You are a brave adventurous woman! Looks beautiful there. Hope you don’t encounter any more spiders…but you will and you CAN do this:) xo Heather


  2. You are amazing so excited for you. I. Can’t even think of mo ing to Florida . God bless I’ll keep you in prayer my only regret is not knowin you better while you were here but love the connection now dorothy


    1. Oh Dorothy, aren’t you just a love. Thanks for your kudos, kindness, and prayers. If you get to Ecuador, come find me. You and Lew would have a blast here! You especially! I’d love to see you too! xo, hugs, Jodi


  3. Thanks so much Jodi for the update! Before you left I remember saying often, soon your ADVENTURE will become reality.
    It INDEED sounds like an ADVENTURE! Such lovely countryside, good food & spiders that CAN BE EXTERMINATED😀!!prayers are with you daily. Had a wonderful lunch with Em. Sending Love & big (Charlie sized) hugs, Mom


    1. Hi Nancy, so missing you! Thanks for the prayers and support and for staying close. The going away party was AMAZING! Thank you! What gifts you give and what a gift you are! hugs and love!


  4. So glad to see that you have your blog going again & look forward to reading about your adventures there in Ecuador ~ maybe you’ll be taking in a rescue dog one day… Enjoy!


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