It is official. Last week, I received my residency visa, and today I obtained my cedula (ID card. See sample below). I may not look and sound Ecuadorian, but I am one of them.
Now I can leave the country without having to start the visa process over, and I can get store discounts and open a bank account.
I’m legit, and it feels soooo sweet!
To address what you all keep asking…
“But what are you doing?”
Well…last week I went on a four day expat tour that went into the jungle, about a five hour bus trip from Cuenca.
Day one, we arrived at Hosteria LuzCelinda, a beautiful hotel with a pool (welcome relief from the heat) that had internet (essential for me to be able to work remotely). Photos: https://www.facebook.com/jodi.quinnhill/posts/10209607956940445
Video of rain in the jungle (at the hotel) https://www.facebook.com/jodi.quinnhill/videos/10209586773330868/?permPage=1
Day one’s evening: went to an open air dining area where they served us dinner, and members of the Shuar tribe presented us some traditions of their people, including a ceremonial dance that two of our group participated in. Ceremonial dance video: https://www.facebook.com/jodi.quinnhill/videos/10209587306704202/?permPage=1
The Shuar tribe is known as a head-hunting warrior tribe that shrinks the heads of its victims. A Cuenca museum highlights this tribe and has shrunken heads on display. The prevailing message is that the tribe no longer hunts and shrinks heads… Photos: https://www.facebook.com/jodi.quinnhill/posts/10209586991016310
Day two, we hiked arduous and often dangerous trails (no guard rails here), in sweltering heat and humidity through the Labyrinths of Chiguaza, where we encountered lush vegetation, towering trees, caves, bats, and spiders the size of your face.
And, in keeping with the name, natural formations of rocks covered in moss, that wend and weave through the jungle. It was spectacular! Photos: https://www.facebook.com/jodi.quinnhill/posts/10209587185181164
Day three, we visited a cacao and coffee farm, where we picked our own cacao and where our hosts took the cacao and coffee from the plant, processed it before our eyes, and then served it up as hot chocolate and coffee. It was a wonderful education and the end result was well worth the wait. Photos: https://www.facebook.com/jodi.quinnhill/posts/10209606804951646?pnref=story
Day four, we visited a botanical garden in Sucua, that had enormous tree trunk formations straight from a fantasy flick. Photos: https://www.facebook.com/jodi.quinnhill/posts/10209607978820992
The group was fun and easy, and, after surviving the labyrinth, we bonded too. I’m making new friends (anything can happen!). Photos of group: https://www.facebook.com/jodi.quinnhill/posts/10209607934939895
Our hosts, Brian Gary and Jimmy Haro, did a sensational job of keeping us moving in one direction, with smiles on our faces. When you want to go, GringoNetwork is the way to go.
PS this trip was a test to see if I can work during extended tours/travel away from my apartment. Internet at the hotel was iffy at times…too often, actually, but I did manage to get work done.
“Other things too?”
Yes, I’m doing other things too….
This week, I interviewed the executive director of the best women’s shelter in Ecuador, Casa Maria Amor, and learned about their programming and the women and children they serve. I don’t have permission to share what was said, and they don’t have a website, but believe me, they’re knocking it out of the park. Ecuador, and the dedicated staff of Casa Maria Amor, please take a bow.
I’m giving a new friend computer/email/internet lessons. Older expats aren’t always computer savvy…
I’ve gone to a few concerts, including an ambitious two-hour expat choir concert, that started with Opera and ended with Broadway. Many, many retired musicians come to Cuenca, where they can afford to live on their paltry pensions, and can stay active in their craft. They are some of the most joyous and vibrant expats I’ve seen.
Videos from the expat choir concert: https://www.facebook.com/jodi.quinnhill/videos/10209646013531836/?permPage=1
“What about the house?”
We have a purchase agreement on it, and, no joke, it is slated to close Friday, the 13th.
Will see how that pans out…
Rich, my husband, is actively liquidating, stuffing boxes and hauling them to storage, and tying up several other loose ends. Thanks Rich! Once the house is sold, he will book a flight to Cuenca. Once here, he will see if Cuenca living is for him too…
Ok, there’s much more, and if you’re on Facebook, friend me for more photos, videos, and updates. https://www.facebook.com/jodi.quinnhill.
PS the earthquake relief effort here is ongoing. It may not be in your news feed, but it reverberates through the lives of each one of us here and many, many are still in desperate need. If you haven’t given anything, now’s the time. Even a small donation goes along way here. For the sake of some of the most gentle, generous, and industrious people on the planet, please do something.
Tax-deductible donation in the States: send a check with Earthquake Relief Fund in the memo to
Ecuadorian Volunteers Association
P.O. Box 437
Naperville, IL 60566-0437
More info on Ecuadorian Volunteers Association: https://ecuadorianvolunteers.wordpress.com/earthquake-relief-fund/
And, for you beautiful souls who’ve made it to the end: the sweet faces of Ecuadorian children singing, even though…