Thursday, October 2, 2014

A Word about Where We're Headed

I received a call from a friend of our landlady's yesterday morning.  Turns out she had our personal check for the rent we sent UPS to our landlady, with the landlady's endorsement signed on the back of it. . . seems our landlady didn't or couldn't negotiate depositing it to her bank account in Cuenca, and her friend was kind enough to give her the amount on the check in cash, accepting our personal check in return. 

This friend lives in West Palm Beach, Florida, according to her conversation with me in very good English.  She also lives part of the time in Cuenca, and so knows our landlady.  Apparently they have known each other for years, and get along well.  Enough to trust one another through a financial wrinkle or two, apparently!

Anyways, this friend talked a bit about what the residents in our condo building in Cuenca are like.  There's Gringo/Gringa expats from the US like us there - extranjeros is the proper word in Spanish - but there's also Cuencanos, native folks there too.  Good to have a mix, because I've heard from our previous visit (and read it besides) being in your own comfortable English language only Gringo "bubble" is not helpful when you are living in a foreign country like Ecuador as a guest.  The natives catch on, just like North Americans do here in the United States, when you live in your own enclave and don't venture out.  Here in Los Angeles County, California, well known as a magnet for peoples and cultures around the world to come and live the fabled SoCal lifestyle, the most famous example especially in film would be East Los Angeles, portrayed in actor Cheech Marin's "Born in East LA."  You can become stereotyped and not understood properly by the larger culture surrounding you. . . for good and for ill, often for ill.  Beware.  

So it's good to hear that there's a mix of residents in our condo building.  Sounds from the conversation with this friend that a lot of them stay quite a while too. . . for several years, it seems.  And they all get along well socially with each other from what I heard.  Excellent security too from the security guards at the front desk on the ground floor.  We didn't get into the amenities of the surrounding neighborhood, but we're aware there's services and such around.  Certainly plenty of Cuenca Transit buses that pass by Unidad Nacional, our street, and taxis are plentiful in our location, as they are in just about everywhere in Cuenca it seems. 

Going a bit further in this vein. . . I've experienced and heard on the 'Net of what the US expat culture in Ecuador and Cuenca is like to some degree.  Quite different from the life we've been living here, and in large part for the good.  With so many people not working, and with free time, there's social groups all over.  Joining is one of the things people do.  What should we join, if anything?  A prayer to have on this topic, to be sure.  Looks like there's a wide variety of life experience, talent, and interests among expats in Cuenca.  A rich array with a lot to offer.  It will be like going back to university days for us to some degree. . . without having to take exams or get a grade, of course.   

I'm guessing that friendships, considering the distance we all are from the US and family and friends, are a desirable thing once one lands in Cuenca among the expats.  But relationships take time, and at our age we don't have near as much time as younger folks do.  But we will have the free time on a pretty much daily basis to catch up in a sense, perhaps.  We have enjoyed the friendships made with Cuencanos and expats alike in our previous visit in April and May, and hope that we may continue in that vein once again upon returning to stay and live in Cuenca. 

In making a fresh start at this stage of life, we would be wise to be Christlike in our words and actions. . . and not press too hard for any particular thing too hard or too fast.  Be organic in relationships, care for the person - like Jesus does - first, and then take it from there.  I think there's some wisdom in trusting God for future friendships that way as opposed to doing and saying things that could tick people off within your own subculture or the larger native born culture in a foreign city in a foreign land.  So please pray with us as we begin that part of our move and resettlement. . . that we find good people of character to associate with, and that many mutually beneficial relationships may blossom as a result of our being friends of God first, and friends with the locals and Cuencanos too.   Most of all, that His Kingdom would be made great in all of this, and that we would bear much fruit for Him.     

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