We are in a groove here in Cuenca, Ecuador. Life is good. We are settled in our home and feel comfortable in our new city. A typical day for us isn’t too different than it was back in South Carolina, other than the fact that it starts much earlier and our surroundings and means of transportation are different.
Here is a little overview of a typical day in our life.
A Typical Morning
I get up at 5:45 to get Serena dressed and ready for school. I usually make “eggs in a nest” for breakfast for the girls. This is an egg fried into a hole in the middle of a piece of bread.
We also regularly eat oatmeal for breakfast. Ali and Serena enjoy theirs with vanilla, cinnamon, and yogurt. Chad enjoys his with an egg cooked in, and a banana and yogurt to top it off.
But we also occasionally at a favorite local cafe that makes the BEST pastries around. Here’s a photo of one such yummy breakfast.
Serena’s bus picks her up before 7, and she gets to school on the other side of town before the school day starts at 7:30. Here’s the view of downtown as we leave our apartment:
Then I head off to exercise at the nearby park. Some days I jog along the scenic Tomebamba River.
If I’m feeling really ambitious, I run the stairs to the historic downtown.
Other days I do bailoterapia at the park, which is just like zumba. It’s super fun to start the day groovin’ and sweating with lots of other folks.
Then I come home and Chad and I get Ali ready to go to school. We enjoy the 3/4 mile walk to school. Along the way we pass a park and historic monuments.
While the Girls Are at School
A couple of days a week I go to the University of Cuenca for a class on Ecuadorian culture. So far it is super interesting! As the oldest in my class by two decades and the only gringa (foreigner), I definitely stand out. But I’m learning a lot from the professor and my classmates.
Here are a couple of scenes on my walk to class. Not exactly Clemson!
A typical morning for Chad includes a few hours of writing or real estate work back home. He has also been asked to look at some real estate properties with local people, but we’re not buying anything here (don’t worry!).
School Pick-up and Lunch
I get done with class just in time to pick up Ali from school. Other times Chad picks her up. Sometimes we stop for a baked apple goodness and take it to the park for a snack and swing.
Afternoons & Quiet Time
Then Serena gets home from school, and we have lunch together around 2 pm. The poor girl is usually famished by the time she gets home. We haven’t really adjusted to the Ecuadorian meals times. Here the biggest meal is lunch and dinner is light, but we still eat our wraps or sandwiches for lunch and make a bigger dinner.
The girls have “quiet” time in the afternoons, which usually involves creative play time. They move furniture to make castles or stores, dress up in their princess or ballet outfits, and escape off into their imaginations. Chad has an afternoon Spanish class a couple of afternoons per week, and he also catches up on a few things from the morning. I, on the other hand, take a siesta! I’m still not used to so much walking!
Once a week or so I go to the market. I have so much fun and can’t pass up the veggies and fruit. Who knew that I needed to get cauliflower, spinach, swiss chard, lettuce, broccoli, AND beets. I just went for avocados! Then when I was going for bananas, I ended up with strawberries, dragon fruit, achiotillo (rambutan), apples, and pears. Oh, well! There could be worse things, right?!
Evening Sunsets & Bedtime
Our evenings are super relaxed. Here are a couple of views from our balcony of the sun setting.
In the U.S. we usually had one night per week that Chad and I were both home all night. Meetings of some sort or another filled our time. Here, Chad runs one night a week with a running group, and I’ve been out with a friend a couple of nights. But other than that, we have dinner together, do baths, and get the girls in bed by 8.
After occasional laundry duty, I usually follow not too long after with my bedtime. Chad then enjoys real quiet time to catch up on reading, videos, and podcasts (usually while washing dishes).
Then we all wake up to start all over again with another beautiful day in our adopted city!
Louis Stone says
All of those fresh vegetables look so good. You might let us in on what you are reading. How does the political scene feel, or is it not something that is not in the air?
Kari Carson says
I can’t answer for Chad, but I’ve been reading all kinds of things. I’ve really taken to listening to audiobooks, since I am walking for 1.5 hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays to and from class. I loved listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic, which is about the creative process. I am currently listening to Grit by Angela Duckworth. I’ve found it easier to listen to non-fiction while walking than just sitting down with it, for some reason.
The political situation has been interesting here with the presidential elections here in Ecuador this year. The outgoing president, Rafael Correa, has been in power for 10 years. In my humble opinion, he has done some great things, such as building infrastructure (especially improving roads) and working to improve the educational system, some of which is helpful and harmful in other ways. There are many supporters of his party, Alianza Pais, who voted for their candidate, Lenin Moreno. On the other hand, I’ve spoken with many people who fear Ecuador could be heading down the same road as Venezuela. Many of them opted to vote for Guillermo Lasso, who they didn’t feel was properly qualified but still a better option than Moreno.
In Presidential elections in February, there were about 13 candidates. Lenin Moreno won the election, but failed to win 40% of the votes. So, there was a run-off vote between Lasso and Moreno on April 2, and Moreno won with 51% of the vote. When I was in Guayaquil just after the run-off elections, people were marching the streets near the airport and bus terminal in support of Lasso, but here in Cuenca, the atmosphere hasn’t felt too politically charged. Lasso protested the election results and demanded a recount, but after the recount, Lenin Moreno is the new president of Ecuador.
LOVED reading about your new life! So happy for you all!
Kari Carson says
Good morning from Central SC. I so enjoy your blogs! And I love the pictures! What a lovely city! And it sounds like all of you are enjoying this experience! The pastries and produce look wonderful!!!
Kari Carson says
Cuenca is a lovely city indeed, and tasty too! It’s a good thing we walk so much to keep these pastries in check ;).
Matt Rosales says
Wow!! So awesome to hear your day in Ecuador! I will forward your article to my wife. I/We have always wanted to do what you all are doing. I have a question. How much is it to live per day there on average including rent? Thanks so much I can’t wait to hear the next update. Matt from N. California.
Kari Carson says
HI Matt, Thanks for your comment. I hope Chad will be doing a post on our expenses in the not to distant future.
Joan Shier says
Thanks so much for sharing your adventure. Looks like your whole family is having quite a wonderful experience. What a treasured gift for your girls! Hope we’ll get to see you and try out some of those fruits, veggies and pastries too. Still waiting for our passports renewals to return. Hug Hug
Kari Carson says
I hope you can make it to visit us too!