July 31, 2014

A Blog by a Gringo Living Retirement in Cuenca, Ecuador

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Written by: La Vida Valle
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Every day we find more and more stories about “expats” enjoying exotic cultures and the  low cost of living abroad. I am currently working on a story about a new friend from Brownsville, who recently bought a house near Cuenca, and who has plans to convert it into a bed and breakfast for birders.

Larry Johnson, my new friend, often sends me stories and updates from Cuenca including the news published by the online magazine Gringo Tree.  It is here that I found Rick Hubbert’s blog, and the following post:

Grateful to be in Cuenca

By Rick Hubbert

September marks my second anniversary living in Cuenca. I’ve been reflecting on my experience living abroad and decided to share my thoughts with you.

I grew up in Southern California, and lived in beautiful areas of the US: Boulder, Colorado in the late 60’s, the mountains of Arizona, the North coast of San Diego, San Francisco, and the last twenty five years in Seattle. All wonderful stops on my life journey. However, I never traveled out of the country. (Vacations to Canada or Mexico don’t make me a seasoned world traveler). At 59, after working steady for 40 years, I hit the proverbial wall and realized what was now calling out to me was ADVENTURE. After visiting Ecuador on an exploratory trip, I decided on Cuenca as my new home.

Having never lived outside the US, I really didn’t have many expectations as to what life would be like. I was very content to take life one day at a time, and see how my adventure would unfold. Like many, I appreciate the beautiful historic architecture, the glorious bounty of fresh food, spring-like weather (remember I came from Seattle), and the low cost of living. But one thing I did not foresee – one thing that has been a real discovered treasure – is the Expat community of folks I have met in Cuenca. Never in my life have I had so many treasured friends. I have had the opportunity to host musical concerts in my apartment, and share amazing performances with many new friends. Having never acted before, I seized upon opportunities to help launch an improvisational comedy troupe and act on stage with the new Azuay Community Theater. I’ve fished for trout at 13,000 feet, explored the Oriente with awesome companions, and traveled the Ecuadorian Coast discovering new destinations. All of these ongoing adventures have helped solidify my overwhelming sense of how blessed we are to live within such an excellent community.

I’ve met a few Gringos that complain about their experiences. Some have legitimate concerns and some are just downright ignorant, looking for reasons to justify their lack of joy. I don’t know these people, and don’t choose to know them. Rather, I am focused on getting to know the many great folks that have come to Cuenca and want to contribute to our multi-cultural community. A great example of this is the recently completed mosaic mural on the stairway at Plaza Otorongo, which was completed through a combination of multi-ethnic volunteer efforts.

The bottom line is: I Am Grateful. Grateful to have found such a vibrant and exciting community of friends. Every day when I wake up, I remind myself of just how lucky I am to live the life that I have chosen.

I believe the secret to life is enjoying the passage of time. I am loving each and every day. And I hope the same goes for you as well.

featured photograph is from Rick’s blog. It was taken on July 4, 2014 during a hike outside of Cuenca, Ecuador.

Rick has a blog,, written from the beginning of his time in Cuenca. It’s pretty funny with good photos.

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About the Author

La Vida Valle
La Vida Valle was created in June, 2011 as a platform for all things related to the arts, the people and the culture of the Rio Grande Valley.


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