A New Kind of Blog

There is a world of information about Ecuador. It is one of the most popular countries for people who want to retire to a place where the dollar goes much farther than in the US, a place for adventuresome families who want to experience a new language and exciting culture. However, much of what you read or hear does not touch on the practical, the problematic, or the local information necessary to make things work. There are many blogs which are basically daily diary’s from people who live here. But this blog will be different. We know how hard it is to get accurate and timely information. We have been through it. All of us who live here have learned step by step and we question whether it is necessary to have every newcomer reinvent the wheel. We hope this blog will help shorten the learning curve. There are many hurdles but all are surmountable. What is required is patience, an understanding of local ways, and a realization that you are going to live in a country which is not the same as the US, Canada, or Britain. Our choice was to live in the wonderful city of Cuenca in the Southern Sierra but this may not be your decision and you will therefore have to look further to find the answers you need for different areas like the coast or the Amazon. Please realize that all the suggestions and ideas are based on our experiences. Ecuadorian regulations change rapidly and must be checked before you make any investments or major decisions. Please email us at Sailorburr@gmail.com and let us know if you have any questions or comments.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Buddha in Cuenca

Our friends Alan and Elinor have traveled all over the world and collected artifacts, books and unrecognizable, yet beautiful, objects from every place they visited. Their house is a virtual museum of uncountable objects-de-arte, each room filled with hanging pieces, books, whatnots and statues. In the living room, an incredible Buddha sits in meditation with his eyes closed seeming to be praying for peace and contentment. 
But, another Buddha in the garden outside had sat alone for months with no purpose after being carefully placed there and they had felt it was time to officially dedicate it as a shrine. A party was planned. Matt Hayes, who has lived in Japan for five years and is somewhat a student of Buddhism, was asked to MC the dedication. After an hour of socializing, thirty guests gathered after nightfall in the garden and listened to Matt touch on what Buddhism means and is. He spoke of the three concepts of knowing yourself, knowing your community of friends, and the Buddha himself. As a group, we stood in the dark, each holding three lighted sticks of incense, looked at ourselves, our friends and the beautiful statue sitting quietly and peacefully in the corner of their garden. Each of us considered how fortunate we were. We stood there, a collection of friends, old and young, Expats from all over the world, Ecuadorians, and visitors, Christian, Jewish, agnostics, and a few wandering souls, and spent a few moments thinking humbly. 
It was a touching moment for all of us only to be followed by an incredible repast of a dozen dishes, each better tasting than the last. Once again, we have found that the people we know and have become friends with in Cuenca have had an enormous impact on our lives.  Learning more about the concepts of Buddha has only helped reinforce our love of life. 

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