Leo and Joyce Uzcategui
About Leo and Me
“Retirement: It’s nice to get out of the rat race, but you have to learn to get along with less cheese.” ~Gene Perret
I am a retired teacher, married to Leo Uzcategui for 30 years. Leo is a retired college volleyball coach. Now that we are both retired, we are ready for life’s next adventure. Together we have 4 children (2 his and 2 mine), 11 grandchildren, and one cat, Smokey. The kids are scattered, 2 in FL, 1 in MA, and 1 in CA, so we have stayed in touch for years with either cell phone or Skype and trips in between. This helped us get over the biggest bump-leaving family. We will miss our family and friends of course, but hopefully they will Skype and visit.
We both feel confident that we will like it in Ecuador, just because we are mostly “go with the flow” kind of people. We are not overly materialistic, because we had lived paycheck to paycheck for many years when we first got married. The last 20 years had been easier. No matter what the circumstances, we have been happy. If we had money, we enjoyed it, if we didn’t have much, we cut back. I have to admit I have always been a “live for today” kind of person, because tomorrow is a long way off. Well, tomorrow has arrived, so it is now time to make new adjustments, so we will check out Ecuador. It is supposed to be a great place to retire, so we will see if it is for us.
Here is an ABC video about retiring in Ecuador
The fact that I had lived in Ponape, an island in Micronesia (near Guam), makes me know that I can live in another culture comfortably. I can live simply. I enjoy differences. My former husband and I were missionaries for the Catholic Church (JVC’s). We took our son Sean , then 5, and our daughter Mary Beth , then 4. I taught high school boys English. Actually, I found it harder to adjust when I went home to the US, than when I went to Ponape.
My husband, Leo, has lived in three cultures before Ecuador. He was born in Venezuela. His college in Venezuela went on strike a lot, so he decided to go to Brasil to finish his degree. He married a Brasillian and had two children. His late wife had brain cancer, so he came to the US to get more medical help. Unfortunately, it was not successful. He decided to stay and get his Master’s degree in the US. We eventually met and married.
For the last 7 years we have lived on a 58 foot Chris Craft boat on the Connecticut River. We both absolutely loved every minute of it. Our friends thought we were a little crazy when we first told them of our plans to live aboard, especially in New England winters, but after visiting us on the boat in all seasons, they realized it wasn’t all that crazy. We will both miss it, but hope to live by the ocean in Ecuador to make up for it.
We are going to look at Crucita first. For the first year we will just explore the coastline to see where we would like to stay. We have a nephew and his wife who live in Puertoviejo. Hopefully, we can get a feel for the area from them. Crucita is about 15 minutes from them, so we will be able to keep in touch easily. It is April now, and we are moving in May or June. Now we are in the home stretch.
Purpose of the Blog:
“Let’s take a walk. You can show me some of your memories and I’ll show you some of mine.”
― Adam Berlin
I am writing this blog to share our experiences getting ready to go to Ecuador as well as our experiences in Ecuador with our family and friends. Hopefully, our experiences can help any potential expats the way other blogs had helped us as we did our research before the move. I hope you will comment on the blog if it is helpful and ask any questions if you would like the benefit of our experiences.
On Tuesday our painters returned to work, so we gave them the food we had purchased. That afternoon we felt almost back to normal when we played the card game, Spades, with Illa and Kent, our neighbors.
Another time we felt normal was when we went to a wedding reception at the home of Deb and Terry, a couple who had just gotten married on Skype. They were both in Ecuador and the minister was in the US performing the ceremony. They had wanted to do it at their house, but they did not have internet because of the quake, so they went to Louise and Gary’s house and had their ceremony alone together with the minister. Saturday night they had the reception. It was a bit subdued due to the circumstances, but it was nice to see the happy couple and the expats that were able to attend. They live in the Pyramid house which they rent out when they are not here. We were enjoying the view from high atop La Loma.
Today is the 11th day since the earthquake and Leo and I worked around the house. There is still a lot to do since we have not completely unpacked due to the fact that the painters are here and they will have to do another round to fix the new cracks. Right now I want to get settled. The aftershocks have been few and far between lately, much to our delight. If you want to see the house we moved into, the video is below: The inside is decorated differently and it has been painted inside and out. I will post pictures when the painters finish and I can get a few pictures up on the walls. We have added a lot of plants to the outside, too. We also have a few projects in mind to add to the house. We really want to put a ramada (thatched hut) over the whole backyard, because the sun is so intense that I need shade.
Later, Bob and Renate called to say they were going to Porto to shop and invited us to go along. I went to pick up a few things, but mostly wanted to get out of the house. Leo stayed because the painters were there. When we crossed the bridge to Porto it was now 4 lanes, messy, but crossable. When we passed the airport, we saw a tent city had emerged, complete with porta potties. It was good to know that the homeless had a place to get out of the sun and set up a place for their families away from the rubble.
We had left our laptop at the family house, so Felipe came to Supermaxi to give it to me. We gave him a ride home. I was very surprised when he said he was living in the house in El Centro. He said they had electricity. He said that Colon and Olayita were still living at the water plant, because Olayita was too afraid to go back home. We threaded our way to his house, because many roads were closed. As we went here and there, we saw the major destruction for the first time, it was overwhelming. The good part was we saw back hoes clearing the rubble. It was good to know that the government was seeing to it that work began right away. Very hopeful! I am extremely surprised by the way the government has tackled this problem. The electricity was on in record time, much to everyone’s surprise. The clean-up in Portoviejo got underway within a few days. Food is going out to various cities and towns. Tents are being given to the homeless and the camp set up in Portoviejo was fast. It was not business as usual, it was business BETTER than usual. And we are thankful!!