Tuesday, November 9, 2010


The kids are having some tough times with the move, as we expected. They don't have any friends. They can't communicate with local kids (or anyone else, for that matter). They don't have the schedule they're used to. And the country is just not up to their standards of cleanliness and decorum, it seems.

We seem to have raised at least one environmental snob. Piper has commented extensively on all the smell when walking on the sidewalk or riding in a cab in traffic. Tonight, walking home from downtown:

Piper: "Boy, these people need some training lessons."
Mom: "On what?"
Piper: "Litterbug training!...and car training, too!"
Mom: "You mean like how-to-drive car training?"
Piper: "Well, yeah, that too -- but mostly on how-to-get-rid-of-all-that-smoke-training."

This walk home from Gringo Night was on the occasion of her puking in the toilet of the restaurant. She had been complaining of not feeling well, but it is difficult to know when a really good actor is acting or relaying to truth. Sometimes a Drama Queen has to puke to prove she's really sick. Point taken.

At home Di made popcorn and announced she would put in a movie for the patient and her brother, which elicited this comment: "Mom, you just happied me out of this Spanish-speaking country!"

But we could have been anywhere in the world for our desire and excitement to not drive a car for two years. That is, of course, the adult we. El Centro of Cuenca, the historic Spanish colonial area, is about one mile by one and half miles, so to drive here is sheer lunacy (why so many people do is another post entirely). We walk. And we walk. Again, the adult we, as children are frequently found to be drug behind parents when they don't get a shoulder ride. "Enough of all this walking business," was Piper's comment before dropping her shoulders and proceeding along with both the gate and enthusiasm of Snuffleupagus.

But while Piper, 6,  has had crying fits and performances worthy of Isadora Duncan (no relation) about missing her best friend Sophie, Duncan's just 4, so he more or less roles with the punches. He's not at an age, it seems, where he imagines an alternate universe, even the one he spent his entire life to-date living in. Life just is what it is.  He has, however, been carrying around a little stuffed raccoon that his friend gave him before leaving. Today he said, "I'm glad Luca gave me this raccoon so it always reminds me of him."


  1. How are your children doing there now? My husband and i just finished building a house in Ricaurte(just outside Cuenca)though we wont live there full time for a number of years. my husband is from Cuenca and we try to go as often as we can. I would like to spend a year or two there when my children are still young. luckily they have close in age cousins and have made friends with neighbor children during our visits.My in laws live next door and that is where we have always stayed so they know they area a bit and my sister in laws are just 10 minutes away in Cuenca. Which will help, but it will be a adjustment. (they're 5 & 9 1/2)

  2. We finished our sabbatical and have been back home for a year and a half now. But since this post, they adapted fairly well. Our oldest picked up Spanish fairly well and could get by. Our youngest gets by anywhere in the world on a smile, so his Spanish was less essential and therefore less developed.

    But the kids developed some friendships and got comfortable with the lifestyle (public transportation, rice, traffic...). We have had a few lamentations from our oldest that she misses Ecuador and her friends.

    Enjoy Cuenca and Ecuador!