Monday, March 18, 2013



My office is in a room with a fabulous view of the old Cathedral.  The sounds of a busy city fill my ears while I spend time at my desk each day.   Its been almost four months of being El Centro apartment dwellers, and city noise is now so familiar and an almost pleasant sound for me.  Strange, how after living 39 years in the quiet peacefulness of a country setting, I actually enjoy the extreme contrast of living in a city apartment overlooking one of the main and busy streets of Cuenca - Simon Bolivar.  The constant sounds of night traffic rushing by, the continual bleeping of the corner's changing street light, click-clacking heels and rushing steps of passing pedestrians walking beneath my window, Spanish chatter and laughter, yelling vendors, the rare sound of a crying child, and the sudden sound of a triggered car alarm blaring until someone finally deactivates it are a few of the constant noises I listen to as I sit at my desk and wonder why this extremely different lifestyle is so okay with me.

Maybe it's a part of the adventure of living here - something completely different than how it used to be back in the states.  Living in constant noise vs. living in ultimate peacefulness, walking along streets crowded with passersby vs. walking along solitary country roads, riding taxis and buses vs. having the independence of my own vehicle, Smelling city bus fumes vs. smelling fresh country air, city apartment living vs. a 100+ year old to-die-for country home, paying monthly rent vs. living in a mortgage-free house, Listening to and speaking Spanish more than English vs speaking and hearing familiar English, not working anymore vs. being productive and earning a living, starting all over in unfamiliar territory vs. having 39 years of predictability and a sense of security.  Why?  I still ask myself, why?  Then I answer myself, why not?  Why not do something completely different and opposite - something so beyond my wildest imagination and something I couldn't even wrap my mind around when my  husband suggested it back in 2009 - expating!

Things change!  Sometimes not for the better.  Health issues suddenly appear.  The changing economy destroys security and plans and dreams.  Loss of jobs.  Aging and living in a rut.  Questions about sudden and unexpected changes arise.  Some begin to look outside their box and take big risks.  Others work things out right where they are - or they don't.  Still, things change!  They changed for us.  Unlike some, we embrace change - but this was big.  Am I sorry I'm here living in a city apartment?  Not really.  I do miss aspects of my life, my beautiful home, and especially my mom back in Oregon.  But, there's so much I don't miss.  I ask myself, am I really content here in Cuenca?  I can answer honestly, today, yes.  Life for me anymore is day by day.  I don't know if I'll feel the same in a week, a month, a year, or five.  Today, yes I'm content here.  It's about the journey - the adventure.  There's a big world out there.  Cuenca is my world for now.  Early, from my upper window, I watch the city waking up and beginning to rush by.  I watch the people walking by.  I watch the workers and the vendors doing their daily work to earn their "plata" so they can care for their families and eat.  Sometimes I sit on the window sill and just watch.  Then I wonder, "Who is that person?  Where is he/she going this early in the morning?  Where do they live?  Who is their family and what is their family life like?  Are they content?  Is this the rest of their life?"

Late at night, I listen from my desk as the city noise gradually subsides the later it gets.  Still, there are the occasional sounds of cars driving by, late-night walkers passing by, always the never-ending sound of the corner street light bleeping, and the occasional distant sound of a horn honking.  Finally, Cuenca sleeps!

I'm thankful that I've had wonderful opportunities in my life, including several out-of-the-ordinary adventures.  I count living in Cuenca as another opportunity and adventure and one I'm glad my husband and I both decided to finally do together, in spite of the obstacles, challenges, and doubts we've faced and will continue to experience along the way.  We live here now, city dwellers, and each day will add something new to embrace and be thankful for - all a part of life's journey.

Last night while at my desk, I could hear a loud generator running as the evening street cleaners scrubbed and power washed the city sidewalks below my open window.  Was it loud?  Very! 

But when I went to the window and poked my head out, I smiled knowing these "yellow men" were working hard to keep my Cuenca city clean.

The first thing I do when I arise every morning is walk over to my office room, pull up the wooden blinds to let the bright light in and open the window to let in the sounds of the early morning city.  I will hear church bells chiming in the background and the familiar sounds of another busy day beginning....

A door-to-door news vendor is carrying Cuenca's periodico "El Mercurio" with the day's headline, "EL PAPA ES LATINO" (The Pope is Latin).  Her working day has begun.....

I love watching this corner street vendor from my window.  She sits there all bundled up from early morning until late evening selling her magazines and papers.  Her location is prime and her sales are constant.

This fruit vendor is rushing to her daily spot somewhere along the city streets.

On the way to her regular location she stops and sells her fruit to the corner newspaper vendor..... 

..........her fruit sale is completed and she scurries down the busy street below my window to who knows where!

I enjoy living in the heart of El Centro and getting acquainted with new streets, hidden shops, interesting people, hard-working vendors, and embracing the noise and energy each new day brings.  Yes. Noisy Busy City Living.  It's right for us, today!


  1. Perfect timing for this post. The hustle and bustle, noise and intrusions into the quiet are the things I most worry about. We love our quiet country life and I wonder how we can adapt to the city. You give me hope! ;-) 25 days and counting!

  2. Hi Donna,
    Don't worry! You are coming to see if you will adapt to the city or not. There are always other options. Just give things time and you'll know! Of course, some people have decided "no way!" Bo and I decided we wanted to experience the heart of the city, and we're glad we are. This can change, but for now we are glad for the experience. So, come and try it all so you can be well-informed and sure of what works and what won't. Then you'll be ready for the permanent decision and it will be right for you.
    Glad this gives you hope. 25 days is going to fly and soon you'll be here.
    Looking forward to meeting you both.

  3. I love the sound of the city.... I too live in the mountains and it is very quiet but I love it when I am right in the middle of New York City too. Wonder why that is... Keep writing and I will keep reading. George

  4. Hi George,
    Yes, the now familiar daily sounds of Cuenca's El Centro are such a part of our apartment living - and we love it! It's the energy of the city, and the noise is such a part of that energy, that we love! I can't imagine living in the suburbs here. So many want the "quiet" but we want the entire city experience - and are we getting it in our new apartment. Hope you'll visit us when you finally arrive to Cuenca and settle in to your new suroundings.
    Linda (and Bo)

  5. Hi Linda

    I work with the UK based artist Gillian Wearing, we are looking for people to help us with views from all over the world for a project, we love your photos! I wondered if i could email you some more information? We are only contacting people who have shot views already, who hopefully would be able to shoot another window view for us and upload. The website is www.yourviewsfilm.com please have a look and if you can contribute please email me at gammagrrl@easynet.co.uk

    Lisa James


Leave us your comments and I will respond with any questions you may have. Enjoy our Blog! Linda (y Bo)