Navigation Pages

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Should We Stay or Should We Go? Resident Travel Restrictions

Thank you Clash for the title! 

One of the most frustrating things about being in Ecuador is the conflicting information that floats around about things that are near and dear to your heart. The list is almost endless, but most of the truly worrying things have to do with getting your residency or keeping your residency.  Part of the trouble is that these things are fluid - things change even while you're in process of applying for something. The good news is that you're usually granfathered into the old rules. The bad news is that if something goes wrong or gets rejected, you may have to start from scratch.

All that is pretty much behind us now, except for the sticky travel rules that we have to obey in the first two years. So here's how it breaks down as of 27 August 2015:

- During the first two years, you may only be out of the country for 90 days per year and the allowance is not cumulative, also based on the date of your Visa in your passport. 

- If you don't plan on getting your citizenship (resident status only) your anniversary date is based on the Visa date in your passport. Once you've gone two years past that Visa date, you're off restricted travel and can leave the country for up to 18 months at one time. (I did not ask if that was an in and out privilege, meaning if you come back for a day, can you leave for another 18 months without issue.)The world can finally be your oyster.
- If you want to obtain your naturalization (citizenship) you cannot be out of the country for more than 90 days over a three year period based on your Cedula date. If you go out of the country over the allotted time, I assume that you must start a new 3 year/90 day stretch. (I can't imagine that they'd just ban you forever from getting your citizenship...but who knows...after all this is Ecuador.) Take heart, if this is your choice...there are amazing places to see here in good old Ecuador, you won't need to go away to have a holiday.

Pumapungo Ruins
Las Cajas
Other things of note: most flights leave Ecuador for places outside of South America just before midnight. That means you lose the whole day, as the Aduana will stamp you as leaving the county before midnight. That sucks, but it's the way of things. If you clear customs after midnight on your return to Ecuador, you will also lose that day, so padding when you're doing your calculations is necessary. If you want a precise log of your movements the Policia Mobilaria have an excellent record of your ins and outs which they can go over with you. If you want a print out, you will be charged. (The last time we paid is was $5 each.)

Now, I can't  guarantee how long that information will be good for, but it stands right now and that's what we're using as a basis for further travels next year. I got this information directly from the same office where we received our Visa's, after a mostly futile visit with the office of the Aduana. They did however redirect me to the Visa office.

Hope that helps, I know there's a lot of debate about the right and wrong of it out there. If you want to be 100% certain, it's best to go to the Visa office yourself. Consider that my warning to avoid being held responsible for errors.

Safe travels!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Five Years In

Well, I just realized that I've been writing this little blog for five years. Where does the time go? No, I'm serious...five years have passed in a blink and my mind boggles at it. The pictures illustrate part of my personal philosophy of life.
Dance when you can.

Five years, over 200 posts, 62 countries reached, two books published and another on the way. During the time I've crossed Canada 6 times, traveled to three continents (if you count the stop in Central America) and logged 1000's of kilometers on airplanes, automobiles and on foot. It makes me wonder where I'll be in five years from now. In truth, it could be almost anywhere - the interesting part will be how I arrive there.
Try to eat well.

But eat a dessert (or three) now and then
So happy birthday to me! Another half decade under the belt, a new year ahead of me and unknown adventures waiting around the corner with my trusty husband Ron at my side (& vice versa). Life would have been so much less interesting if he hadn't been around. I can't imagine my life without him, so thanks Babe, for all the great moments and for putting up with me.
Do something that scares you.

I'm so glad for those of you that have been with me on the journey or have hitched a ride along the way. Janette, you're the best BBFB a girl could have! Love and heaps of gratitude to my sisters and Dad and my extended family and friends, you make it easier to be on the planet.
Love and be loved.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Creativity Isn't for the Faint of Heart

Anyone that I've known who tries to offer their creativity to the public, live in their own private little hell. For me it usually comes in the middle of a project; when it's too late to just give up and too heart rending (not to mention exhausting) to ponder ripping everything apart. It makes me question everything...not just the plot line of the story or what the point of even writing is, but my own purpose, my own worth - the very thing that I am. 

It's gutting and I often need to just walk away and let things stew, but that's where I'm at right now. More than half way in to a sequel for "Last Farmer" and I'm contemplating having to redo everything. It's enough to make me want to abandon it all together. It's worse knowing that the predecessor was actually a good book. It's received all 5 star reviews and ratings and now, I have to at least equal it, if not surpass. Oh the pressure!

I'm certain that other people feel this way, be it over a painting, a complicated proposal or sales pitch, a sculpture or even midway through rehearsals for a play. I guess what separates the men from the boys (so to speak, insert women from the girls if that works better for you) is those who muscle through it and those who pack it in. I will not be one of the latter. If it needs a complete rework, so be it, if I need to start from the beginning, it will be done. But I need some rest first, maybe a glass of wine before I get back to working on the sequel.

 You have my word people who care! (PS I can count you on my fingers and toes, but you're still important to me!)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Visiting vs. Residing

Before we decided to make moving a profession (so to speak) we traveled quite a bit. Actually, even as we developed our packing and moving skills, we still traveled. Some of the places we traveled to were potential new homes and we almost always loved them. Why do we move so much? It's in our blood, neither of us stayed in any one place very long, even as children. Our longest stay at one address is 7 years and that includes our childhoods.
Amazing blue skies!
So what's my point, you might ask? There is a fundamental difference between visiting a place and actually living there. I know that everyone understands that, at least logically, but when you visit somewhere new, it's like being on a honeymoon. The colours are brighter, the food tastier, the people get my drift. Even if you have your mind wrapped around that idea, you can still get fooled. Until you've spent at least a year in a certain spot, you can't really know whether you can tolerate it or not. Three to six months will refine it down to "maybe" or "good Lord, no!" But that's about it. Until you've experienced all of the seasons, celebrated (or avoided) the holidays, paid bills, dealt with some level of government, gone grocery shopping 52 times (give or take) you can't really be certain. Even then, sometimes, you wonder.
Exotic plants!
There is a gentleman who goes by the monicker cccmedia on that offers very firm (even insistent) advice about not buying property in Ecuador until you've lived in the area for at least a year. A year ago, I might have said that he was exaggerating, but he's not. It's actually scary for me to see all the people ready to come to Ecuador, sight unseen, buying property before they get here, selling everything they have and arriving here with their "we-loved-it-when-we-came-here-on-holiday" mentality, or worse yet the "how-different-can-it-be?" frame of mind.
New types of wild life!
It can be VERY different; foreign even. They speak an entirely different language, have a radically different sense of time, urgency and priorities. You don't really get to understand that with a two week visit, not even a one month visit. I'm still figuring it out almost two years later. Fortunately, for us, we're used to change; we did things that prepared us for such a radical step and we're resilient, but I'd be lying if I said the transition has been easy.
Crazy stuff you'd never see at home!
(Christmas decorations combined with Halloween masks!)
My advice to you; get your feet on the ground, rent a place that's fully furnished and check everything out. Go to the government offices to find out what you need to become a resident, talk to the banks about services, talk to doctors and dentists, other immigrants, get to know the locals and let the blush of the vacation mentality wear off. It's not just about dollars and cents, folks, it's about quality of life. We've been so brainwashed into thinking that money is the key, that we don't even realize when we've got a good thing going. So don't jump out of the frying pan and in to the fire. Make sure you're well educated before making the biggest financial gamble of your life and moving to a different country. (Especially from the first world to the second or third.)

If you've already made the leap, weigh in and make a comment. If you have questions about our experience, feel free to ask. Just know that my intention isn't to deter you, but to make the transition easier, if you decide to make the leap.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Where are you?

Two posts ago was actually my 200th entry, something that (I guess) should really be celebrated. It's amazing that I can be deluded enough that people care about anything I have to say for that long!

I've been keeping track of who's checking out the blog and we've had readers (or at the very least, looky-loos) from 62 countries that represent all the continents (excluding the Arctic and Antarctic). I admit that it's not a mind boggling stat, as I'm only cruising up to 30,000 hits. While I'm not running with the big boys, I appreciate each and every view that I get and I really want to know who you are and where you're from. What do you want to know and what were you looking for?
Seriously, enough about me. If I'm tired of hearing myself talk (even though I still do it) you must be equally so! Tell the rest of us where you're from and who you are in the comments, consider it a little social experiment.

Just know that I'm thankful for your interest and eternally curious about how and why you arrived at this little blog. I'm so excited to see where the next viewers come from! Thank you very much for your support.

If you have any ideas about what I should write in upcoming blog posts, drop me a line in the comments. Thanks for reading. I look forward (with some angst) to my next 100 blogs!

If any of you are curious as to where I'm at on the sequel to "Last Farmer" I've hit over 47,000 words, which means I'm almost half way there (give or take), this constitutes 11 chapters (one is still under progress) with an anticipated additional 64,000 words to complete the book. If you've read "Last Farmer" can you please either review it on Amazon (if you've actually ever bought a book from them online) or Good Reads, if you're a member. This will help move the book up the ranks and hopefully increase sales.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Soy Canadiense pero puedo hablar español (mas o menos)!

La puesta del sol sobre las cajas
Este es mi primer blog en español! ¡Bienvenidos!

He estudiado por casi dos años y finalmente estoy lista para escribir en mi segundo idioma.

¿Que voy a decir? Ya veremos!

Que pienso en el Ecuador? Me cae bien. Es un hermoso país rico en cultura,  (la Indígena y la europa). El clima es agradable, como la gente, y estoy rodeada de montañas y ríos. 

Aún no he comenzado a discubrir la Grandeza del país con sus tres ambientes; la selva amazónica, la costa, y (por supuesto) los Andes. Yo he tocada algunas de esos lugares, pero hay mucho más que necesito ver y experimentar.

Ayer tuve una experiencia profunda. Por primera vez, pensé en español sin traducción. Me tomó un segundo para lo darmé cuenta, pero realmente lo ha sucedió! Para mí, esta experiencia fue increíble. Es posible que haya ocurrido antes, pero no puedo recordar una instancia. Es un etapa importante.

Con el tiempo, voy a ofrecer mi blog en los dos idiomas, pero en este momento, esto es suficiente, para mí por lo menos.

Que tengan buenos sueños, vidas apasionantes y amores profundos!