Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Ecuador, etc.
I am Edd Staton. I lived most of my life in Atlanta, Georgia, where I met my wife (Cynthia) of 41 years. We owned a large interior landscaping business there for 15 years, then sold it and moved to Charleston, South Carolina to begin new careers in sales and marketing. Our jobs took us to Las Vegas, Nevada where we lived for several years before moving to Cuenca, Ecuador over 2 years ago.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
Just for fun I started a blog almost 4 years ago on which I occasionally posted. When we decided to relocate I started writing more because I wanted to chronicle our experiences mainly for myself but also for others who were contemplating a similar life change.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
Tell us about the ways your new life in Ecuador differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
My life in Ecuador is totally different from before. What a blessing to choose what to do with my time, and to pursue interests that have long beckoned. The transition here was easy because I knew things would be different and sometimes difficult, and I decided to approach everything with a smile and never take myself too seriously.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Ecuador? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
Talk about setting yourself up for failure! The biggest mistake you can make is foolishly believing you are fully prepared! Nothing can prepare you for moving abroad, so you do the best you can and get ready to improvise. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
My wife and I were invited to a party where we discovered we were almost the only gringos there. This was shortly after we arrived here and our Spanish was worse than terrible.
I was engaged in a “conversation” with a local woman and in my best Spanish I told her, “If you want to practice your English, I’m your man.” She recoiled in terror. I was certain I had been misunderstood, so I repeated with even more gusto, "I'M YOUR MAN!" The lady repeats what I said to her husband and they immediately get up from the couch and hustle out the front door. Yikes!! Apparently I had innocently and unwittingly made an improper advance to this nice woman right in front of her spouse. How indiscreet can you get? I'm happy to report they eventually returned to the party, although they remained on the other side of the room and avoided eye contact with yours truly for the remainder of the evening.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Ecuador?
- Know why you’re coming---really.
- Don’t expect to find a “cheap America” here.
- Cheerfully adapt to your new culture instead of expecting it to adapt to you.
How is the expat community in Ecuador? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
We have a vibrant expat group here in Cuenca, busy socializing and getting involved in hobbies, businesses, and volunteering. It’s incredibly easy to have more friends than you thought possible. I started a “Gringo Night” here over a year and a half ago that has become a permanent fixture in the expat social scene
How would you summarize your expat life in Ecuador in a single, catchy sentence?
It’s never too late for your dreams to come true!