Assimilation In Ecuador

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On the Expat Forum this morning, I saw a question about Assimilation in Ecuador. I thought anyone looking for more information on Assimilation In Ecuador would be interested in both this question and two of the responses.


“In the USA we accept foreigners, it’s what we do. In Ecuador I doubt that takes place. I would love to hear expats who have had experiences, positive and negative, with regard to assimilation. “


“I think the process for gringos who stay here in Ecuador is much the same as a similar foreigner in the USA.

Most, if they arrive in the US old, do not learn English. Most of the old folks socialize with one another. They buy from from a barrio market if they can because its more than just a grocery store, its a touch of the familiar, the language, the food.

A twenty year old will assimilate. That’s what twenty year old’s do…..they come from being teens, a different culture than adults are part of. So adapting to Ecuador would become part of the normal process they go thru. Assimilating/maturing. Might be two names for the same process.

For us old folks, not easy…but helpful in keeping the brain functioning.

If you have never lived in another culture and are armchair travelers let me tell you…. calling it another reality vs another culture better expresses the gap. It really seems like that sometimes.

Better that than a place that was boring (aburrido) for my declining years.


Another person added: “Resistance is, after all, futile (I’m sorry – I had to plug the Borg)”

In my book, “Words To Thrive By for Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador” I cover a lot about this topic. Feel free to purchase my new bookWords To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuadoravailable both on Kindle and Paperback formats. Personally, I prefer the kindle version as all my photos are in color in that version. However if you like a traditional paperback in your hands where you can make your own notes, feel free to purchase that version where the photos are in black and white.

Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador

Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador

The Gift Of Gratitude- Thank You Dear Readers

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I wanted to take this opportunity today to express my deep gratitude to you, my readers. You live and work in more than 175 countries around the world. You form an amazing international web of connection to many different cultures and people. Together, we are shaping the future of our world by our many talents, gifts and contributions. I am extremely proud to be part of our shared international community.

As you know, I write and post on all of my various social media forums with the deep intention to serve through inspiration and motivation. (I was most recently described this week as “an instigator for getting others to move outside their comfort zone into seeing the options available to them.”)

Around the web on my various social media spaces, I post art and photographs, music and videos, quotes and other ideas. I always try to offer what I believe might be a helpful perspective to you or to give you some “food for thought” as you travel your journey, wherever you are in the world.

However, this is far from just a “one way street.” Every day I am equally blessed, inspired and moved by your wisdom, your many contributions, comments and posts as well. I wanted to make each of you aware of the exquisite gifts you give to me every single day and to express my gratitude to you for them.

I’ve always loved that old Zen saying, “When the student is ready the teacher appears.” We are always -and in turns – both “teacher” and “student” for each other’s growth, lessons and personal evolution. Our current ongoing “global conversation” together here in the social media stratosphere truly feeds my soul in innumerable ways. Thank you for that as well.

Warm regards,
Mary Anne Dorward

PS: Feel free to join more of your fellow international community on these various social media spaces outlined below:

Social Media Housekeeping

Words To Thrive By Website

To get more info about my Words To Thrive By® Book Series or to read/sign up for the WTTB blog, our ongoing conversation about the incredible power of words, go here:

Mary Anne Dorward Website

If you need Speaking, Writing or Coaching services, want to hear me sing or to read/sign up for the MAD/My Real Voice blog + conversation about work and life, ongoing since 2008, go here:

Ecuador Blog

To learn more about real Life in Ecuador, (and other South American countries,) please go here :

(You are here now)


This is where I post positive quotes, words and images, links to blogs, videos and other cool stuff I find when I’m out and about trolling the internet.




To quote Elizabeth Gilbert: Pinterest is “that ever so fun addictive crack house, whose vortex I try not to tumble down too often because it’s a gorgeous suckhole.” Yes LG. I couldn’t agree with you more. To be perfectly honest, I tumble down the gorgeous Pinterest suckhole more than I would like to admit!

Thanks again for everything! See and talk with you all soon!

Thank You





Essential Items To Bring If You’re Moving To Ecuador

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Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador

Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador

A Woman posted this question on the Ecuador Expat Facebook page today:

“What items of clothing are most important to bring? What did you regret not packing?”

I thought her question and all the replies from people who actually live in Ecuador were so good, I decided to reprint them here on my blog. The many helpful answers people on the Ecuador Expat FB page really stand on their own for anyone wanting to know what essential clothes and other items to bring to Ecuador that you cannot get there.
(Note: It’s a closed group that I belong to so in order to protect everyone’s privacy, I’ve removed all names except ones who could be good references. Here is the link for your reference if you wish to request to include yourself in the Ecuador Expats FB group:


Quick question. We are moving to Ecuador in March what items of clothing are most important to bring? What did you regret not packing. Thanks all. Countdown is killing me 57 days and counting lol
A. Long pants and running shoes. We brought mostly shorts… big mistake!

 (Thanks so much…trying to reduce my wardrobe to two suitcases is my trauma for the month)


A. Look up “capsule collections” on Pinterest. It is a whole new world of women who know how to get 30 days out of 14 pieces. I’m sure someone has done your trip. You will be shocked. I’m looking for “professional teaching summer” and the options are unbelievable. I’m a terrible shopper and this is really helping me. Here’s “capsule collection vacation” so you can see it.…

A. Where will you be living?
(We are not sure at this stage , we fly into quito then to Cuenca to lodge residency and have a look. we have met on facebook some amazing people from Cotacachi so that is pretty high on the list. Coming from Australia everything looks good.)

A. We wear one type of top when we get up in the morning; change around 10:30 because it gets quite warm and then about 4:30 go back to our cool weather clothes. Bring clothes that can be layered and changed into and out of.

You might bring a raincoat or umbrella if you plan to be out and about in the predictable rainy weather. Decent shoes. Either sturdy walking shoes or strong sneakers.


A.  I moved to Cuenca and regret not bringing enough warmer clothes. It can get quite cool at night.


 A. Saltine crackers frown emoticon ….LOL
A. We live in cotacachi. Why are you doing your immigration work in Cuenca. Why not Quito.
(Because I am so dumb that I asked for recommendations and went with a lady recommended and did not find out until I had paid deposit that she was in Cuenca not known for the brilliance of my intellect)
A. Have you met Jeanne Martin yet? She is also from cotacachi and from Australia.
(Jeanne and I have messaged a lot She is fantastic with so much good advice)
A. Hi! I regret not bringing more sneakers, blankets and raincoats. I’m in Quito. I did not regret my umbrella, my make-up, sunscreen, socks..  Also, bring your own cellphone, laptop or desktop, kindle if you have one…
A. Cuenca will be a nice look around. Enjoy your time there.
A. When you visit cotacachi you will already have friends.

A. Jeanne stayed with me a week in Cuenca. She’s great.


A. Clothes are expensive and not very good quality. I would take a maximum of clothes if possible. And i would defintely bring good quality towels!


A.  it is now 6,50pm, I am still in a tshirt in the Cotopaxi province, inside, doors shut with no extra heating, but yes, some evenng can be cool, I disagree with the expensive clothes, they are dirt cheap here. you just need to know where to go.


A.  I agree whole heartedly about the price of clothes


A. Bring whatever you normally wear, and bring good quality. If you normally wear jeans, blouses and flats, bring those and make sure they’re good quality. People here do dress up to go out for dinner or other things, so if you just bring heavy-duty travel-type clothes, you’ll stick out.


A.  Very long extension cord

A. really, we have loads of 10 metre extension cords, how long do you recommend, if we want longer we join them up. or just buy a 100 metre cable put the plugs on each end. we also have those for building

A.  Extension cords are everywhere in Cuenca. Heavy duty, light duty, short, long, indoor, outdoor, 2-prong and 3-prong.


A. For the Sierra: Lightweight cotton sweaters, medium-weight shawls & scarves, warm socks & slippers, extra pairs of walking shoes. Umbrella and sun hat with chinstrap. Rain slicker. No shorts. And a clip-on fan. If you go to the coast or the oriente, it’s a whole different story!

A.  I also want to add that the different regions of Ecuador treat clothing very differently….Not as many folks dress up here in Cotacachi as I suspect dress up in Quito, Cuenca or Guayaquil. Where you settle will determine fashion modes.

A. It depends on the city and even your group of friends, for sure. Here in Ambato it’s definitely the norm to dress nice-casual when going out for lunch or to run errands across town, and business casual and up is not unusual for dinner or going to a friend’s house. However it’s perfectly acceptable to go to your local tienda in your PJs


A.  Clothes depends on size of person. I’m near 6′ and Ecuador people smaller so clothes to small. But if leather goods they can make it. Bring size smaller in jeans. And extra walking shoes


A.  But they have really amazing tailors and seamstresses who can make just about anything you can point at in a magazine!


A.  Flannel pj’s!


A.  a smaller size pair of jeans….could sure use them right about now….

A.  “Pelileo,” near Banos and Ambato is full of jean shops. I bought a pair and love them! There is such a huge variety you may need to try a few stores.

A.  If you are comming to Quitó, from Australia.. Bring your normal clothing but in layereable combinations.


A.  Rain coat and down jacket and down vest. rubber boots,Sheets, Pillows. No one ever wears tank tops, shorts or summer ware in Cuenca or surrounding area.


A. Bring undergarments if you are larger than a size medium. Also,all the shoes if you are bigger than size 8. And slippers.


A. I see people in tank tops and summerware such as shortsand I am in.Cuenca, not many but a few do wear them…not the tourist either…lol


A.  Bring good sheets. They sheet cheaply made ones and they cost alot. They do not sell flannel sheets . Good pillows cost a lot as well.


A. Really good walking shoes. Comfortable pants with front pockets that close. Cotton T-shirts. Hat to protect you from the sun but you can get that here. Socks!!!


A.  I noticed no one has mentioned bras, everything else can be bought even bras, but they are all small sized, they dont fit the properly here.


A.  ta heck with bras—I like the sport tops that afford support. Smiles.


A.  Aquasocks if you plan to be in the ocean.

A. Dress for the climate you are moving to. I bought some long sleeved blouses for Cuenca as it is quite chilly there. And all my summer clothes for Vilcabamba. You didn’t ask about food but I did before I came and came with a lot of peanut butter and h

A.  Onion soup mix……… can’t get it here…..


A. outer wear, under garments are a waste of packing space!!  wink emoticon


A.  One of my favorite clothing items that I have here is a ultralight rain jacket. Because it is so lightweight and folds down into a tiny square, I can easily take it everywhere on those days where rain may come out of nowhere and last 20 minutes (which happens almost daily during certain parts of the year in Cuenca)

A. My friend recently moved there… things I’ve sent or she wishes she had…
Good sheets! Towels, baking soda, witchazel, sewing needles and pins, shoes, tea, hair conditioner. Hope this helps


A.  Not clothing but I see your from brissy so bring lots of tim tams, Milo, vegimite, butter menthols, iced vovos and eucalyptus!


A.  Walking shoes or sneakers, socks, bras and undies, towels and linens, tea if that’s your thing, and electronics.


A.  I’m from Australia too, but live on the coast in Manabi. Climate aside, I really wish I had bought way more underwear and bras. Unless your fine with plain cotton. Also wish I’d bought more shoes. Size 9 can be found, but with wide feet, it’s difficult. Also, anything ‘fancy’ or ‘dressy’ is rather expensive here. So if you like to dress up for special occasions, and have some favourites, bring them.


A. GOOD walking shoes (and if you wear over a womens 8/5 or a mens 10.5 bring EXTRA!!), my daughter and I live in T shirts and jeans much of the year…bring jeans/etc in a couple sizes smaller….most people lose weight when they move here! Larger sizes (Tall / XL etc) hard to find as well…bring sunscreen and a few months supply of any meds you take regularly. We each brought one basic black dress and a pair of dress slacks …LOL


A. Of course, by now you have figured out the answers ‘depend’….on where the respondant lives, their size, their ‘thermostat.’ I am really cool if not cold much of the time in Cuenca. Right now, others are complaining of the heat and I’m perfect! From 8200 feet in Cuenca to sea level on the coast … good luck bringing all the right clothes in two suitcases!


A. LOL…yup…if you are a person who “runs hotter” you’ll be good in tshirts, if you run cold, you’ll want a few sweaters, etc…The weather can change many times in the course of 24 hours, so I usually have on my Tshirt, carry a light shawl/scarf/and a hat (plus the standby sunscreen and umbrella)


A.  If you have larger size feet, shoes!


A. Fleece is too hot here for me. I’d bring only one if feel need to. 3/4 length tee shirts are a must


A. I get very hot in Cuenca . Wish I had brought more 100% cotton tops.


A.  Clothes are easy…. but if you have quality cookware…. bring it. VitaMix, and some food things like spices are very weak here….. Clinton’s onion soup mix… MAPLE SYRUP. If you wear sports bras… you can’t get them here at all.


A. Great to have the pants from Lands End where the legs zip off to make shorts or zip on to make long pants.


A.  I like Liptons soup for when we have a cold. Comfort food


A.  For meat balls, meat loaf, dips. It’s the only packaged food I use, and you can’t duplicate it.


A.  I buy my shoes and clothing in the US. I just bring more with me every trip. Horshradish, pickles, saurkraut, good sheets, down pillows are hard to come by…….why are down pillows hard to get? I don’t know.


A.  I put my clothes in space bags. It took up less space in the luggage


A.  I brought about 80 pairs of shoes, but the only footwear that I wear is 2 pairs of sneakers. Bring sneakers, they are expensive here.

A. Bring socks and under ware. You will not shrink out of them. Don’t buy extrs pants, you will lose 20 lbs. here in the first six months. Three or four jackets. Especially to repel rain. It is not cold enough for a winter coat. Good walking shoes (three pair). Hats to protect your skin from the sun.
A. Sleep ware (PJ’s), it is cool at night. House shoes. A backpack.


A.  I wish I’d brought more comfy raggedy sweats and lazyclothes.


A. I figured I would lose weight so I brought the next size down jeans. Now I’m one size down from that.


A.  Anything you may need assistance with please keep my contact information I will be very happy to help you on anything , Monica Gonzaga I’m a Facilitator

(Great info from all
Now excuse me while I go and repack for the third time.)


 A. Definitely bring sneakers since brand name shoes cost ~3 times as much because of import taxes, same thing with good quality jeans since you can’t really get levis here without breaking the bank. Socks and underwear are never a bad investment either. Also, bring extra chargers for all your tech because you could easily end up paying $25 for a phone charger you could get for $3 on ebay in the states

A. Wish you the best! Hope to visit soon.

A. Things that are hard to find or expensive in Ecuador:

Good sneakers / sandals

Good jeans
Quality cotton linens
Electronics of all kinds and their chargers
Good cookware (stainless steel very expensive)
Sonicare type toothbrushes
Electric blankets (for mountain living)
Baking soda
Good quality underwear
But really, how many of these items do we really need? Even in Las Vegas I wear only a few items most of the time. Most of us gringos are just well trained to overconsume. Unless you have some specific hobby or business needs, you really don’t need to bring that much stuff. Bring the basics and learn to get the rest locally.

It will be challenging to find or replace things you are accustomed to, but if you’re committed to life in Ecuador you will figure it out….

Also I wouldn’t bother bringing too many clothes. You will almost surely lose weight. I would bring a few good basics and use the rest of luggage space for the other items which are expensive like good walking/hiking shoes, a few linens, maybe your fave pillow, electronics, electric blanket, fave cookware etc.


A. Bring all of the clothing you can because buying clothing in Ecuador is super expensive. You may lose weight, but the clothes have high resale value, due to the import taxes.

Unless something has changed in the last 9 months since I lived there.


A. Light weight jackets or sweater cardigans that you can tie around your waist. Cross body (long shoulder strap) purse.


A. I live in el Centro in Cuenca. If you think you might end up there-or in any noisy area-bring a sound masking machine. You’ll be glad you did.

A.  Bring a hat with a wide brim.

A.  In Cuenca – Think & Bring Layers. + a small day pack, a light rain jacket/windbreaker that you can stuff in your day pack, a compact umbrella, pants with zipable or snap closure pockets, and extra pairs of your favorite walking shoes or light hiking shoes and favorite socks. & Like Gerard Trettonsays, bring a favorite wide-brimmed sun hat & your favorite sunscreen.

A.  Yeah, a baseball cap doesn’t cut it for protection of all of face, the neck and the ears.

A. You can buy hats here in Cuenca. They are bulky to pack. You can buy umbrellas here too, all sizes. If you buy the wind-resistant umbrellas and bring them, you may “forget” them in a taxi anyway. Over four years of living here, I’ve forgotten about ten umbrellas in taxis. Bring underwear and shoes! check out for free: for recommendations from various women. Don’t forget your Kindle or Nook!!! Enjoy the anticipation!

For Golden Girls, learn vital info about retiring to Cuenca, Ecuador, before you leave the U.S. Filled with…

A. Oh, yes…. DON’T forget your kindle!!!!

A.  If you wear a shoes larger than 8.5, bring shoes. Don’t bother bringing a winter coat. Cuenca is a hat-making center to don’t bring one. Life is very casual here–people don’t expect you to show up wearing a brand-new ensemble every day. Folks don’t wear shorts in Cuenca. An electric heating pad (for aching muscles, etc.) is very expensive here. I’d bring one.
A.  Gee! I wish I had asked the question before I came–could have been smarter–like –don’t bring one pair of comfortable walking shoes—bring lots more–geesh!
(Wow thanks everyone I definitely need a bigger suitcase… maybe my own plane lol)

would rather just know a bit more about Ecuador, feel free to consider my new book: Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador.  I know that you absolutely and totally WILL be grateful for all the helpful tidbits and stories about Ecuador that I share in my book. I’ve lived it. I know it. And in my book I show it. So you can totally trust it!

My First Impressions Of Ecuador vs Chile: A Collection Of Contrasts

The Art Of Andy Goldsworthy
Art Of Andy Goldsworthy
Ecuador vs Chile is a collection of contrasts. After living here for three months, I feel now I have been in Chile long enough to be able to write just a bit about my first impressions.
  • The Faces Of Chile

Ecuadorian faces are different than the Chilean faces. The Ecuadorian faces have more of an indigenous look to them, a result of the Quichwa influence from their Inca heritage and also those people who have come from Peru and other neighboring South American countries.

Here in Chile there is more of a European influence in their faces, as they are more mixed cultures coming from many other countries.

  • The Contrast Of Immigration Policies

Chile also has a great history of immigration. Countries like Chile and Argentina have always highly encouraged immigration from other cultures. This cultural influx over many years has added to the great mix of physical characteristics, rich culinary options, world class fashion and different political ideologies seen here.

Ecuador by contrast over the many centuries has been rather closed unto itself, with little or any European influence upon it. Many educated Ecuadorian people told me that unlike , Ecuadorians prefer to retain their own culture. As a result, few people from other countries in Europe or other Latin American cultures have moved there or intermarried with the local Ecuadorian people.

  • The Culture Of Beauty and Fashion

From what I observed living in Ecuador two years, unless you are in a more professional community of Ecuadorians, Ecuadorian culture encourages their women to be the ruler of the home and take care of their kids and their husbands not to become a fashionista.

The elder Ecuadorian women, on the coast at least, tend to be a bit on the heavier side and appear to pay little attention to fashion. But this fashion sense tends to shift to a bit more upscale in more professional areas such as the female lawyers of Quito who we met.

Younger Ecuadorian women tend to emphasize their physical features and show off their figures. I would characterize their fashion sense as “sexual,” seemingly designed to get attention from men and at the same time also be comfortable in the heat of the Ecuador climate on the equator. I never quite got over the fact though that so many of the Ecuadorian women start having babies at age 12, regardless of how they dressed.

By contrast, Chileans have a greater sense of what I would call “elegant sexy.” This “woman of fashion” will often endure physical discomfort for high end fashion effect. I have seen  this all over Latin American countries and also in Europe.

Sure, Chilean women of all ages dress up for the beach.  Their beach outfits can be very revealing in the string bikini sense or sheer dresses. However, both the young and older Chilean women have the tanned and toned bodies to pull it off.

But even if they don’t have that “perfect skinny body” so promoted in the US, it doesn’t stop a Chilean woman from putting on a bikini and showing off whatever she does have. Some women also make a more conservative choice of a one piece bathing suit or T shirt and shorts.

Whatever the choice of beach outfits, they are out there walking and playing paddle board or catch or soccer or making sand castles with their children.

Overall, Chilean women seem to aspire to also dress for what looks good on them and be “pulled together” in the latest fashions you see being sold in Europe or the United States, whether it is out for a walk, going to the grocery store, working or shopping.

Sure, some Chilean women go a bit over the top with their huge bags, earrings, platform heels and high skirts up to the bottom of their butts. But as Diana Vreeland says, “A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika. We all need a splash of bad taste—it’s hearty, it’s healthy, it’s physical. I think we could use more of it. No taste is what I’m against.”

As I watch Chilean women, all I can say is that they seem proud of  their personal fashion stamp and also look like they are having a lot of fun wherever they go, whatever their taste. I respect that.

  • Hair

I love the long, drapy, sexy hair of the Chilean women and also how they dress always so pulled together in their skinny jeans and loose flowing tops that sway along with their hair.

I didn’t ever see Ecuadorian women putting a lot of effort into their hair or their clothes. Ecuadorian women by contrast tend to put their hair up in braids if they are in traditional indigenous Quechwa dress or in pony tails on the bus to keep it off their necks in the heat. Styles are short and stylish in the city of Quito but otherwise just long and straight cut for the most part.

  • The Fabulous Chilean Walk

The really stylish upscale  women of Chile are absolutely fabulous to watch, especially when they walk. They are the epitome of what Sophia Loren said,  “A woman’s dress should be a like a barbed-wire fence: serving its purpose without obstructing the view.” These upscale Chilean women really do walk like one famous European designer suggested a woman should do: “As if three men are watching them intently from behind.”

  • Chile Is A Culture of Travel

Chilean younger people are encouraged to get an education, make something of themselves and travel.

Both Chilean women and men aspire to and have both local and international careers. They love to travel all over the world and do travel on a regular basis as a part of their ever expanding interest in the world as a whole.

Even the men who are the concierges at the desk here at our building travel in their time off from work. One guy downstairs just came back from a two week trip to Paris and commented how much he “loved the food” but that the weather was just “too cold for him.”

Younger Chileans go off to study at Ivy League colleges in the United States and have commented to us that “the values are very different between the two cultures.” (More on that in a future blog!)

Most Chileans take 2 week length holidays thoughout the year, and more than once a year. Average Ecuadorians on the coast we met were lucky to travel beyond the next town in their entire lives.

  • The Malls

Chileans LOVE to shop and get the best of everything the world has to offer. And the malls reflect that. Every top name brand merchandise is here. Chileans shop for entertainment on the weekends.

A friend here told me that if a Chilean takes up a new sport, such as hiking or windsurfing, they tend to buy everything for that sport, top of the line brands of clothes and equipment, before they even take their first lesson!

The Ecuadorian malls for the most part are not nearly as elaborate as the malls in Chile. With the exception of the one mall we went to in Cumbaya, just south of the city of Quito, malls are quite small and have very few first world brands. Ecuadorians tend to choose their buying options for how they function rather than for being seen in a famous brand or fashion.

  • The Culture of Food and Music

Chileans LOVE good food of all kinds and cultural traditions.

The Ecuadorians love a certain type of food that is traditional Ecuadorian tradition of fish, rice, and beans or fresh chicken soup from a chicken you killed and plucked that morning.

Chileans adore live music and the musical cultural contributions people from around the world make to Chile with their musical traditions.

Ecuadorians don’t have live music anywhere unless it is at a rare concert in Quito. However in Ecuador you do hear a lot of music from boom boxes from the back of the cars and from DJ’s at their many discos until well past 5 AM.

  • The Chilean vs Ecuadorian Culture of Hello

 Chileans are very friendly and kiss you hello on the right cheek the moment you meet them. No Hollywood “air kisses” from Chileans.

The Ecuadorians are a bit more reserved, but from an early age, even the children are expected to give you a kiss on your cheek upon greeting.

  • Chilean vs Ecuador Curiosity

Chileans are also extremely interested in anyone who visits Chile and you are asked all kinds of questions about who you are, where you have travelled, what you love, what kind of area you have worked in, how you like Chile so far and what you like about Chile compared to where you came from. They want to know YOU and ask LOTS of questions.

Ecuador by contrast, are very curious why you would ever leave the United States. Many of them have a cherished dream of visiting the United States one day, kind of like the United States is their version of Mecca for the people of Muslim faith.

More often than not in Ecuador, you get the question, “Why are you here?” and “Why would you EVER leave the United States? It’s perfect there.”

As you enter more of a conversation with an Ecuadorian, invariably you learn that the person who you are talking to has either gone to the United States to work and bring back money they saved or has great aspirations to go to the United States one day.

Ecuadorians never speak of ever visiting Europe or Asia, let alone Chile or other South American countries

  • Ecuadorians Think Chile Is Too Expensive

The common comment from Ecuadorians about Chile is, “Oh, it’s so expensive in Chile. Too expensive for me. ”

However, our personal experience so far on the cost of living at least right now in Chile with the currently strong U.S. dollar exchange rate, is about the same cost currently as living in Ecuador.

  • Chileans Think Ecuador Is Too Third World

When Chileans learn that we just spent the last two years of our lives in Ecuador, Chileans invariably get this look of concern on their faces as if to say, “poor you,” but they always first ask, “So what did you think of living in Ecuador? How was it?”

When  we tell them a bit more about our experience and how much we are enjoying our time in Chile now, they say things like, “Well, you know. We are a First World Country here in Chile. Ecuador has a ways to go now doesn’t it?

  • The Cultures Of Personal Space Are Very Different

Chileans have a very different sense of respect for space than Ecuadorians do. Chileans give you lots of space, whereas the Ecuadorians really do not.

Ecuadorians will practically be on top of you from behind you in a line and move even closer to you when you move away from them. At the bank counter, Ecuadorians will just come on up, stand beside you and lay their arms on the counter or look over your shoulder, even when it is not their turn. The tellers at the bank do not tell them to step aside or back.

At the ATM machine, Ecuadorians think nothing of coming up and standing up very close behind you where they can see everything you are doing and even how much money you are getting out of the machine.  However if there is a guard standing by at the bank door near the row of machines, Ecuadorians will stand back behind the yellow line usually painted on the floor a couple of feet back.

Ecuadorians will also use the armrests well over on to your side of the seat on a plane or sitting in a public chair at an office. They just have a habit of spreading out wherever they are.

Ecuador tends to be a culture of patience with all the long lines everywhere you go to do anything. However if you are doing anything while you are waiting, like a needlepoint in a public space like I tend to do while I am waiting, a crowd will usually gather around to get a closer look at what I am doing.

Strangers will even stick their faces in very close to mine while I am looking down and working on my needlepoint as if to see exactly what my eyes are seeing as I work. Ecuadorians think nothing of asking many questions about who the needlepoint is for or what I will do with it.

I ever quite got used to an Ecuadorian’s sense of space.

However, you never feel like a Chilean person is on top of you or crowding you, like I always felt in Ecuador. Here in Chile, I feel a bit more like I can breathe as people are generally more respectful of space, at least in the way I think of giving another person a sense of spacial privacy.

There is at least 3 feet between you and the next person in line here in Chile. At an ATM machine Chileans tend to wait five feet back or even outside the door of the bank until you are finished with your transaction.

  • The Culture of  Speaking English vs Spanish

Another thing I notice is that Ecuadorians will encourage you to speak Spanish and gently and quietly repeat what you just said correctly if you didn’t get it right. They love seeing you try to speak their language, and then try very sweetly to help you improve.

The Chileans seem to have a sense of keeping their opinions about your Spanish, good or bad, to themselves and will not correct you unless you ask them specifically to do so. Then they will be happy to help.

But we have known people a full month before learning that THEY spoke PERFECT ENGLISH! But Chileans have always respected our attempts to blend in with them and make an effort to speak Spanish, however clumsy.

Rarely does a Chilean speak English to you or in a conversation in Spanish switch to English, which would have been more comfortable and easier for us.

  • More Impressions To Come

Anyway I hope this description gives you at least a little sense of the two countries, Ecuador and Chile, by contrast. I know I will have more impressions the longer I am in Chile. I will share those “boots on the ground personal experiences” as I can speak to them more fully.

If you came here to this blog really only wanting to know more about Ecuador, feel free to download or purchase my new bookWords To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador. My book is available both on Kindle and Paperback formats, though I prefer the kindle as all my photos are in color in that version.


Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador

Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador

GRATITUDE DAY 9: On Taking Advice- If They Don’t SHOW it, They Don’t KNOW It

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Several years ago I had a profound insight on taking advice from others.

I stopped taking financial advice from people that were broke. I stopped getting health tips from unhealthy people. I stopped taking relationship advice from people with toxic or boring relationships and I stopped looking for spiritual guidance from people who couldn’t demonstrate the manifestation of Universal Principles in their life.

This choice to stop getting “bad advice” totally changed my entire life.

I now follow the rule that “if they don’t SHOW it, they don’t KNOW it” and I stay away from these people like they had the plague.

Instead, I find people who have manifested what I desire and ask them for help. Without exception they have been more than happy to assist me.

And the best part of the “Words To Thrive By Advice” I am giving you right now is that you can prove this to yourself!

Here’s how: Today will bring you a new awareness, a lesson or a manifestation that you are making progress – IF YOU LOOK FOR IT! This daily practice of focusing your attention on receiving new awareness of your progress in life will AUTOMATICALLY put you in The Flow.

Along the same lines, giving thanks at all times, attracts more things to be grateful for! Try it in your own life today and see!

Thank You

                       Thank You


And if you don’t want to take my advice on taking advice in life and would rather just know a bit more about Ecuador, feel free to consider downloading my new book: Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador.  I know that you absolutely and totally WILL be grateful for all the helpful tidbits and stories about Ecuador that I share in my book. I’ve lived it. I know it. And in my book I show it. So you can totally trust it!

GRATITUDE Day 8: If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself



“Live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.

Trouble no one about his religion.

Respect others in their views and demand that they respect yours.

Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.

Seek to make your life long and of service to your people.

Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.

Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, or even a stranger, if in a lonely place.

Show respect to all people, but grovel to none.

When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength.

Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living.

If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.”

• Tecumseh, Shawnee •

This is Day 8 of 9 in my GRATITUDE here on Footprints in Ecuador.

In doing this 9 Days of Gratitude experiment, I have noticed that I am more focused on Gratitude than I already normally am.

I think this sentiment by Tecumseh is worth keeping in mind, especially as the stress of the Holiday Season creeps into our daily lives: “If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.” There is always something we can find to be grateful for, no matter what

And if you are really here not to find anything to be grateful for and really just want me to cut to the chase and tell you something interesting about Ecuador, I invite you to download my new book: Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador.

I was so thankful to have the opportunity to live in Ecuador for two years. I had all kinds of interesting experiences there that I think are worth sharing with others, especially people who are considering visiting or moving there. I guarantee if you take the time to read it, you will find something to be thankful for! At least I truly hope you will! 🙂

GRATITUDE Day 7- I Am Thankful For My Struggle To Strength



As the quote above by Alex Elle suggests, “I am thankful for my struggle because without it, I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength.”

On Day 7 of 9 Days of Gratitude here on Footprints In Ecuador, today  I am acknowledging the strength we all have within us, however we get there –

kicking, screaming, stumbling, bumbling, fumbling, being hit by a gentle nudge, sledge hammer or lightning bolt.

We will all get there eventually, one way or another.

And as long as you’re already here, below is a book I wrote about the stumbling into strength and understanding that I did while living in Ecuador for two years. Feel free to download my new book: Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador: