In the city of Cuenca, we often noticed groups of Americans. A few questions later, we learned a large expatriate community, mostly retirees, live in Ecuador. They come for the equatorial weather, for the lower cost of living, for a slower way of life.
A student and I start guessing from which states the Americans come. Guessing requires follow-up to see who is right, which leads to some fun conversations.
One couple we see in the ice cream store is deemed as coming from South Carolina. The young man who makes the prediction bases his hunch on the way the gentleman wears his hat.
When asked, the man answers, "I'm from western Pennsylvania," and he's been coming to Ecuador for ten years to get out of the cold.
How well we understand.
We also learn the lady at his side isn't his wife nor is she an American.
"I'm from the UK, and I'm shopping for a new country," she says.
Shopping for a new country? I didn't know that was possible. I'd never thought about it. How could someone be shopping for a new country?
I ask her for the short list.
"I just came back from Nicaragua, but the infrastructure is still behind. I'm really liking Ecuador, but I'll visit Columbia after."
I'm wondering if she's leaving because of Brexit, or the cost of living; maybe she's getting away from a difficult relationship--I don't have the nerve to ask why she's shopping for a new country.
As I ponder shopping for a new country, which initially was so shocking, I realize that's exactly what both my grandparents did. It's what my mother's ancestors did several generations ago, and it's what brought Tony's great grandmother and grandfather to America. The idea is only foreign to me, a second generation American, because I am blessed, safe, and live with freedom.