What Was The Hardest Thing About Leaving The United States

This question was asked of me by Lynda a blog reader. I have talked in detail about the wonders of living in Ecuador and the great food and people and of course the beach but never once have I been asked about the things that we left. It brought up some wonderful memories and some very hard things that we had to deal with.

I would say the hardest thing to leave behind was our daughter Jennifer. When we moved to Panama back in 2006 she was in her last year of college. Leaving her behind was very difficult but she was an adult and had her own life to lead but that was probably the most difficult.

Next I would have to say my sister Janice, we have been pretty close. When Joe and I first moved to Florida back in 1976 Janice and her best friend Mary moved to South Miami and moved in with Joe and I for all of two or three days. They found their own apartment, new nursing jobs and eventually husbands. We remained close even when she moved to Vero Beach and then to Atlanta and when Joe and I moved to Atlanta in 1994 we moved in with Janice, Peter and their son Justin until we found our own home. It was difficult leaving her….

Then the next few items kind of run together. Our home outside of Atlanta was our dream home. A two-story traditional painted white with black shutters and door, it was our perfect home on a cul-de-sac with a nice sized deck that overlooked our back yard where we had planted peach and pear trees that extended into a 100 year flood plain surrounded by huge trees and a brook where we placed a wood bench under our own weeping willow..It was a very special home. Next it would have to be the Buford International Farmers Market what a fabulous place to spend a Sunday afternoon. They have foods from all over the world, a Mexican bakery, an Indian bakery, fresh cheeses, fruits, meats and seafood including many tanks with live fish, crabs you name it this was just a fun place to spend a few hours. Then a quick stop on Buford Highway to one of our favorite pho restaurants for a big bowl of beef pho soup with fresh spring rolls and a Thai iced coffee. Next it would be the many thrift shops that were in our area always filled with surprises for very little money, inexpensive books was our first stop then we would just roam these stores looking for that special treasure.

I miss these things and many more but we have been blessed to find a beautiful country, filled with gracious giving people.

We are content with our choice of San Clemente and pray that we are allowed to enjoy our dream in our Beach Hut for many years to come.

12 thoughts on “What Was The Hardest Thing About Leaving The United States

  1. it is hard, yet somehow encouraging, to make the step away from family and I am faced with an aging mother, who is at the point in life of needing / appreciating more little and large chores being done around the house as well as a driver to get her to appointments, the grocery, out to dinner a couple of times a week etc…
    Sometimes the timing doesn’t seem the best for making a big move. However, waiting for the perfect time could well prove fruitless. To mom’s credit she is willing to make a move with me to Ecuador and I am feeling more and more comfortable with having her social and medical needs met there, especially considering how difficult it is to get those needs met here, especially her medical needs as well as her domestic needs. I’ve even convinced her that Spanish (she learned a bit in one of my classes a few years ago,) isn’t really all that difficult to become conversant in. I now have to convince my brother that he can, indeed, safely get on an airplane in Dallas and be visiting her in a relatively short few hours. It takes him three days to drive to see her now!
    Thanks for the post. Best Wishes

    • Hi Dave, Joe and I moved away from our families back in 1976 we have been flying pretty much solo since. I was blessed with a beautiful family back in PA that took very good care of our Mom and Dad while they were alive.

      You cannot wait for all the stars to be in alignment because life will pass you by so you are doing the right thing for you and your Mom. I think your Mom will love it here, folks here have a very special place in their hearts for the elderly and make them feel so loved. She will not need a great deal of Spanish unless she plans on shopping without you…and you all will learn the important things like counting, money, food….that comes very fast because you need it all the time…for us putting a perfect sentence together has really not happened but most folks say my Spanish is good, I laugh but I am able to communicate pretty well and a big smile and a warm touch or hug goes a very long way…finding a person to help with here domestic needs will be pretty easy and again the people are gentle and very friendly…I think you both will do well here, many blessings to you, Nancy

  2. Nancy-Somehow I cried after reading your article-perhaps it reminded me what will I say if somebody asked me the same question about my departure from India! I am similarly blessed with lots of material things coming to USA but i sure do miss that simple love treasures of my home town.All the best–Yusuf

    • Yusuf, you old softy you…thanks for that beautiful comment, I feel truly blessed to know you. be well my friend, Nancy & Joe

  3. Wow – Nancy! How many things you brought to mind when we considered our move to Ecuador. They are, of course, so important. But the best thing is what the two of you have experienced, have looked forward to, and to the excitement and wonder of what is yet to come within your new life and country. We also look forward to these things – and we’ll be there in two months. We cannot wait for the next chapter of our lives to begin.

    • Hi Liz, thanks for your comment. It is hard leaving behind all that you know and going into the unknown…but with a bit of patience and a good attitude you will do well. It is like starting college and being away from home for the first time, strange, scary, exciting, wonderful, all wrapped into one, Nancy

  4. Glad to have discovered your blog. Nearing retirement age and wondering whether I could make the leap and live as an expat. Both of my kids are in the states. That would be the thing holding me back. My sister and her husband have thought about Ecuador as a retirement destination. Nice blog.

    • Hi Rosemarie, thanks for reading and especially for your comment. It was very hard leaving Jennifer and my sister Janice but Jennifer is now in Japan teaching English so we still would have been separated. Nancy

  5. Good morning my wife & I (Jenny&Adam) we have a house in playas generial villimil planning to move to retire 7 years . What my hold back is I don’t know Spanish well my wife is from there. But some day’s working here in west palm beach fl. (Native) I just want to pack up & leave now

    • Hola Adam J, Just come here, don’t stress too much over your lack of Spanish, folks here are very kind, and if you smile and attempt to communicate most will be kind in return. When you get to Playas there are folks that will help with your Spanish issues, I have a lovely couple Nancy and Miguel Angel Munuz who can help with translation, even teach you Spanish…I also have a young man Daniel Mora who drove a mototaxi and would take me around town to everyplace I wanted to go and even help with translation his English is not perfect but very good and between the two of us I got everything I needed done while in Playas. If you are ready to move, don’t allow the language to hold you back, Joe and I have been out of the states for over 7 years now and our Spanish is still not even adequate but we are doing great here. Let me know if you need email addresses or telephone numbers for my friends from Playas. Be well, Have a wonderful week, Nancy

  6. Found your blog while researching our move to Ecuador. Husband and 2 chihuahua children will make the leap in July 2014. We love antique stores and thrift stores, thrill of the hunt and trip down memory lane. Is there such a thing in Ecuador? We have heard Cuenca has at least 2 used book stores, so we are hopeful about the thrift stores… What have you found? After reading your blog from the beginning ( I’m poring over it with morning coffee) and telling my husband your adventures, he wants to skip Cuenca and go straight to Salinas, haha!

    • Hi Paige, I know of two used bookstores in Quito, one was owned by an Aussie and the second is owned by an American. I have no knowledge of Cuenca as we have never been there. We have spent time in Quito, Puerto Lopez, Salinas, Playas and now here in San Clemente. I have never seen a thrift store but there is an Expat Swap group on Facebook…I too love the idea of snooping through old books and discarded household and furniture items, would love to find a place here but it seems folks use things up, all the way here, if they have a car it is repaired over and over again they just do not have the money to purchase things new all the time. Enjoy your adventure, Nancy

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