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We are a family of three from the USA, Wisconsin, in Ecuador from Aug 23, 2010 to May 25, 2011. This family sabbatical is only a vacation from our usual work in the States. Natalie and Jerry plan to do volunteer work and a bit of consulting and writing along with learning to speak Spanish and immersing ourselves in the culture of Ecuador. Colin will also be immersed in the language in a local school. He will enter colegio here, which starts at what in the U.S. is the seventh grade level.

We will study Spanish intensively for 4-5 weeks, find a place to live, then stay in one place for most of our time here. Part of the adventure will be finding a place that feels right: Cuenca, Riobamba, and Cotacachi are on our list, and perhaps Latacunga, as possible homes for the school year. We’ll also travel on some weekends and school vacations, perhaps to the Amazon and Peru.

Later we’ll post some links here to sites we found useful in our preparations.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. Kathy O'Rourke permalink
    September 11, 2010 1:48 am

    I will be a regular follower of your blog — love it already. Who knew that shrimp start off green???? Such an inspiration you all are. Sending love from your hometown of Viroqua, WI!

    • September 12, 2010 4:04 am

      Thanks Kathy, we feel the love! We miss Viroqua and all our friends there.
      The shrimp do have a green cast to them, but in the water they are nearly transparent. Their eyes and claws are the only way to recognize them. We also brought saltwater shrimp back from our ocean fishing trip, they were much larger and we didn’t eat their “shells.” It’s some sort of exoskeleton.

  2. John permalink
    September 23, 2010 9:25 pm

    Great blog!

    John from Connecticut here with a million questions:

    1. How old is Colin?

    2. Where will he go to colegio, and how is that possible given that you’ll be traveling around?

    3. What kind of work do you do in the States that allows you to escape for so long?

    Sorry to be so nosy, but we have two boys 10 and 11 and an apartment in Quito which we can only use sporadically (for now).

    • September 23, 2010 9:56 pm

      Hello John,
      We’re happy to reply, we had a million questions before coming to Ecuador– in fact, we still have about half a million.
      Colin is not that interested in going to school here, but we’re looking for a good fit. Today we visited a nice private colegio called Las Lomas in Cotacachi. They have room for him, and the tuition is $67/month. To answer the second half of your question, we don’t plan to travel around except on weekends and school vacations. During our first month here we’ve been taking intensive Spanish lessons while we are traveling around, looking for a town and school we like. Haven’t reached that decision yet– will post to the blog when we do.
      We both work for ourselves, and can continue to work by phone and internet to a degree while we’re here. We saved money before coming, and several years ago left behind all debts, including mortgage, purposefully.

  3. Jon Heath permalink
    September 24, 2010 11:08 pm

    Hey you guys!

    What a great adventure you all are having! Colin must have written the most recent update because it was ALLLL about fishing and fishing and a bit of fishing!

    We went through your home-town in Wisconsin and saw your house! The big one right across the street is for sale and we thought about looking into it…

    Looks like a great town!

    I look forward to reading more of the adventures as they get posted!


  4. Karin & Jon Heath permalink
    October 24, 2010 4:37 am

    Hello Jerry and Natalie and Colin!

    We loved catching up on your blog ~ what an adventure! After Family Camp, we visited Jon’s family in Minnesota and went to the Wisconsin Dells … and to your house! We stopped in Viroqua to look up your place ~ Rex swung on your swing and we said hello to your tenants. We even took a picture, but I’m guessing you remember what the place looks like. Anyway, we’ve been thinking about you and wanted to let you know all is well up north! (We love your t-shirt in the family photo on your blog!)

    Lots of Love to all of you ~


  5. Susan permalink
    November 15, 2010 8:39 pm

    I am very grateful for your blog. I hope to follow it closely and learn more on your family travels. We intend to move to EC next fall. We live in Georgia now. Please share as much as you can on the whole family concept in a foreign country.
    Did any of you know Spanish before your trip?
    Thank you, Susan

    • November 15, 2010 8:45 pm

      Susan, thanks for your comment. We learned as much as we could before coming, and we certainly could have learned more. I have many posts in mind so check with us once in a while.
      I have a degree in Spanish and taught it in high school. That was many years ago, but it made it much easier in our first several weeks in Ecuador. I recommend getting a start on Spanish as soon as you all can.

  6. Faith permalink
    December 9, 2010 4:34 am

    It has been so fun to check up on you guys. Your adventure is an inspiration and one day I too will travel to the same places you visited!

  7. Kimberly permalink
    March 23, 2011 3:17 pm

    I’m so glad to read your posts! We’re all getting to the ends of our respective journeys…we plan to be back in the States one month from now. I hope our paths will cross again!

    • March 23, 2011 5:11 pm

      Good to hear from you Kimberly. Where are you in Panama? Let us know where you land in the States.

  8. Cynthia Wicklund permalink
    April 21, 2011 6:04 pm

    I thought of Natalie on her birthday. I sent her an email, it was undeliverable so I Googled her and look what I found! I didn’t know your family was on this adventure. I’m glad to know and look forward to hearing more. Has Natalie taught anyone how to clog yet?

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