Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sketches of Cuenca #1. An Intro- Glen Birbeck

Humans are story tellers. Much of any culture is the collection and retelling of stories. The personal, the group, all have their myths and histories. Stories which tell where we've been and where we're going. In the present context we are emigrants to Ecuador. we come from North America, from Europe, from every part of the globe.  Our paths trace new stories. 

My efforts will be to sketch a few of these tales. My own story is fairly typical. My nationality is Estado Unidense, USA. I grew up as an Air Force brat. As WW2 cooled down & the cold war heated up My family moved from Nebraska, where I was born in 1946, to Japan. Then Arizona to England, Greece to North Africa (Libya). When I was seventeen, not having had enough, I joined the USN, and years later, the Air Force. That added Germany, Iceland and Spain to the list. 

Was all this travel a factor in my expatriation to Ecuador? Maybe, it got me used to moving and to accommodating a new culture. Then in 2010 for the first time, I flew into the Southern Hemisphere. My tourist visa allowed a month in Quito and two months in Cuenca. That was my introduction to Ecuador. I liked it.  Eventually I had all the documents and was granted residency as a pensioner.  

Cuenca has been my home since then. I go north to Maine when the weather there allows.  I keep a studio in Cuenca and a camp in the Maine woods.  Going back and forth, the snow bird life, is more a psychological problem than an expense. It takes a hardy plant to be pulled out of the soil every year and replanted four thousand miles away. But, maybe I am playing out those early years. maybe it's inherent in me and only amplified by experience. 

I have to suspect it's me because my sister and brother stay firmly rooted in the stony soil of the pine tree state. I've long since given up trying to talk anyone into traveling south as I have.  Gets the same reaction as talk of a trip to Mars, another place they don't speak much English. I hope you enjoy these sketches of Cuenca.

-Glen Birbeck