A Canadian Family Traveling & Living Abroad (in Ecuador)


Living In Ecuador Yet Homesick For Canada – Things We Miss

When we packed everything up to move abroad in 2009, missing Canada didn’t even enter our minds. We knew we would miss our family and friends, but we were so excited to relocate to Ecuador and experience all that it had to offer, missing Canada was the last thing on our minds.

There is a lot to love about Ecuador and because of that it took some time, almost 4 years before we started to miss a few things from Canada.  

When you grow up with something all your life it can easily become common place. Then when you are away from it, unexpected things trigger memories and you find yourself reminiscing about what you never really gave much thought to before.

Camping at Keji

Camping at Keji

The Changing Seasons

In Canada there are four seasons: summer, fall, winter and spring. With each season comes a beautiful array of changes. I always loved watching winter turn to spring, the way the snow would melt and give way to flower bulbs pushing their way up through the recently thawed earth. The smell was fresh and earthy. It was like everything was new and it was time to start fresh.

One thing I did say as we were leaving Canada, was that I would never miss the winter. I was wrong. I really miss the beauty of the snow! I miss waking up and looking out the window to see big snowflakes coming down. The big flakes fell slower then the small ones, spinning and gliding into each other, like we were inside a giant snow-globe.

I loved when the conditions were just right and the ground was covered in an amazing blanket of sparkling snow, it looked like there were millions of diamonds scattered all over the backyard. When there was fresh snow (no footprints) on the ground, we loved to get bundled up, run around in it and mess it up!

living-in-ecuador-homesick-canada snow

Our snowy backyard in Nova Scotia, Canada

Fall was also an amazing time of year. The leaves would turn bright colors of yellow, red and orange – it was amazing! On an overcast day the colors seemed to “pop” even more. We would grab the camera to try and capture it, but pictures (as beautiful as they are) never do it justice. After the leaves had all fallen and the trees were bare it was a little sad, but then that first snow got us excited thinking about snowmen and ice skating.

Here in Cuenca, Ecuador there are two seasons, summer and winter. The seasons are called summer and winter and are like the Canadian early spring and late spring. There are also what we would call hot-August-days peppered in among Cuenca’s two spring like seasons

We love the weather here. While the snow is beautiful to look at, it’s no fun to shovel or drive in. It’s nice not to have to worry about the weather as much as we did in Canada. I also love how the flowers are in bloom all year here! Because the seasons don’t change, like they do in Canada, we find ourselves forgetting what time of year it is: funny, but true.

Camping

Every August in Canada we went camping. The weather was perfect and the biting bugs were all gone by that time of year. We loved to camp at Kejimkujik National Park and Rissers Beach. At Keji the lakes were warm and perfect for swimming. The hiking trails were beautiful and we would almost always see white-tailed-deer on an early morning walk.

Swimming at Keji

Swimming at Keji

At Rissers, it was fun to play in the sand. Watching the sunset on the ocean was something we really looked forward to. Waking up and cooking breakfast on the campfire, then sitting around it at night talking and laughing are some of our favorite memories.

Playing at Rissers beach

Playing at Rissers beach

Here in Cuenca we enjoy walking in the city and spending time at the parks. We have really enjoyed vacationing on the coast as well, the beach in Salinas is really nice, and we have heard about other beaches that we hope to visit in the future.

Camping at Rissers

Camping at Rissers

Beach Fires

Most of the beaches in Nova Scotia (eastern Canada) are rugged and rocky. The water is generally too cold for swimming so we spent our time beach-combing for unique rocks and beach glass, and having bonfires.

It was so much fun to call a bunch of friends and meet at the beach for a bonfire. We would arrive while it was still light so we could pick a good spot and gather up driftwood to make the fire. As it was getting dark we would light the fire and roast marshmallows and hot dogs. Sometimes we would send up a few fireworks, but the fun of it was relaxing with friends in the cool air around a large beach fire.

A beach fire

They probably do that on the coast here in Ecuador as well, but we live in the Andes so we don’t. Hopefully we will experience it here one day soon, and then we will write all about it.

Happy In Cuenca

Even though we miss things about Canada and we are a little homesick at times, we are happy living here in Cuenca and we don’t plan on moving back. When we start feeling a little homesick we just remember where we are and the amazing things we’ve done and we feel just fine!

Do you live abroad? Are there things that you miss that you never thought you would? Please share your thoughts with us by commenting on this post.

An article by

Dena is a writer, artist, expat and mom. She enjoys being cozied away in one of her favorite cafes, sipping coffee and spending time with her family. She writes for one of the world’s top websites (About.com), home-schools her daughter and blogs about life abroad (GringosAbroad.com). Connect with Dena on Google+ or LinkedIn

More about: Living in Ecuador

{ 26 comments… add one }

  • Robin Zinck January 19, 2014, 12:50 am

    Just wanted to say “hi” from Nova Scotia. We live in Baker Settlement on the south shore of Nova Scotia and have camped in Keji many times and Rissers too! Have actually camped in the exact same site at Rissers as in your picture above. We are planning to move to Ecuador in the near future and enjoy reading all your blogs. I know I will miss Nova Scotia and the snow but we are looking forward to our move. We just came back from a walk in the snow and it is beautiful out there but I will not miss the ice and wind!! Ecuador sounds like a wonderful place to retire to. We cannot wait to get there!

    Reply
  • Fran May 18, 2013, 9:42 am

    On the more practical (and perhaps slightly selfish side?) I really miss Bed Bath and Beyond. I love local markets — and prefer to always buy things there. But sometimes I just want to go to the BBB and get a practical thing for my apartment, instead of running to 12 different markets in the wilting heat, and not finding what I need in the end!

    Reply
  • Lou L. April 8, 2013, 8:42 am

    Hi folks; Spring has sprung. but slowly as Nova Scotia usually treats us. +9c to day. rain in the forecast for the next few days. I am waiting for warm weather to get my garden tilled up to plant veggies. also to do some trout fishing,..love it.
    will say so long for now. keep smiling. Love Lou & Rae

    Reply
  • Allyson McQuinn April 7, 2013, 6:30 pm

    Cool Greetings from Saint John, N.B.
    I’m pouring over every inch of your blog as we are considering relocating to Ecuador this coming November. I’m so excited to have found that you’re Canadian … but also fellow Maritimers to boot! How awesome is that. Perhaps we’ll come to meet in person some time. I heard lots about Keji and plan to get there this summer.

    Reply
    • Bryan Haines April 8, 2013, 7:27 am

      Hey Allyson – thanks for your comment. There are a number of Maritimers living in Ecuador.

      So happy that you are enjoying the site.

      All the best on your plans!

      Bryan

      Reply
  • Susan B January 22, 2013, 2:44 pm

    From Ontario and other than friends and family (especially those unconnected), the one thing I REALLY miss is the colour of my home Province – there is absolutely nothing like the vibrant crimson red of a maple leaf early in October! Ecuador could paint a picture with only the greens found through out this beautiful country – but sometimes I just need swipe of red/orange/blue/purple/yellow or whatever – so I surround myself with colours in photographs.

    Reply
  • Lou Lutz January 16, 2013, 3:48 pm

    Hi folks nice to get some info from the warm country. Although I will have to say we have not had a whole lot of cold weather in NS, one week a bit on the cool side -15 C. to day 0 C and snowing, forecasting up to 15 cm. That’s OK I am still waiting for those pics of Drew Tell Brian’s mother, she will remember.
    If I were younger Rae and I would come to visit for the adventure , but I am getting too old for those kind of trips. Keep smiling Folks you have people here in NS that love you . Love Lou and Wife.

    Reply
  • Dennis January 16, 2013, 10:41 am

    Great article… from someone who’s still back in Canada :)

    It’s nice to read a refresher on just how good we’ve got it… not that life abroad sounds too shabby either.

    Interestingly, all of your favorite memories speak to fun and precious times with family and friends. I think that sometimes in Canada and the US we get a little too busy with life to do all the great things that are in our own back yard. That’s one of the big reasons that traveling is so great, as we all get to live in the moment, without the pressure and demands of the daily grind.

    it looks to me like you’ve figured out the secret recipe for good living – cherishing time with family and friends.

    Cheers

    -Dennis

    Reply
  • Lou Lutz December 29, 2012, 9:28 am

    Hi Folks it is truly nice to hear from such dear people and your adventures in Ecuador . we are heading into a major winter storm tonight so the radio says.
    as for missing NS that is only human. It is not a thing that we need to feel guilty about.
    Soon Brian’s parents will be visiting and cheer you up a bit. Can you go to my FB page . if so you will see a few things to bring a chuckle. I have a good sense of humor I do my best to see the funny side of life, I look at a picture and see a chuckle. Have a nice warm day, Love Lou and Rae

    Reply
  • Jim December 28, 2012, 11:45 pm

    You don’t know what you have until it’s gone rings true today. We used to frequent Valley Stove and Cycle and we enjoyed the greetings of Cleo who made everyone feel at home. We just found out she passed away yesterday. A few memories came back to me. We really enjoyed our time in the Valley and in Wolfville. Though the lives of animals are much shorter than ours the can have a great impact on our lives. I’m not sure I can imagine visiting the bike shop without Cleo being there, but of course I will when we get a chance to visit…or maybe return to Nova Scotia in the future. What do I miss today?, the greeting of a 4 legged but very gentle canine named Cleo.

    Reply
  • Rhiannon December 28, 2012, 3:20 pm

    Hi Dena,
    I enjoyed reading this. I agree, you painted a beautiful (accurate) picture of the seasons. We are a family of 3 that lives in Oregon and looking into moving to Ecuador in the spring. It was nice to get an idea of the things we would likely miss as well. I could see missing the season’s change. I do enjoy the fall and beginning of winter (beginning because half way through it seems never-ending). Where we live winter begins in October-November and lasts until May most times. We are looking forward to being able to spend more time together as a family rather than spending our days apart working for someone else. The lifestyle in Ecuador seems very laid back and friendly (depending where you go I’m sure). Which beaches would you recommend for visiting? We enjoy your posts and site. Thank you for sharing your experience. We are so excited to start our new adventure when the time comes!

    Reply
    • Dena Haines January 22, 2013, 2:05 pm

      Hi Rhiannon,

      We like the beach in Salinas, here is a link so you can see what it’s like http://www.gringosabroad.com/whats-the-beach-like-in-salinas-ecuador/.

      All the best to you on your adventure!

      Reply
    • Terry Doyle March 6, 2013, 5:27 pm

      Rhiannon,
      Interestingly, Oregon is the state that most closely matches Ecuador in size: both are just under 100,000 sq. miles. Oregon’s my state as well and we’ve visited Ecuador twice, once living in Cuenca for two months. Not much compared to the Haines, but I will say that for a country that size, there is an unbelievable variety of ecosystems, environments, etc. Likewise there are great cultural differences as well: Catholic, Andean indigenous peoples, the whole Hispanic thing mixed in with a growing dab of expats, especially around Cuenca.

      From high, treeless Altiplano with towering snow capped mountains to the Amazon rainforest (my favorite), dramatic landscapes, beaches, Pacific slope highlands and lots more, Ecuador has a stunning variety of places to be. None of them, to be sure, are Oregon nor Nova Scotia. ;-) But they are wonderful indeed: a nature lover’s paradise and a photographer’s dream.

      Reply
  • Lou Lutz December 27, 2012, 11:38 am

    Hi folks, i spoke too soon. It started snowing about 10:30 Am it is making snow fast I do hope for a meeting this evening as we have a lesson on PC’s , I need all the help i can get. we are suppose to get 10cm of snow
    You folks can think of us when we are shoveling snow and you are basking in the sun. we will think of you ,That little niece of yours is one cute little girl and has the sweetest smile, Saw her for the first time in person Sunday. Chow for now. Lou

    Reply
  • MaryAnn December 27, 2012, 11:30 am

    Hi Dena,
    I recently moved from Florida in the USA to Mexico. I like my new home but am feeling a bit melancholy about my family and friends in the US. It is comforting to know that others who have made big moves for all the right reasons can still feel homesick for what they left behind. Ecuador is on my travel agenda so we may meet in the future.

    Reply
    • Dena Haines December 27, 2012, 7:32 pm

      Hi MaryAnn

      That is so true! When we know others feel the same way we do, it doesn’t feel like such a big deal anymore. There are so many good and exciting things about living abroad that the difficulties we face don’t last very long. But, it’s good to know that we will have feelings of homesickness and things like that so that when we are feeling a little down we know it’s normal, and that we will feel better in a day or so.
      Thanks for your comment.

      Reply
  • Lou Lutz December 26, 2012, 10:59 pm

    Listen folks the harsh winters we use to experiences are history i do think. last winter i plowed my drive only twice.. so far this winter i did it once just to get the jump on it . at present we have maybe 2cm of snow.
    I admit the warm climate is good to experience , We love the four seasons ,
    and trout fishing in the spring, one of my favorite things to do in NS.
    then in the late summer we catch fresh mackerel in the Bay of Fundy also on the South Shore near Chester. You folks enjoy your visit with Mom and Dad Love Eric and Rae

    Reply
    • Dena Haines December 27, 2012, 9:07 am

      Hi Lou,

      I didn’t write about fishing in N.S. in the post, but I really miss that as well :)

      Thanks for your comment

      Reply
  • Lisa December 26, 2012, 10:14 pm

    Hi Dena. I enjoyed your article and as you know we went camping to the same places. Always good times, but we haven’t camped in a couple of years. Summers are so busy. As for snow, there isn’t much here to miss(give it time). I think I would mostly miss the autumn if I was in your shoes. Such gorgeous colors and fresh smelling air. Anyway, we sometimes wish we could be as adventurous as you.

    Reply
    • Dena Haines December 27, 2012, 9:09 am

      Hi Lisa,

      The spring and autumn have always been my favorites! Thanks again for the pics of the autumn colors you sent us.

      Reply
  • Kim December 26, 2012, 8:09 pm

    Well well well Dena, where to begin about you missing the snow………… In Quebec on Monday the 17th and on tuesday, we got over a foot and a half of thick wet snow, it was only 0C outside. I have two snowblowers and I could not keep up, I have a big area to clean. Wednesday we finished the cleaning. thursday we took a break and started all over again on Friday and Saturday with again over a foot and a half of crap, sorry ie snow. All I kept thinking while shovelling is that I will not have to do this in Ecuador, that is what gave me energy. Do you want to switch place for a few weeks???

    Take care!

    Reply
    • Dena Haines December 27, 2012, 9:12 am

      Hi Kim,

      I remember all the shovelling, I didn’t say I missed that :) just the good bits.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Reply
  • Jo Reason December 26, 2012, 5:16 pm

    The national parks are great for camping. Take a trip to the Cotopaxi NP, Boliche (close to the Cotopaxi NP), Quilotoa Lake, all offer campsites.

    Reply
  • Jim December 26, 2012, 4:56 pm

    Very nice pictorial Dena. We miss home from time to time, sometimes a lot, sometimes a little. You pretty much covered everything we miss. The camping picture pulled my heart strings a little. I think we really miss camping and the open fire and of course camp coffee and breakfast. Thanks for posting.

    Reply
    • Dena Haines December 26, 2012, 5:03 pm

      Thanks Jim,
      We talk about going back sometime and camping with the family again, it would be a lot of fun! We also really miss camping in P.E.I, would love to go back for a visit.

      Reply
      • Jim December 26, 2012, 10:14 pm

        I haven’t camped at P.E.I. Sounds like a good idea if we make it home for a visit this summer.

        Reply

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About Bryan & Dena Haines

We are a Canadian family of 3 living in Ecuador since 2009. If this is your first visit, start here. We blog about life and travel in Ecuador. Interested to work with us? Read more about Bryan & Dena

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