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By Sue Gallagher

I grew up in a suburb of Boston in the 1950s. My mom was artistic so I always had a paintbrush or a knitting needle in my hand and a book in front of my nose. And of course with my toes in the Atlantic ocean every summer.

My work life was split between Los Angeles and San Diego, always in sight of the ocean. I was a technical writer for almost 40 years, writing mostly about programming languages, managing documentation departments, and presenting sessions and workshops at technical writing conferences. My artistic tendencies migrated to the digital world as I concentrated on designing PowerPoint slides and technical diagrams. I designed a few icons and logos, but the opportunities to really stretch my artistic skills were few.

When retirement loomed, my husband and I knew we'd only be happy by the ocean and a beachfront property in California was far beyond our means. On a night that would change our lives forever, we saw a couple on House Hunters International looking for beachfront property in Ecuador and, simultaneously, our eyes lit up! We came to Ecuador in 2015, rented a car and spent two weeks driving the coast from Salinas to Pedernales and fell madly in love with this country and its people.

We moved here in November of 2019 with our four dogs targeting someplace near Manta. We landed in Santa Marianita, and felt so comfortable and so welcomed that we never left. We bought a house and settled in just in time for the pandemic quarantine. While we both managed to escape the ravages of COVID-19, my husband's health took a turn for the worse and he crossed the rainbow bridge in July 2022. Despite the changes life has thrown at me, leaving Ecuador has never crossed my mind. I have made such wonderful friends, Ecuadorian and every nationality of expat, I have a comfortable house, I'm financially secure, and I get to watch the sunset over the ocean from my patio. Who could ask for more?

I started painting again during the pandemic. First one or two things for the house, then a few Christmas and birthday gifts, and suddenly my workroom overflowed with painted projects as I lost myself in color and design.


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