By Yves Bechard
My name is Yves René Béchard and I was born into a family of 10 children. We were raised in Hearst, Canada, a little city otherwise known as the ''Moose Capital of Canada,'' located in the deep north of the province of Ontario where we can have -50 degree winters and high 40’s in the summer.
Our mom and dad raised us to live by three main principles, loving, sharing, and helping each other. So all my life I have helped, and still do.
January 2011, at the age of 55, I came to visit Ecuador and it only took me two weeks to decide that I was going to live here permanently.
The hospitality of the local people that I met made me fall in love with this country.
I have been able to travel and discover the beauty in my country of Canada, but now I admire the landscapes and the gastronomy that I get to discover in my beautiful host country. Apart from missing my family and friends from Canada, on the gastronomy side, I miss my regular ''POUTINE.''
If you do not know what that meal is, well it is a very simple dish...fresh french fries, good fresh cheese curds that make the noise... queesh queesh, and chicken gravy. It's greasy but delicious for the belly...lol. It’s too bad that the grocery stores in Ecuador don’t sell that kind of cheese.
I have had some memorable days in Ecuador. The days after the big earthquake of 2016, it was impossible to not get involved, and I soon was participating in the organized help for the people of the communities that surround the urbanization of Mirador San Jose. We provided them food, and I was part of the team that visited all the houses in the small communities to see who needed repairs. Some houses were completely destroyed and rebuilt with the money that was donated by Canadians.
It was very gratifying for all, to be able to help them as best as we could.
December 19, 2019, was a memorable date for me as well, accompanied by the great Ecuaassist team.
Fernando was always there with me when completing paperwork or when I had to go to the immigration office. Using the services of the EcuaAssist team, I can tell you all that they saved me from a lot of headaches.
That special day, I received my dual citizenship in Ecuador.
I was very excited because that morning I received the official document in a ceremony where I was able to sing the beautiful national anthem
of my new country.
Throughout my studies, in my hometown, the subject that interested me the most was geography. I knew all the continents, the countries, their capital and most of the big cities around the globe.
What intrigued me a lot was this small country where the equatorial line passed: ''Ecuador.”
Throughout my life, I said to myself:
''One day I will be there.''
I worked 26 years for the Federal Government of Canada and finally retired in December 2015. Since then I have not been able to stay idle.
Today, I spend my time at the Santa Marianita Crematorium where I enjoy time with the people around me. If I'm not working, well I walk all over the city of Manta and do a little workout at the gym where I live.
I find the city of Manta more and more beautiful, thanks to the young mayor Agustin Intriago Quijano and his employees.
Thanks also to this beautiful and interesting magazine ''Hi Expat,'' which I read religiously every month. I have discovered a lot of new information and places to explore.
Thank you so much ECUADOR for accepting me as one of yours.