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A young boy was spending the weekend at his grandparents’ home and woke up to the smell of his Gram’s pancakes cooking on the griddle. He jumped out of bed and flew down the stairs to the kitchen, because he knew that pancakes and sausages were the specialty of the house when he came to stay. 


He gave his grandparents a big hug, and sat down to the table, waiting for Gram to put a stack of pancakes in front of him. As he sat waiting, he remembered something he had heard them talking about the night before. At the time, he was too tired to ask about it, but now seemed like a good time. 


“Hey Gramps, I heard you and Gram talking last night about becoming Expats. What’s an Expat? Is that something bad?” 


His grandparents looked at each, and then looked at him, and started laughing. They hadn’t realized that he was listening last night when they had that conversation, but, like every twelve-year old, he had been listening, and now he had asked a good question. His grandfather was the one who chose to answer the boy’s question.  


“Well Michael, an Expat isn’t something bad at all, and yes, Gram and I are going to become Expats very soon. An Expat is a person who leaves their country to move to another country to live. That’s what those people are called, and most of the people who do that are adventurers, looking for new places to visit, and sometimes new places to live.  


Gram and I have decided to visit a city in Ecuador, in South America. It’s called Manta, and it’s right on the Pacific Ocean. We’ve been doing our homework for a long time, and we’ve been asking lots of questions to the other Expats who already live there. We’ve seen quite a few videos of this city, and all the beaches and towns that are all around it, and we have decided to go there for a visit next month.  


We’re going to stay for one month, and do some exploring, and see if we’d like to live there someday. Now that we’re both retired, and not working anymore, we think it would be fun to try living in another country, with new places to visit, with so many different foods to try, and with a new language to learn. We want to be adventurers, like the other Expats we’ve talked to, and Manta looks like a terrific place to start!” 


“But won’t I ever see you again?” 


“Yes, of course you will! We’ll come home every summer and get a house to rent. You can come and visit just like you do now. It won’t be much different than it is now. We’ll come home for Christmas, too, because Manta has an airport that we can fly from anytime we want. And, even better, you can come and visit us in Manta, and we can go to a different beach everyday if you’d like!” 


“Well, that does sound pretty cool Gramps! I like adventures, so maybe I’ll be an Expat, too, some day!” 


Fictional story? Yes. Reality? Yes. Being an Expat here in Manta, or anywhere else, is as easy as you want to make it! The hardest part of the decision is making the move and deciding where you’ll move to. Once you’ve done that, the rest will fall into place.  


You’ll do things you never thought you could, and you’ll experience sights and sounds, the smells and tastes of rich, Manabita cooking, and the raw beauty of watching humpback whales breaching off the beaches here during Whale Season. And that’s just a start! 


Manta has always been a seat of power and has dominated the commercial fishing industry in Ecuador for many years. It has a rich history, dating back thousands of years. The Manteña (Mantegna) Culture inhabited Manta and a huge portion of the Ecuadorean Coast for 1500 years and were the first people in Ecuador to see the ships of the Spanish Conquistadores sailing along the Coast. The Manteños (Mantegnos), who had coexisted with the Inca Empire, also traded with the Spanish, eventually moving further inland and becoming the modern-day people that live here in Manabi Province today. 


Manta is the second largest deep-water seaport in Ecuador, and ships arrive here almost every day from around the world. Seventy per cent of the country’s commercial fishing vessels call Manta home, and the city is in the Top 5 locations around the world in the export of canned albacore tuna. Huge car carrier ships come here several times a week, bringing vehicles from around the world.  


Our beautiful Province of Manabi has an incredible diversity, offering over 350 km of oceanfront beaches, coastal mountains that rise tall, some ending in the sea, and thousands of acres of local farms, growing one of the most amazing arrays of fruits and vegetables that you will ever see. It is a beautiful place to call home! 


But wait! Ecuador is a Spanish-speaking country! What to do? 


As a semi-fluent Expat, I can tell you that the smartest thing to do is to start learning Spanish. You don’t need to be fluent, but knowing some common greetings and expressions, questions about basic things and learning that you don’t have to be perfect, you just need to make an attempt. I have found that most Ecuadoreans will respect you more for at least trying to learn the language, so give it a shot and take some lessons. It will pay off when you arrive. Remember that learning a new language is part of the adventure! 


We would like to introduce our new magazine that is geared to the Expats living here from all over the world! Our monthly magazine will focus on the Expat Community, and what it needs and what can be done to improve the city of Manta and the Province of Manabi. We will touch on everything that new Expats, and the ones who have been here, need to feel more at home while living here. We’ll answer your questions, and help you find your way in your new country. 


We’ll also address one of the most important issues facing Expats in a foreign country; having your voice heard! Having someone to speak up for the rapidly growing Expat community here in Manabí and throughout Ecuador. Speaking directly with the people who control the political power in this country; people who can make a difference for every one of us living here or thinking about it. You and I can’t do that on our own, but having a voice to represent us, to discuss the things that we need, has the potential to change how Expats are viewed by the government at all levels.  


We will be conducting monthly interviews with the decision makers, from the National level, down to the Municipal Mayors, and we’ll be asking them the questions that Expats care about. Not just the easy, fluffy stuff, but some hard-hitting questions about what’s happening in our City and Province. We expect them to not only answer us but take note that a change has arrived. 


Our first interview for our launch issue in December will be with the Vice President of Ecuador, Alfredo Borrero. We want both him and President Guillermo Lasso to know that the Manta area has a rapidly growing Expat population with very different needs than the average citizen here. We want them to know that because we’re here and spending a lot more money than the average Ecuadorean family, large investors are looking at Manta quite differently than they had been a few years ago.  


Investment dollars are coming into Manta more than ever before, and new projects that have already been announced are continuing a trend that started just a few years ago. Expats from the United States, Canada, and from other countries around the world, will drive new investments and more construction.  


And so, we need a voice! Our magazine plans to be that voice!  


We’re HI EXPAT! and we’re here for you! 

Mark Bradubry

Hi Expat

Senior Writer

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