What About the Grandchildren?

Edd:  Just returning from our family visit in the States seems like the perfect time to talk about grandchildren. It’s perhaps the most emotional topic for a lot of folks thinking about moving abroad.

Cynthia:  We’ve been asked about this subject countless times and I can certainly relate. We came to Cuenca with none and now we have four! It can be difficult. I freely admit to being sad telling those kiddos goodbye every time we leave to come back home.

E:  But, reality check. We see them so much more than if we were still toughing it out in the States.

C:  That’s true. Just to clarify, by toughing it out, you mean continuing to work, right? Well, at least me continuing to work because I’m younger than you.

E:  Uh huh, but did you really need to point that out? Had our lives not taken such a radical detour you would most likely still have a job and maybe three weeks vacation to be with our family. As it is we’ve sometimes spent months at a time with those precious children. It’s truly a blessing.

C:  Ironic, isn’t it? By retiring early and moving to Ecuador we get to spend much more time with the grandkids than if we had remained in the U.S.

E:  It’s quite counterintuitive but being a grandparent and thinking about relocating to a foreign country isn’t “one size fits all.” Say you live nearby and see the grandchildren a lot. Moving abroad may not work. But if you’re in a situation like we were where you don’t live close and getting on a plane to see them anyway, a little longer commute to spend more time with your family is so worth it. My advice is to listen to your heart.

C:  On that subject, my own heart is filled with gratitude for the detour you mentioned. And those “exotic travel plans” we envisioned have mainly turned out to be trips to North Carolina and New Jersey, but that’s okay. I’ve cherished the time we’ve spent with our grandchildren, and we’ve still managed to squeeze in some terrific adventures between family visits.

E:  Thank goodness for Skype video. We get to visit with them all the time. I heard you and one of our granddaughters talking about coloring together over Skype, and we’re trying to figure out playing Uno online with a couple of the older ones. How in the world did people move overseas before the Internet?

C:  No way we could have done it. Friends often comment on how “courageous” we are to have moved abroad. That may be somewhat true but honestly, those who decided to expatriate before the technology we have today were real pioneers!

E:  I agree. The point is that expat life has become much easier in so many ways, including being an important part of your grandchildren’s lives from afar.

C:  And that having more time and a lower budget by retiring overseas can allow you to spend lots of quality time with them one-on-one. It’s really a win-win, wouldn’t you say?

E:  Absolutely. We have the best of both worlds. I love visiting our family in the States, and I love our life here in Ecuador.

C: Me too.

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