Gringos With Gratitude

Gringos with Gratitude? 6 Reasons to be Grateful

I get it, being a gringo in a foreign land comes with its own set of challenges. When I first arrived in Ecuador, I felt a bit like a walking ATM machine. Every little mishap seemed like a personal attack – from being overcharged twenty cents at the local tienda to struggling with the bank’s endless requirements for opening an account. Every cab that didn’t stop for me in the rain felt like a gringo-specific slight.

The first year was tough. I spent most of it feeling like a victim, constantly griping about how I was being treated differently. Some of this was undoubtedly true – as expats or tourists, we do get treated differently than locals. But the real difference comes from how we choose to deal with these situations. And, believe it or not, it’s not all bad. In fact, there are plenty of reasons to be grateful for being a gringo in Cuenca.

One thing that helped me shift my perspective was my gratitude journal. But more on that later. First, let me explain why being a gringo in Cuenca has its perks.

1. Financial Advantages

Coming from a country with a stronger economy than Ecuador automatically puts us at an advantage. Our social security systems are more robust, and our job opportunities are more plentiful. For instance, if you’re here on a retirement visa, it means you’ve proven that your Social Security income is around $1,400 a month – a figure that many local retirees can only dream of. Even economic refugees who move here because they can’t afford life in the US anymore should be grateful that Ecuador offers a viable alternative.

2. Assumed Education and Respect

Another surprising benefit is the respect we get due to assumed education. Many Cuencanos see gringos and assume we’re well-educated and knowledgeable. This probably stems from the high value they place on education and the many family members they have studying abroad. While not all of us might be academic geniuses, we often get the benefit of the doubt unless we prove otherwise.

3. Navigating Social Classes

Cuenca has a strong social class system, but as gringos, we have the unique ability to fit in anywhere. We’re not entirely free from discrimination, but we can move up and down the social ladder more freely based on merit rather than our country of origin. This flexibility is something many locals don’t have.

4. Long-Term Thinking

In business, long-term thinking is crucial, and it’s something many local businesses struggle with due to their focus on day-to-day operations. This is where we have an edge. Our real estate business, for example, has thrived because we prioritize strategic initiatives over immediate gains. This long-term mindset is something that sets us apart and has contributed to our success.

5. Business Opportunities

Being a gringo also opens doors. I’ve been able to secure meetings and opportunities that might not have been available to locals. Whether it’s working on a Galapagos-based travel business or navigating Cuenca’s real estate market, my outsider perspective and novelty often intrigue local businesses enough to give me a chance. However, convincing them to change based on my experience is another story.

6. Leveraging Technology

Ecuador’s tech scene is still growing, and as someone with a background in digital marketing, I’ve found numerous opportunities to create and innovate. The challenge is finding the time and local talent to bring these ideas to life. But the potential is there, and it’s exciting to think about the possibilities.

Practicing Gratitude

Now, back to the gratitude journal. This simple tool has had a profound impact on my outlook. Every morning and evening, I spend five minutes jotting down things I’m grateful for and setting small goals for the day. It’s more specific than a regular journal and helps me maintain a positive mindset. Any old book will do, but I invested in a dedicated five-minute journal designed for this purpose. Here’s a link (affiliate) in case you do want to purchase it – but again, it isn’t necessary. Don’t let the lack of a special journal stop you from starting. 

Practicing gratitude goes beyond journaling. My family and I even hug trees by the Yanuncay River to show our appreciation for nature. It might sound silly, but it works for us and improves our overall mental health.

Wrapping Up

While being a gringo in Cuenca comes with its challenges, it also offers numerous advantages. Embracing a positive mindset and practicing gratitude can transform your experience and help you appreciate the unique opportunities available to us. So, if you find yourself feeling like a victim, try shifting your perspective – you might just find that life as a gringo in Cuenca is something to be grateful for.

Further reading:

View full video transcript

One Response

Leave a Reply

You may also like

Related Posts

The “secret” Cuenca Park Surrounded By Sensational Restaurants (4)

Landlord Hide and Seek and Other Games

Editor’s NoteA tenant and long-term YapaTree contributor, Rick Snyder, wrote this informative article from a tenant’s point of view. YapaTree Properties operates a rental service,

Stay updated & Win

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

And go into the draw to win a YapaTree Card. New winner every month. 

Subscribe Form Sidebar