The Holiday Issue of Ecuador George

| December 24, 2013 | 28 Replies
Ecuador George

Christmas in Ecuador

Merry Christmas from Ecuador George

Merry Christmas everyone. I am up against the clock today. Leaving on a train to Flagstaff for the holiday. Hope I can write this in two hours. It is Christmas Eve at around noon time.

I stole this picture to the right because it is so cute. Click on the picture and it will take you to the site I got it from.

So here is the plan. A Spanish review and a few new words and a lesson in the use of “soy vs estoy.” 

Then something about Ecuador. Not sure what but I will make it up as I go along.

Because of the season, maybe a story about angels… right here on earth.

Then my take on precious metals.

And finally some new theme writings. And when I say new I mean I have not written these yet, I only have the category titles figured out.

This will be a regular feature on this blog. Original stories that fall into these categories… Gotta practice if I am ever going to be a famous writer….

Here are the theme categories I have so far.

  • The Fly on the Wall
  • Ask the Alcoholic 
  • The Man Who Knew To Much
  • Did You Know?
  • Thinking Organic (not what you might think)

Lets get started.



Spanish review

When I first started learning Spanish (it seems like it was just last week), I decided it would be more comfortable for me to learn a little on my own before I tried an on line course or a class. Not being good with languages, and the fear of embarrassment was my motivation.

One day I was talking to my three year old nephew and actually understanding him. On the drive home I came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea.

I will teach myself enough Spanish to talk like a 3 year old. Simple words and phrases that a small child uses to communicate. How hard could that be?

Once I mastered that, I would jump aboard and start learning like a grown up…

Along with doing research on the vocabulary of a typical three year old, I also wrote down all the Spanish words I already knew, about 50 of them.  So, to talk like a three year old I would combine the words I already knew and then learn about 300 more and a few phrases. Certainly I could do that.  Here are the first twenty new words I learned, some are very simple.

Twenty pre-school words/phrases

  • Madre … Mother
  • Padre … Father
  • Si … Yes
  • No … No
  • Mas … More
  • Quiero … I want
  • To Eat … Comer  (Quiero mas comer y bebida)
  • Drink … Bebida
  • Alto/Pare … Stop [“Alto” in Mexico … “Pare” in Ecuador)
  • Adios … Goodbye (Adios is used in Mexico)
  • Hasta Luego … Goodbye (Hasta Luego is used in Ecuador)
  • Hola … Hello   (“H” is silent)
  • Todo pasado … All gone
  • Todo hecho … All done   (“H” is silent)
  • Yo … I
  • Dormir … sleep
  • Abierto/Abierta/Abrir … open
  • Cerrar … close
  • Con … with
  • Y … and
  • Bano … bathroom
  • Jugo … juice   (who go)
  • Boca … mouth
  • Mi … my
 Here is the list of the words I already know.
  • Buenos dias (Good day/morning)
  • Por favor (Please)
  • Gracias (thank you)
  • Si (yes)
  • No (no)
  • Amigos (friends)
  • Cafe (coffee)
  • Agua (water)
  • Blanco (white)
  • Negro (black)
  • Verde (green)
  • Fiesta (party)
  • Huevos (eggs)
  • Grande (big/large)
  • Cerveza (beer)
  • Padre (father)
  • Madre (mother)
  • Pollo (chicken)
  • Queso (cheese)
  • Carne (meat)
  • Sombrero (hat)
  • Casa (house)
  • Adios/Hasta Luego (goodbye)
  • Hola (hello)
  • Caliente (hot)
  • Frio/fria (cold),
  • Rio (river)
  • Pronto (soon)
  • Leche (milk)
  • Patio (patio)
  • No hablo Espanol (I don’t speak Spanish)
  • Alto/Pare (stop) [“Alto” in Mexico … “Pare” in Ecuador]
  • Bonita (pretty)
  • Perro (dog)
  • Gato (cat)
  • Mesa (table)
  • Dinero (money)
  • Pantalones (pants)
  • Zapato (shoe)
  • Poquito (small/little)


The other thing I did was take one daily task I preform each day and I studied all the words and phases that I would need to get comfortably through that situation. I chose eating breakfast out in a restaurant.

Click here and learn breakfast (desayuno) words and phrases. I worked on this for about three weeks until I was very comfortable with it. Small steps, one at a time.  Follow this page all the way down and learn or review more of those preschool words.

This is the end of the Spanish review…  

And this is the beginning of a new lesson.

So, before we learn ten new Spanish words, lets talk about the phrase “I am”.

This is used a lot so you need to know it.  I am hot, I am cold, I am sick…

Soy and Estoy both mean I am.

Soy is used if a condition is permanent, and Estoy is used if a condition is temporary.

Soy tells you what something is, the nature of its being, while Estoy refers more to what something does. I might use soy (the first-person present) to tell you what I am, but I’d use estoy (the first-person present) to tell you what I am being.

Let me give you a few examples. I might say, “Estoy enfermo.” That would tell you that I am being sick, that I am sick at the moment. But it doesn’t tell you what I am. Now if I were to say, “Soy enfermo,” that would have a different meaning entirely. That would refer to who I am, to the nature of my being. We might translate that as “I am a sick person” or “I am sickly.”

Note similar differences in these examples:

Estoy cansado, I am tired.  Soy cansado, I am a tired person.

Estoy feliz, I’m happy now.  Soy feliz, I am happy by nature.

Please remember that languages do not translate word for word. With language, you are trying to convey a thought that is understandable to the person listening. Don’t get discouraged to quickly. After a little bit of time it will all start to feel more natural. And it is fun. So, no whining.

Put yourself out there and you will be surprised at how much you can still learn.


Ten new Spanish words

  • en (on, in)
  • ahora (now)
  • que, qué (that, what)
  • amar (to love)
  • porque (because)
  • aquí (here)
  • bajo (low, under)
  • también (also)
  • trabajar (to work)
  • sin (without)


Now here is a great picture I stole from Kimbler’s Exit to Ecuador. From a Christmas Parade a few years ago. Again, you can click on the picture and visit Karen Kimbler’s blog site.

Ecuador George

Christmas Parade in Ecuador


Do you know a Christmas Angel?

Would you believe me if I told you there are Angels living among us here on earth?

I took some of these ideas from a book I read a few month ago… I think it was called “We are Human Angels”.

Even more interesting than knowing one of these Angels is the realization that you might be an Angel…

See if these characteristics fit someone you know, or maybe they describe you…

  • Since childhood a need to change the world and have not stopped believing it can happen…
  • An unusual reaction to the sorrows of all living beings …
  • A special talent to help others…
  • An out of the ordinary sensitivity…
  • Difficult life trials have been overcome…
  • A deep belief that life should be lived with joy, despite everything else…
  • A belief that there must be a way to stop yours and others suffering…
  • There is no room in your heart for hatred and resentment…
  • Always trying to change evil into good and darkness into light…
  • A vision of heaven on earth and would like to spread it throughout the world…
  • The ability to read people and know what is hidden within their hearts…
  • Silently bless everyone you encounter in your life, even the difficult ones…
  • A sense of not belonging to this world…
  • A search for truth is the greatest passion…
  • Live with honesty even when it hurts… A belief in the healing power of Love…
  • Still have the same dreams you had when you were a pure-hearted child…
  • A belief that there is a greater purpose and would like to express it…

Well, if this sounds like someone you know, you may have a Human Angel for a friend.

And if this sounds like you, call me. I need a couple more good friends in my life….

Merry Christmas everyone.

I have run out of time and I can hear the train whistle blowing…

So this will be Part One of my Holiday Posting….

Next week look for some original short stories and some other surprises. I will show you how to improve your critical thinking skills with my Linear Equalizer… An my Primary Pyramids….

Please comment and subscribe and share this on Facebook, especially all you Angels….










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Category: Before The Big Move, Moving to Ecuador

Comments (28)

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  1. Geoff aka Phar Koff says:

    Entiendo and No entiendo I understand and I don’t understand. Bit negative maybe but useful when you are new in a country.

    Love your Ecuador blog. I am sure I will never visit there but having spend enjoyable months in Bolivia and Peru I find it interesting. My son who lives in the Cayman Islands is thinking of moving to Ecuador when he retires.

  2. Ecuador George says:

    Geoff… Thanks for the nice comment. Have a great holiday weekend.

  3. Barbara Scott says:

    Love this post … gave me lots of good ideas to try …before I get to Ecuador and after. Merry Christmas.

    • Ecuador George says:

      Barbara, these little ideas are working for me. And the more I learn the easier it gets. The more I review the more it becomes second nature. Good luck and have a great day.

  4. Teddi Berkowitz says:

    Loved receiving your email and your Spanish Lesson of the Day. Wishing you a wonderful Christmas holiday and a Happy New Year.


    P.S. When you are back in Ecuador could you please let me know of any expats who can help us find an appartment in for several months so we can make a decision on making Cuenca a more permanent residence. Thanks.

  5. Nancy Hofmeister says:

    Merry Christmas

  6. Michael says:

    Hi George and Merry Christmas to you and yours!
    It is always a pleasure to read your blogs. Nice review of importante basic espanol words too.
    If you are not familiar with the website duolingo check it out. It provides free Spanish lessons (other languages too). I find it very helpful, especially in learning to read and write Spanish.
    Also, I have noticed that you always use the word “to” to mean both (going to) and (also). Is that purposeful? I have felt using too for also is clearer….. for what it is worth. (I am an aspiring writer also:)
    Once again, keep the excellent blogs coming and I hope to see you in EC someday.
    Michael (Miguel)

    • Ecuador George says:

      Michael… You caught me. The rule for using to vs too escapes me. I understand that too and also are interchangeable but I need an English lesson here from anyone who wants to help out.

      I do use duo lingo sometimes. Merry Christmas.

      • Jody says:

        Merry Christmas, George!
        I taught English for many years, elementary school through high school. If you need help, just pm me, and I’ll be happy to help. Have a great holiday!

      • Charline says:

        Old English teacher genes kicking in:

        “to” is used to indicate direction or future action (I’m going from here to there, I’m going to give something to someone, etc.)

        “too” indicates “in addition” or more than necessary (I ate too much, I want to go there, too!).

        Now all I have to do is figure out the equivilent in Spanish and I’ll be one step closer to my Ecuador retirement!

  7. David Blackwell says:

    Feliz Navidad!

  8. Michael. says:

    Oh my oh my. The possibilities of ” The Man Who knew too Much “. Merry Chrismas George and Chad.

  9. Lydia says:

    Dear George, thanks a lot for you inspiring articles and all the information you are presenting, that will help me to prepare for my trip .

    I got a question – would it be very helpfull to join the Conference by International Travel they organized for coming February? I need to make up my mind before 1/9/14.
    I understand that there is no way to learn about Equador only with the Internet. I really think of moving over there for my retirement, at least for part-time of the year(s).

  10. claudia says:

    Simple rule for t-o-o versus t-o:
    Too = as well as OR also.

    I live in Texas right now and I was happy to find that I already know 99% of the words you already know. I’m pretty sure it’s osmossis!

    Jorge – I love, love, love your blog

    Muchas gracias, chico!

    • Claudia…. Thanks for the help and thanks for reading the blog. I just did some additional research on to vs too vs two and posted it below. Something I should known and something I should have been taught a long tome ago but it slipped through the cracks. It’s fun to learn new stuff. George

  11. Sheila says:

    George, it is always a pleasure to receive a notification of a new post from you! It’s always informative and helpful to those planning their move to Ecuador. I know you’re a builder but you are quickly becoming an excellent teacher. I have been a legal secretary for 30 years and still have problems with effect vs affect and principal vs principle. In some ways, English is much harder to learn than other languages. Don’t be “too” hard on yourself – we know what you mean. I hope you and Chad have had a wonderful holiday.

  12. Vicki Kielas says:

    Hey George,

    I just read your Blog post aloud to mi esposo and we both enjoyed it
    alot. I especially enjoyed your Angels segment, so much so, that I was choking
    back tears! Sorry that we missed connecting while you were in Cotacachi
    months back. Maybe next time or in Cuenca when we get down that way.

    Prospero Ano Nuevo to you and Blessings on your travels,
    Vicki K

  13. Larry says:

    Thanks George for another helpful useful blog. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you a great coming New Year amigo.

  14. To vs. Too vs. Two (found this on line)

    This is a big one. I see this mistake all the time, way more than would typically be expected from typos alone.

    “To” is one of the more widely used words in the English language and has eight million several different definitions and parts of speech. In its most common contexts, it is used as part of infinitive verb phrases, such as in “to eat” or “to go,” and as a preposition with widespread connotations, such as in “Let’s go to the store,” “Give it to me,” “The Cubs are down 84 to 11 to the Pirates,” or “To this day, I hate mushrooms.” Think of it as the default of the two.

    “Too,” on the other hand, is different. It can mean “in addition,” as in “I want to go, too!” or “You two hate to eat mushrooms and onions, too,” or can refer to excess or degree, as in “You are too funny!” “I drank too much last night,” or “Tom wasn’t too amused by Hannah’s theatrics.”

    “Two” is simply the number 2, exclusively. (On a related note, in formal writing, numbers between 0-10 (some say 0-9, but it’s a typically a matter of preference) should be written out, as in “I have two siblings,” “There is zero doubt in my mind,” or “I was ten-and-a-half when the younger of the two was born,” while larger numbers are typically written in numerical format, as in “There are 8,459 other things I should be doing right now,” or “Dude, I like totally drank like 12 beers last weekend.”)

    When in doubt, use “to,” but remember that if you’re meaning to say “in addition” or “to an excessive degree,” use “too.” If you’re referring to a numerical amount, use “two.”

  15. Carolyn says:

    Hi George,

    I absolutely love the Spanish lessons. The way you present the material is very clear and easy to understand. I do have one question. When do you use donde es and when do you use donde esta? In your examples you say donde esta la casa and also donde es la leche. I would think the location of the house would be permanent (donde es) but the milk might get moved around (donde esta).

    Thanks so much!


    • Ecuador George says:

      I am not sure. I don’t speak the language yet, and I am just trying to get a basic knowledge of primary words and phrases. But maybe someone else reading this knows… Thanks for reading. George

  16. Deb says:

    I really appreciate your posts and language lessons. We are thinking of moving to Ecuador or Panama in the future but have not decided when.
    Thank you.

    • Ecuador George says:

      Glad to be of help. I learn just as much as you do when I write these blogs. Hopefully in six months I will be able to get along with the language much better than I am today… George

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