Monthly Archives: April 2015

The only constant in life is change

This website was originally mostly for my kids, just in case they or the five grandkids I have, who I have never met, ever wondered about me. Then it was the model for a project I developed, YourLifeDomain, which I honestly believed would be very successful because it allowed everyone to have their very own website about their life. I’m sure it went nowhere only because I didn’t have the clout of a Google or Microsoft, even though I tried very hard to pitch it to them. I’m sure like everything else they will come out with something similar soon and make millions from it.

At too many other times in my life the site has been therapeutic, allowing me to vent about something that was bringing me down. This is one of those times. I doubt anyone is still following me or cares, but this is still a record of sorts of my life, good and bad. Right now is really bad, probably as bad as it’s ever been. Like everyone I’ve had some traumatic moments in my life, the worst still being when my Dad died in my arms. Some decisions I’ve made have not always worked out, like when I made the decision to move out West to be with my mother for whatever years she had left after being diagnosed with cancer. I had no idea that one of the consequences would be losing my daughter, who I now haven’t had any contact with for over twenty years. I honestly thought she would come out for vacations, partly to see me, but also because she loved it out West and she loved my family. I don’t know if what happened was her decision or her mother’s, because she was always so paranoid that Heather would move out West and leave her. I’ll never know. Not a day has gone by that I don’t think of my daughter and miss her terribly.

Late last year I realized that I was basically wasting my life just praying that one day my kids would make the decision to connect with me and I would get to be involved with my five grandkids. I had been living in a city I loathed, London, for five years and there was no good reason to think anything was ever going to change with my kids. My dear friend, Heather, basically summed it up that I was molding waiting for something that would never happen. We talked for hours about me wanting to move to Ecuador where I had a shot at a much better life. She was oh so correct in saying that I would regret not going, giving up on my dreams.

The more I researched Ecuador the better it looked. I knew there was no way I could survive in Canada on my limited pensions and I faced just eking out a living. The cost of living was so much lower in Ecuador and I would certainly be better off there. They also had an excellent health care program where everything would be included for only eighty dollars a month, including my very expensive medications. They had just removed the age limit of sixty and removed pre-existing conditions, which being diabetic, would have excluded me. I was looking at several really nice apartments for under three hundred dollars a month, unheard of in Canada. Plus, no more winter.

Prior to coming to Ecuador I had done a huge amount of research on websites about Ecuador. Ecuador was hot and not many Canadians even knew where it was, let alone all the wonderful things it had to offer to Canadians. I registered WelcomeToEcuador.ca and got to work. I barely had the site functional and already had 127 people subscribe to my site, so I knew I was on to something. I was at the Ecuadorian consulate in Toronto and one of the people there was on the visitor computer and on my website. When I mentioned to her that it was my site all the other people there said they had also visited my site and loved it. That was very encouraging.

I had also been in touch with the Ecuadorian Embassy in Ottawa about some of my documents. They were equally impressed by my website and not only promised to keep me up-to-date on information about Ecuador, but they approved me using the tourism logo on my website, a major fact given that no one else could do this. Things were starting to look very good.

I sold my wonderful little Honda and just about everything else I owned and flew to Ecuador December 2nd, full of promise about how much better off I was going to be, plus a sense of adventure about exploring this new country. I still had some misgivings about my kids, but, as Heather had said, there’s always Skype and I could come back for a visit if that was in the cards. I had started working feverishly on my website project and had total faith that this was going to be successful, allowing me to travel the country to take photos and write articles, while making extra money to make my life even better.

My first major setback was ending up in hospital. Instead of taking me to a public hospital where everything was free, for some unknown reason my landlady took me to a private hospital in a nearby town. I didn’t realize it was a private hospital until they presented me with a whopping twelve hundred dollar bill on being discharged. This was a major financial setback.

When I first looked at my finances for Ecuador I had been receiving my early pension plus I would soon receive the OAS, for just under a thousand dollars a month total. Not enough to live on in Canada by any means, but I would do better in Ecuador. This was before the dollar tanked so that hasn’t worked out as planned. The other major part of my planning was the GIS that I would receive for six months. I spoke to a lady at the processing centre who had my application in front of her. She said I would receive $455 a month but that it would not be deposited until the end of January because they were that far behind. I knew that this pension ended if you were out of the country for more than six months so I told her I was thinking of traveling in Ecuador and asked if this would be any problem. She assured me that it wouldn’t and told me to have a good time.

The end of January came and went and no money had been deposited. Thus started a program of calling Service Canada each and every week trying to find out what was going on. This money was needed for me to file for permanent residency in Ecuador and I needed to do this right away because it takes time. Getting nowhere I contacted my MP asking for help. She got answers although they weren’t great. Instead of the $455 I had been told I only got $144 a month, not enough to file for my residency. My current Visa expires May 31st and without a residency application file I have to leave the country. This means returning to Canada with nothing. I have nowhere to live. I face getting off the plane and having nowhere to go. The saddest part will be giving up my dreams of Ecuador, mostly my website business.

The only possible alternative to returning to Canada is selling part of my business to be able to afford to file for my residency and stay here. I’ve approached some people back in Canada and, through my doctor, hopefully some contacts of hers in Ecuador. I have no real idea what the business is worth, although the name is certainly gaining some traction plus I am starting to show up on page one of search results. I worked all day, every day, seven days a week for months on my sites and that’s certainly worth something compared to someone starting fresh. I’ve proposed forty percent for five thousand dollars US, not because that’s all I think it’s worth, but because that’s what I need to survive. Not the right way to value a business with so much potential, but I accept that if I return to Canada the business is dead. There is simply no way I will ever be able to afford to return to Ecuador.

I’ve started planning my return, sad as that is. I’ve contacted COPA about my return flight. I’ve basically given my notice to my landlady about my wonderful apartment. I’m going to be selling everything I can’t take with me, like my monitor and my printer. I continue to work on my websites just in case something happens, but it’s hard to stay enthused, at least the way I was before. The time I have left seems so very short and it’s depressing to say the least.

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