2 September 2016

David Sheeshka - Expat in Mirador San Jose, Ecuador

David Sheeshka - Expat in Mirador San Jose, Ecuador

We’ve had the chance to talk to David Sheeshka, 46, a Canadian expat who has moved to Ecuador with his wife. Mr. Sheeshka who has been living there for four years now works as a webmaster/IT.

Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you originally from?

A: Canada.


Q: What made you move out of Canada?

A: Cheaper living, Climate, Not to work as hard.


Q: Where are you living now?

A: Mirador San Jose.


Q: How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: From a scouting vacation to see what Ecuador was like.


Q: How long have you been living in Ecuador?

A: Since the fall of 2012.


Q: What has been the most difficult experience you've had when you were new in Ecuador?

A:  Dealing with the manana culture, and inefficiency.


Q: Would you say that formalities like getting visas or work permits and international health insurance were particularly difficult in your host country? What was your experience with these?

A: It is not that difficult, it just takes time because of the bureaucracy and their love of paperwork.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family?

A: With my wife.


Q: How are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: Better, my wife can chill easier than I can. My job does not allow me for that.


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialize with other expats in Ecuador? How did you manage to find a social circle in Ecuador?

A: I mainly speak with North Americans due to the nature of my job.


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Anything to recommend to future expats?

A: The area is great for outdoor recreation. Excursions to farms, hiking, ATV fun, and beach combing. Not to mention all the activities that come with the ocean. Swimming, surfing, kite surfing, fishing, etc.


Q: How does the cost of living in Ecuador compared to your home?

A: For us it is half…

  • How much is a cup of coffee?

A: Instant coffee. 1.50. Real coffee made with beans 2.00

  • How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: $4 per person

  • How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

A: $20 per person

  • How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?

A: Wine you can buy cheaper Argentinian for under $6 a bottle. Good imports are $20 plus. Cigs I don’t know. I don’t smoke. They are under $3 for sure, though.


Q: How do you find the local culture and people in Ecuador?

A: The people are friendly, and like to laugh at your bad Spanish, however, they are eager to help.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Ecuador?

A: Positives are experiencing food and culture, cheaper cost of living and the climate is a big deal for a lot of North Americans coming here. Relatively stable country. The negatives would be learning to adapt to the way things are done. Such things like bureaucracy and the slow, inefficient nature of many governments and business procedures. One needs to be in less of a rush and learn to slow down in Ecuador. Petty theft in the big cities is also a concern. I have not experienced any myself, but I always remain vigilant.


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes?

A: Yes, the modern conveniences of Wal-Mart and Home Depot.


Q: How do you cope with homesickness?

A: For me, it is not a problem. I go back one time a year minimum regardless.


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: Maybe, time will tell.


Q: What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?

A: Waiting in line at the bank for nearly two hours. The inability to take out much money from the ATM (my bank capped at $300 per day. That includes debit transactions. Finding an ATM that will actually give you your limit, without going to multiple ATM machines. Top pet peeve for sure.


Q: What tips can you give other expats living in that country?

A: Visit the country first, at least for a minimum of three weeks. Travel around and really get a feel for the different regions if you can. The coast is much different from the Mountain regions.


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about Ecuador?

A: I like the expat exchange and of course my own Retiring in Ecuador.