Who are you?
My name is Luca Lamanna, I’m a 25-year-old Canadian living in South America.I teach English and I do hobby photography.
Where, when and why did you move abroad?
I moved to Quito, Ecuador in 2017. I moved abroad to change my lifestyle. While living in Toronto, I worked for a bank and waited tables at night to make ends meet. I was making great money but had no social life at all – working 12 hour days does that to you! – I decided money wasn’t a good enough motivator, I quit both jobs and bought a plane ticket.
What challenges did you face during the move?
The main change was more day-to-day living, understanding how processes worked for things like visa applications, paying bills, learning bus routes, etc.
How did you find somewhere to live?
I walked around neighbourhoods that I really liked and asked security guards of buildings if they knew about any furnished suites for rent. Also, the newspaper is a great resource.
Are there many other expats in your area?
Yes and no. Quito doesn’t have a huge expat population, but it is definitely growing. I find that there are younger expats here as opposed to retirees (like in Cuenca, or Salinas). My particular neighbourhood has very few expats.
What is your relationship like with the locals?
It’s pretty good. I find most Quiteños to be very friendly and eager to help. They seem to value friendship, however many of my group of friends include other nationalities, mainly Venezuelans.
What do you like about life where you are?
I love the fact that I can survive only working 6 hours a week. The cost of living is pretty low in Quito. Also, the location. I can take a bus four hours west and surf or four hours east and be in the heart of the Amazon, to the north is Colombia at only six hours away via bus.
What do you dislike about your expat life?
Sometimes thing should seem easier than they are but this allows you to slow down and appreciate the small things. Also, buying a plane ticket on an Ecuadorian salary can be difficult.
What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?
Many people don’t seem to understand sarcasm and take it as an insult. I’m not sure if I’ve had bad luck with my sarcasm, or humour is just considered different. Also, bus culture sucks here. I never thought I would ever say the words “I miss the TTC (Toronto Transit)”.
What do you think of the food and drink in your new country? What are your particular likes or dislikes?
The food and drinks are delicious and vary depending on where you are in the country. My only complaint is that many things are prepared with peanuts and I’m deathly allergic. Also, wine is very expensive while beer is cheap.
What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?
Understand what you’re getting into, do your homework, it isn’t all rainbows and sunshine and things can become frustrating. Also, learn the damn language – don’t be lazy and expect people to speak to you in English.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans are to continue to travel and live abroad. I’m in the process of launching an online business and hopefully, that means I can work a little less and travel a little more.
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