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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Visiting vs. Residing

Before we decided to make moving a profession (so to speak) we traveled quite a bit. Actually, even as we developed our packing and moving skills, we still traveled. Some of the places we traveled to were potential new homes and we almost always loved them. Why do we move so much? It's in our blood, neither of us stayed in any one place very long, even as children. Our longest stay at one address is 7 years and that includes our childhoods.
Amazing blue skies!
So what's my point, you might ask? There is a fundamental difference between visiting a place and actually living there. I know that everyone understands that, at least logically, but when you visit somewhere new, it's like being on a honeymoon. The colours are brighter, the food tastier, the people get my drift. Even if you have your mind wrapped around that idea, you can still get fooled. Until you've spent at least a year in a certain spot, you can't really know whether you can tolerate it or not. Three to six months will refine it down to "maybe" or "good Lord, no!" But that's about it. Until you've experienced all of the seasons, celebrated (or avoided) the holidays, paid bills, dealt with some level of government, gone grocery shopping 52 times (give or take) you can't really be certain. Even then, sometimes, you wonder.
Exotic plants!
There is a gentleman who goes by the monicker cccmedia on that offers very firm (even insistent) advice about not buying property in Ecuador until you've lived in the area for at least a year. A year ago, I might have said that he was exaggerating, but he's not. It's actually scary for me to see all the people ready to come to Ecuador, sight unseen, buying property before they get here, selling everything they have and arriving here with their "we-loved-it-when-we-came-here-on-holiday" mentality, or worse yet the "how-different-can-it-be?" frame of mind.
New types of wild life!
It can be VERY different; foreign even. They speak an entirely different language, have a radically different sense of time, urgency and priorities. You don't really get to understand that with a two week visit, not even a one month visit. I'm still figuring it out almost two years later. Fortunately, for us, we're used to change; we did things that prepared us for such a radical step and we're resilient, but I'd be lying if I said the transition has been easy.
Crazy stuff you'd never see at home!
(Christmas decorations combined with Halloween masks!)
My advice to you; get your feet on the ground, rent a place that's fully furnished and check everything out. Go to the government offices to find out what you need to become a resident, talk to the banks about services, talk to doctors and dentists, other immigrants, get to know the locals and let the blush of the vacation mentality wear off. It's not just about dollars and cents, folks, it's about quality of life. We've been so brainwashed into thinking that money is the key, that we don't even realize when we've got a good thing going. So don't jump out of the frying pan and in to the fire. Make sure you're well educated before making the biggest financial gamble of your life and moving to a different country. (Especially from the first world to the second or third.)

If you've already made the leap, weigh in and make a comment. If you have questions about our experience, feel free to ask. Just know that my intention isn't to deter you, but to make the transition easier, if you decide to make the leap.

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