I like Uruguay

      Uruguay is a temperate climate. Somehow this week I remembered where I wanted to live when I retired. I wanted to live close to the ocean, and I didn’t want cold winters anymore. I think Uruguay can give me that. I was born in Florida, and I’ve remarked a few times in the three and a half weeks that I’ve been here that the climate and vegetation is like my birth state. It is not, however, hot and humid, which is a big downside to Florida. Here in Uruguay where I’m living now in Lagomar, just east of Montevideo, there are breezes and the humidity isn’t debilitating like it is with 90 plus degree heat and 95 percent humidity. I think the warmest it has been is 85 degrees. Most days have been in the low 80s. Think about that: In the middle of summer, the high temperatures fall in the low 80s. I want that.

        Also, I suffer from mild asthma, and I’ve felt the urge to use my inhaler when the heat and humidity got high, but I managed without it. Another piece of good news is  some of my wrinkles are disappearing because the climate is more humid. After having lived in far west Texas most of my life and undergoing menopause, my skin screams for moisture.

       I’ve read travel information that the pleasant seasons in Uruguay are the spring and fall. If that’s the case, then, I’m in for a treat because the summer here also has been wonderful. Back in El Paso, Texas, the spring is ruined by intermittent dust storms; then, the summer heat takes over, and then the winter, well, winter is winter, so if I get three wonderful seasons from a country, then, I could be happy here!

gringo discount

My family and I are considering moving to Uruguay as a means of living a healthier, more economical lifestyle.  While I have been here only two weeks, I believe that the healthier lifestyle is possible, but I’m not too sure about an economical one. One of the problems is that the dollar keeps losing its value, and the other is that some things here are more expensive because they are imported. Then, there is one more thing:  the gringo discount.

I suppose that they see most Americans float in on their big, expensive salaries and retirement pensions spending vacation money, and the locals see dollar signs and a chance to fatten their bank accounts. Predominantly, this occurs in the housing market and mostly during the summer season. The biggest source of stress for me is finding a nice house to live comfortably without being taken advantage of. Since I really haven’t been out looking, I’ve only seen what’s available online, and I’m not sure I can afford these prices.  There are a number of things that are very economical, such as the transportation system.

A three-quarter mile taxi trip from the grocery store back to the house is only 47 pesos (about $2.47), and I had the grass trimmed today for 160 pesos ($8.20).  However, when I tried to get my son’s Wii repaired, it was going to cost $220. We only paid $300 for a bundled package of eight games. After refusing, later we got the transformer repaired for $65 and a new transformer/adapter for the electricity modification to Uruguayan electricity for $35, plus $5 for gas, and we gave our friend an even $100. We could have gotten a new transformer for about $20 from the States, but would have had to pay import tax, plus the time for travel. Altogether this was a better deal, but still no receipts were forthcoming when the two items were returned to us.

I told my husband that I didn’t feel warmly to a new country that would take advantage of foreigners like this, but he replied, “Do you want to have the government step in and ‘protect’ you?” Of course, I don’t.  One of the primary things that I mourn about America today is that it is so busy “protecting” everyone with one hand that our liberties are being cast aside with the other.

We will be beginning our search for a new rental home or land on which to build this month, and I’ll keep my readers posted on this experience.

trip to Montevideo

We are settling in to life in Uruguay. One walks along the road, and it’s just like being in Florida. My skin is moister and the climate is temperate.While I find the weather quite comfortable,  you’ll find Uruguayans wearing jackets on slightly cooler days.

The tourist season is about over as school begins on March 2nd. Soon car rentals prices will drop, and we will tour around the country. In addition to this, we will start looking for a new home.  My husband and I are both leaning toward the Department of Rocha, which is quite beautiful.

Yesterday, we took the bus to Montevideo and exited  at the Tres Cruces bus terminal , walked a few blocks to the Pocitos barrio,  and picked up an item for this XBox game we bought. We met many young people during the 30-minute bus trip who wanted to practice their English with me, Chris, and Nathaniel. One of the young men lived in Massachusetts for 12 years, and another lived in Los Angeles for about 7 years.

That’s the thing about learning a foreign language. It’s hard to keep up with it or develop proficiency if you don’t practice. I lived in El Paso, Texas, for over 50 years, and while my accent is good, I simply don’t use Spanish that often. At least, I didn’t. That’s another change we are all about to encounter.

Then, on the way back a woman introduced herself to me as Annie, and she wanted to practice her English as well. We exchanged phone numbers and she called me today to give me her home phone number, and we talked a bit.

I’m also learning what items are available in the Farmacia, and today we found Jayson’s medicine, oxybutynin, which he’ll need in about a month. He won’t need a prescription to get it here, but it’s quite expensive, so I’m going to try to get his prescription filled in the States to save money.

Finally, the first week I was here, the food tasted strange to me, but I know that the food is healthier here than in the States. I figured it wasn’t bad, but it did have a stronger  taste than the ground beef in the supermarkets back home. However,   it’s starting to taste more “normal” to my taste buds.

Another day in paradise-drenched

It rains a lot in Uruguay. and it’s not as predictable as it was in the states where we lived in El Paso, Texas.  Today, it downpoured. I mean really. It washed out part of the driveway and left standing water in the front yard for about two hours. My poor Beagles were knee-high in water and so we opened the utility room gate and the dog run, and they ran right into the utility room. Poor babies. This is the difference between living in a dry, desert climate and a temperate one.

We cannot keep this tiny house clean. This is another problem . We do not have enough room to put our clothes, so they sort of  creates its own problems too.

Here’s a funny note. I had to build a dog run for my dogs once I got here.  This cost about $500. One reason was that the perimeter fence wasn’t secure. You know, it only takes one hole for a dog to get out. My neighbor has a gate that she “just hasn’t managed to get put up” and a backyard with the gate to a vast “mini-forest.” Today, after two of my Beagles, Lucy and Tina, got out, the boys went looking for them in the “forest.” My neighbor speaks Spanish VERY rapidly and after my sons spent about two hours playing and  exploring and “Survivor-type” ‘filming, she must have told the boys to not go back there anymore. They came in and said,” Well, she said something, Blah, Blah, blah, blah, blah,” but I don’t know what she said. However, the gate is now locked. I don’t know what the rules are, here, but evidently she has access to walk through out yard and not bother closing the gate, but we can’t have access to the “forest” behind her yard. The bottom line: My dogs are now a bit more secure., which suits me fine.

On a kinder note:  The next door neighbor heard me yelling for my Beagles, and he got my attention and lifted two fingers and pointed that they were down the street. Oh! the kindness was so appreciated. God bless him.

first post from Uruguay

Well, dear readers, I’m back. I’m sorry it took so long to return, but I’ve been in a bit of a funk.  I and my family are in the process of expatriation. We are vacationing here for two months, and during this time we will make our decision.  Now that I’ve said that, however, my husband has pretty much decided to stay; I’m going to make my decision for myself.  Many people have asked us, “Why Uruguay?” Well, if people read about the banking laws and the freedom that abounds here, they wouldn’t ask. There are two things in particular that are my top priorities: One is to protect my sons from a forthcoming war with Iran, and the second is to preserve my income and freedom.

If you are having difficulty understanding where I am coming from, please read Brave New World. Simply put, I do not believe that I was placed on this earth to be a Gamma to the Alphas and Betas of this world. Unfortunately, I do not believe that the system can be overthrown nonviolent, and I do not wish to be a part of the forthcoming (hopefully) revolution. I wish the best for the country. America was a great country, founded in great hope and ideals, but I have other priorities, and my sons are not going to be pawns. I know that this is not a clearly written treatise on my proposed exit, but it is all I can muster for now.

Too much

I’m beside myself with this moving, but I’m also excited. I can’t write. I’m simply doing mundane stuff. I’m thinking about you, my dear reader, but I will have to write reflectively, and I cannot do that now.

My writing is to be reflective, not a diary.

Teaching children

I had a couple of teaching moments today with my sons. The first one occured when the car broke down. Here’s the thing: we are within 6 days of not needing this vehicle anymore, but now I’ve got to repair it. Evidently, the wheel rod is broken and the inside of the wheel is rubbing against the wheel hub. Hopefully, it will be an inexpensive repair, but one of my sons kept saying: “Boy, don’t we have the worst luck.” I told him that I didn’t see it that way at all. In fact, it would probably be a minor inconvenience, and that life was full of these. I suggested that the best way to cope with it was not to invest much emotion in it, and keep moving forward. By the way, I love that expression. Thank you, Walt Disney.

As I was waiting for my neighbor to pick us up, I also remembered the time when 20 years ago, I was trying to get pregnant. I had this timetable all set for my expected pregnancy and the next one, etc., but it took  2 and 1/2 years of aggressive fertility treatments before I conceived. Then, I enjoyed 10 weeks of pregnancy bliss until the AFP (alpha fetal protein) test was given, and I learned my baby had a neural tube defect or spina bifida. Now that was a set back. Shouldn’t I capitalize that and shout: THAT WAS A SET BACK. Yes, that expresses it.

The second teaching moment tonight was when my son threw an empty, plastic vitamin bottle at his older brother and gashed his forehead between his eyes. Right now, we’re in the middle of packing up the house to leave and sell it, and there’s so much work to do that we’re all in a bit of a funk, and they’re dad isn’t here, so we’re a little rudderless too. I know that they are thinking everything will be better when we get out of here, but, of course, adults know that isn’t true. Here cometh the lesson: Life is just a series of problem solving opportunities. The fun stuff is the dessert, not the entree. There will still be homework to do, there will still be dishes to wash, dogs to feed, and poop to clean up.

Dear Reader: I have always wanted to write about my 2 and 1/2 year ordeal with trying to conceive because I believe that my experience could help others. If you would like to read this story sooner rather than later, leave a comment, and I’ll post another blog for that.