Mindset on being an Expat – Part III

Recently a family from the US contacted me to discuss their questions about moving to Ecuador.  I emailed them the following and thought I would share it with anyone deciding to move to a “developing nation” which this is. Keep in mind you can get some of these things here but the cost would exceed what you were paying back in the states and if you are looking to come here because you heard that it was less expensive you will be very unhappy having to pay more…but if you can be happy with what the locals use the cost will be less and maybe the transition will be easier. Plus someone who is always looking for something that isn’t here rarely sees a lot of what is here.

Dear Bob, Paige and Chance,

Some comments that may help you because you have never traveled to South or Central America. These areas are considered developing nations and for a good reason. This is not like the US –
If you or your family cannot live without specific processed foods – this is not the place for you
If you cannot live without a special brand of toothpaste – this is not the place for you
If you need designer jeans in a men’s size 44 – this is not the place for you
If you think that every sidewalk or street should be hole free – this is not the place for you
If you cannot have the “live and let live” attitude – this is not the place for you
If you need constant outside stimulation, opera, classical music concerts, tango dancing or whatever – this is not the place for you
If your wife requires Lancome makeup or Este Lauder perfume – this is not the place for you

If, on the other hand, you are able to adjust to not finding your size pants on the rack, or watching your favorite TV show in English, or can live without all the American brand name cereals you will probably like it here. It is not quiet, but it is peaceful.

I guess the biggest hurdle is learning to like the local products. take peanut butter for instance. Yes you can get Skippy or maybe one other American brand, but it is expensive. The locally made peanut butter has no preservatives, no sugar and is actually like what I would buy in the states at a health food store – just fresh ground peanuts – but very inexpensive. I purchase it from the mercados for $1 a pound. If you purchase it from the supermarket fresh veggie aisle it’s $1.96 for 300 grams (approx 11 oz).  It is a bit dry, a bit gritty but if you are like Joe,  just add a tablespoon of honey to get it to be a bit smoother and sweeter and it is excellent.  Between the additional import fees added to these products and the shipping costs many of the items are so much more expensive.    I guess it is a matter of what is important to you and your family.

A special thanks to Bob, Paige and Chance for making me see the need for this post!

9 thoughts on “Mindset on being an Expat – Part III

  1. Hi thanks for all the stories, photos and truthful responses you give the public. If you would be so kind and maybe you ahve a ‘Yellow Pages’ with information on Local Baptist/evangelical churches that i may email them I would be most appreciative. It looks like either Panama ( I will be checking out El Valle, Chitre, Las Tables, Penonome–Whats your favorite??) or Ecuador ( La Libertad, Salinas or other nearby places) may be where we will be heading someday.
    God bless you both

    • Hi Joe, I’m so happy to hear from you again. I will need to do some research for you. Our phone book is from 2007 – not to sure what it will contain but I will ask around to see if someone has a newer one. As to your questions on Panama I will email you with what we know about those areas. Thanks for reading our blog, Peace, Nancy & Joe

  2. Pingback: Morning Update – Tuesday, May 10, 2011 « South of Zero

  3. —-If you cannot live without a special brand of toothpaste – this is not the place for you—
    We didnt buy one single tube of toothpaste in Ecuador, we or our guests bring it (toothpaste) from USA every year (toothpaste with organic aloe vera gel)

    –If you need designer jeans in a men’s size 44 – this is not the place for you
    We don’t buy clothing desighner or not in Ecuador, only while visiting States.

    —If you need constant outside stimulation, opera, classical music concerts, tango dancing or whatever – this is not the place for you
    In Quito there are plenty of all above

    –If your wife requires Lancome makeup or Este Lauder perfume – this is not the place for you
    I don’t use Lancome or Este Lauder. but in Quito there are plenty of stuff like that.

    Still, Ecuador is place for us. We love it and it love us back.

  4. Thanks for your very honest comments re living in Ecuador, Nancy. I’m sure you could have included a lot more items to your list.

    I’m so tired of reading the truth-stretchers of some magazines, that sugar coat everything about all the destinations in the world they write about….so as to sell something to these poor people that believe them, hook, line & sinker.

    I subscribed to two of them & it didn’t take long to see the outright lies & half-truths they were saying. I cancelled them both. I’ve learned much more honest info from blogs such as yours and others I subscribe to & read them all daily.

    I plan to be in Cuenca some time in September for 6 moths…hopefully. I’m not sure I can take the elevation there, but am willing to give it 6 months to see if I will eventually get permanent residency there. I’m a young 70 & when I talk to people telling them I’m going to Ecuador, 99% of the time I get a puzzled look & the question, “Why?” My reply is always, “Why not?”

    Keep up the good work in your blog Nancy, & continue to ‘tell-it-like-it-is”

    Sincerely,
    Joseph

    • Hi Joseph, thanks for reading our blog and for your kind comments. We are happy here and hope that you find your paradise wherever it may be in Ecuador. Joe and I have not made the trip to Cuenca yet but have several friends who continue to ask us to come and visit. I guess we have not been ready to do that so maybe this year we will make a trip. If you get down to Salinas please let us know so we can meet. Have a safe trip. Nancy & Joe

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