Joe and I were sitting on the edge of a cliff teetering between holding fast or falling over. Yes, this was the moment when we decided that living in the US was not what either one of us could do the long term. We had it all a daughter almost finished with college, our health issues were manageable, the beautiful home of our dreams a 4 br 2 1.2 bath, two-story in a very prestigious neighborhood North of Atlanta. But we were still drowning in uncertainty about our future and what we should do. Joe was not able to work any longer and I was working sometimes 12 hour days to just “get by”.
After many heart to heart conversations on our deck overlooking our beautiful back yard we started to crystallize what our hopes and dreams actually consisted of. These conversations finally allowed us to see what each of us wanted in the way of our dream lifestyle.
I was more interested in finding things like more affordable fresh fruits and veggies, fresh meats and seafood and to be able to walk home from the market with my satchel of produce and bread for today’s meal, instead of relying on our gas guzzling automobiles. I was interested in being the at home wife, cooking, cleaning sort of like June Cleaver. I was tired of the business world with all it’s sniping and false gods (money). That world had not made either of us happy. We both wanted an outdoor type of lifestyle. That did not mean hiking mountains or trekking the jungle. It meant a climate that would be conducive to our spending many hours out-of-doors, like sitting on a porch, reading, listening to music, walking to a park. Joe was more pragmatic, he was looking to get us out from under a mortgage that was strangling us, looking for a lifestyle that we could afford on his social security payments without me having to work. Allowing him to calm down and relax instead of being uptight and agitated.
That was the first step in making the transition to being an Expat living in a developing country.
Our first experience was living in Dolega, Panama. It was a very small a few thousand residents most who did not speak a word of English and a few Norteamericano’s scattered around the area. Our rented home was a 3 br 1 bath Panamanian style home, built of cinder blocks on a slab with a corrugated tin roof rent $180 per month. Very basic it came with nothing, no hot water, no kitchen appliances, nothing — We spend over three years in that house, in that neighborhood and loved almost every second of it. Our move to Ecuador was prompted by the increase in violent crime in the area, as one of the only expats around we felt that our time was coming to have something big and bad happen to us so our minds made up or suit cases packed we moved to Ecuador back in March 2010.
Next installment will discuss our thoughts and our personal guideline to making it work in a developing country.