November 18, 2015

Life Abroad Isn’t Perfect, Only What We Make It To Be

When we first learned about Cuenca Ecuador in 2010 we actually thought it was doable. We saw through all the “perfect paradise” hype, and wondered what we weren’t being told, and realized we would figure that out later. 

Well, when you don’t hear or see any negatives, everything is doable because your mind plays tricks on you.  I don’t think the travel abroad pumpers use the word “perfect” so much, or use as much hyperbole in their travel writings when they talk about new cities abroad now. Instead they just tell you all the wonderful things about the city and omit the not so wonderful things. But we know, nothing is perfect, right? 
Yanuncay River Walk
The problem is many of us are perfectionist and so we seek out that which is made to LOOK perfect. But as the saying goes, “looks can be deceiving”.  This is why when we move to another country we have to be the judge of what we think is wonderful.  One person’s wonderful might be another person’s just ok.  Also expectations can wreak havoc on us when something isn’t the way we hoped for. 

This is why we have always said in our writings that we have to make our own paradise, whether we live somewhere in Europe, North America, Ecuador or Panama. Some things we just can’t change one iota and to think we can change something, or to actually put in the time and effort to try and change something, is just not worth it, in our humble opinion. Lose the expectations and you’ll be fine. 

Live and Let Live 

Yes, there were some things that were downright annoying when we first arrived, but we’ve allowed ourselves to be tolerant and let it go, live and let live, as they say.  Life is not worth the frustrations and headaches we give ourselves to try and have everything just the way we think it should be. For many people living abroad the positives might out weight the negatives anyway, so that is about as perfect as it gets. We have to put down the expectations when moving abroad and go with the flow. 

Is Cuenca Ecuador Paradise? Ancient writings say that “paradise” is within you, therefore you take it with you wherever you go.  There have been many people misled throughout the ages because they believed a paradise to be outside of themselves, and a particular place and/or circumstance.  

Have you heard of the legend of the “pied piper”? He would ‘lure away the problems’ for the people with his flute and cheerful clothing. The real answer to the people’s problem was in an ancient book, say about where the book of Leviticus, sits.  Back then as now, there were those that had a monopoly on information and they withheld the above to the detriment of the people. Even though those days are long gone, there are still similar people today that attempt to withhold knowledge, and they’re telling people not to “troll the internet” for information on retiring abroad.  Maybe they don’t want you to see articles/websites like this one? 

The Plymouth Rock Pilgrims reasons for going to a new land were twofold:  1. to escape persecution; 2. to increase their God given Liberty. They were not going to a paradise that was being sold to them by people with vested interests. Instead, half of them died when they first arrived.  Later they made friends with the Indians who showed them how to plant corn and then they reaped the harvest, and gave thanks for their liberty with their new neighbors.

PROMISED LAND - Many are touting Ecuador as the “new America”.  But ask yourself some hard questions and do some real diligent research.  This blog and our books will help. Is Ecuador the “New America”?  There’s a lot to say about this, but surely: remember the Pied Piper.  And ask yourself, whom ever is doing this new kind of touting, what’s in it for them? What do they get out of it? Then you’ll know the color of their flute and clothing.  And remember that all that glitters is not gold.

WEATHER – Those in search of ‘perfect’ weather are sure to be disappointed.  Nature is always perfect in its own way, because it always has the last word.  Cuenca Ecuador’s weather is mild but what are the drawbacks?  Lack of rain but overly cloudy skies means not good for gardening, mostly cloudy most of the time means we might feel gloomy after a while waking up every day to cloudy skies.

We have to remember that the weather in many U.S states is not really that bad either. What happens is we become weary of the seasons, take it for granted, thinking anywhere else abroad is going to be better. Unfortunately many learn the hard way when they see many cloudy days in Cuenca. It may be cold in North Idaho but the sun shines more than not, just saying.

I actually miss the coziness of owning a woodstove, smelling the cedar wood burning, listening to the crackling fire, turning off the lights at night and looking through the glass and gazing at the fire. I miss that…funny thing is I would never know something so simple would be so missed, but woodstoves are lovely. 

COST OF LIVING – We just did some research on a new book we’re writing and found that in Coronado Beach, Panama they are charging $980 per week for a 2/2 furnished apartment, while you can get the same 2/2 furnished apartment in Coco Beach, Florida with just as nice or nicer beaches for $400 per week. And it’s still 84 degrees in November in Coco Beach Florida! 

A commenter on our YT said only North Americans go abroad to live for less and then pay more than in Europe or even their own country. Pied Piper? We’ve written so much about this subject. Your cost of living, no matter where you live, will be whatever you make it be. We shouldn’t come to a place and pay up for everything and then complain later about the high cost of living, instead we should be much more diligent with our research and get better at understanding what’s really going on.  

CRIME – Most of the crime that happens to foreigners is because they are behaving in ways they shouldn’t.  North American culture and South American culture are miles apart.  So they clash.  And one of the symptoms is crime against the foreigner.  Sweeping it under the rug by using words like “relatively similar to” (city in N. America), does nothing for the gringo when he’s the target.  It won’t happen to somebody else.  It happens to you.  

That’s what’s happening in the more mature stages of the colonization of Panama by gringos and other foreigners.  If you don’t know who the fish is, you’re it.  Remember? As you can see no place is paradise in and of itself, as beautiful as they are…creating a place to be a paradise depends on how we decide to live it. 

Stay tuned for our newest book coming soon for people considering moving anywhere abroad, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and much, much more! 

Until we write again...you might like these articles too! 

We're an Expat Family of Five, Living Frugal, Healthy and Happy Abroad. We live in Cuenca, Ecuador and travel the Ecuador coast whenever we get a chance. We just adventured throughout the country of Panama for five weeks! Come along and enjoy some of our experiences with us!

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