You Can Do It – there is support and inspiration!

If you are reading our blog, following our Facebook Page (you are, right? www.facebook.com/UruguayExpatLife) or our Google+ Page, you probably are thinking about picking up and moving.

Be honest, you are. Maybe not to Uruguay. Maybe not to settle in a new place, but to regularly explore the world. Maybe I shouldn’t say “thinking” but rather “dreaming”, “imagining”, “wishing” or similar non-action words. That’s ok, that is in fact great, the imagining, wishing, longing, hoping, is the start of what you need to find where your next adventure lies.

But it is daunting, especially when you next start to think (and overthink) all the things you must do and the things that you feel will hold you back. Soon you feel you cannot consider it, it is “unrealistic”, it is for “someday”.

Bah-humbug! I can’t tell you if the time is now for your particular life, but I can tell you that if you truly do want it, you can and will find a way.

Forest sun through trees labeled "There's Nothing Stopping You But Yourself"

In part, because there is help out there, here in the virtual world – a vast network of help. Some of it free, some of it paid, at various rates, much of it “pay it forward”. On our blogroll we have a number of great sites like Sabine Panneau’s Anywhere in the World, Tim Anderson’s Marginal Boundaries, Natalie Sisson’s The Suitcase Entrepreneur.

Today I want to introduce you to another one I just discovered from Natalie’s site, Amy Scott’s Nomadtopia. Continue reading You Can Do It – there is support and inspiration!

Getting Health Insurance in Uruguay – Part 1

I am happy to report that for the first time in two years, I (Mark) have health insurance, and Lisa Marie has it too for the first time in one year. And it was simple and cheap!

Picture of Asociación Española main hospital in Montevideo
Asociación Española Central Hospital in Montevideo, Uruguay

Technically we have been covered by the ASSE, the Administraciòn de Servicios de Salud del Estado, ever since June when we became eligible for provisional permanent residency. But that is the baseline, Continue reading Getting Health Insurance in Uruguay – Part 1

Immigrants with clotheslines.

Yes, that’s us. That’s our backyard. We’re immigrants, hanging clothes out like generations of immigrants have done. Which they mostly can’t do in the USA anymore because of idiotic regulations.

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Immigrants with clotheslines. Yes, that’s us.

I finally put up the outdoor clotheslines today. Just in time for some wash for the workweek. Because to my still-amazement and amusement, I have a workweek again, starting tomorrow. Clean underwear, not so much. Hence the clothesline.

Couple of points from this:

First – Hallelujah! No Condo Board, no HOA, no landlord telling me it’s against the rules to have a clothesline. Where we lived in Colorado, the HOA-from-Hell not only banned clotheslines, they banned having any washer-dryer in your condo, which you owned, unless you bought their specific nearly-$2000 USD unvented washer/dryer single inefficient unit. And either gave up your dishwasher, or your coat closet, the only two approved installation locations. Of course you had to pay them an inspection/approval fee, and a yearly fee for the right to wash your clothes.

Where we used to own, in Brookline, Mass., the queen bee of the condo board and his wife would have had conniptions if you dared hang a sock out your window, and they too charged for the right to own your own washer-dryer in your own home.

Here, nobody cares. Sure, we rent our little casita, but there’s not a single ban on anything in the lease. There’s also not much of an obligation on the dueño either; a previous post explained how a bad kitchen faucet was our problem not his. Essentially it’s “you pay for the right to live as if it were your house”, Continue reading Immigrants with clotheslines.

Cost of Living Uruguay vs USA

I wasn’t going to get dragged into another Uruguay costs social network discussion again, but some Facebook Uruguay Expats group members pulled me back in.

I’ll say this: There are at least three to five types of “Uruguay Expatriation” with very different costs:

Type 1 Expat. Live in a North American/English/Oceania-oriented Expat Compound (e.g. something like the Sugarloaf Development pushed by International Living). Everything you need is there, the world is gated off, and they discourage going to town. “Everything is here in The Village, why are you being unmutual?” Meanwhile missing out on the true Uruguayan life in the beautiful and affordable resort city of Piriápolis which they show on their website. In which town I could rent a 2-bedroom sea-view raised apartment for under $800 USD. Or simpler, away from the beach properties, cheaper. But the Type 1 Expat would not consider such integration.

Montevideo 35% cheaper than Boston
Comparing Montevideo Uruguay and Boston, MA, USA cost of living

Type 2 Expat. Live in a Major City or Major Resort Area, in upscale US-upper-middle-class-equivalent with a full North American lifestyle (anything based on the Expatistan cost of living calculator that factors in buying 42″TV, new VW Golf TDI, regular meals out, regular pub drinks out at “an expat bar”, regular paid entertainment – read the assumptions on it.) Continue reading Cost of Living Uruguay vs USA

US Dollar up vs Peso – good for expats, uruguayos not so much

21.40 Uruguay pesos to one US dollar today. Excellent news. Best exchange rate in over a year in terms of people in Uruguay geting paid in US dollars – like me and Lisa Marie Mercer.

The linked article from Subrayado TV News (en español) mentions it is in part due to investor worries about the Euro, so the Dollar is strengthening worldwide. It also points out downsides, in that it could feed inflation in Uruguay, which is already is a problem. But for us estadosunidenses (the correct term for “Americans”, literally USA-ians) in Uruguay, this means more pesos to pay the bills for the same amount of dollars income – for now.

There are downsides beyond just inflation. Continue reading US Dollar up vs Peso – good for expats, uruguayos not so much