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Old 07-10-2013, 08:58 AM   #81
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I'm curious: what brought you to this part of Thailand? Feel free to PM me if you'd prefer.
PM sent. Didn't want to post it because it's off topic.
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Old 07-10-2013, 09:53 AM   #82
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A woman about 55 or so just got back from checking out Ecuador as a place to retire to (after she read a book about the 10 cheapest places in the world to retire). She spent four weeks there and loved it. She made it sound idyllic---slow pace of life, no crime, good climate, friendly people, lots of fresh produce, walking to places, just sitting around and chitchatting with people.
She didn't even get past the tourist stage, much less pass the honeymoon stage. Tell her to go back and live, as a resident, for a minimum of 6 months to a year and those rose colored glasses will certainly come off!

There are many things to like about Ecuador, but crime is a problem, she is kidding herself if she thinks there is no crime... Quito is notorious for slash and grabs. You keep your bags in front of you at all times and can still have issues. Anytime you have a population of people who are very poor you are going to have crimes of opportunity, and yes, violent crime.

Unless she has lived overseas a few times, and knows what to expect, tell her to go back for an absolute minimum of 6 months to live, as a resident, then if she still loves it, consider selling off here and moving.
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Old 07-10-2013, 12:31 PM   #83
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I would miss the efficiency, the competence, the respect for law, the honesty, the freedom, the energy and the shopping. (In fact, I do! We are living half a world away from our home base as I write this.) And muffalettas and erster po'boys and the music. We don't have to live on top of family and most of them are travelers like us anyway.

We enjoy the new experiences of living in many places, but expatriation in retirement for us is a 'Plan C' these days, in extremis for survival with insufficient resources. That was once a necessity. I planned for it and we can do it if necessary. Fortunately, our circumstances have improved dramatically in the past three years and we should be OK. We can do it because we want to, not because we have to.

The remark about peanut butter was funny. A dear colleague told me that was his 'blanky' when he was overcome with being in an alien place. For me it is my favorite bath soap and my preferred instant coffee. Decent red wine helps a lot from time to time as well.
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Old 07-10-2013, 12:39 PM   #84
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I wouldn't normally push my blog, but I just so happened to write a post that addresses this very question and so seems relevant - "Taking the 'Ex' Out of Ex-Pat"
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Old 07-10-2013, 12:45 PM   #85
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I mean that you lack the rights of citizenship in the country you live in. All of the people around you have more rights than you do. Your US rights do not apply to other countries.
Understood We lived as ex-pats in the USA for 11 years until we became citizens.

If the countries allow it you can always hold dual citizenship when you ex-patriate to live in another country, then you have the same rights as those around you.
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Old 07-10-2013, 03:47 PM   #86
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One of my best friends that lived with my DW and I while he was in university & grad school (he is a German national), remarked after five years here. That the only thing he missed was talking to us when he got home from school, $5 "hot and ready" pizzas, and cheap gas. I just had to laugh.
I personally would miss my family, good hiking/running trails, and the ability to flee to nice warm places when it gets cold up north. I am sure I could find these qualities in another country though.
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Old 07-10-2013, 03:55 PM   #87
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We were ex-pats in Germany for 4 years in the late 90's. There were many things we enjoyed about Germany that we still miss (rolladen on windows for example) and others that are now common here (the parking meters that take credit/debit cards and you put the sticker in your window).

I still have my list of things that I missed about the USA. A few examples:
- houses on residential streets without locked gates at the sidewalk (note that we lived in a virtually crime-free suburban town)
- people who smile and look at you on the street (again, in a suburban neighborhood)
- less rules (the neighborhood playground was closed from 2-4 pm for "quiet hours")
- fresh milk in convenience stores (that was back in the day when shopping hours other than at gas stations - ostensibly for travelers - were very limited) - they only had UHT whole milk available (plenty of beer and wine, though!)
- clothes and shoes that fit - I bought nearly all of my clothes when I was back on business trips or from catalogs such as Lands End because my body just isn't shaped like a German woman's body
- general feeling of freedom

But we had a wonderful ex-pat experience and would recommend it highly.
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Old 07-10-2013, 05:05 PM   #88
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But.....even with all that I would miss of living here....if we move back to the UK we would offset that with the pluses........
- Good Indian food
- Good Fish+Chips (not the crap you get around here)
- Donner Kebab......oh yesssssss, the grease.
- Decent chocolate.
- Scenery
- Good bread from Morrison's
- A good pub (if you can find one nowadays)
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Old 07-10-2013, 08:16 PM   #89
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...There must be something wrong with me - either that or I am just an unusual case, as I have not missed the UK since settling here permanently. I came here at the age of 23, 26 years ago, and haven't missed it that much at all, with one exception. After 3 months here, I decided I was missing England, so went back for Christmas with the intent of also setting myself up with a job and a life etc. After a few months back there, I couldn't get Los Angeles (where I had been living) out of my head and returned a few months later. Since then, I haven't missed it once. One visit back was all it took to "cure" me.

I do enjoy my visits back to England but something about it feels too comfortable and familiar - almost like putting on an old shoe that is very comfortable but offers no surprises (bad analogy probably) - or slipping back into a habit that wasn't all that good for me to begin with. I'm sure a shrink would have a field day with that description. The UK feels very contained and even rather mundane. Nothing changes. Things are always the same. But then, I am one of those loopy Californians now

My family would feel quite insulted if they knew this was what I thought. Perhaps one day I'll change my mind and go back for a few years, but the US feels like home.
While Americans, being from a young country with such a short history, find the old traditions in other countries interesting, some residents of the Old World often find their local customs and environments too confining and stifling.

In the 70s, we were friends with a Japanese who was attending the same university in the US. We have seen Tadashi a few times in the decades since. He liked getting outside of Japan as much as he could, and a few times, signed up with the Peace Corp just to get away for a while. He said he often worked just enough to save money for an extended trip, then hopped on a plane. I guess he is just too free-spirited for his native land, which we know is laden with thousand-year old traditions and customs.

As for me, when I was younger and in bouts of bad work days and daydreaming of ER with not a lot of money, I thought of escaping to Mexico or some place in Central America.

About 10 years ago, with more money accumulated, I pondered if I would have enough money to move to, or better yet to have a 2nd home in Tuscany (like Frances Mayes), or Provence (like Peter Mayle), or perhaps Malta. But that is a drastic move, and requires a lot of work for someone with my inertia. And then, there are complications about health care, taxes, etc...

In more recent years, after a bit of overseas traveling for sightseeing under my belt, I came to the conclusion that any of those places would cease to be exotic to me after a couple of months. The locals there still go somewhere else for vacations, don't they?

As far as calling a place home, despite our love for travel (and we still have it), we are actually homebodies the 90% of the time when we are not on the road. And as I have spent my entire adult and working life in the USA, this feels very much my home.

So, I no longer think of retiring in any other place than the USA. If my finance collapses for some reasons, it is most likely that I would downsize to a motorhome, then hit the road. Even camping in the mountains in New Mexico in this good old USA, it would still feel like home.
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Old 07-10-2013, 08:42 PM   #90
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But.....even with all that I would miss of living here....if we move back to the UK we would offset that with the pluses........
- Good Indian food
- Good Fish+Chips (not the crap you get around here)
- Donner Kebab......oh yesssssss, the grease.
- Decent chocolate.
- Scenery
- Good bread from Morrison's
- A good pub (if you can find one nowadays)
I must say that there is nothing like a really good Balti. The Indian food is much better in the UK - much more competition I suppose.

And a +1 to the pubs.

I don't miss any of those things, but they are good to experience when back in old Blighty.
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Old 07-10-2013, 08:43 PM   #91
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PS - it's good to see you back NW-Bound.
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Old 07-11-2013, 06:03 AM   #92
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fortunately have had the opportunity to live in Asia and Europe, as an adult (vs. student) being paid a good salary. And although both times were wonderful experiences (14 mo and 2 yrs), we were both times very ready to return to the comfort of America.

As a tourist, one is taking in all the differences, and enjoying the quirkiness of a strange land. But to live in a place, what is most important is your lifestyle, your routine. The most striking observation as a resident was how unlike in other countries, in the US, human life is deemed valuable. This manifests in countless ways. So many times, we would come upon a situation that would strike one as dangerous ( flapping wires, sharp drop, etc) that one becomes very aware of how the everything is coded/ regulated in the US for the purpose of keeping the individual and society safe.
Simple things like evenly graded sidewalks. In the U.S., you can see strips formed in the cement for the visually impaired. I've seen signs alerting to a deaf child in the neighborhood.
You could blindfold any American over 4 y.o. and send them into a strange room and they could instantly turn on the light. In other countries, first you would need to find a restroom, then the hunt for the light switch, then GL on the toilet paper. This is magnified for every aspect of daily life.
Setting up utilities for a new home makes your local DMV a model of efficiency. Then there is the challenge of making payments, reliability of service (although in the US we do have PEPCO which SUCKS).

Then there is the rhythm of American life:
corn on the cob in the summer. And watermelon -> first you have to find one, then how do you store it in the tiny frig?
When you have a cold, there is no such thing as Puffs overseas (or at least 10 y ago), only scratch papery sheets. Obviously no place is open at 2 am to get Nyquil.
Chatting with your neighbors, or comparing recipies w/ another person in the grocery line... people don't do that overseas. Making eye contact, greeting... you don't do that with strangers.
Going to the gym, towels at the gym, local Y. You quickly realize middle class standard of living would be considered much lower in the US.
Given the opportunity, I would still move overseas in a heartbeat, esp. to give my kids the experience. But not to retire, then I just want comfort and the rhythms of home.
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Old 07-11-2013, 06:31 AM   #93
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While I can understand the allure of living in a foreign country early in retirement, I just can't imagine dealing with end-of-life in a foreign country.
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Old 07-11-2013, 06:54 AM   #94
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I’m an expat in the Foreign Service posted to an African country. I guess I’ve already been weaned off of anything that I would miss. My long term plan is to end up in Eastern Europe which will seem like paradise by comparison.
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Old 07-11-2013, 07:33 AM   #95
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As a tourist, one is taking in all the differences, and enjoying the quirkiness of a strange land. But to live in a place, what is most important is your lifestyle, your routine. The most striking observation as a resident was how unlike in other countries, in the US, human life is deemed valuable. This manifests in countless ways. So many times, we would come upon a situation that would strike one as dangerous ( flapping wires, sharp drop, etc) that one becomes very aware of how the everything is coded/ regulated in the US for the purpose of keeping the individual and society safe.
An alternate view is everything is coded/ regulated in the US because the law often assumes individuals are not responsible for their behavior. For example, spill hot coffee on yourself in a US restaurant and you can win a law suit, while in Thailand your friends will tease you and advise you to be more careful next time.
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Old 07-11-2013, 11:01 AM   #96
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Iím an expat in the Foreign Service posted to an African country. I guess Iíve already been weaned off of anything that I would miss. My long term plan is to end up in Eastern Europe which will seem like paradise by comparison.
Sounds like an interesting assignment which, at least, can serve as an educational contrast to life in a developed western country. I hope you'll post some more here from time to time.
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Old 07-11-2013, 04:02 PM   #97
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An alternate view is everything is coded/ regulated in the US because the law often assumes individuals are not responsible for their behavior. For example, spill hot coffee on yourself in a US restaurant and you can win a law suit, while in Thailand your friends will tease you and advise you to be more careful next time.
Agree with you on the importance of personal responsibility, but I suspect that many codes and regs are to cover the "in the chance" scenario, visually impaired, handicapped, small children, palsied, the elderly ( who can have very slow reaction time or poor sense of balance). Or more likely, something happened with tragic outcomes, and a regulation results. The Amber Alert, why public doors open outward... These are consequential.

Re: the hot coffee, in talking with a lawyer familiar w the case at McDonald, the liquid was scalding. It wasn't simply someone being clumsy. If you buy a cup of coffee, it's reasonable to expect to be able to drink it, but if you have to wait a bit, then so be it. To be given a drink that can cause serious burns and land you in the hospital is not reasonable.
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Old 07-11-2013, 04:22 PM   #98
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Agree with you on the importance of personal responsibility, but I suspect that many codes and regs are to cover the "in the chance" scenario, visually impaired, handicapped, small children, palsied, the elderly ( who can have very slow reaction time or poor sense of balance). Or more likely, something happened with tragic outcomes, and a regulation results. The Amber Alert, why public doors open outward... These are consequential.

Re: the hot coffee, in talking with a lawyer familiar w the case at McDonald, the liquid was scalding. It wasn't simply someone being clumsy. If you buy a cup of coffee, it's reasonable to expect to be able to drink it, but if you have to wait a bit, then so be it. To be given a drink that can cause serious burns and land you in the hospital is not reasonable.
The problem was talking to a lawyer.
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Old 07-11-2013, 04:33 PM   #99
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PS, you said it best----it's all those little things that added up aren't so little. It's teh ease of life and not feeling like a stranger in a strange land. I do understand why it can be good to push yourself past your comfort zone at times, but so often when I do this my only reward is discomfort!

And I did feel like this woman was just looking at Ecuador as "It's A Small World" come to life, with impoverished but happy natives just lovin' life. It seemed unrealistic that there would be no crime.
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Old 07-11-2013, 09:12 PM   #100
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The most striking observation as a resident was how unlike in other countries, in the US, human life is deemed valuable. This manifests in countless ways. So many times, we would come upon a situation that would strike one as dangerous ( flapping wires, sharp drop, etc) that one becomes very aware of how the everything is coded/ regulated in the US for the purpose of keeping the individual and society safe.
I think there is a simpler explanation for the difference in safety between the US and many other countries: safety, like other luxuries, is expensive. Rich countries can afford safety. In Germany, for instance, they apparently haven't experience a power outage like what NYC had in Hurricane Sandy in more than 50 years, because they buried the power lines in the whole country! Definitely safer, but a very expensive solution. Highway fatalities in the US occur at about half the rate that they do in Thailand. US highways are better designed for safety with dividers and limited access that are more expensive designs than Thailand can afford. In addition, there are many more motocyle and scooter riders in Thailand, where most people cannot afford a car and the additional protection it provides. Driver training, another expense, is much more widely availabe in the US.

Workplace safety in the US arose as an afterthought. OSHA was started in 1982, long after the US had emerged as a global leader in manufacturing. Workplace safety standards improved earlier, of course, such as after the horrible Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in NYC in 1911. Probably some reforms will follow the recent fire in a textile plant in Bangladesh also.

And so on.
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