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What Would You Miss About Not Living In the US If You Were An Ex-Pat?
Old 07-08-2013, 02:59 PM   #1
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What Would You Miss About Not Living In the US If You Were An Ex-Pat?

The post about Panama reminded me of a conversation I had recently during a group dinner. 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 even claimed that (Ecuadorian) government pensions and health insurance would be available to her immediately upon moving.

Sounds great----but I had to ask her what she would miss about not living in the US. Her reply: "NOTHING!" Another woman chimed in with the same sentiments, citing politics, people obsessed with technology, high cost of living in the US and so on. This seemed kind of harsh to me. I understand that not everyone can bloom where they are planted, I'm not saying the US is the only place a person should retire to. But---to say there is absolutely nothing that would be missed about the US? I even miss stuff about New Joisey since moving down South!

Still, I couldn't quite articulate what I would miss about the US. The ideals that the country was founded on? Being able to speak English? The natural beauty that is found everywhere in the US? So that's where I am hoping some of you can chime in. Are things really that bad here that there is nothing that would be missed if moving away from the US? And are things really that perfect in other countries?

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Old 07-08-2013, 03:18 PM   #2
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The first thing that comes to mind is that whatever you really like about [fill in the blank], you can almost certainly find exactly that in some part of the US. Most people haven't explored this country enough to realize that.

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Old 07-08-2013, 03:18 PM   #3
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The plains, the swamp, the mountains, traffic in New Orleans, Kansas City, Winsteads(est 1947) hamburgers and malted milkshakes, pickups with big wide tires. the er 'interesting people' in certain Kansas City and New Orleans neighborhoods, funky country music at Knuckleheads - I could go on.

heh heh heh - 'over there I'm a tourist. Here I can raise hell and I'm a er protester. Yes Gertrude we will close that dang one way street so the rush hour doesn't short cut through 'OUR' neighborhood.
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Old 07-08-2013, 03:29 PM   #4
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I have previously thought about this when I was thinking about Canada or Ireland as possible domiciles. I would miss the Amendments to the constitution. All of them (no cherry picking). No other country has those in their entirety. Other countries try to emulate them with various Human Rights or other similar sections of their constitutions or laws. But nothing beats our Amendments to the Constitution.

That does not mean I would not move if it was appropriate for me, but a person has to realize that certain concepts of lifestyle do not exist in plenty of other countries in the world and behave accordingly.
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Old 07-08-2013, 03:39 PM   #5
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Fountain sodas and Ice in drinks. At least, that's what I usually after a trip away from the US.
More generally, I'd miss the wide variety of foods and goods that we get here, most other places don't have the choice of 20 different brands of toilet paper.
I would miss some of our laws and protections, but I do think that other countries do have advantages in healthcare.
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Old 07-08-2013, 03:44 PM   #6
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Old 07-08-2013, 04:09 PM   #7
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+1 for family and friends, most of whom I known all my life or for many years.
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Old 07-08-2013, 04:29 PM   #8
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Depending on the country I'd miss the ease of negotiating life in idiomatic American English. I'm pretty adaptable, have lived in some other countries, and me and my fellow Americans have had ongoing issues for decades. Behavioral things that I did not see in those other countries.

It is true, as stated above, that most people can find something at least close to what they're looking for right here in the USA. At the same time, as a person who has lived all over this country, I can say that relocating within the USA can cause you to miss many things you take for granted in your current territory.
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Old 07-08-2013, 04:43 PM   #9
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No matter where one goes to live there will be some things that are less agreeable, so I can't identify with the reference in the original post. There will always be something people want to "get away" from.

Living in a less developed country beings a certain "unexpectedness" to daily life, which can be a nice contrast to the tedium of the highly predictable lifestyle in the US and other western developed countries. Life is definitely less routine there, the senses less dull.
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Old 07-08-2013, 05:00 PM   #10
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If I expatriated I would miss having a real home where I have roots, someplace where I am from. Someplace where I belong. Someplace where people understand where I am coming from, and vice versa. Someplace where my people live. Someplace where I understand the inside jokes and where people assume I am one of them with an assumption of shared experiences and point of view, not just another rolling stone with all the rest.

And then, there's the food....
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Old 07-08-2013, 05:25 PM   #11
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Certain foods and weather/seasons.
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Old 07-08-2013, 05:25 PM   #12
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Calling any US president an A..hole and not get put into a reform or re-education camp. Or worse getting a last cigarette before getting done in.

Another words freedom of speech. Though it is getting limited by political correctness nits.
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Old 07-08-2013, 05:28 PM   #13
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Its easy to fall in love with a new place while on vacation. If she really moves to Ecuador, ask her the same question in 6 months and I bet you get a different answer.
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Old 07-08-2013, 06:05 PM   #14
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To answer the OP's question, although I like living in the US, there is nothing I would badly miss. Sorry if sounds a bit harsh, I had a bad day today, came back to my condo early to drink beer.
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Old 07-08-2013, 06:49 PM   #15
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In all seriousness, I have done some international traveling, but nowhere near what the folks on this forum have done. I always brought my pocket Berlitz phrase books to attempt to communicate in the country's language and did my best not to be an ugly American.
I think I did OK.

I loved the different foods and customs I was exposed to. But I doubt I will go overseas anymore. I really have no desire to do that kind of traveling again.

If I really need to go to another country, there is a wonderful country just to the north of me, approx 3 hours drive away. It's been a long time since I've been to Canada. When I go to Niagara Falls NY in a few weeks, I will have my passport with me and just might grab a tourist shuttle to the Canadian Falls.

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Old 07-08-2013, 07:05 PM   #16
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I've been living in Singapore for 25 years, and retired at the age of 66, soon to be 67. I enjoyed my work, so retirement up to this point was never an issue. Now I am retired.

I want to do the reverse of what a lot of others want to do. As long as I've been overseas (42 years), the only conversations I ever really truly enjoyed or felt comfortable have been with people of my own nationality. I have a lot of Asian friends, but it's my conversations with someone from my own culture that I find so fulfilling. This is one of the reasons I am relocating (after 42 years) back to the States.

Another reason for relocating to the States is that I need a place I can call unconditional and safe. You could get a retirement visa in Costa Rica or Panama or any of these other countries, but the visa security is at best dependent on the changing policies in that country. It's nice to be truly home to not have that lingering concern.

A third reason is maybe the most important. I consider health care paramount as I approach 70. We all say that US health care is expensive. It is, but the best deal out there out of any country I've been to is US Medicare. I decided when I turned 66 to load up on the Part B, Supplementary, and Part D, which I cannot use overseas. I need to have a home base in the States where I can go to when I'm really old. Most if not all of you will have Medicare. Do you want to be in a country like Ecuador when you have a heart attack or even worse, or would you like to know that you are covered completely with Medicare? An "early" retirement in a place like Ecuador would be great, but when you are truly old?

I want to return to the States to re-establish myself. Unlike some of you, I'm actually moving from a place (Singapore) that is one of the top five most expensive countries/cities in the world to a much less expensive place (US), specifically in the Bellingham area near Washington. I'm moving from a place where a cheap condo is US$700,000+ and rent is a minimum of US2,500/month for a very small 2 bedroom unfurnished apartment. The US will be so much less expensive.

The dilemma I have is that last year I received a 10 year retirement visa called MM2H that allows me to retire in Malaysia, where the cost of living is far lower than Singapore and the US. The cheapest medical insurance I can get at my age is about $4,500/year. It's not easy, unless you get travel insurance. I'm unsure if I want to retire in Washington state and spend part of the year in Malaysia. It's so far to travel.

Do any of you divide your time between the States and SE Asia, and do you see yourself doing that when you are in your 70's and 80's? Perhaps thinking of places closer to the US like Costa Rica or Panama or Mexico might be better for those of us that are in their 70's. That's what I'm thinking now.

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Old 07-08-2013, 07:49 PM   #17
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Two years as an expat, so I didn't like feeling i was a stranger - i didn't speak the same lingo, couldn't decorate my apartment and it just wasn't home. No 4th of July, no Thanksgiving, no pumpkin pies, no Walgreens, no Charmin toilet paper...wouldn't
Have missed it for the world, but would never retire anywhere but the US.
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Old 07-08-2013, 07:53 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by utrecht View Post
Its easy to fall in love with a new place while on vacation. If she really moves to Ecuador, ask her the same question in 6 months and I bet you get a different answer.
Regarding her report that there is no crime in Ecuador, she may need some new eyeglasses. My friend who used to live across the hall from me is Ecuadorian, and he gives a very different crime report.

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Old 07-08-2013, 08:00 PM   #19
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A vacation - whether it is for a few weeks or even a few months is not enough to know if you could really live some where (permanently that is). I have spent almost a third of my life in Asia. As I entered semi retirement mode we started staying 3 months a year in the Philippines. Now that we are looking at full retirement we are considering 4 - 7mths a year there. Whether or not I will ever make it more permanent will depend on how the years unfold, but to withdraw completely from the US is not going to happen.

You will always miss something (family, friends, food, lifestyle, health, etc...). For myself I usually miss conversation first. A lot of people fill that with forums like this and Yahoo Groups, but it just is not the same...
If you want someone to believe in you - First you have to believe in yourself and then you go from there...
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Old 07-08-2013, 08:23 PM   #20
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Having left my home country some 16 years ago for what was supposed to be a temporary expatriation, there is quite a bit that I miss. Most of all family and friends. The sense of belonging sometimes. And the privileges of a full fledged native citizen certainly.

I miss the food too on occasion, but since I am a pretty good cook it is quite easily remedied. Hard-to-find ingredients can easily be obtained online nowadays.

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