Changes that expats have to deal with sometimes

So in the negatives about retiring in Ecuadorthread I stated that the ultimate negative was change. These kinds of changes are not limited to Ecuador they are true for many other countries and a simple example is Brexit if negotiations don’t go well many people’s lives will be turned upside down.

So what are some changes that expats should anticipate to help them better deal with situations.

Currency exchange is one you should be wary of and it is not in your best interest to plan and make a budget based on favorable exchange rates because exchange rates IMO are both favorable and unfavorable at some point and usually for periods at a time. I personally had to endure this at one point in my life when the US dollar (salary based on) took a hit against many currencies. Everything increased including my children’s school fees which alone were substantial but we overcame that because my wife got a job.

Health insurance, as was pointed out in the negative thread. We all know that many people found it enticing when comprehensive health insurance was only $70 a month. And many planned their budgets based on that.

Changes in the law whether it’s immigration or employment, usually people with proper qualifications and updated paperwork are able to deal with these situations. But many are also helpless look at Brexit, DACA, and other situations unfolding around the world to get an idea of the anxiety that people are experiencing.

Changes due to natural disasters if you are living in area but found out for example it’s flood prone or whatever because of lack of insight.

So what’s the solution to these changes that expats at some point must face? One of the obvious ones is to have a flexible budget and that is something that is completely in your hands. You can achieve this by having additional means to pay for increases or you can downgrade your lifestyle and there is no shame in that especially if you love the place.

I'm sure there are more examples of changes and solutions that can be discussed.

All great and valid points that I totally agree with!!  For me the biggest “change” that I have struggled the most with is safety.  Not that I’m not safe, but more with the perception and warnings from other expats, who have experienced issues.  And that leads to my biggest “challenge” of adapting, especially as a younger expat gringa, the female independence that doesn’t exist here.  I have never relied on anyone in my life for anything.  That includes monetary, safety, or anything pertaining to a US lifestyle.  Here, I have to argue with pharmacy employees to charge my entire amount of medicine on my international credit card in my name for half an hour.  Apparently, here credit card limit charges per transaction can decline over $100.  At mega maxi, I have actually had cashiers, yell at their co-worker in the checkout beside me, to show my amount and credit card. I have no idea what they said, but I usually just want them to hurry up and finish so I can leave.  I’m not used to people counting out change, having to wait for a factura, or write a check for their purchases.  Some retailers, now in the US, no longer accept checks or cash as a form of payment.  Tommy Bahama being one, at least in Florida, where I’m from. 

My male gringo friend’s Ecuadorian wife’s Canadian brother in law’s (if you can follow, lol) car was just robbed the other day while I was on the phone with him.  It was in his neighborhood and the “banditos” were walking on his street when he hurriedly got off the phone, when he heard the police sirens to watch what was happening from his balcony.  Quite early for that this holiday season, which I was only exposed to last year.  So now I must be extra careful to go out on my own, which really sucks.  But, as I’ve now come to terms with all of that, I’m probably more of a danger to myself.  Since, without being prejudice or racial profiling, most Latin American men, are shorter than me, I think I have just as good a chance of defending myself as any man.  I no longer walk around in fear of my safety, but also don’t go out alone as much as I once did, since my expat friends have moved back to North America. 

I still think it’s what you are used to, as I feel more comfortable traveling alone in Miami than Manta, I would assume many Manta Ecuadorians would feel the opposite.  Just an alternative example of expats having to come to terms with change in their living environment.

Safety is a huge change and thanks for bringing it up, Sophems.   :top:

Initially when moving here I changed many things about my life from a safety perspective, and your sentence that I quoted below pretty much explains the reason why.

Not that I’m not safe, but more with the perception and warnings from other expats, who have experienced issues.

Prior to moving I read and researched extensively, ad nauseam, to be on the safe side. I read what expats and advisory authorities stated but relied on statistics. And the statistics, so far have been a true indicator of life in Ecuador for me.

Statistics don’t sensationalize. 

Ecuador is changing, as recent as 2015, some expats were blogging about people not using smartphones in public because of danger of being robbed. Now, in 2017, who doesn’t use a smartphone in public, in Quito anyway? On the streets, on buses, on the Ecovia people are openly using their smartphones, but what impresses me is that many seemingly have internet connection as they are messaging back and forth.

Another perception is that public transport is dangerous at night. I have been using buses and Ecovia at all hours with no issues. It’s the most convenient way to travel especially in centro north Quito, but I do take precautions, but not because of lack of safety on public transport but because in some areas after 10:00 pm I don’t feel comfortable walking to stations that are a bit far.

For instance after 10:00 pm, if I’m at Mariscal (nightlife district) I would take a taxi home because walking from Plaza Foch to 6 de diciembre to catch the Ecovia I would have to walk through dark streets with few people and shops closed.

So this is definitely a change in how I approach things from a safety perspective. Another change is that I only carry an ATM card that has minimal money.

Ecuador is changing and many changes are for the better. Once upon a time there were reports that Carolina Park was dangerous at night. Not in 2017.

And in all, I feel safe, and simply living my life.

From now until after the first of the year, it’s crucial to be aware of your surroundings.  The robberies of what the “perception” of gringo wealth has already started here in Manta.  I was never aware of this until Christmas Day last year when a tienda’s owner ,close to my house, realized when I was buying wine and booze, realized my intention was to share with my Security of my development.  She made her husband walk me back to my “casa”, & he didn’t want to leave my side even when I stopped at my security’s area.  I told the “jefe” of our Security to tell him it was ok, & of course, I had to tip him well.  My Security refused to take “alcoholic” beverages from me because of the cameras, but they almost beat me to my house to take it.  (They were on bikes and I was on foot), but they look out for us, so I will contribute any way I know how.

I think Guayaquil and Manta lead in national crime statistics. But you are 100% right that one must be aware of the surroundings. I’ve had a local friend tell me to put my cellphone away once while just several blocks away previously we were openly using them. I think it takes time to develop this awareness of specific areas. This is why I could never live in an area that I have to be on guard all the time. This in essence would be an overwhelming change in a life that I'm accustomed too.

But there’s good and bad, I once had my cellphone returned when I left it at a restaurant that I frequently go to. The waiter immediately said, “tranquilo”, when he saw me return. This isn’t the first time things were returned after either me or someone I know forgetting things.

One other change that I noticed is the change of pace. It’s simply much slower here even in the capital. Initially, it annoyed the heck out of me but now I think it has contributed to a better quality of life. It’s affected many aspects of my life from talking slower (well this is necessary in Spanish for me at my level), how I deal with doing things, and I simply don’t rush anymore. This has affected my relationships in Ecuador and abroad in a positive way. I don’t stress people anymore and in turn I’m not stressed.

So in this specific aspect, Ecuador has changed me.

My thinking here in Manta right now (& I’m speculating, have no proof), is that crime has increased, and maybe due to the holidays?  I’m only basing my opinion on the fact that 2 days last week, we had a police car with active siren and a motorcycle cop, drive through my gated community.  That is totally out of the norm for my area.  I have also noticed that Security is doing a lot more patrols at night and throughout the night, as they blow a whistle as they patrol and since it’s not quite summer yet, my windows are open, and the noise has woke me up quite a bit.  Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining, just relating my observations.  It’s also the time of year, that as a female gringa, I’ve always been advised, not to go out alone, even during the day.  I’ve only had a problem once and that was 2 1/2 years ago between 10-11 am, with my husband and walking my 2 dogs.  We were aware of the kids on bicycles, but let our guard down while watching our dogs go to the bathroom as I always pick up.  That’s when the kid tried to rob my husband acting like he had a gun.  By the time I turned around and realized what was happening, my instinct was to scream no at the top of my lungs.  I startled the kid and my husband. The other kids laughed and took off leaving the one kid by himself.  And we were on a public street that had a fair amount of traffic.  They just caught us at the right time, with no traffic.  It was very traumatic for me, since never in my life had any one tried to rob me.  It took a long time for me to get over it, & to this day, even in the US, I’m always aware of who is around me, even in stores.  Not a bad lesson these days with all the terrorist attacks going on in the world.  I’m not afraid to go out alone any more, just hyper sensitive to my environment.

With time, for some expats, there will be societal pressure to adapt to certain aspects of local culture. Sure we determine our lives but the pressure is real, así que hay que adaptarse  (so you have to adapt) if you want to strengthen ties with society here.

For me this is a big change because I’m not deeply into festivities or customs as I deem myself a modern man. But the pressure is real, and tonight will be just one example because the neighbors will come out of their homes and start burning dummies that resemble humans. This is something I detest because it causes pollution. The pressure is to partake is real.

Again this is simply one example, but the pressure to adapt will mount the more you integrate with locals and especially after you start sharing a common tongue. So be prepared for that, because the closer you become with them the more opinionated they will become, and they don’t hold back.

And this is quite interesting because I’m a thinker, and I think who is changing, me or them towards me?

Regardless of the answer to that question the reality is you may very well start to feel pressure from society to adapt.

Why do you speak of pressure?  You came to live in another country.  Surely you did not expect life to continue the same as before.  That is the beauty of it, you get to change your life. 

Okay let’s change the word “pressure”, to encourage.  :D

But I understand you completely, and in agreement, my point was more or less that adapting and integrating are not necessarily on an expat’s timeline.

Hahaha.......well, they certainly should be...........or they should just stay their comfort zone..........traveling and especially living in another country/culture is ALL about change and adaptation............someof it comes eazy, some of it hard, and some of it not at adapting to reggaeton for example........or cigaretter smoke all around you (as in Nicaragua) or police checkpoints all over the countryside on holidaze..............

Possibly they should return to their country of origin then.

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