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Browsing articles from "December, 2015"
Dec 23, 2015
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The Jitters!

Today I woke up with the jitters — you know — those things where you feel like you might have indigestion, a case of the nerves and all that stuff?

What was the occasion?

Just that today we had our appointment with the Immigration Office about our residency.  To add to the difficulty, a wild storm was predicted and chose to arrive while we were walking from our parking place to the office.  We got soaked. (There was serious flooding in town and on the way home we had to keep finding alternative routes!)

But back to my story.  You know what happened at Immigration?  It was a very happy event.  The young gal who did our papers had lived and worked on the Uruguay/Brazil border in the Immigration Office there, and had been dating a Brazilian guy for a long time.  She spoke Portuguese and we laughed and talked and visited in as much Spanish as we could come up with and then we conversed in Portuguese for the rest.

She asked questions like why did we choose to come to Uruguay?  Do we like it?  How long have we been here?  How did we learn about Uruguay and what were our sources?  It was actually fun!  Sometimes — maybe even often — fear of the unknown can give us the jitters and make us feel very nervous.  And then it turns out totally awesome!

But tonight we have our residency numbers and tomorrow we go to get the actual card.

More Big News!

Late last week — I think it was Tuesday — we had our first Spanish lesson.  The teacher came to the house and we had the lesson.  At that time, she found out I was a massage therapist and got all excited because in town she teaches yoga at a place call The Center “El Centro,” and they were looking for a good massage therapist.

She gave me the name and number of the woman in charge.  I called and she invited me to come to the open house on Monday — which was last night.  Kris and I went over and saw the location and setup and then I was invited to work there doing my Ayurvedic Massage treatments.  We are in the process of working out the details, but what a thrill to be able to do that in a place of such sweet energy and peace!

There is a homeopathic doctor, an osteopath, an applied kinesiologist,  an Ayurvedic minded massage therapist (me), and a yoga teacher.  They have movement programs for kids, etc.  A very cool place.

And….

Our belongings have arrived in Montevideo.  So — we will have our green cards tomorrow or the next day, our stuff from the states is arriving, and I’ve been “hired” to work at this holistic healing center.

So much to be grateful for and to fill our hearts with joy.  One of our expat friends here is so excited about it that she is going to send an email out to all her acquaintances and let them know where to go for a massage!  She is going to have me “practice” on her!  ha ha ha  The fun has begun!

What wonderful Christmas presents!  🙂

Tchau Tchau

Dec 15, 2015
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Interesting Takes on Life In Uruguay

Hey there all!  Long blog today — may need to divide it up!

Got some unique photos for you!  I would put them over on the photo site but they are just too fun to have you miss them!  By the way, almost all the photos I use in this blog are taken by Kris.  She is our in-house photographer!

Here is a photo that I promised you a few days ago — this is one of the exercise stations I mentioned.  They are really cool and all over the place.  So for all the people who live in or stay in the apartments all along the coast road this is very convenient.  People jog, then stop and do some exercises on the equipment, take a break for a minute and then take off running again.  Pretty slick.  A very novel idea.  They have this focus on being healthy and exercising and all and we think it’s great.

Exercise Station3

Exercise Station2

Now switch gears. . . . REALLY switch gears!

We went to a 2-choir presentation at the small local Catholic church in Pueblo Eden on Sunday evening.  It was certainly done with great enthusiasm and happiness!   They sang — they rocked back and forth — the men really boomed out the music and the guy who sang the solo had the most massive and clear voice that even I understood the words.  Their presentation also included a song in English which was fun – Somebody’s Knockin at Your Door.  Their English pronunciation was quite good and understandable.

It was also an hilarious time.  We sat at the back — it was a really HOT day — so we sat by a window and had a breeze blowing on us.  A couple came in and sat in front of us.  Their little Chihuahua mix dog came with them.  They totally ignored him as he walked up and down the aisles and sniffed peoples feet and went between their legs.  Most of us reached down and petted him and he just kept wandering.  Every once in a while he would come to his people and poke the man in the leg. The man would laugh and his wife would lean over and tell the dog to “go home right now” which, of course, the dog ignored.  It was quite comical.  The dog would occasionally do something to someone in the mans line of vision which would set him off giggling again with his wife.  But, of course, they did nothing.

In-between choirs, a man got up from his seat and came over to me and said (in spanish) “watch out, senhora, watch out!  It bites!”  I looked down and right where I had been putting my feet was a very beautiful beetle of some sort.  Well what do you expect with all the windows open and a big grassy yard right outside.  I was staring at it and the guy said again “it bites and really hurts!”  At which point he tried to kill it and missed.  Mind you the beetle was crawling along the kneeler so that would not have been, in my opinion, the best place to smash a bug.

Well the beetle had had it.  It jumped off the kneeler and went underneath it and hid right by the place where it hinges up.  Very hard place for humans to get to.  So then the couple who owned the dog got involved.  The man said “we have to kill it”, and the original man was bouncing all around trying to get it.  I tried to kick it out with my shoe but I had sandals on and I wasn’t sure just how much of a bite this very harmless looking beetle might do.

Finally the woman (of the little dog) took off her shoe and gave it to her husband and her husband poked around until the beetle ran out in the middle of the aisle and he squished it with his foot.  Goodness — and all this in-between choir performances.  Kris and I were totally cracking up besides being grossed out.  I graciously thanked them for keeping me safe, but inside I can tell you I was giggling!  They acted like they had a good time too.

We had a good time.  When we left the church, we noticed a hot dog truck.  It struck us funny — no one could miss this business card!  I think we were in a fun mood anyway.

Hot Dog Truck1

Hot Dog Truck2

Hey you all!  I’m here to tell you that there is so much stuff to see, enjoy, eat and have fun with that we are enjoying learning all the new stuff.

Most of you know we are not vegetarians.  I’ve also shared that we have access to a huge garden across the road from us at Judy and Bob Lemon’s house.  It is a lovely thing and we all work watering, weeding, and eating.  Kris took a couple of very nice photos for you:

Garden Area3

This is their orchard with several different types of fruit trees that will begin to really yield in another year or two. Some of them had a little bit of fruit this year, but they are still very young.

Garden Area4 Fruit Trees

Garden Area1

This fenced in area has already change a lot because we have been planting and things have been growing.  Corn is all around that far edge of the fence, and green and bush beans are along the left side fence.  It’s warm here most of the time and it generally rains.  This IS summer when even more than normal vegetable and leafy greens grow like crazy.  We always have salad, and we always have Swiss Chard, Kale, Beets and Beet Greens, Lettuces of all kinds, Carrots by the hundreds, onions and garlic, and I’m sure more to come.  You can grow year round so we will always have fresh food.

Garden Area2

However, this past Sunday we had our first delivery from local farmers Martin and Maqui (pronounced Mawkee). We all had a chance to order from their farm list — so here is what we could get:

Fresh homemade cheese – goat or cow;  organic free-range chickens; milk, butter, buttermilk;  eggs; yogurt; bread.

We ordered a chicken, bread, butter, 3 dozen eggs (that number may have been a bit much as the eggs are jumbo!)

The chicken was about a 12 pound chicken!  When I asked for a large one we never expected to get one the size of a small turkey!!!  Vegetarians don’t look at the next photo!

Big Chicken2

This is an organic free range chicken weighing in at about 10 -12 pounds and it cost $11.  We ended up buying 2 and freezing 1 and 1/2 of them.  Compare that to the price of a similar sized chicken in the states.  It’s a good deal.

There you have a little bit of a view on our life here.

I never tell you the bad parts.  Would you like to know them? Some of you have asked so here goes:

The worst part of living here, absolutely truthfully, is missing our kids, brothers and sisters, and our friends back home.  Life here is good.  The only bad part is a loneliness because we are here and everyone else is somewhere else!  I suppose as we make friends and become part of something where we are regularly invited to participate and join in, we will feel somewhat better.  But that hasn’t happened quite yet.  Thank goodness some of our new expat friends occasionally invite us to join them in doing something.  They were all well-established friends with each other before we came and have a wonderful networking relationship.

We’re at that transition point where we finally feel comfortable here, but we know very few people and very few places to go by ourselves, and virtually no way to find out what’s going on.  We have no TV nor do we get any newspapers.  So often we are just here at home.   We take drives through the beautiful country and we drive through neighborhoods to see what they look like and to get a feel for where we might like to live someday.  Personally, I can’t see living in the city because I love it so much here in the country.

However, out here where we live property is at premium prices — and I mean very premium prices.  We’ll see what develops.  I can’t think of any other negative-ish things — paperwork is as slow getting done here as it is in the states.  People complain about the slowness of things here, but frankly, I don’t see any difference whatsoever between the speed here and the speed in the states.  Bureaucracy is bureaucracy no matter where you live and it all takes time.  Wait!  That’s not exactly true — the formal paperwork seems to take less time here.  By the way, the USA is one of the most difficult places on earth to get residency!  Uruguayans not only make it easy, they talk and enjoy the process with you if you are working with the right persons, which we are.

Okay — that’s enough.  I’m sure you had to read this in at least two sittings.  Sorry, I just felt like sharing a lot today!  I would love to hear your comments!

P.S. The beaches are filling up finally!

Dec 9, 2015
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Uruguay Through My Eyes

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We have been in Uruguay for 2 months as of December 14.  It’s been several days since I last blogged mostly because I’ve been so tired from all the stuff we’ve been doing.  I’m going to share some of those different kinds of things to catch you up.  Then I want to share my take on this country after this amount of time.

We have been fixing up the apartment where we will be living for awhile.  Actually I’ve been doing very little of the work, but the rest of the household has really put forth an effort.  It dawned on all of us that our friends who own this whole place have family coming a couple of days after Christmas.  There was a lot to get done which I won’t list here.  But when you want to find some “thing” here, if it has more than one working part, you will usually have to go to several places to get all the parts to put it together.

To some that is a bad thing.  To us — get to hear Spanish with many different accents, many different kinds of vocabulary and we get to meet many different kinds of people.  The cool thing is that we have never met anyone yet other than sweet, gentle and big hearted people who put up with our broken Spanish and help us.  And that even includes the parking lot attendants who have given us directions and actually walked with us to the store where they were telling us to go because they realized we didn’t get it.  I find the people here exceptionally un-self-centered.

So apartment arranging has been the order of the last couple of weeks.  We also have been working on getting our residency.  So that has involved going from place to place to get all the paperwork in order.  We had to have a health exam.  Because Kris and I are both over 65, we didn’t have to have a PAP exam nor a mammogram.  We had a general physical with blood and urine tests, blood pressure, and a zillion health questions with advice to lose weight and lower our cholesterol!  We did pass the health exam however.  We also visited a Judicial Notary who checked all our identification papers — proving who we are and how much income we make.  We passed that one too.

We have been given Uruguayan birth certificates and my name is again Linda Lucille Adams!  Now I know it sounds funny because I was born in Oregon and Kris in Michigan.  But the idea is that when you live here and are a resident, they want you to have paperwork that everyone will understand.  To open accounts, to travel, to do business, to get health insurance, they like to see your birth certificate.  A Uruguayan birth certificate looks just like everyone else’s so it’s easier all the way around for everyone you meet.  A pretty novel and unique idea.

So here I am blogging.  Summer is arriving and it was warmer than usual today.  I will say that we love it here.  The beauty of this place is stunning.  It’s very much like Leelanau County only you can see further at a time.  There are huge hills – some covered with massive rock outcroppings and lots of green vegetation.  We live on the eastern side of the country and this is what it is like.

The wind blows almost constantly so no matter how hot it is, there is almost always a breeze that cuts the heat.  In the winter it will be a different story, but I can tell you, Spring was definitely the time to arrive in Uruguay!

The traffic has picked up a bit as the Argentines and Brazilians arrive for their vacation times in their seasonal homes.  Lots of streets do not have stop signs.  When you come to an intersection, everyone slows down and somehow, people just know when it’s their turn.  I’m learning the same.  Often they simply wave you on through.  There is very little irritation displayed and no road rage at all.

See people don’t yell at each other in public here.  It is very peaceful and mostly calm.  This is not to say there are not problems.  There definitely are.  Anyone who listens and pays attention will see that there is poverty here.  It’s not seen in big slums like in Brazil or Detroit or New York.  But the very poor housing and very low income situations are definitely present.  Many, many of those people make the lives of others more enjoyable by being employed as workers, maids, cooks, or other jobs.

But everywhere we go, people are laid back.  They seem to enjoy each other at work or at leisure times.  Here is an example — we had gone shopping and decided to have lunch in the cafeteria of the store.  As we waited…..and waited…. for a waitress to come, we noticed that it was shift change time and they were all telling each other goodbye with the traditional Uruguayan kiss on the cheek and gentle hug.  They were laughing and talking about how they would see each other the next day.  We did finally get served slowly and in a very laid back manner and everyone was having a great time.  The food was good and affordable and in due time we were on our way again — a little later than we had originally planned, but happy on the way.

When was the last time you saw staff hug their fellow staffers goodbye at the end of a shift, laughing and looking forward to seeing each other at shift change the next day???

Think about that.

Several men were standing in the restaurant — as they each came into the group, they hugged and kissed each other and then stood talking and laughing together.  Then after about a half hour they all hugged and kissed and went their separate ways.  Yes, the men hug and kiss each others cheeks when they meet – every time, not just once a week or at holidays!

Think about that.

I went to pick up a used item someone had for sale.  When I got out of the car he came over and shook my hand and kissed my cheek.

Yes, I’m making a big thing about this because it feels to me like we have lost something in the states.  I’ve actually had people in the states make like it was odd that I gave them a hug when they had just seen me the day before. When the time for hugs is over and you can give them no more, will it have been enough? Will you have shared that aspect of friendship with even a stranger?

Think about that too.

Okay — we live in the country and drive to town to shop.  It’s about a 45 minute drive depending on the weather, the traffic, and the pot holes.  The main roads are very good — very few pot holes.  The back roads out in the country are sometimes pretty rough — you have to slow down and pay attention.  Sometimes you even have to slow way down so the someone else coming in the other direction doesn’t have to hit a bad pot hold on their side of the road.  It does remind me so much of 8th street in Traverse City!!  Ahh yes, it slows you down.

Which leads me to another subject —

You slow down here.  Life slows down.  People are more important and life simply does not run at the pace it does in the states.  Sometimes people complain about that aspect of life in a Latin country. When you arrive here, it slowly dawns on you how “fast” life has been where you came from.  No one has time for anything in the states or other places.  But here, you will be forced to slow down.  You can get yourself into a tizzy fit, or you can recognize that maybe you are here because you are supposed to slow down.  It’s not just to smell the roses either.  It’s to meet and know others.  It’s to enjoy the beauty around you — the ocean, the abundance of food, the little stores tucked in here and there with the things you need for your project.

Most of us that have moved to a foreign country have done so for about a dozen different reasons.  It usually isn’t to slow down.  People want to live where it’s cheaper or warmer or both.  It’s my experience that some things here are much more expensive and other things like food are much cheaper.  And the weather is superb!   However as fate would have it, you are probably drawn to a place because you need what it has to offer you — you need to slow down or to care more about other people and enjoy the interaction.  Well, that’s my take on it anyway.

So I’ve slowed down!  ha ha ha  You knew that was coming, right?  You know how active I can be and me — I’ve slowed down and am enjoying the incredibly good things Uruguay shares with me.

If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep having the same experiences you always have!  Not terribly unique, but profoundly true!

There are nice expats and there are wretched ones.  There are whiney people and there are joyful people.  There are people who can see nothing but the disagreeable and others who see it but move forward in peace.  You meet all kinds of people — I say that you are who you are in large part because of the choices you make as you get out of bed every day.  Not totally, but mostly!

Tchau, tchau!

 

 

 

 

Links You Will Like

  • Connect Globally Connect with people around the world in the countries of your choice. Information, real people, real discussions!
  • Uruguay Insider Great newsletter on Uruguay and lots of nitty gritty details you will love! Check it out.
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