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It’s everyone else’s fault

Recently, one of our customers began to tell me how he thought International Living was a scam magazine and website because it painted a picture of how inexpensive Cuenca would be and he has found that “none of it is true.”

I didn’t try to debate him on the merits or lack there of regarding International Living.  I myself found it quite useful for myself when I began looking at overseas living many years ago.  In fact, I visited Cuenca in 2006 because of IL.

I’ve always found IL’s information to be interesting; I never for a moment let their articles overtake my own investigations of costs, climate, political situation or even livability.  Countries that they wrote about that intrigued me, I visited.  First hand.  I didn’t just read about a place, make a one-week visit and then go back to the U.S. and sell all my things and move.

Not all expats are miserable.

Now, I know some people who have done that and have ended up very happy with their decision.  I know others that have done that and realized they made a huge mistake.  Because not every place is for everyone.

As for the cost issue, I wanted to ask this guy, “Did you not do ANY investigation on your own?  If not, shouldn’t you really be angry at yourself and not at IL?”  But that wouldn’t do any good.  What I sensed more than anything is that the guy wasn’t happy here and that his common sense wasn’t going to allow him to blame himself.

He told me that there was no way he could survive on his Social Security here.  That IL led him to believe he could and he “got screwed.” I didn’t touch that radioactive topic.

Then, of course, he explained that Obama screwed him and a lot of people here when he did the bailout.  I didn’t touch that topic either.  Again, no point in the argument.

Then he started on about how the Ecuadorians are always trying to rip him off.

That’s when I asked him how much money was he taking in each month.  He said a little over $1,600.  Knowing what my mother takes from Social Security and what some of my other fiends here take, that seemed to make sense.

So, what DID I say to the guy?  Well after letting him go on for a while, I just pointed to one of my waiters and said, “he supports himself, his mother and his father on less than $500 a month. ” I told him I couldn’t imagine how my waiter, or other Ecuadorian families did that.  But they do.

Yes, some of them have family homes so they don’t have a rent to pay.  But let’s say that a good apartment here costs $650 a month.  That would leave this gentleman $950 a month to live on.  That’s tight I agree.  But again, Ecuadorians do it every single day.

Now, I know a LOT of North Americans lost a LOT of money in 2008.  I lost a lot.  So, I can understand how some people have gotten to the point of only having Social Security to live on.  That topic really has nothing to do with what I am trying to say.

And please, don’t get me wrong.  I DO think I would struggle to live on $1,600 a month.  I would have to completely change my lifestyle.  I would have to cancel the U.S. health insurance I still carry.  Probably give up my car too.

But, nonetheless, I wouldn’t blame Obama for my state of affairs and I certainly wouldn’t blame International Living. And if I ended up living here only because of financial reasons, then I wouldn’t blame the Ecuadorians for my plight in life either.

It comes down to this: if you’ve moved to a country where the average person takes home less than $400 a month and you can’t seem to survive on four times that; and you got here because you blindly trusted a magazine or website article; and you still feel that a U.S. president that was inaugurated after the start of a recession is to blame for your problems; and you only want to talk to expats because you “don’t trust the locals,” then you really need to ask yourself one question.

And that is, “How am I so stupid?”

I’m just sayin.’