Everything is relative. Last night, I talked to a friend who took a break from her life in the States to live in a developing country with her family. She is not enjoying herself.
She lives in a huge city with terrible traffic and pollution. They miss the green spaces and easily accessible parks in the US. She hates that she spends at least two hours a day in traffic. The kids go to a private school full of yelling teachers and snooty kids. Her son gets picked on and his lunch box is regularly stolen. He misses his school in the US terribly. The crime in this city has been really bad and everybody she knows has been mugged or robbed. She is afraid to hire a maid since many are known to steal or let in thieves. And the cost of living is almost as high as in the US, so no advantages there.
Why did I just tell you all that? Because it made me realize just how good we have it here. All of our problems here have been relatively minor (other than the amoeba scare). We live in a smallish town at the base of the Andes. We have great views and plenty of fresh air. We pretty much step outside our door and go for walks and hikes in gorgeous scenery. The town is small yet there are still some conveniences like a few good restaurants, good grocery stores, classes for kids, etc. We have top-notch horseback riding lessons five minutes away. The school overall has been great for the kids. The other children are nice as are most of the teachers (all except the music teacher). The girls are making friends. We are making friends. We have great help – a nanny and a housekeeper – who are on a similar wavelength so there haven’t been any huge cultural gaps. We have tons of natural attractions, different climates and small pueblos to explore on the weekends. Every weekend feels like a mini-vacation. And when we need an infusion of big city life, Bogota, a city of 11 million people, tons of restaurants, nightlife, theater, music, museums – you name it – is thirty minutes to an hour away. We avail ourselves to city pleasures at least once per week. And we are saving money here! We are really fortunate!
I spend a lot of time bitching about cultural differences in this blog (I have to get it out plus that’s what creates the most emotional impact for me on a daily basis). I really wanted to expound on my gratitude and blessings as well. Our life here is really good for the most part (Lord knows that things annoy me in the US too) and I feel really appreciative that we get to have this experience. I wouldn’t mind staying on for another year actually.