April 29, 2008

Move to a tropical paradise!

beach, Guanaja, HondurasBeach on the island of Guanaja, Honduras
Photo by: Helicopter Pilot Bob

Move to a tropical paradise with turquoise waters
and white sandy beaches!
Leave your cares at home and live like a king
for a fraction of the price
among the friendly English-speaking natives.
Now is the best time to buy!
Tomorrow may be too late.

One of the reasons that I started writing so much about Honduras and its culture in my blog is that I was APPALLED at the information I found on the internet, especially on the real estate sites. I actually laughed out loud while reading some of those fairy tales. They make it sound like someone from the government will greet you at the plane with a smile and a residency card.

I thought it was really unfair to tell potential expatriate buyers about this blissful paradise .... and not mention so many of the pitfalls and potholes that expatriates stumble into.

Some people are never going to make it in Honduras or probably anywhere in Central America. The adjustments will just be too many, too distasteful, too uncomfortable, too scary. It is often said that somewhere around 50% of expatriates end up leaving Central America and going back to their own country. There are no statistics to back that up but it is often repeated.

I'm not trying to imply that I'm better or stronger or more adaptable by any means. We all have our needs and wants, and can adjust in some areas, while other areas are like hitting a brick wall for us. But you might not even know what
your brick wall is unless you do a test run.

For me the hardest part has to do with the lack of trust, the poverty, the unjustness of the class society, the mistreatment of Hondurans by other Hondurans, and the crime. Most of those are mental rather than physical adjustments and I'd be a lot better off if I just didn't think about them so much and stopped reading the newspaper.

Other expats will come here and may not have near the "mental adjustments" that I did. I do believe, though, that those are the people who are more knowledgeable about what they will find in Honduras and they are probably people who have spent a lot of time here before moving.

Thinking that you will live a N. American lifestyle only with a slower pace and a lower cost of living is not realistic unless you have a real ton of money to insulate you from everyday life, not just a comfortable pension. Otherwise you'll be going to the grocery store, dealing with the bank, running out of water, wondering when the electricity will come back, worrying about crime, and all other things, just like the rest of us living in Honduras do.

Tela, Honduras beachPeople have a better chance of adjusting if they have at least a basic knowledge of what it is really like to live here. Doesn't that make sense? If you know what to expect, you have a better idea if that is something you CAN adapt to.

I don't have an agenda. I don't try to encourage or discourage people from moving to Honduras. I just try to answer questions based on my knowledge and experience. I just wish that I had known someone like me before I moved. I came here with my rose-colored glasses on, thinking that I would have no problems because I wasn't one of "those Americans" who think they are superior to Hispanics, or who have to have all the latest gadgets or keep up with the Joneses. Even though readers may get a different idea, I'm "plain people" and don't need a lot of material things to make me happy.

I'll give El Jefe credit for trying to tell me what the life was like here. Actually, now that I think about it, he was my La Gringa and I didn't listen. ;-D I still would have come because I couldn't imagine life without him but I would have been better prepared if I had just listened!
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