Sunday, July 31, 2011

So where should we go?

Once having made the decision to go, many questions have arisen, the first of which is "Where to?". For me, I want to make sure that we all have some exposure to, if not fluency in, the language, plus we want to be able to adequately plan for business, education, lifestyle, and many other factors.

So what'd we decide? perhaps this will give you a hint:

That's a towel that I bought once on vacation, never thinking it might have any significance in my future. But it's become our go-to map (I know, it's really not a good map at all, but it's so easy to use!) since we think that El Salvador is likely to be where we end up. After minimal discussion, P-daddy and I had agreed that Latin America, specifically Central America, was a good choice. Here's our thinking on that and on El Salvador in particular:

1) Proximity: all of my family is in the US, as is the majority of his. Living in Central America will allow cheaper flights and better access than lots of other places if we were to need to return to the US quickly. I also have friends and colleagues in Guatemala, so we would be able to visit and network easily.

2) Familiarity: I lived for 4 years in Guatemala, traveled extensively around Central America while there, and got a good feel for Latin American culture. Obviously, things will be different in different places, but the familiarity I already have with life in Central America puts us in a good position to start with.

3) Personality: I've visited El Salvador on several occasions, and loved each and every visit. The people were always so nice and open, and I've often thought that if I ever returned to the expat life, El Salvador would be a good choice. In addition, the laid-back lifestyle common in Latin America appeals to us.

4) Economy: El Salvador uses the USD as their currency. That's all I know, but perhaps P-daddy will weigh in on this issue, since this is one of his main factors in the choice.

5) Communicability: I'm a semi-fluent Spanish speaker, Pooh is getting exposed to Spanish here in Texas, and P-daddy is willing to learn whatever language he has to. Having at least one of us already able to converse effectively means that we can travel there now with less trouble than we might have in other places. Plus it's easy to find Spanish speakers here that we can practice with (we've already joined a local meetup group for Spanish conversation).

6) Possibility: El Salvador appears to be the least popular Central American tourist spot at this point, but we think that may change in the future, so it's a good place to buy/go now and plan for growth.

There are certainly lots of other factors to consider, but this is where we are for the moment. Feel free to direct our thinking in other directions!

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