Saturday, June 2, 2012

Weights on the Scale

June---then July 30th I take off. Fifty-nine days to go. 

I want to Skype this month with Alexandra Diaz, Student Coordinator for Simon Bolivar Spanish School.  I'd like my internet connection to be set up in the room where I’ll be living before I get there. I’d also like to schedule the date for the transfer of fees to pay school and rent expenses for the three months I’m going to be there.

I’ll be tutored at Simon Bolivar---a teacher has already been reserved---four hours a day five days a week in study with the tutor while living with an Ecuadorian family. It’s going to be a virtually total immersion process of learning Spanish. I’ve heard that’s the best and quickest way to learn, and what’s a bonus as far as I’m concerned is I’ll absorb an extra measure of Ecuadorian culture and custom from living with the family.

As the date approaches, I’ve been thinking about odds. What are the odds I’ll like Ecuador enough to move there permanently?  I know this. I don’t like the idea of living any place where my income covers normal expenses but not much more. What happens when the truck needs a new transmission?  What happens when you need a root canal? One pays for out-of-the-ordinary expenses from savings until savings deplete to a zero balance. I don’t want my savings to deplete to a zero balance!  But that’s the greater risk of living in the U.S.A. It will be a bit disappointing if I’m not suited to live in Ecuador.   I really ought to have a Plan B in case that happens. I could live in subsidized housing---ditch the truck and take the bus---clip grocery coupons! I’m glad I have resources to design and implement a Plan B. I like where I live now. I’d be happy to be disappointed about Ecuador since I could stay in San Mateo. I’d need to start earning money. I’d work long enough to put into the bank what I took out to fund the visit to Ecuador.

If somebody carries a question, when it comes time to answer the question, that’s when the load becomes heavy. What are the hardest parts about moving to a foreign country? Will the economic benefit balance the scale in the measurement of all I’ll miss about living in San Mateo?  They might. Think decent rentals for $250 a month. Think travel to Rome---Paris---London. Think no need to work. Think lots of free time to write. When I do these projections just about any country where I could afford to do these things sounds good to me.  I could be happy with so little in Ecuador. I’m happy now with my studio. It has a kitchen and a bathroom---and a sleeper sofa. I lived in a boat for two years. I lived in a ware-house four years. I was always content because it just doesn’t take much to make me happy.    

It’s time for arithmetic. $2,202 (monthly income) minus $1,200 (monthly living expense in Ecuador) = $1,002 (monthly surplus) x 12 (months) = $12,024 (annual savings) x 6 years = $72,144.

The Edmundston-Madawaska Bridge connecting Maine with New Brunswick, Canada.
Thirty-Two percent of the population in New Brunswick speak French.
I spent years studying French. My goal was to speak fluent French. I took two years of French in high school. I hired tutors to teach me French. Several college classes I took were French courses. I coordinated and arranged meetings in coffee shops for French speakers.  I learned how to speak the language fairly well, but never enough to satisfy a standard of actual fluency---then I quit. I stopped studying it and I wouldn’t speak it. 

Let’s say I move to Ecuador in 2013 and live there six years. I’d be 69 in 2019. You know what I’d do? I’d move to a French speaking region---utilize immersion language learning--- and become a fluent French speaker in a year.  That’s another weight to consider on the scale that balances the pros and cons of my living in Ecuador.