Monday, June 19, 2017

5 Years Later: Looking Back In Order To Move Forward



Wow! Can you believe it? It's been five years since my husband and I said goodbye to our friends, our family, and our lives in New York, and moved to Cordoba, Argentina. It's amazing how much time has passed!


Those of you who have followed my blog over the years know that adjusting to life abroad hasn't been easy for us, and if you don't know what I'm talking about... STOP! Click on the link below and start reading from the beginning. You have a lot of catching up to do.

Living in Argentina versus the States is as different as night and day and many of our fellow expats would probably agree. The amount of money you have, the province you choose, your expectations of life can all make a huge difference in how you live in the southern hemisphere. It's why I can't stress enough how important it is to do lots of research, ask lots of questions from other expats, and then decide if this is the right fit for you.

Seasons In Reverse 

Winter is from June to August. Spring is from September to November. Summer is from December to February, and fall is from March to the end of May. The weather conditions are the exact opposite of what we're used to, and this makes celebrating holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas a bit more interesting. Imagine cooking elaborate meals intended for the winter time, in late spring or early Summer in Argentina? The whole house turns into one giant oven.
I can't even wear my Christmas sweater, but that's okay because it made me look fat.

Exploring The Unknown

We've only had the fortune of exploring three provinces so far, San Juan, Buenos Aires, and of course, Cordoba, our host province.
Buenos Aires 2013
Read a little more about our adventures in B.A. here: https://goo.gl/H4U23b
Villa General Belgrano 2017
Read a little more about our adventures in Villa General Belgrano here: https://goo.gl/iSfJSE
San Juan 2014
Read a little more about our adventures in San Juan here: https://goo.gl/p9qkwd
Cordoba 2012

Carlos Paz
Read a little more about our adventures in Carlos Paz here: https://goo.gl/EnYQPP

Read a little more about the international food festival in Altagracia here:  https://goo.gl/SvMPae


We're looking forward to doing a little more traveling over the next few years, time and money permitting of course.


Power Rangers And Zombies, Oh My!

I've experienced a lot of cool and unusual things over the last five years. We met Jason Faunt, the red Time Force Power Ranger at a convention in Cordoba in 2013.
That same year, Cordoba looked like a scene from the Walking Dead for the annual zombie walk.
Life After Theft
We struggled to get our lives back together after a home invasion late last year. Sure, most of the material possessions were easily replaced with more updated versions of what we originally had, but the sense of security we felt at home before was taken from us, and we haven't been able to get it back.

The Economy... What A Mess

This isn't much of a shocker, but the economy has continued to decline. Things have gotten more expensive. Utility bills continue to rise and many people are pissed as hell, but from what I've gathered from the "Asociacion Defensa del Consumidor" or The Consumer Defense Association, which I gather is somewhat similar to the Better Business Bureau in the States, the people that get shafted with the highest utility bills are those that own businesses. Some get electric bills as high as $10,000 Argentine pesos a month.

I remember when I only paid 180 Argentine pesos for the same phone and internet service I have now. Five years later, it's over 800 pesos. But I do consider myself fortunate as many of the locals have had to contend with utility bills that in some cases go well into the thousands.


Things at the supermarket are more expensive. I used to spend 150 to 200 pesos on groceries a week for just the two of us. Today, it's more like 600 to 800 pesos.


The value of the Argentine peso has continued to fall, but the decline appears to have leveled off for the moment.


On December 31st, 2012, the cost of one US Dollar in Argentine pesos was: 4.90
On December 31st, 2013, the cost of one US Dollar in Argentine pesos was: 6.51
On July 29th, 2014, the cost of one US dollar in Argentine pesos was: 8.19
On December 24th, 2015, the cost of one US Dollar in Argentine pesos was: 12.97
On June 19th, 2016, the cost of one US Dollar in Argentine pesos was: 13.89

On June 13th, 2017, the cost of one US Dollar in Argentine pesos is 15.90.

Some are predicting that you'll need $20 Argentine pesos to get to a single dollar by the time the next (non-presidential) election swings by this coming November 2017, but that's more of a rumor than an actual fact.


A year ago, the Argentine peso was worth .07 cents. It's worth .06 in 2017.



Customs

There were rumors that door to door services would be available, meaning Argentina would allow importing and exporting to flow like beer at a frat house. I'm not entirely sure if that's the case because a lot of people I know are still forced to pay insane amounts of money at customs to get their things. One guy requested a debit card and it was held at customs! DVDs and Blu-Rays are only limited to some of the newest movie releases, so for those of us who were really dying to get Supernatural season 12 on DVD, we're S.O.L.


Food From Home
There are certainly a few welcomed items that we didn't see when we first arrived five years ago like Swedish Fish and Sour Patch candies. Sure, there were cheap imitations sold at some of the local candy stores, but nothing beats the real name brand.
We have yet to see an actual Ruffle's Potato Chips bag. Other brands have tried, but failed to replicate the taste. So for the time being we have this acceptable substitute.
The closest thing we had to ice  tea was called Fuze Tea, but we're guessing it wasn't very popular in Cordoba, so the stores stopped carrying it. We did find a bottle when we went on our third trip to Buenos Aires last year, and I'm still kicking myself for not buying it. Then we went to Disco, which is another big chain supermarket down here, and found Lipton's Ice Tea, so I was very happy.


Native American Freedom Fighters, Corporate Conspiracies And More
I'm more than halfway done with the four-part Hunter's Vendetta book series. To those of who have already purchased my book and have provided me with positive feedback, thank you from the bottom of my heart. For those of you who haven't purchased my novels, what are you waiting for? HAHA! No, seriously! Writing while living abroad is a challenge, especially when it comes to promoting my work, which is why I count on you guys to read my work, talk about it, and share it with others.

So here's the link to the first novel "Hunter's Vendetta: Silent Kill", which you can purchase on Amazon by clicking on this link.

THE FIRST BOOK IN THE HUNTER'S VENDETTA SERIES When Alex Westcrow left his tribe, and his lover, Kayden Hayes, he unknowingly left behind a dark family secret as well. Years later, his homecoming is marred by tragedy. Now he’s the target of a silent killer, and the key to staying alive rests in deciphering terrifying visions that foreshadow his death and those of everyone he holds dear. 

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The sequel to "Silent Kill" is called "Hunter's Vendetta: Shockwave" and can currently be purchased through this link

THE SECOND BOOK IN THE HUNTER'S VENDETTA SERIES:  An extremist faction made up of exiled natives from the Taulsekan tribe will go to any lengths to protect their culture from the white man, but a dark secret from their past threatens to put an end to their cause. Meanwhile, Alex Westcrow begins to uncover the truth behind an evil conspiracy, and the only way to keep his friends alive may be to leave them behind. Before it's all over, someone he knows and trusts will turn on him. 

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While you're busy reading the first two novels, I'll be busy working on part 3.

What Lies Ahead
I'm sorry I haven't updated the blog with any posts recently, but it's been a rough couple of months. In my last post I mentioned that I was going to start spotlighting locals and maybe a few expats. Unfortunately, due to what I assume are time constraints, the people I reached out to were unable to commit to these interviews, but I'm still hopeful I can scrounge up a few more people in the near future. There will definitely be another post before the end of June, so check back often. Until then, stay safe, respect, and do no harm.