What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.
Brought: books, DVDs, no printers or fax machines.
Wish I had left at home: a HOME. Not having one Stateside means mail forwarding only, not having a state to claim residence in for Medicare, voting, getting mail delivered, and perhaps a relative sift through the mail and scan me only important papers. Don't bring wood furniture - the tropics call for their own woods. NO metal anything - file cabinets, etc. And don't store in highrise depositos - they're greasey and dirty. Tape any boxes on all seams so the contents stay clean.
What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?
The best thing I can say about my apt. is that I know where my leaks are. 7 or 8 months of rainy season (sunny mornings, you get out, do your errands early, then afternoon showers. It took me two years to know that Windex kills ants. Silicone seal around EVERYthing. Neighborhood - we got lucky. We chose the apt., and were clueless about the neighborhood, except the info the broker was pushing.
What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?
In a highrise, and that was after living in a home, on the ground, in California. Never dreamed I'd be going vertical again. But it has safety advantages, especially in a building that has a good, stable reputation.
How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?
Originally the view was unobstructed. But immediately around our apt. are schools, Atlapa, a large supermarket, a police station, community pool...things that will not get bought out and have a highrise pop up.
Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?
Electricity more, especially when fuel prices soar. Cable is same. No ppty taxes, but now have $400 a month maintenance in the bldg, which includes water, garbage, common area items. When I look at check registers from California, I'm reminded that we paid a monthly (smaller) fee, but paid for garbage removal, gardener for back yard, all utilities, cable, phone. Here I can live with a cell phone only.
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