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An Expat Talks about Living in San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala

Submitted by spiritsage

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

San Marcos La Laguna

Describe how you "dreamed" expat life would be before you moved overseas. Please provide as much detail as possible.

my dreamed expat life would be one of adventure, traveling the surrounding areas, mingling and becoming friends with the local people, involvement with the village life and the community, meeting folks from all over the globe, eating great new foods, learning the language, developing relationships with my neighbors and other expats, making money, spending time relaxing, working on my book...thought there would be some safety issues, thought i was prepared for them, thought i had an open mind, thought i had researched enough to prepare me for pretty much anything, was open to surprises though as this is what my research recommended...figured I would be on holiday much of the time, and did i say relax a good bit...figured banking would not be too big of an issue, and figured my budget would cover everything well..figured passport renewals would be an adventure and just a side trip, figured i would love living primative, and figured i would bond with every one i met...and we would share advice and adventure stories...lol...and to be truthful i did not really dream about my expat life much above the adventure, experiencing the new culture, learning the language and making money while living a vacation lifestyle to boot...the rest i just did not know what to expect, expected to be open minded and go with the flow...

How has your expat experience met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?

have bonded tightly with a few of the guatemalan people, and have learned a great deal from these folks...learning the language is something i am proud to have done as well as i have, and take great delight in using it...living off of fresh foods, hiking, boating, and packing has been healthy for me...truly have enjoyed about half of the travelers i have met from all over the globe..and i have had many many adventures, seen only a small part of the surrounding area, but the part i have seen i truly have explored fairly well...at least for my intent and purposes, food is guatemalan and i serve nothing else but typical and loved having learned how to cook and shop here like one of the villagers, spending a bit of time relaxing now that i have a routine and the hang of things...my book is worked on everyday without fail, and its amazing how much time i spend working on it...and i have kept an open mind, and actually my mind has expanded just like i dreamed it would by being here...

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How has your expat experience NOT met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?

banking is a nightmare and costly...getting the passport stamped every 3 months is costly and time consuming, my budget does not go as far as i thought it would...not every one you meet from around the globe is nice, and some folks will not like you if you are from the US...seems some folks dont like the US and the choices the states made in its affairs with other nations and countries, it never crossed my mind i would have to deal with this issue... got to the point i considered saying i was from Canada... lol.. the expats generally do not like to mingle if they think you are not a tourist,or you are not into partying... the guatemalans prefer to ignore you, and are not warm unless it involves them making money off of you...there are exceptions but overall this is a general rule of thumb..making large amounts of money can be a real challenge and takes a tremendous amount of work...and some days its just plain cold here and i did not expect this, fireplaces dont really help much...about the only way i bonded with the locals was one it took months to establish a bond, and two i paid them...lol...as in i hired them to do gardening or laundry...and relaxing, well i do relax, this is not because i am being leisurely, living here is hard work some days...boating, packing food and supplies, travel to get said supplies, bank runs...definitely take their toll...so relaxing is a must to recoop...lol...the language was really at first a difficult thing just as i knew it would be, had no clue a different teacher would make it easier until after i wasted a ton of money and time on a bad one...not all my adventures have been fun...i got robbed,run a guest house and one of my guest got mugged and beaten on her way back to the casa...yes i knew this was a possiblity when i came here, does not make it part of my expat dream...preparing homemade meals is time consuming and more work to slice and dice...cold water instead of hot, and of course laundry is an issue with either you pay someone to do it by hand or you do it by hand on a washboard...i had a guilt thing with watching someone else do my laundry and even with paying them top guatemalan dollar still felt strange...no washer and dryer, 7 days during the rainy season and your laundry is still wet and unwearable, mold, mold, was not prepared for the amount and how quick it arrives and the odd places mold pops up...lol...disappointed about the lack of community involvement, the lack of expat friendship, an how hard it is to make friends with a local Guatemalan just for friendship sake...not my expectations before coming...but keeping an open mind, i remind myself this is normal for here and a fact of life...and therefore put it aside and enjoy the wonderful gifts and joys of being here...

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Comments about this Report

pmartini2
Jul 2, 2016 13:46

Very enlightening. How long have you lived there? Did you rent or buy? Did you make any money with the guest house? I am asking because I am going to house sit for 5 or 6 months near Antigua with a view to looking around to see if it's somewhere I want to retire to and to be able to earn some income doing B&B.

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