Friday, May 28, 2010

North Again...Being a Grandma changes everything!

I haven't blogged for a long time and felt I should post an update. I am back in the US with plans to return to Chile for periods of time. I have to say I didn't expect to miss some of the things here-I didn't even realize I missed so much. Strangely-although I never drank much root beer-I find it is a special treat now. Crazy. But I buy the store brand for 59 cents a liter and it makes me very happy.

I'm now a Grandma-and that changes everything....I can't begin to explain how precious this time is. There are many moments daily that are worth...everything.

Shopping. People in the US, you have EVERYTHING-and you have no idea. The shopping is beyond compare. Everything for every size of pocketbook is here. And many things are more expensive in Chile. There are so many choices-and if things don't get sold, they have sales. As you can imagine, many things are on sale right now. Yes, it can be expensive to live in the US but by applying a bit of ingenuity and frugality-and by taking advantage of what is inexpensive-a person can live for much less than I once believed. People at retirement have buying the house of their dreams. And I want to scream "DOWNSIZE-WHAT ARE YOU DOING??!!!" I understand families-that is tougher.

In Chile, I did learn a lot about frugality. Convenience food is either not available or ridiculously priced. Although I did pay nearly $8 for a jar of Safeway peanut butter, it wasn't often. I re-learned cooking and baking. I find myself to be sort of a cheapskate these days-but I also notice more good deals. In the US, fruit and vegetables may be on sale some time other than its season-in Chile, you must watch for seasons. And almost everything else was more expensive than I was used to paying in the states. Marketing in the US is so clever-which is why we are such good consumers. We want everything. Marketing is nearly non-existent in Chile in comparison. They are getting better(or is that actually worse?). Yet people there are fast becoming "good" consumers themselves. This is a little scary. Chileans buy a lot on credit with even less understanding of it than those in the US. And we know how that went.

I now notice many big and little differences between the two countries. Many likenesses as well. I still find that fascinating. Vehicles are generally tiny there and here-omigosh they are huge. Although after crazy Chilean driving-here they look positively well-behaved. I'm not sure anyone here in Denver, Colorado believes that but I keep telling people to "move to Chile, you'll appreciate things more!" I was ecstatic at my 20 minute DMV experience after spending countless hours in Chile with bureaucracy, getting a RUT#, ID card etc. Who could have imagined that would make my day?

In Chile or the US, it's the little things!