Last night promised to be filled with fireworks and we weren't disappointed. Until 3:00 a.m., we watched the sky light up in every direction with "bombs bursting in air." The Hotel Oro Verde next door, put on the biggest and brightest display so we moved ourselves down into the parking lot to be right underneath a canopy of light.
This morning we woke up to yet another parade blaring the music "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" and more fireworks. Ecuador sure knows how to throw a party! Oh, and last night we saw some dummies being burned with a vengeance! We celebrated by going out to dinner with friends, walked to "el centro" where everything was closed except for a few burning dummies, and walked all the way back home because no taxis could be found.
This morning, Mark faxed me an excel spreadsheet with our 2012 budget (it's the UPS management in him). I'm pleased to say that we're still keeping it simple--no changes. Except now we have three streams of continual income through Mark's teaching at CEDEI, online teaching, and my writing. We decided since we're living perfectly fine on our present income from last year, we're going to save and invest the rest.
The one thing we didn't think about when we moved to Ecuador was the cost of trips home (to the States), but we only do that once a year (August) and we plan ahead. We bought round-trip tickets to San Francisco going out of Guayaquil for $550 per person. We use Cheap Tickets exclusively and we've found that they do indeed have the cheapest tickets.
There's one thing I should add about working in Ecuador because a lot of folks ask us this question as well. If you do plan on teaching at one of the language schools and you have your residency (cédula), they will deduct Social Security and your medical (IESS). For us it has turned into a blessing: Mark will receive another pension check in ten years and we get free medical and language lessons. He also gets the month of August and December paid for without teaching. Although the check may look smaller (monthly), it ends up being about the same. Language lessons alone would cost us about $400 a month, so you can see it's a "win-win" situation. Although we do have a private medical insurance policy there is a $10,000 cap on each admission. In case of something catastrophic, we would just transfer over to the IESS hospital.
Having your residency can work for or against you if you decide to be employed in Ecuador, so it's something you may want to think through. You can get around it by having an intercultural visa like many of the English teachers have, but it comes with some pitfalls as well. Just remember: Not all that is gold...glitters!
We sleep really well at night: no debt, no credit cards, no car payments, no mortgage--just the simple life! We do feel like millionaires in that regard!
There you have it, the state of our financial affairs for 2012. An uncomplicated life -- doing what we love to do every day -- is just about as good as it gets.
Like my dad always told me, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
Have a Blessed New Year!
Rent & Aliquota