Posts in category "America & Me"

Ecuador's Protectionist Tariffs

In the USA in 1986 there were a crazy amount of choices of vehicles to buy. In Guayaquil, Ecuador there was one and only one. The locally made Jeep Trooper. Any thing else had to be imported and came with a 400% tariff, enough of a financial hit to encourage buyers to only buy locally.... Read more »

Airline Travel Abroad in the 1970s

Tegucigalpa, Honduras 1970s Once upon a yesterday, two airplanes sat on the tarmac at the airport. Painted on the fuselage were the airline’s initials SAHSA, an acronym known locally as “Stay At Home-Stay Alive.” As the passengers settled in on their small airplanes, one pilot climbed up the stairs to board each airplane. The engines warmed up.... Read more »

Discrimination Against Bladders and Kidneys; or the (not so) Public Toilet

The recent bias episode of two gentlemen arrested in a Starbucks after one asked to use the public toilet brings up many serious questions. Why did an employee call -911? Why arrest the men and not arrest me when I’ve ask the same question in Starbucks? And when the hell will we ever learn, to quote the... Read more »

At home, abroad; the expatriate

Forgotten abroad, is the expatriate. Charles Dickens would have named the person sitting across from me, “the well-meaning relative.” Late into the night, the interrogator repeatedly hammered as to why we lived abroad? “How will your kids ever grow up to be real Americans, when they’ve never lived in the USA?” My overtired brain had no... Read more »

The Cultural Perspective

Over the years living in Peru, Paraguay, Ecuador and Mexico, I learned that Latin Americans don’t want to disappoint. It’s a cultural thing. It’s also a thing that confounds expatriates, who come from a rather different cultural perspective. For example, there’s that word mañana. Though our well-thumbed dictionary defined it as tomorrow, I’d learned firsthand it... Read more »

Before Donald J. Trump, Ecuador's Flirtation with a Clown President

Before there was America’s clown president, Donald J. Trump, there was Ecuador’s almost clown president, Abdala Bucaram Ortiz. Brothers from different mothers, these boys? Both shamelessly aspired to fame via infamy, for bad press was far worse than no press; Both admired, emulated and cozied up to authoritarians; Both trawled the bottom of humanity for support; Both... Read more »

Once Upon a Kidnapping in Guayaquil

Moving to a new country is always the same. The husband goes to yet another office; as my darling mother-in-law Bea said, an office is an office. The kids go to a new school where they hope to find new friends. And I, as the left behind spouse, am home, alone. Very, very much alone.... Read more »

Living the expatriate; A is for attitude

Is the glass half empty, or half full? The question hung in the air between the Peace Corps applicant and the interviewer. The interviewer knew the ‘right’ answer. Would the applicant, a wanna-be expatriate? Optimists–and potential Peace Corps volunteers–see the glass as half full, pessimists as half empty. For this reason alone, optimists adjust better... Read more »

Nursery Rhyme for the Abused Child

Ode to the ACE Test There was a young girl whose ACE score was high, I do know why her ACE score was high. Perhaps she’ll die (early). Epigenetics spilled chemicals awry, All because her ACE score was high. Perhaps she’ll die (early). Neurons were murdered, synapses soon die, All because her ACE score was... Read more »

Sex, Panto and the Brits (who breathed a sigh of relief to expel the Puritans in America)

Though not a historian (nor a Brit though I do have British grandsons), I do believe that island nation once breathed a collective sigh of relief to unload those dull and sexually priggish Puritans over the pond to America. Let the natives there deal with ’em over there. And deal with them we Americans still... Read more »
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    Candace Drimmer

    I was an accidental expatriate; love and marriage led me to it. One day I was a bandy-legged kid sitting atop my dogwood tree looking out of my small backyard world in 1950s New Jersey, wanting to move somewhere--anywhere, different. Next thing I knew my father had accepted a job in Houston TX. I was ecstatic, it was a foreign land in 1961 America. After high school graduation, my parents’ gave me a matched set of fawn-colored hardsided American Tourister luggage. Taking the hint, I went to college; well four colleges in five years--it was the 60s after all. Meeting a young hirsute anti-war, soon-to-be-Peace Corps volunteer, I fell in love. After finishing up college coursework for my degree, but before I even walking a graduation stage, I grabbed the paper airline ticket my boyfriend had sent me, my brand-new passport, and was off to the airport and Lima, Peru.

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