Category: Rat in The Toilet

The Rat in the Toilet

Living abroad I learned I had a choice. I could bemoan what I did not have from my life back home, or I could go with the flow with what I did have. Newly arrived to Guayaquil, Ecuador in 1986, when I heard about Lydia, who made housecalls to give manicure/pedicure for the ridiculously price... Read more »

Immaculate Infection

Living in Guayaquil, Ecuador in the mid-1980s, I viewed my main job as keeping all four of us healthy. It wasn’t easy. Though I knew my way around a mercury thermometer, without today’s access to the internet or a first world healthcare system, we were on our own. I started with ensuring our water was... Read more »

Why Amazon?

All I needed was saddle soap. Just one small, hockey-puck sized tin of KIWI brand saddle soap. I knew what it looked like. After all, hadn’t we schlepped from North America to South America one of those flat, round tins? We’d carried it from the years when a good waitress job helped me put the... Read more »
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Like Chocolate is Water in Mexico City

In the late 1990s the water stopped flowing from the kitchen faucet in Mexico City. Totally and completely stopped. Whoops. What now? Working methodically from the problem, I unscrewed the filter on the faucet. It wasn’t uncommon for odd bits of gunk or leaves to block the flow. But not this time. Under the sink... Read more »

The Rule of Law; Protect Mueller to Protect Democracy

The Rule of Law is the belief that we all are equal under the law, no matter who you are or who you know. Without the Rule of Law, you might end up like Victor. Victor was an honest, gentlemanly Mexican who worked as our chauffeur in the challenging traffic of Mexico City. At least... Read more »

Pedro the Parabolic Pirate and DIRECTV

Moving to Mexico City in the mid 1990s, was no big deal to a lifelong expatriate like Annie. But she did have to admit that there was one thing she’d miss terribly, her beloved PBS. US-based friends said, what about DIRECTV? DIRECTV? In Mexico City, Mexico? She’d already learned of those who’d say, “Oh you’re... Read more »
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Under the Ceiling Fans; Friendships Evolve

  Moving 18 times throughout 7 countries in 45 years, taught me one fact of life. You cannot pack up friendships in a box to take with you when you move. You will have to start from scratch to remake these very important relationships, spending time and energy to rebuild new ones. But somethings can... Read more »

Adventures in Rabies and Tetanus in the 3rd World

The Dog Bite In the spring of 1962, 11-year-old Gary was settled in with his family to their new home in Lima, Peru. As the boy made his way to the American Society’s library to pick up a book, he encountered a few dogs congregated at the doorway. Having never met a dog he didn’t love,... Read more »

Miguel's Tasks; or fluency doesn't equate understanding

Linguistic fluency doesn’t mean you will communicate clearly, it only means that you ought to. For although my husband and I are both native English speakers, from time to time even we miscommunicate with a remarkable ease. So in Ecuador in 1986 it wasn’t uncommon for fluent Spanish speakers to hit vocabulary speed bumps. Take... Read more »
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The Mutiny on the 7-2-7

In the mid-1970s, Gary and I decided to go back to Lima, Peru to visit his parents before they moved back to America after over a dozen years abroad. Peru was pretty much the same. If anything, it seemed to be economically worse off. As I sat alone in a car, young women would approach... 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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