I first did some research into Panama and Belize but I'm not too crazy about them. I’m more enthusiastic about Cuenca, Ecuador. Panama and Belize seem really, really hot, and also more crime-ridden and anti-gringo. (Yes, I’ve learned that I better get used to being lumped together with gringos.) I have the impression that foreigners in those countries need to be quite rich to insulate themselves from the resentment they've generated. Could be wrong. I'll be researching quite a lot more before really deciding about all this.
I do realize there’s a lot working against making such huge move. I’ll somehow have to save a ton of money to pay for relocation fees and expenses, and probably some legal guidance as well. Last but not least I’ll need to learn Spanish semi-fluently. Oh yes, and I’ll have to cure cancer. Just kidding! Actually one of the incentives for me to leave the country is that I could get alternative treatment for cancer legally if I needed to, in certain countries south of the border. I seem to be over the nightmarish infection I’d been fighting all year, but at this writing, I still have no idea whether I’m still cancer free. I feel OK overall but it’s always a concern. I expect it always will be, once you've had cancer.
I intended to learn how to speak Spanish ever since I moved to Albuquerque. But since it’s optional here, it’s easy to put off. Moving to a country where most people do not speak English is a very different situation. My relocation fantasy finally galvanized me into buying a set of (used) Basic Spanish CDs by Pimsler. It’s 32 lessons, 30 minutes each, recommended once a day only. I had my first lesson today. “Perdon, señora. Soy norteamericano. No hablo Español. Habla Engles?” My lesson didn’t say to use the word “Soy.” I’ve just heard it before. At the moment, I’m confused about the meaning and proper usage of “ustedes” versus “es usted.”
I am not attracted to living near the beach. It's not just because it's serious earthquake country. Gringo enclaves everywhere seem to be most expensive near the coast, and in the first place I dread unrelenting hot and humid weather. When I learned that there was a large “expat” community in Cuenca, and that it was located high up in the cool mountains, I began trying to learn much more about living there (and Ecuador generally). Cuenca is said to be Ecuador’s cultural capital, which is also appealing.
Then I found the youtube world of “Frank and Angie,” that presents a non-commercial and less romanticized insight into what retirement is like for ordinary Americans in Cuenca.
They also try to teach their fellow expatriates how to avoid behaving like Ugly Americans: to respect Ecuadorians and their culture, learn the language, stop flaunting your wealth or trying to lord it over the locals, etc. I appreciate their no-nonsense advice and observations, both positive and negative. I love the non-slick, non-glamorizing “slice-of-life” format of their videos.
I’m pretty excited about Cuenca right now, but I’ve still got a lot of researching to do about Ecuador and other countries that might be good places to retire outside of the US. And I’ve got a lot to consider regarding how to live fairly safe and secure, despite being an old lady alone in a foreign country.
On the other hand, if Bernie wins, I’m sticking it out in the USA as I want to support his efforts. I just hope that he doesn’t turn out to be another huge disappointment like Obama.