Friday, September 19, 2014

Fiestas Patrias

Feliz 18th de Septiembre! or just Feliz Dieciocho! This is the day Chileans celebrate their independence. Back in the day, Chileans fought for emancipation from Spanish colonial rule. The year 1810 was when the war started. A Declaration of Independence was issued in 1818.

I have found Chileans to be proud of their flag, which flies from every house this week, and their country and culture. Chileans celebrate first by taking the whole week off, if they can! There is a lot of eating and partying. Giant tents called fondas are set up in the cities. The fondas are brightly decorated with blue, white, and red. There is traditional foods like empanadas and chicha (a hard cider)and traditional dancing like Cueca ( see our post from last month on this).

At home, the parilla(grill) is fired up for all kinds of meat delicacies like anticucho (shish kebabs), ribs and longaniza which is a sausage.
No fireworks here! That's an American tradition. Though there is a lot of kite flying here in the traditional flag colors ,of course!
And many towns have a rodeo which is the national sport.

The day after Dieciocho is El Día de las Glorias del Ejército or the day of the glories of the military.
The main parade is in Santiago overseen by el presidente, Michelle Bachelet, and other dignitaries.
This picture is of the military parade in the nearby town of Frutillar.

Here is a link to an interesting sight on Dieciocho

And here is another link to some more info on the military

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Welcome WORD listeners in South Carolina!

This is the view we see every morning
Today I called into the Russ Castle radio talk show in Greenville SC. I called in because I am upset about the principal at Woodruff High School not allowing students to bring or have the U.S. Flag in school.
I apologize for talking so fast but I am always nervous on the radio, and also there is a delay over the phone which adds a little confusion and overlap when talking, so it is a little difficult sometimes to get my thought across cleanly.

For those of you who are coming here for information on Chile and Expatriation or having a vacation home here in Chile, I wanted to give you my full contact information:

Our YouTube Channel if you like video: ChileExpatFamily

I ask that you Comment, Rate and Subscribe as this really helps my family offset our channel costs.

I am: Jim Dorchak and I live here with my wife Lori (my queen) and 3 of our 6 children.

My Email: Jim.Dorchak@gmail,com

My USA Phone Number (a local call for you all in the U.S.): 864-921-0009

Feel free to call me if you have specific questions about Chile or about our move or about most anything, and I will be happy to lend my opinion and advice.

Thank you for stopping by our blog and please come back often,

Friday, September 12, 2014

Cost of Dental in Chile

Here is Thomas who had to have his lower teeth pulled at the local hospital in Puerto Octay.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Google+ Post Problems

Apparently we are having google+/- problems again!!! Arrrragh!!!!
We totally disconnected the blog from all google+/- so that people could make comments and that seemed alright and now my good buddy Jim Curly sent me this message:


I tried to leave a long comment at your place on the renouncing citizenship tax, but it erased my comments when I chose to comment as a google account. When I have time I may try again....

We haven't tried Aquaponics although I have read a bunch about it.

So we are going to try to re activate the google+/- in hopes that it will correct this problem.

Is anyone else having problems commenting? Have you had problems in the recent past commenting here on our blog? We really love comments. It makes us think that all you out there that visit our blog are actually interested in what we are saying and investigating, so any help here would be appreciated.

If you can not make a comment please email me and let me know, give me the comment and I will push it through as well.

Thanks in advance:)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I am thinking about leaving the USA. Can you give me some advice?

One Mil and Ten Mil notes
Here is a question that I recieved on our YouTube Channel that was very good. I realized that we had not specifically done a post on money and getting it here to Chile.

Hi, I'm considering doing something similar. I have no friends or relatives down there, and I'd like to know how you deal with transferring hundreds of thou, especially after that banking act. Can you open account in Chile, or do you still keep your money in the US until you purchase something, then have one of your family from US wire money to the buyer? What about spreading risk over many accounts, currencies, etc? Thank you.

These are good questions that you need to ask and maybe I can help your with my answer. Also I should point out that some of these questions may be answered on our blog:

FIRST: you have a friend here now in Chile, Me! If you are interested in Panama, Uruguay, Ecuador, or Argentina, then I may be able to help you there as well (a little). Please feel free to ask as my family and I have been to Uruguay and have friends in the other places. Also for Chile please ask away as this is why our YouTube Channel is here.  If you go to the "about" above you will see more of my contact data. My U.S.A. phone 864-921-0009. for you it is not an international call and if I am here I will answer.

SECOND: The money thing is a real, REAL pain in the neck! Yes you CAN open an account here in Chile ONCE YOU HAVE TEMPORARY RESIDENCY. It gets even easier once you are a permanent resident. 

This bank thing really tees me off about the former USA, not Chile as the current guy in the white house made this problem.
All foreign banks are required by the U.S. government (did you get that?) to report account holder data for those expat U.S. Citizens who have accounts at their bank that are in excess of $50,000. If you try to bring more than $10K with you on a flight the TSA will steal it from you. If you come with kids they can each bring $10K too as you can split it up over the family. For large deposits here in Chile, it will be easier, and you are more likely to get a bank account as you have more money for them to play with. I have been advised to use: 

For day to day transactions, my visa debit card works just fine. You have to tell your bank prior to leaving, that you are in a foreign country or they will turn off your card. You can go to most ATMs and do cash withdraws but they are going to charge you (both the U.S. and Chilean banks) for an international transaction fee as much in total of $8.00/transaction. So when you go to the ATM get as much as you can out at one time which typically $400.00 U.S. (+/-$200,000 CLP). What I do is put my money in two different accounts and there fore I can get $800.00 per a day. 

I do still keep my money in the USA because the way my finances are set up I have no other choice. BTW if you have a retirement fund they will NOT deposit it in a foreign account. After all how are you going to pay taxes to the communists in the USA if they can not get their hand on your money from the get go? 

On the risk front: You money is risky everywhere now in the USA and elsewhere. Cash is no longer king! For me the answer is to put as much money as I can in secure assets like land, gold, etc. 

Now if you are still living in the USA then you are paying all sorts of taxes into the system, a broken and malicious system. For me I pay into the system here now which is no where near as corrupt or immoral. So for me it is just a simple conscientious choice to do the right thing for my family. 

Also you should look at other countries as well as Chile. Each person has different needs and desires. Chile is my perfect fit. 

Finally: For me I am not wealthy. I lost everything in 2007/2008. So I am really pushing for the purchase of land so that I can support my family and feed them with my little farm. I am not being alarmist, I just want to plan to be self sufficient. Also it is important for me to say that I grew up on a farm and I really enjoy farm life and I want this life for my kids as well. 

Listen to me now! There are so many things that are just evil going on in the former USA, and for those who are living abroad it is becoming more and more difficult, but not because of the new country you choose but because of the hold the former USA and IRS have on you.

I predict that you will see it become more and more difficult to leave the former USA over the next few years. To a large degree this is already the case. 

I hope this helps. 


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Set Your Clocks Ahead 1 Hour Tonight! in Chile

This whole time thing is quite confusing some times. Here in Chile it is spring so we spring ahead tonight at midnight and lose an hour of sleep. This puts us ahead of the former USA one hour as we are currently on the same time as the east coast of the former USA. 
Now the former USA will set their clocks back an hour (Fall back) on November 2. At which point we will be 2 hours apart. Oh well.

Daylight Savings Time

Chile is in the same time zone as the eastern US but our time can differ by as much as 2 hours depending on who's on DST and who's not! Today, September 7 the time is the same but tonight Chile goes onto DST and since it is spring here, we are going forward one hour. In October some time, the US will be going off  DST and will go back an hour so we will be 2 hours apart.

Fond memories of our warm summer days on the lake!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Sopaipillas- Savory or Sweet?

Which do you prefer? I made these delicious little treats today to go with our vegetable soup dinner. They are fried pieces of dough  made with zapallo or chilean pumpkin. You can serve them with pebre sauce which is like a tomato salsa or with a chancaca syrup. Chancaca is a chilean molasses.
A nice golden brown fresh out of the deep fat frying cast iron kettle Jim set up outside
He loves outdoor cooking and so do I (him cooking, I mean!)

Here is the link to this great website I found on traditional chilean cooking
The recipes are in english and spanish and many if not most can be made in a North American kitchen!

Here they are the next morning with a light syrup recommended by Gloria on the website linked above. It has cinnamon and orange peel in a honey/sugar syrup thickened with corn starch. I must admit they are good both ways but much better sweet!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Vegetable gardening in Southern Chile

One of my favorite flowers and they are edible! tasty in salads and perfect sugared up for a cake decoration!

My first row of peas sprouted inside and planted out on Sept. 4

Spring has sprung and we are making our first major attempt to do some vegetable gardening. Last summer, Jim built a raised garden bed for me about 10 x 3. This was great for some herbs and stuff , most of which the slugs ate, but this year we wanted to go for something bigger that would help make a dent in our food budget. We started in mid-August (like February for those in the northern hemisphere) turning over a 20 x 20 square of pasture with short grass that had been nibbled on by the sheep. The grass here does not seem to be as invasive  as the crabgrass we had back in South Carolina. And the soil was deep, dark, and beautiful unlike the red hard clay soils of SC. The soil here is called andisol which is formed from volcanic ash and is very fertile. This is the reason Chile produces so much fruit & vegetables (on the shelves of your local grocery store in the US).
So we turned over the square and then borrowed a tiller to chop up the clods of dirt. Then raked it nice and smooth and divided into 4  rows of 4' wide with a narrow 1' path between each. I bought some lime to dig into each bed before I plant. I should use some composted manure but don't have any. This is a one year garden as next year we plan to be on our own farm and I can then start a good compost pile.
I bought some seeds at the local farm supply store. The selection isn't as vast as that of the US. You have one variety of carrots, one swiss chard, maybe several lettuce, one spinach, and one pea. The peas are called perfected freezer peas and I'm not sure what to expect (bush or climber) but I did start them sprouting in my kitchen and as it is now the first week of September I will plant them out when ready (when the root is no longer than the seed). I am not sure what the last frost date is here as I don't know of anything similar to the USDA in Chile.
The frosts here are never really hard but a light cover over the seedlings should suffice through September. Though the weather this August has been unusually mild, that doesn't exempt us from a late frost.

My peas are on the left and I am covering the rest to keep the weeds down until I plant some more.
The raised bed to the far right has some herbs- sage, parsley, chives - and some lettuce that I planted last week just came up and today I planted some swiss chard seeds. Next up will be some spinach, carrots, and cilantro. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Morning Surprise! A New Baby Lamb

Thomas is so proud of our new little lamb!

This morning when I got out of bed to look out the window to see what type of view I am to have today (with or with out rain), I saw to my surprise a baby lamb in our yard. We have 3 adult sheep that we were hoping were bred by the Ram that we borrowed some months ago. I can not remember the exact day that we put them with the first Ram (we borrowed 2 in succession) but obviously one took to the breeding. So we may see one or two more births over the next few days or weeks.
Here is our video of the baby lamb with its mother.
Little lambs are just beautiful and are just so full of joy for life. It is important that the little lamb nurse well with in the first 24 hours and get lots of colostrum or typically it will die. It really is wonderful how God knows best. We will keep an eye on the little lamb until we are sure it is doing well.
We penned up the sheep today so we could nab the little lamb to look her over and give her a treat.
Turns out she's a girl! So she's a keeper for breeding. Thomas named her Dandelion. Her dad was all white and her mom white with a black face. Dandelion has some nice mottled brown coloring.
Mom & baby

First sip of milk replacement
We hope to make her into a pet so she will come to us easily

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Fundo Tronador

Today we went out to a farm nearby looking for a horse show. We didn't find the horseshow (we were a bit late) but we did explore this beautiful farm. Fundo Tronador - Farm Thundermountain  named after the nearby volcano- is a dairy farm and a Lipizzaner horse farm.
Here is the main entrance
My little buddy posing at the entrance

An interesting water fountain that spills into a little pond at the entrance
This is the carriage house 
And these are all the fabulous carriages
All fairly new and built in Poland

Wouldn't you love a ride in this?

We did see a few horses
They just weren't showing

This is the large covered arena with stables

This is inside the arena - notice the chandeliers
Someone's got a lot of pesos
Didn't know dairy farming was that profitable!

Inside the large adjoining stables

I am a SLAVE are you?

Here is an interesting article about citizenship and the USA. LET ME BE CLEAR HERE THAT I AM NOT INTERESTED IN RENOUNCING MY CITIZENSHIP OF THE USA. I love the former USA, it just does not like me so much. I thought that in the Declaration of Independence we were no longer subjects of a government / king/ dictator. That we had God given inalienable rights? You know rights from our creator, and I do not think that the US government is my creator/

The gist of the article is that you now must pay $2,350.00 to the U.S. government to renounce your citizenship.

Ok I get it that you should have to pay to join the USA (become a citizen) but since when do you have to pay to leave an organization, club or association? Typically you just tell them and leave right?

If you wanted to quit your job would you have to pay? No.
If you were a member of a social or dinner club would you have to pay to quit your membership? No.
If you were a member of a church would you pay to leave that church? No, but you must pay to leave the USA and renounce your membership. I could understand a small processing fee but really $2,350.00?

This begs the question: How much are the illegal aliens having to pay to come into the former USA, and get free health care, housing, education and food? It is all now backwards when we have to pay to not be a citizen and get paid to be a citizen.

Maybe this is telling us that it is not so good to be a citizen anymore. Will there come a day when you will not be permitted to renounce your citizenship? Will there come a day when you will not be able to leave the former USA with out permission? (On a side note: this day has come and past. You now can not leave the former USA if you owe taxes.)

Ask yourself if you are ready for the next loss of freedom? Comments are more than welcome.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The traditional Chilean dance - Cueca

What a doll! I was ready to take this little man home, he is so cute!
Thomas was eyeing his cool costume complete with spurs!

 I have always enjoyed traditional dances from square dancing to English country dancing and this style was very interesting to me. It was a lot like square dancing but with a spanish flair.
The Cueca is The traditional chilean dance and all students are taught it in school at an early age. It's roots are in Spain. The man wears the chilean cowboy (huaso) costume with the typical Chilean cowboy hat (chupalla)  with a flat wide brim, leather boots with  spurs, and the manta (poncho).

 The ladies wear the colorful dresses with a wide ruffled skirt. They also have white handkerchiefs which they wave around during the dance. The dance is supposed to be an imitation of the rooster courting the hen.

Sunday, Sept. 14, after Mass, in La Picada, they had a Fiesta Patria for the upcoming Chilean Independence day.

Beautiful constumes! The ladies on the right and left in pink and blue are wearing the country girl dresses.
The elegant ladies in the middle in the tan outfits are wearing the more traditional formal attire with heavy spanish influence. I love the hats and the ruffles!
Here is a great link to a sight that talks about huasos(chilean cowboys).

And here is our video from La Picada

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Hot Dog Completo

What is a hot dog in Chile? That all american food made the chilean way.
 Is it perrito caliente? Don't ask for this or you may get Fido
or salchicha? or just hot dog with a spanish twist to it? Jim says hot dogo
cause if you just add an 'o' to the end of a word it may actually be spanish for something!
My favorite brand is Receta del Abuelo. It has the most meat minus the food coloring.
Completo style has chopped tomatoes, mashed avocado, cilantro, catsup, and lots of mayo.
It may also have chucrut in the southern german parts which is sauerkraut.
Italiano has just tomato, avocado, and mayo which are the colors of the italian flag.
A lo pobre is the poor man's hot dog with fried onion, french fries, and a fried egg on top.

And to wash it all down a Coke Life made with stevia which, by the way, is not available in the good ol' US.

And these are calzones rotos or the torn underwear cookies. Quite tasty! They are just bits of fried dough with powdered sugar. I buy them at the feria but one of these days I'm going to try making my own.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Erupting Volcano!

In 2011 the Volcan Puyehue/ Cordon Caulle erupted and this was the view from 50 km south on Lago Llanquihue. These pictures were shared with me by a friend. This volcano is on Lago Puyhue which is where the property is that we looked at last week in Entre Lagos. I don't know how I would feel living across the lake from this volcano! And they did have to evacuate Entre Lagos!
To find out more about this fascinating eruption click on this link

What is interesting to note is that there were warning signs months before this eruption occurred and authorities were watching closely and took all precautionary measures and no lives were lost.
and now go to this link to see some amazing photos of the region during the eruption

Inline image 1

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Costs of moving to and living in Chile

Who wouldn't want to live here?

Many people want to know the expenses involved with such a big move to see if it may be feasible for their family. This can vary quite a bit but here are our expenses from 2013 when we moved to Chile
Passports - about $100 each
Documents for residency- varies by state and how many documents but we probably paid around $100 total
Airplane tickets - $900 roundtrip from Miami to Santiago
extra bags - varies by airline - $80 per bag
Entrance fee - $160 per person but since has been waived
seaworthy shipping container - $4300 in 2012
shipping expenses for container - $1,000 to truck to the Port of Charleston (4 hr trip)
                      $3700 from Charleston to the port in Concepcion
                      Agent & Port fees- around $1,000
                      Trucking from port to our home $2,000 - ( 8 hr trip)
Now for the cost of living in Chile. We live in the south in the country which is cheaper than the city. esp. Santiago but we have asked some friends what their costs of living are in some different cities so you can compare. We came from the southeastern US which has some of the lowest costs of living in the US so sometimes the prices here seem kind of high to us.

My friend who lives in Santiago contributed the remarks in bold letters.
The first thing I'd mention is that "ofertas" (sales) are not sales as we know them!  We are accustomed to discounts of 10%-75% off depending on the item and whether it's a closeout.  In Chile, a "sale" could be as generous as a few pesos--which is less than $.01! Even if it's damaged or has a part missing, and you have to buy the missing part yourself or do without, the store will not discount the item just to get it out of their inventory.  It's futile to ask. I have seen some markdowns in items for clothing that made them reasonable but this seems to be the exception.

Eating out is costly.  NO buffets, and so you pay for pre prescribed meals of whatever they put on the menu, usually a lot of starch/carbs. Even just a sandwich and drink in a sidewalk cafe can be around $10. When we go to our favorite cafe in Frutillar, Cafe Cappucini, we pay $25 for 3 coffees and 2 ice creams.

Gasoline is about $8 a gallon, isn't it? Yes, gas prices have gone up since we got here one year ago. They were about 850 pesos per liter and now they are 950 pesos per liter that is the equivalent of $6.24 per gallon. Actually I think the US is quickly catching up!

We're in a 1000 sq ft apt and the rent is $700 a month; the gastos comuna fees (assn fees) are anywhere from $50-$300 a month, so watch out! This apartment is in Santiago. Another friend in Puerto Montt, a small southern city, pays around $350 for a small house.

Your supposed to "tip" and pay for things we aren't accustomed to paying for, i.e. boys who bag your groceries, when you park where there is free parking, there are men hanging around expecting to be tipped for watching your car and keeping it from vandals.  Saying "thank you" isn't enough.  You're expected to tip them.  If you're pulling out of a parking spot with a lot of traffic around, there'll be a man waving you out while he stops traffic, you have to tip him.

Cell phone billing is interesting, as are other utilities.  The companies don't have a "grace" period for you to pay.  You have to pay immediately, or your utility gets shut off.  Make a note of the due dates of each of your bills, and pay them the day they come, OR better yet, go to the utility with an old bill containing the account number and have them look it up and you pay it right then and there. We're spoiled in the states because we have unlimited calling and text plans.  That doesn't seem to exist in Chile.  The plans are limited and if you go over your minutes, the charges add up fast.

We have a pay as you go plan with Entel which is great as long as you don't accidentally run out of minutes during an important business call!  No idea how much I pay per minute. Probably too much!
We also have internet service fees. I think the average is around $80 per month. In the towns, there is  unlimited high speed internet but in the country it is a little harder to get. We use Teledata which is beamed off the Volcan Osorno. If you can see the volcano, you can get their service. We have unlimited usage but it can be slow when you have 4 people using it at the same time!

As far as the power bill goes, you can see my discussion of this subject in the post titled "Electricity and Power Bills" dated July 7.

Buying a used car is expensive as they don't seem to go by the mileage.  Not quite sure how they determine the value of used cars, but it doesn't make sense to me.  A 4 year old car with high mileage can cost slightly less than a brand new car with a warranty. Cars do seem to retain their value which is great if you have a car to sell! We paid around $16,000. for a 2007 Toyota Prada with around 80,000 miles on it.
I think we could have got it in the US for under $10k.  The taxes were high- around $435 annually. Inspection fees of $23 annually. Owning a car here is expensive which is why so few do and take the bus instead.Less than 20% of Chileans own a car.

Tools and other manufactured items seem to be 1.5 - 3 times more costly than we find in the states.

Health care, is fairly affordable.  if you don't have health insurance, a doctor's visit cost about $70 for that consultation.  A colonoscopy in the states costs about $3k-$5k.  In Chile, the procedure costs $350.
See my post on healthcare in Chile titled "Our first experience with Chilean healthcare" from June 4.

Here is a link to a website that has some great info on the cost of living in Chile compared to costs in NYC.

And here is a link to rentals and sales of homes and apartments in Santiago.

Did I miss anything? Anything in particular you might want to know the cost of?

Jobs are not easy to come by here and the pay is sadly low. Minimum wage is the equivalent of $2.37 USD so I would not move here unless you have an outside income like social security or a pension or have saved a year's worth of income to live off of while developing your own business or looking for a job.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Entre Lagos Chile: Land for Sale

Here is some more land that we looked at near Entre Lagos. The videos are a little raw because we were going it 4x4 the whole time. It is a total of 4 videos with one of them showing a little of the entry to the town Entre Lagos and the lake. Please comment, rate and subscribe!

to the northeast of the 180 degree view

The entrance to this nice little tourist town
It is the first stop on the road over the mountains from Argentina

a church

The town square

a view over the pasture towards the barn and the the river at the treeline behind it
notice the short shrubby bamboo and the humps are the roots

This river flows out of Lago Puyehue towards the ocean

Driving into the land

Walking the Land

More Walking the land and River views
Leaving the land and going into Entre Lagos at the Lake

Down Side first: 
1. The entry will cost some money to upgrade with grading and gravel. This will not be cheap in the $1K to $3K range.
2. The Barn has been vandalized has started to rot and needs a lot of work.
3. The property does not have water or power and power would cost around $2K
4. About 1/2 the land is unusable in its current state because it has become over grown with this short bamboo and will need to be tilled under and plowed several times (read more money here $$$).
5. The access to the river where the slope is most gentle was purchased by someone else (around 2 acres) and they will have permanent access across the land to get to theirs. Which divides the property. We did not expect to have neighbors so close.
6. The seller thought that the adjoining owner would sell some more property, but  the farmer did not think he could for at least 5 years.
7. We are still waiting to see if our provider can get us internet at the land. THIS IS A BIG DEAL and a Deal Breaker if we can not get good internet to the land.

Lets leave on the positive side eh?

What was nice:
1. There were excellent views that could be had with some tree trimming which is normal.
2. The Land has around 600 feet on a very nice river which we could bulldoze a path down to eventually and put a small hydro plant on with out the need for permits etc.
3. There were two nice spots for a house and possibly two more with lesser views.
4. The access was one mile which meant that it was a good security measure. Any thief would have to drive a mile across the farmers property, and go through two gates, to get to this land.

Based on all these factors and comparing to other property we have seen the price is on the high side, with the access and the work needed on the land as big problems! As we were driving down to the land we were in 4x4 for about 1/2 the way. I was picturing trying to get our container down there with the side load truck. So before we can even try to set up shop and home we will need to spend thousands of dollars on the access which is actually on someone else's land. All these things are being considered.