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From Haïti to the USA to Venezuela: Balanced Melting Pot

01 August, 2011 10:28  Erin Erin

balanced melting pot portrait My name is Deborah and I was born in Haïti, moved to California when I was 3 years-old and now live in Caracas, Venezuela.

1. Why did you move abroad?
We moved abroad this time around for my husband’s job. He’s a diplomat with the Haitian government.

2. How do you make a living?
My experience has been in the nonprofit sector – I hold a Masters in Public Administration – but, since moving here my career is on a hiatus. My Spanish is coming along swimmingly, thoughSmile

3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
With my trusty MagicJack, I talk to friends and family just about every day. Aside from not being able to see them, our communication is pretty much the same as it was when I was living stateside.

4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in Venezuela?
The weather is fantastic! With that, getting out is very easy. I’ve compared the metro system to that of Boston – pretty easy to decipher and convenient. It’s also very cheap. I feel like even though we live in an urban area, we get out a lot more than we did living in the suburbs of South Florida.

5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Venezuela?

I wouldn’t say this is the worst, but definitely one of the hardest: integrating into the country. I think expats face this problem whatever the country while some are easier than others. Venezuelans’ friendliness can lead you to believe that making friends will be a cinch, but in reality it probably takes many years to build lasting relationships. That’s time that many expats do not have.

6. What do you miss most?
I miss certain cuisines. For instance, I have yet to find a really good Indian or Thai restaurant here. I also miss finding whatever I want, whenever I want in stores. It’s spoiled of me, I know, but sometimes convenience is all that I need.

7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
Meeting Venezuelans is quite easy and by virtue of my husband’s job, we are constantly meeting other foreigners. Like I said before, building true friendships with Venezuelans takes time and foreigners are transient. The best advice that I got was from another expat who said that your family becomes very important here. There are lots of activities, so take advantage of spending more time as a family and you won’t feel so isolated.

8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
I thought long and hard about this and I can’t think of anything that strikes me as strange. Caraqueños are like most people in the Caribbean with a laid back attitude, rarely on time and have a hard time keeping their word. None of this is new to me, so it was not at all shocking.

9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
That it’s a communist country. I think that Venezuelans are more capitalistic than Americans and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Yes, the government funds a lot more social programs than the in the US, but no one is standing in line for their rations of meat and cheese.

10. What advice would you give other expats?
Budget well. Inflation here is high and it’s hard to predict the cost of things from one day to another even though price increases are regulated by the government. With all the other adjustments that expats have to face, running out of money is one you should avoid. Foreigners don’t have easy access to credit, so if you’re out of money, you’re out of luck.

11. When and why did you start your blog?

I started my blog in 2008 while living in South Florida as a way to share my experiences raising bicultural children. It’s been an easy transition to continue it in Caracas – I just get include my experiences getting acclimated, too.balanced melting pot globe

12.  How has the blog been beneficial?
It’s helped me connect to other expats, as well as people planning to move to Venezuela. I didn’t realize how much I knew about life here until other people started asking. Plus, while talking about life here with future expats, I realized that even though sometimes life here can be difficult, there is a lot more good than bad.

Blog LinkDebora's blog, Balanced Melting Pot




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