I told you already the ugly part, the ten things I hate about living in Uruguay, which sparked a couple of mails with a worried tone.
Now it's time to talk about the other part. Why despite all the bad things I told you about, I still choose Uruguay for a living.
So here I go, this is my top ten list of things I like about Uruguay.
First things first
My family, and dear ones. I was born and raised here. This may be of no value for someone coming from abroad, it may not be part of the "official" list, but I would be hipocritical not to acknowledge this is the greatest asset Uruguay has for me. I get to see my family whenever I want, I can watch my four months niece grow. I keep in touch with people I met when I was four and five years old. It's difficult to put it into words but here I feel at home.
Uruguay Family values
In Uruguay family comes first. Weekly family gatherings to have pasta or asado, sometimes including friends are something to enjoy, and miss when not around.
In Uruguay the sun shines generously and regularly all year long, what's that worth to you? Lots of "great" places with huge average income rates, and great life expectancy just don't. Here summer is hot, and you go to the beach, while winter is cold and you cuddle by the fireplace. You get both, and in spring you see stuff blossom. Every season is different, and lasts more or less the same.
400+ km of beach coast, with white sand. You've got calm river like beaches, you've got as well surfing oceanic beaches. I personally like to have the sea at hand, otherwise I miss watching a water horizon from time to time.
Forget traffic jams in Uruguay
We are very few. This may be a drag for the economy, but it sure helps life quality. There are almost no traffic jams in Uruguay. You almost never have to wait for a table in a restaurant. It's not the sahara desert either, but it's just not crowded. I like it.
Uruguay life costs
Life cost is comparatively cheap. In a globalized economy, you could work remotely, earn an average income, and live very well with it in Uruguay.
It's not an image worshiping culture. The whole world is everyday more image aware, but in this as in other lots of things we are a few steps behind. So if you have a few extra pounds, is not the end of the world.
It's not a money worshiping culture. For the most part people don't measure others by their income, or if they have the right brand of sport shoes or whatever.
Time is not money in Uruguay. There's a bad side to this but there's also a good side. People take due time for zero revenue activities like spending time with their families, or just walk and have mate with bizcochos in la rambla.
It's a relatively secure place. It used to be even more, but that is true for the whole world. In Uruguay people don't get kidnapped. High schools don't have metal detectors, and car glasses are not bullet proof. In the scalation of violence, we are a few steps behind.
Some countries have a tendency to include a lot of fried stuff in their diet, or frozen precooked, microwave oven targeted food. I'm under the impression that cooking here is still more of a home made thing, thus more natural, and healthy. Obesity is not a problem in Uruguay as it is in other countries.
Have a bigger relative impact, make a difference
The effort required to change Uruguay in some way is say, less than changing that same aspect in Brazil. We are small, so (and this is a feeling) actions have a bigger relative impact. If you choose to teach in the university, you'll be one among tens, and not one among thousands as it happens in other countries. Bottom line, it's easier to make a difference, it's a smaller system, and this pays off not in cash.
I'd say Uruguay has a good balance between life costs, and life quality. Sure there's struggle, and you may have to effort more than usual to buy/have/own things. But it's a place in the world were you can enjoy life in relative safety, make friends without much problem, raise a family, make a difference, be recognized and loved. Well, isn't that pretty much what life is about?...