Thursday, May 31, 2007

Ten things I love about living in Uruguay

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.

Uruguay Weather

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.

Uruguay Beaches

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.

Uruguay Culture

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.

Uruguay Food

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?...


Unknown said...


Anonymous said...

...No pude encontrar tu email asi q dejo este mensaje un poquito "spam" aqui...

Es para q vean el mapa q recien hice de Uruguay....

Anonymous said...

I'd really like you to make 'time is not money' a whole post one day. This idea has fascinated me for 20 years... It was only recently that I put it into words.. Now I'm going crazy trying to understand it enough to feel it myself. As hard as I try, I just cant put myself there.

Anonymous said...

I love all those thing that you were able to discover in my country. I miss Uruguay, but I'm afraid of going back there and get tired of the "10 things you hate about Uruguay". Anyways, I think I'm gonna take the risk.

Unknown said...

What I enjoyed about my time in Uruguay was that on the whole most people were well informed about the world and you could have interesting conversations with people. Even the ones who were not well educated always had something interesting to say.

Anonymous said...

I love this blog,in fact is the only blog I read.
But still I think you're to positive.
Uruguay is going thru very hard times,crime and corruption are very high also in areas that used to be safe.
You can't even park your fucking car without having to pay the stupid "cuida-coches" to protect your car (from themselves)
The city is full of beggars...
and what about the of herd of kids who roam the downton smoking crack , robbing ,vandalizing...

Man, just tell the whole story.

Anonymous said...

Time is not money can be translated into one word,Mananna-Tomorrow.A way of life that defined Spain before they joined the EU.A time when the Whole Country closed for siesta in the afternoon without thinking of lost business or money.A way of life that had Character and Culture.

Anonymous said...

We are happy to have moved back to Uruguay, after more than 40 years abroad. To add to your list of things we love about living in Uruguay:
the AIR is so PURE!! forget pollution.

Anonymous said...

You forgot dulce de leche!

gabouy said...

yeah, It´s true, dulce de leche should be on the list. I need my dulce de leche fix.

Unknown said...

gabo, you have a great blog going here. I couldnt agree with you more on some of the points you have mentioned here. You have amazing clean beaches. I cant wait till summer.

gabouy said...

neither can i :)

Graceingit said...

gabo with this entry you realy hit home. The 10 things you love about living in Uruguay, are the 10 things I miss the most. I have been reading your blog for some time now, but with this one... I finaly had to comment. Thank you gabo for being my conection to my beloved Uruguay!

gabouy said...

thanks grace! it's good to know someone is reading, and even enjoying :)

Arrancopelito said...

After living outside of Uruguay for about 20 years, I can say that my top, favorite thing about Uruguay is the air, especially in coastal areas of Maldonado where the smell of the pine trees and the gardens mixes with the ocean. Nothing beats it.

Anonymous said...

Your list is so true - even for those of us who have moved here from abroad and don't have family are really loving living in Uruguay. We'd like to add two more loves:
CULTURE: opera, theatre, concerts, etc. It's all here!!!
FOOD FERIAS: every day in or around our neighborhood of Pocitos you can buy FRESH, reasonably priced, seasonal fruits and veg...with earth still on it!!!!

Anonymous said...

This was so touching! Even though I've been in the US for almost 10 years I'll never forget the amazing lifestyle back home. Nothing can compare to our meat, our traditions, and our sincere lifestyle. Thanks for sharing something like this with all of us!

Nicole said...

I love your posts about your loves and hates of Uruguay. It is interesting to read from the perspective of someone living there:)

Sera N. said...

I sometimes come on your blog to hear you speak of the things I deeply miss. I am 20 years old and I live in Canada, I was born here but my father is Uruguayan. I just recently applied for my dual citizen ship and it utterly pains me to be far from a country I would love to call my home. I have been to Uruguay over 30 times for periods of no more than a month, but the feeling there is magical. I cannot express without shedding a tear the beauty of this country. I have been too many places all over the world including Italy, Spain, the UK, China, Africa, Australia, nothing, absolutely nothing compares. At the moment sadly I am debating the move from Toronto to Uruguay. I have heard many sad stories due to lack of jobs and I now have to weigh a life in Toronto with some money, snow, snooty people, a highly materialistic society vs. little money but a happy family driven beautiful life. I always have a skip in my heart as I get off the plane and smell the air of my beautiful home.

Anonymous said...

I was born in Uruguay , but have spent most of my life in rainy Britain listening to my parents stories of their homeland ( Uruguay) your blog has now convinced me to return to my birth place when I can afford it. Thank you


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