Tuesday, March 2, 2010

EFM: the Excellent, the Foul and the Monstrous

Instead of using bullet points again, I found another way to deal with lists, and everyone loves lists. It's a great way writers to keep the attention of the easily distracted American. So this is the EF'M take on the good, the bad and the ugly.

For the first time since we've been married, Natalie and I are debt free! There will be dancing in the streets of Crystal City! College loans were paid off last year, and our final car payment will be paid off as soon as it goes through.

Which brings up an another interesting tidbit gathered from Free Studies Inside (FSI) course from last week about moving. For those of you still paying off car loans and who will be leaving the country soon for post with your car, you ought to check with your bank to make sure you are allowed to take the car with you. Apparently, many banks have rules against this because it is expensive to send the repo man to another country.

(Mom, if you're reading, skip to the next topic.) There has been a lot of bad news about crime and drugs in the northern part of Mexico culminating in a State Department Travel Alert.

Here is one little pearl from that posting: "Large firefights have taken place in towns and cities across Mexico, but occur mostly in northern Mexico, including Ciudad Juarez [as I say, you can't pronounce Juarez without "War"], Tijuana, Chihuahua City, Nogales, Matamoros, Reynosa and Monterrey."

I should be troubled by the inclusion of Nogales, because that is where we are going to be crossing the border, but for whatever reason, I'm not terribly concerned by the travel alert. I suppose part of it might be the little bit of denial that lingers in the back of my mind that this is all actually going to happen soon. Still doesn't seem real.

I suppose I'm also not too worried because Hermosillo did not appear on the list. I know there will be some dangers living in Mexico, but then again, there are some dangers living in Washington, D.C., as well. Just have to be smart. (Safe to read again, Mom.)

The timing of this massive earthquake couldn't have been worse for the Chilean people.

I'm guessing many Americans don't have the budget to dip into their pockets a second time to help relieve another natural disaster abroad, but here is hoping they can. Not to take anything away from the work our diplomatic corps does, but I have to imagine we do our best diplomacy in the form of American charity to other countries following such disasters.

In terms of American contributions to the Chilean people, I'm going to predict that coupled with the fact that Americans already gave so much to Haiti, other factors including that fewer Americans appeared to have been harmed/killed (I don't have any stats on this) in the earthquake and that Chile was better prepared for such an event will result in less media coverage and less donations.

Still, if you can, please offer what you can to another suffering people. The State Department has been directing people to the Global Disaster Relief facebook site, but Doctors Without Borders also is always another good not-for-profit to send funds after these kinds of disasters.


  1. A thousand congratulations on now being debt-free!

    That's wonderful!

  2. Dave. Congrats on being debt free. I know you might get used to it, but the national police and border patrols carry big guns. I'm talking huge. It was very scary to me when I was there.

  3. Definite congrats on the non-indebtedness. As an aside, you can have a loan with SDFCU and they have no problem with you going overseas with it not fully paid. Good tip to check ahead of time, as I am sure some have found out the hard way that their bank didn't allow it...

  4. We are currently in Monterrey so I understand your fears and yet being okay with everything. Before you leave for Mexico, get in touch with your post about tips for crossing the border. It's not as bad as it seems!! It took us a total of 15 minutes to register and cross into Mexico from TX.

    Congrats on being debt free!!