I have been in Valencia for a little while now. It is a mixed bag for me. Most of the time I love it, but there is definitely the good, the bad, and the ugly in a place like this.
I have a really cute apartment. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and it even has AC. My apartment is about a block from a convenience store, a bakery, a gym, and a small shopping plaza. It is about a twenty-minute walk to my work.
The city is warm year round, situated in a gorgeous valley, and is only a short drive to some amazing Caribbean beaches.
My school is amazing with a wonderful supportive staff, has great resources, and small classes.
Everything like food, day to day expenses, GASOLINE, utilities, an average taxi ride, household help, etc. is still cheap if you have access to dollars.
I can have internet access on my phone for about $5 a month so when I’m having trouble at home I can still get online. Also I can use it to get around town on my own. Apps like Foursquare plus my data plan on my phone have helped me find some great places around town.
My apartment has yet to be equipped with working internet or a landline (good in case of emergencies or when cell phones are down). These are both important for security and communication with the outside world. Thankfully my MacBook can connect with neighbors’ internet if I sit in the right location. Update: the internet was installed after one week, but it is not reliable (service out for two or three days at a time), so it is recommended that I get a second service provider.
You cannot buy flights out of the country in the local currency and if you want to pay in dollars the flights are extremely limited. Because I bought my flight about 5 months in advance, I was able to buy tickets out of the country for December using dollars.
So far, I have only had working water three hours a day starting at 5:30AM, 12:30PM, and 7:30PM. That means I have to shower, wash my dishes, wash my clothes, brush my teeth, and flush the toilet at specified times (unless I use the bottled water and buckets of tap water I’ve saved). If I want to go out for dinner, unless I plan very carefully, I can count on having greasy hair the next day because I will probably miss the nighttime hour and I wont have enough time to shower before I leave for school. I hate this aspect of my life! Hopefully the water rationing system gets better or I can get a water tank installed in my apartment.
Is it worth it?
For me it is!
I would still say that the benefits outweigh the costs. While I’ve lived in Venezuela for the past two years, I realize that I was really lucky to have zero problems with my water. They say that the water company is working on the water problems. They say they have notified the internet company to fix the phone/internet. The travel agency said they would notify me if the situation changes. If these things do get fixed, I don’t think I will ever want to leave this place!
What about the security and safety issue? Thought that would be a ugly point part.
Loving your post
Yes, I am working on a post all about security and safety. I just think of it as a given. I knew Venezuela was unsafe before I got here, I didn’t know that I would only have three hours of water a day. haha. Thanks for reading!
The water thing sounds like a bit of a nightmare! Hope you get it sorted!
I agree Linda! I hope Valencia can regulate the water so that we have less water rationing. I just never know when to expect the water, because since I’ve written this post there are occasional days when it does work all day! Some teachers were able to talk the school into installing water tanks in their apartments. If I could do the same, I wouldn’t need to move apartments at the end of the year. haha.
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That sounds like a good plan! Just in case! Whenever I rent an apartment here, I make sure it has a boiler, because you can be left with no hot water for days on end otherwise!
Well, I already have a hot water heater…the problem is that most of the time I don’t have water for the boiler to heat! My friends just down the street have an extra tank full of water next to their boiler that is about 7 feet tall. The difficult part is that the school doesn’t own the apartments so even if they say we can get a water tank, the apartment owner has to approve the addition. Sigh.
So much hassle! These school-rented apartments can sometimes be more problematic than if you just rented yourself!
The trials and tribulations of working/living in another country! It’s what blogs are made of! Thanks for sharing and I look forward to more!
Thanks for visiting! Yes, I love comparing working/living situations around the world.
You know… It didn’t use to be like that only a few years ago, seriously, believe me. You can thank the you know who for those minor inconveniences and many other much more serious problems that I am sure you will soon begin to notice.
Hi Ricardo! Thanks for reading! I’ve been living in Venezuela for the past two years so I am aware that I am quite insulated and protected from many of the problems that face the locals here, but I just try to write from my perspective…even if it would seem very trivial compared to stuff that some of my local friends have to deal with. I got an email from the US Embassy today saying that there are 50% less flights than there were in January. That worries me too. I do love this country, so I wish all the best so that the powers that be will fix this place!
The caribbean beaches sounds lovely…but this water and internet problem not so much 😦 I hope you dont mind coping with it for a while and enjoy your stay 🙂
Thanks! I hope life becomes a little smoother for everyone. I’m mostly used to the water three hours a day business now that I’ve been here for about a month. I kinda dealt with my internet situation by moving and sitting on my couch almost in my kitchen so whenever my internet doesn’t work, my computer automatically connects to a neighbor’s internet. The school says they are waiting on the cable company to come around to install a second internet provider. I think I will be able to enjoy my stay here.
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Ohhh thats better…. thats something I learned with time, we always ended up getting used to the situations 🙂 and I am sure that you are going to enjoy your stay, this wont be a problem! 🙂
Hey there! Great blog. I am entertaining applying to an international school there in Valencia. I am reading a lot about scarcity, i.e., toilet paper, bottled water, flour, sugar…. And what is there to do for fun? I usually like little local markets and cafes and things. I am also looking at Maracaibo as it seems like there is more going on, mind you it also seems sketchier Last question, I am confused by the dollar thing? The school pays you in USD, so am I to understand that you leave the currency in USD vs. the bolivar?
Hi Tina. Thanks for reading my blog!
I think that if you are going to live in Venezuela right now you need to be good at creating your own entertainment. Sure you can go to the movie theater and see the newest flick or you might go out with some of the other teachers to a restaurant/bar occasionally, but the cafe scene isn’t super popular here (there are a couple that I know of though). Many of us like to drive an hour to get to the nearest beach. Three teachers recently got certified to SCUBA.
I wrote about the dollar situation before: https://teachingwanderlust.com/2014/12/15/exchange-rates/ because it is really confusing! However, to answer your question, yes, I leave most of my money in dollars because once I do an exchange I usually only need $200 US per month in bolivares.