Wednesday, October 26, 2016

self-directed education: our goal

This is what I plan to spend the first few years in Uruguay working to create:

Friday, September 30, 2016

The immigrant fitzgeralds

We have made the decision to immigrate. To Uruguay. On Dec 7, 2016!!!! The universe was throwing any and every possible sign at us to go: family strife, a very tumultuous and stressful postpartum period, multiple stress-related illnesses, lack of ability to work on my dissertation, this election, safety in our city deteriorating, and so many other smaller signs. So, swallowing our fears, we bought our one-way plane tickets. We are on our way. I am going to use this space to document our journey -- as it is a continuation of the journey I began 10 years ago with my first foray out of the United States. It was a journey from which I never did return, because I came back a different person entirely.

So, how does one emigrate to Uruguay? A lot of the nitty-gritty is here. But, ostensibly, we had to:
- Get Vivian's birth certificate and social security card so she could get a passport (done)
- Get fingerprinted and order a criminal background check from the FBI (done)
- Order a copy of all our birth certificates and Patrick and my marriage certificate (done)
- Take all this paperwork to a place to get an Apostille Stamp (not done yet, waiting for the FBI report). For all the Illinois documents we do this at the Secretary of State downtown. For Isa's birth certificate we had to send it to Washington (done).
- Take a bunch of passport pictures (not done with all of us yet)
- Print out/copy past W2's and a bunch of wage statements to bring (still to do)

Once we get there, we need to:
- Enter the country as a tourist and get a 90 day tourist visa (free)
- Bring birth/marriage certificate and FBI report to a public translator
- Get a 'fit for work' health certificate at a certified medical center
- Go to the migration office with all these documents and apply for a tramite, which is basically a paper that says you plan to apply for permanent residency and can therefore overstay your 90 day tourist visa. This tramite costs $60.
- Then you have 2 years to get an appointment to apply for permanent residency. Show up and they'll take your fingerprints and picture and will let you know when you'll get your cedula (permanent residency ID) which takes about a month.

In the meantime we have also decided that we will only bring what we can carry in suitcases. So, we can bring up to 15 50-pound suitcases on our trip. Now, our big goal is organizing and planning for our travel.

And so I said at the beginning that the universe was telling us to go, but not only that -- it was also telling us to come. Once we booked our tickets, I got word from WSU that they will give me online teaching in the Spring (until May 2017), which helps us to fulfill the permanent residency requirement of having an income of at least $1500/month. Then, we got word from our friend and real estate agent who sold us our land that he will rent us his beach house, without a contract. It is fully furnished, has internet, TV, air conditioning and heat, 3 bedrooms, and is walking distance to the beach. We are moving Dec 7, the equivalent of June 7 climatically-speaking. We are going to be spending our summer in the equivalent of South Haven, MI for $500/month. Then we get word from an Irish expat friend of ours that lives nearby that there's an opening for an English teacher at the local high school. And we also got in touch with a South African family that lives less than a mile from where we'll be staying at the beach who wants to be friends with us. They raise cattle and grow weed. So, yeah, the universe is telling us to come. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Radical leisure, or in defense of laziness

Lately I've been exploring the idea of how we spend our days. We have already decided that being stuck inside a job and selling our presence for money is not how we want to spend our lives, especially when we have young children to raise. But, then what? How do we want to spend our time? Well, I think it's in pursuit of learning naturally. That is, we could spend our days pursing things that interest us and our children: food gardening, keeping livestock, playing music, making art, dancing, writing screenplays, making beer and wine and cheese, the list goes on. See these articles below for a better explanation of what we have in mind:

"In consonance with what we might call this “leisure ethic” of pre-capitalism, which rejects the work-intensifying proclivities of bosses, the recorded history of early capitalist production in Europe and North America—at least outside of slavery—shows work as an integrated part of daily life, accompanied by eating and socializing, much to the chagrin of emerging industrialists. As Eric Wolf writes in his classic Europe and the People Without History, in European economies on the eve of industrialization, as long as industrial work was merely supplementary to the central work of keeping a farm, and had to compete with far more attractive recreational activities, such as holidays and family life, the organizers of industrial production would be searching for ways to “subdue the refractory tempers of work-people accustomed to irregular paroxysms of diligence,” in the words of one industrialist in 1835. The working-class life of balancing subsistence with leisure, which so irked the bourgeoisie, incorporated just enough production for capitalists as was necessary to satisfy a boss or tax man or to keep the wolf from the door, and no more."

Above, an unschooling version of this same argument. In other words, radical leisure for kids.

Monday, February 22, 2016

The End of Control

The End of Control

The End of Control

Posted by Kyle Cease on Sunday, December 27, 2015

Monday, January 11, 2016

Why we are leaving America for Uruguay - Part 1

So many people have asked me when hearing about our life plan: what made you want to leave America? and Why Uruguay? I feel it's time I sit down and explain the process from my perspective, in several parts. By the end, I hope to bring the process up to the present and explain where we're at in terms of making the decisions of how and when exactly to move.

Let me say from the outset, from a young age I never had much interest in travel. I was always afraid to go to camp, and really enjoyed being home in my bed after any family vacations. I like stability. I like the feeling of home. That is, when home felt like a safe and wonderful place to be.

The whole idea to move out of the US started for me with study abroad in Rome. I had never spent any time outside of the US, and this trip certainly changed the trajectory of my life. Not only did I meet people with whom I ended up having some of the closest relationships of my life on this trip, but I also saw the world anew. I saw that winter doesn't have to be hell, food doesn't have to be bland and highly processed, life isn't merely about working and consuming, but about enjoyment, experiencing a wild array of feelings and sensations. In other words, it opened me up to the idea that living in another place would make my life significantly different, and that it is actually possible to live somewhere besides Chicago, which had not really occurred to me up until that point.

When I returned -- well, pre-Rome me never did return. I was depressed being back in Chicago, and heard from others that was a common result in returning from study abroad. It became so clear to me that I was depressed because of Chicago in the winter, and because of the lifestyle I was missing out on in Rome, not because of some individual problem I was having. I realized that I can be happier in other places, and probably would not be happiest in Chicago. Not just happy, though. The goal was to find a place where I felt I belong, where I just fit.

The last two years of college was a barrage of bad news: environmental crises, political crises, global warming becomes well-known through An Inconvenient Truth, Hurricane Katrina wipes out New Orleans, crises in health care and education, debt rising astronomically. Then, a global financial meltdown and billions of dollars forked over to bankers in a back room deal. Imagine what it does to the psyche of a young person graduating into this disaster of a world. It makes you reconsider what you've been told to do. Get a job, a house, a mortgage, have kids, retire, die. All of that assumes stability. It assumes that maintenance of the status quo. I am not going to buy into that mess. I am not going to put my eggs there just to see it all taken away by some environmental or financial disaster. Doing what I've been told is, in other words, too risky! In these few formative years, I have seen too many people screwed by the system they so diligently and faithfully participated in. No, no, no. I need to find a life that's more stable, not able to be so easily overturned by environmental disaster or power outages or financial ruin.

Okay, so what else could there be? What alternatives exist to this accepted trajectory? I mean, this accepted trajectory is what got us into this mess, so what kind of life can I lead that takes me somewhere new?

Next time, travelling the world to find the answer.