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View Diary: Gloria Craven's story (134 comments)

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    •  i'm better off now (7+ / 0-)

      because I just watched Bob Casey

    •  Same here! (13+ / 0-)

      I was a senior in high school 8 years ago... but my family was already doing really bad and they are doing way worse. My parents' story is Gloria's story. We used food pantries 8 years ago and my parents looked to me when they thought about applying for food stamps because I work now with HHSC.

      In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act. ~George Orwell

      by ElizabethAM on Tue Aug 26, 2008 at 06:35:14 PM PDT

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    •  thank Teddy for that! (8+ / 0-)

      And all us dirty hippies that helped get the voting age lowered. :)

      Turn the Mountain West blue! Support Gary Trauner for Wyoming's only House seat!

      by kainah on Tue Aug 26, 2008 at 06:47:51 PM PDT

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    •  I'm much better off... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Creosote, zett, Liberal Pagan

      ... but I'm an expat, and have been for just over 8 years.  
      In 2000, I finished my Ph.D. and came to Brazil.  I was married to the wrong person, just about out of money and carrying debt for the first and only time in my life (thanks, wrong person!), and not sure where my life was headed.  I had a job that had looked good when I took it, but it quickly became clear that the Director in Brazil was not good at running a company, had no idea how to prioritize, and was dishonest.  I wished I could get out, but I figured I'd be seen as a job-hopper, so I was going to have to tough it out for a while.  
      Within six months of arriving, the company where I was working closed its operations worldwide (it had been operating in seven countries), freeing me to look for a better opportunity without quitting.  My marriage also ended at the same time.  
      Within a few months after that, I had found a much better job, made great friends through that job, reëstablished contact with a guy who had been my friend when he lived in the US for a while, and started to take advantage of some of the good things São Paulo has to offer.  
      For the first time in years, I felt and thought "I am in the right place."  I don't know how to explain to you how important that is.  Either you know what I mean or you don't.  But even if you don't, I can tell you that it was a big deal for me.  And best of all, that feeling only grew as time went on.  
      I managed to enjoy life and at the same time put away enough money to buy a nice car and start putting away money to buy a home.  I also met the love of my life, but lingering messes from my marriage made me afraid of what I felt for this person (tho' it took me years to figure this out), so we ended up breaking up.  
      I found myself surrounded by good people.  I achieved financial stability and was able to live pretty comfortably.  
      I had been known at the company where I was working for always having a Diet Coke in my hand.  People even asked me where my Diet Coke was whenever they saw me without one.  In the time leading up to the stupidest.war.ever, I started boycotting US products, so my Diet Coke was replaced by Guaraná Antárctica (diet, of course).  When people asked me about it, and I explained, they seemed surprised.  Some even disagreed with me briefly, but the excesses of the Bushies quickly showed even the most serious doubters that I was right about Bush, right about Iraq, and right that something had really changed in the USA.
      Still, for a time I felt abandoned by my countrymen.  When Bush had 90%-ish approval ratings in late 2001, I felt like more than an expat.  I didn't feel like I had anything in common with my fellow US citizens anymore.  When I went back to visit the USA in 2002, I felt like a foreigner.  
      During the buildup to the stupid war, and during the first several months of the stupid war, I felt even more alone.  
       
      And then the idea of starting an ice cream business presented itself.  I discarded it.  So it came up again in another context.  This time...
      I discarded it again.  But then when it came up for the third time...
      You got it.  I discarded it yet again.  Pretty silly, huh?  
      Well, the idea came up for the fourth time, in the fourth completely independend contact.  And this time, I started looking into it.  
      So I ended up leaving my job to pursue the dream of opening an ice cream company.  

      I kept paying attention to the news from the USA, and at some point in 2003, something really major happened.  Suddenly there was this voice in the USA saying the things I'd been thinking all along about Bush, Iraq, and the war.  I will never forget Howard Dean and how important it was for me to hear a fellow US citizen not just saying the things I had been thinking and feeling about Iraq and Bush, but doing it in a very public way and getting a lot of attention.  My quest to find others who felt the way I did about Bush, Iraq, and Dean ended up bringing me to Daily Kos, Eschaton, and Talking Points Memo.  Suddenly, I wasn't alone anymore (as a US citizen; even during the worst times, I was surrounded by good people down here).  
      Oh yeh... I ended my boycott of US businesses.  

      When money started to get tight, I managed to make enough to pay the bills and then some, working (very) part-time helping a friend and some friends of his sell high-tech (mostly cryptographic security) solutions.  They needed a "technical guy" who could make technical presentations, answer technical questions, do demos and installations, and serve as a "bridge" to the tech support at the US and UK companies that manufactured the hardware and software parts of our solutions.  English is my first language, and I've always been a nerd, so learning high-tech stuff has always been kinda easy for me.  

      Then an investment of blood, sweat, tears, and a lot of time that I had made in a start-up company back in 1999 in the USA turned into a chunk of money when the former start-up was bought by a major software company.  I had enough to start my business.  

      I've had some problems since then, but I've never doubted that I'm on the right path.  I've learned a lot, and I have to admit that while it's been frustrating at times, it's also been fun and exciting almost all the time.  Because of the problems, my business still isn't actually operating, but it's getting close.  
      In September of last year I got back together with my girlfriend from 2002 and early 2003, with whom I had maintained contact over the 5 1/2 years that had passed since we broke up.  

      So here I am, about to fulfill a dream and start my own business, back with the love of my life (this time for good), still very much feeling that I'm in the right place, surrounded by good people who respect me, and nowhere near alone among US citizens.  In fact, I can imagine the US starting to again resemble the country where I grew up, something that hasn't been the case for nearly seven years.  

      I am not just better off than I was eight years ago.  I am MUCH better off than I was eight years ago.  

      "It is nice to know that the computer understands the problem. But I would like to understand it too." --Eugene Wigner

      by The Ice Cream Man on Tue Aug 26, 2008 at 07:40:37 PM PDT

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    •  Heh (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Liberal Pagan

      I was just thinking, "how do you define 'better off'?"

      That's certainly one way, though if you live in Ohio or Florida, or any state with a Republican Secretary of State, that might not be enough.

      Financially, I'm a hell of a lot better off, but that's in spite of BushCo and because I worked my ass off.

      And marrying a wealthy woman didn't hurt.  :)

    •  Not only "No" but HELL NO!!! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MKSinSA

      I get older and older, make more money and can buy less things. It costs $80 to fill up my gas tank, $300 for monthly utilities, and no matter how much I make, costs just keep going up. I'm WORSE off than I was 10 years ago when I had barely gotten out of college.

      Vote Bush in '08: "You don't switch leaders in the middle of a war!" -George Bush 2004

      by voracious on Tue Aug 26, 2008 at 10:37:35 PM PDT

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