Thursday, September 30, 2010

The beauty of Yard Sales

I remember that 10 years ago I used to come to USA to visit friends and they used to take me to yard sales and antique stores (Pennsylvania and New Hampshire area) and I used to hate it. Just couldn’t understand why I would want to buy something old and used.

Ten years forward and I am shopping in the Yard Sales circuit. Moving to Massachusetts has put me in a premium area for yard sales. People that have lived in these cities all their lives have passed on their possessions for generations and are always trying to clean up their houses. And we, people that just moved into their apartments and don’t have a full furnished place are taking full advantage of it.

Now, I LOVE yard sales! So last weekend my hubby and I spent some hours working the circuit and we made out great. My favorite finds: a nice desk that is almost 80 years old for my beading room ($5), a nice desk with wheels that can be used everywhere in the house ($15) - it is currently working as a kitchen table - and two purses that I bought at an Estate Sale. Here are the pictures of the two tables.

Just by a fluke, we came across with the last one, and it was awesome! I mean, I do not know the circumstances that lead to that particular sale and my respects to the family if someone passed away there…but wow, it was like being at a movie set, the house was a mansion and all the items they had available where of great taste. Obviously a little bit (just a tiny bit) way out of our price range but I couldn’t resist the purses. Great bargains. One is $150 in a regular store and I paid $25, the other one is a designer piece with retail value of $600 and I paid $35.

I am so excited that I want to start mapping out my weekends around these events! Haha! No seriously, what a great opportunity for us, a couple that is starting a new life in this city.

So, if you are planning a yard sale, go ahead and do it! Just remember to clean up the items that you put out there and be reasonable with the prices, you never know who you will be helping out with your house cleaning project. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Are we being fair to Obama? and What is the American Dream anyway?

Being this my first post for this blog I feel I should introduce myself. My name is Ale and I was born and raised in Mexico City. In 2002 I decided that the time to explore the world had arrived and left to Spain to get a masters degree. During that time I applied to Arizona State University (ASU) and got accepted to continue my masters. This is the reason why I moved to USA. Lived in Arizona for about 7 year and moved to Massachusetts in January 2010.

Since I moved right in the middle of the winter, my husband and in-laws were kind enough to give me time to find my way in my new city. I didn’t look for a job until July 2010. What a great experience! I read a ton of books, felt in love with the area, enjoyed the summer and had time to think about what to do next my professional life.

August came along and got a job, an apartment and now I am definitely on my way to build some memories on this place. So far I LOVE to live here. The intellectual stimulation you get from living in a city with so much culture and history is amazing.

Now, coming back to the title of this post.  I was recently watching TV and caught a piece on some people asking Obama if the American Dream was over for them. It was follow by the list of complaints on lack of jobs and investment on projects, the economy is not moving forward and etcetera.

The thoughts that came to my mind were…Are we being fair to Obama? This reminds me a lot about the time that Mexico changed ruling parties after more than 70 years! Yes, Vicente Fox was the first President in Mexico that belonged to the opposition (this happened in 2000). Anyway, obviously the party that lost the elections did everything on their power to boycott whatever Fox was trying to do at that time, plus the lack of experience and solid team behind him. It was obvious! No one that belonged to another party had held that position in the last 70 + years. But Fox had a ton of good intentions that made him pursue his dream of being the President of his country and change it for the best.

Obama makes me feel the same way. He has good intentions and represents the dreams of many people in this country. But my feeling is that Americans had forgotten that they gave the power to Bush for 8 years and he made many decisions that lead this country to its current state. It wasn’t Obama! Now it is his job to fix it and fix it fast. I am not saying that all his decisions have been right so far…but Are Americans really expecting Obama to shake his magic wand and fix everything that is not working? Just like that? It is not magic! It will take time and work, hard work from everybody.

That brings me to my other question. What is the American Dream anyway? If we are expecting to go back to 4 or 6 years ago where you could get credit and go and buy a house even if you didn’t have a steady job then, no, we are not going back to that. If we want to live on credit all the time without savings for emergencies…no, we are not going back to that either. But if the American Dream is the possibility of buying a home, walking on the streets feeling safe, choosing to go to school or not and still have a decent way of living, then we can make it happen again, with time and effort.

I will leave it at that for now…