One of the things we like best about Uruguay is the wonderful expat, family-style get-togethers that are held regularly in Montevideo and in other cities along the coast and we appreciate those who are responsible for them.

The earliest group that we know about in Montevideo was begun six years ago by Glen Roberts, a U. S. citizen newly arrived from Costa Rica at the time. Since its inception, there has been a meeting every single week, without fail. There has never been a single time when someone might go and find no one there.

Glen is spending some time in Paraguay these days and we were so pleased to learn that an English-speakers Paraguay expat group was born last week. The fledgling group is meeting weekly at  Mangiare Ristorante Pizzeria. This is good news for our readers who are already in Paraguay or who plan some day to head off in that direction. Glen has a Paraguay web site at where you can always check in to be sure of the time and place.

We know that it is a temptation to stay in an area where a well-developed group is already in existence. But if you happen to fall in love with an area where there is no such community, we suggest that you follow Glen’s example and start one yourself. Just do it the way Glen does. He searches for the best place for a group to gather, depending on the number of people who normally attend, in a convenient area, and announces it in various ways, primarily by a web site. Then he is the relaxed, laid back, unruffled host who is always present or has a representative who is there in his place.

You can do the same. The way he does it, it looks pretty easy to me. It does mean a weekly commitment to the group but it’s a fun way to spend an afternoon or evening. In our opinion it is also a wonderful service to expats. The transition to a new country where, perhaps, people do not speak the language and really do not know where things they need can be found, can be difficult. And culture shock is almost certain. A common, friendly support group can be a life saver. In our opinion this is a win-win-win. The restaurant owner wins, the expat attendees win, and the facilitator wins through also developing local friendships as well as the satisfaction of doing something important for everyone involved.

The Montevideo group has always been a simple, family-style gathering over a meal. There has never been an agenda there. No one tries to use the meeting for other purposes although I am sure some attend for business reasons and may hand you a business card and perhaps you will want to do the same. But it is a place for English-speaking friends to gather and the Asuncion group will be the same. So if you are already in Paraguay, the information for the current meetings is below. And if you are planning a visit to look Paraguay over, be sure to plan your trip so as not to miss it. It will be worthwhile.

As we have mentioned before, we think it is worth saying again that we see the immigration requirements changing gradually and we think that, for those who expect to make the move to the south, probably doing it sooner rather than later is a good idea. Although we understand that not everyone is able to do that.  If that is the case with your family, it might be worth setting up a small “vacation home” that you can use for vacations–or as a retreat. Since there have been changes in some residency requirements, we will begin soon to post updated residency and citizenship data for the countries we cover, so stay tuned. And we hope we will see you soon here in South America.

Date and time: Meetings are every Tuesday evening at 8:00 P.M.  Hope to see you there!
Location: Il Mangiare    (See map at if necessary.


We encourage your comments and suggestions.

Copyright 05/24/2012 Four Flags Journal all rights reserved.