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Old 05-31-2010, 03:03 PM
 
Location: Eastern VA
21 posts, read 56,288 times
Reputation: 20

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Hey all,

I'm a native Virginian who will be graduating college in a year or so and am thinking about where I want to live after I graduate. I'll be coming out with a degree in anthropology (fairly useless) thats only basic asset will be a good ability to work cross-culturally. I've spent a lot of time in Central America and speak fluent Spanish as well as english so I'd like to end up in a place that has a decent hispanic population. I also really love working with horses.

Basically, what I'm looking for is this - how high is the cost of living in CO? What areas could you guys recommend that have access to country and ranches (if I wanted to work with horses) and a decent Hispanic population (if I wanted to find a job using my spanish and cross-cultural skills)? What are the weather extremes in said areas? I'm spending the summer in MN and really like the area - but I am NOT about to deal with a MN winter. I'm not much one for days where it doesn't even hit above zero.

So any general info you guys have would be great - so far, MN is the furthest west I've been, and I would like to find someplace out west that's not quite as cold, but has more variety than the flatlands of Kansas, etc.

Thanks!

Sarah
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Old 05-31-2010, 03:20 PM
 
20,371 posts, read 37,912,942 times
Reputation: 18179
The area generally known as "southern" Colorado will meet your needs. That means Pueblo and anyplace south of there, Canon City, Rye, Walsenburg, Trinidad, Alamosa (bitterly cold winters and VERY dry), Monte Vista, La Junta, Rocky Ford, etc.

COL for these areas is very low.

Many of the Hispanic families in southern Colorado go back many generations. Pueblo is at least 45% Hispanic.

Weather in Pueblo and the southeastern plains is dry and hot, often in the 90's during summer, but nothing like the 110 degrees of Phoenix. It may crack a hundred in some of these towns a few days each summer, but not virtually every day from May to October like AZ and NV. Worst problem is hail storms, with some tornadoes on the eastern plains. Weather here tends to change often, warm a few days, then cooler, then warmer again, with regular PM T-Storms in the June-July "monsoon" season.
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Old 05-31-2010, 04:20 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,170,257 times
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I disagree with Mike here. The cost-of-living may seem low by East and West Coast standards, but is high when one compares it to local incomes--that disparity is even more glaring in rural Colorado. In addition, jobs--any jobs--can be very hard to come by in many rural areas.

As Mike noted, much of the Hispanic population in Colorado and northern New Mexico traces its heritage back many generations. The culture is considerably different in many ways from what is found in Mexico or Central America. Even the Spanish spoken is a derivative of 16th Century Castilian Spanish--a result from the area's long geographic isolation (until recent decades).

My standard admonitions holds: In the current economic environment don't move here unless you have a job already in hand, and don't think about moving here without spending some "boots on the ground" time in this region to understand what it's really about. Following that advice may save you a lot of trouble and heartbreak down the road.
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Old 05-31-2010, 05:21 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 26,329,748 times
Reputation: 6816
I'd suggest staying in VA. We have plenty of horse country along with lots of Spanish-speaking Latin Americans, many of whom work the spreads there (including Argentine polo players). I realize the pasture grass always looks greener on the other side of the four-board fence but you're more likely to find remunerative work in VA than CO.
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Old 06-01-2010, 02:39 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
4,901 posts, read 8,939,646 times
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Hi Sarah,

cost of living in CO is not bad (except for the famous resort areas.) You won't find a strong Hispanic population except in Southern colorado, which might be good for you because there's lots of open land, ranches, horses, etc. However the weather can be kind of brutal in southern Colorado in the winter so that's a consideration.

Check out towns like Alamosa, Durango, and Pagosa Springs to get you started.
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Old 06-01-2010, 03:38 PM
 
Location: N. Colorado
345 posts, read 761,209 times
Reputation: 284
I strongly suggest you visit first. Nov is a good time of year to come. We are quite brown a good portion of the year, as opposed to the greenery of VA. That was a large shock to me coming from the East Coast.
Our shortest seasons are Spring and Fall. We get cold weather and snow in Oct, warm days that melt it, a few days later more snow This year I have no clue were Spring went as we went, Winter to Summer. We did have snow in May this year and I was not too thrilled as we are on a farm and I had to shovel paths to feed... in May! Of course later that day it had all melted. We have zero and below degree weather here, but to me it is not as cold as zero on the coast.

My son is close to your age, in college and it took him 6 months to find a job after he got laid off. So if you are coming here without a job, please save up enough money for a few months rent and expenses and enough to get back home if you cannot find a job.

I was in VA this past March and the cost of groceries, gas and etc was darn close to what it costs here. Your sales tax is much less then ours. Not sure what electricty runs out there but mine in a good sized house is $115 a month. Heat is propane for us so the cost is a lot.

We have a large Hispanic population to the North as well. If you are looking to get a job on one of their ranches your odds are slim. It is mainly family working for family. We have lots of horse people around, boarding facilites and etc. But there is not a lot of work to be had. Lots of people are giving up their horses as they eat a ton and the economy is bad. I had a friend wake up one morning to a horse in her yard. Since they shut down the slaughter houses, horses are being given away, or put in other's pastures without permission, only to end up at the auction headed for slaughter in Canada or Mexico anyway. My neighbor runs a boarding facility and they have had a lot of non-paying boarders of late and have had to sue them. A friend has a horse training business and it is not doing well at all so she is looking for work outside her field. Not much money in horses at this time.
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:43 PM
 
Location: Del Norte NM
529 posts, read 1,141,220 times
Reputation: 165
As far as the cost-of-living is concerned; SoCO is (relatively) inexpensive to live in. Wages also reflect that. There isn't much industry that I know of south of Pueblo.


Winters aren't bad in Southern Colorado but the wind blows hard and constantly during the spring and fall. But especially during the spring.

And the indiginous hispanic populations of northern NM and Southern Colorado will probably be very different from the cultures in South America. Sometimes (I think) Norteno's resent it when you try to speak spanish to them and it isn't the same spanish you're probably used to.

As much as I hate to say it, if you want a live in a large hispanic community that is more like South and Central America, you might look at San Antonio, Texas. You can probably do something there with your degree and the wages and what it costs to live there are more equitable.

Now if you just have to live in Colorado, there's always the Wal-Mart in Trinidad. I know they were looking for cashiers at one point. There's just not much in the way of jobs in SoCO. I think lot's of folks from either coast retire here.

Good Luck!
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Old 06-02-2010, 02:53 PM
 
2,437 posts, read 7,124,706 times
Reputation: 1507
The OP did not reveal too many details about her or his situation, but assuming you are young and single with no kids and no other major responsibilities besides figuring out how to get responsibilities, I'd say just move. Here or wherever. Don't worry too much about jobs... something will come up in time and that's when you should let practicality win out over passion. But in the meantime, as long as you come out with the right attitude you have virtually nothing to lose and a lot to gain through the experience alone.

The ironic thing about a lot of posts on here is that more often than not it seems like the young and unattached folks who are thinking mainly about the more practical matters of how they will make a living and where they will live but the older ones with kids and debt and unsold homes and everything to lose seem to be ACHING to throw all caution to the wind and just make an impetuous move to wherever the grass looks greener. How backwards is that?
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Old 06-02-2010, 08:02 PM
 
Location: Eastern VA
21 posts, read 56,288 times
Reputation: 20
Hahah yeah I've definitely seen that. It doesn't make much sense. Yes, I am young and unattached, and I want to do all of my moving around while I'm still that way.

I'm not really a big fan of texas overall, and am looking for somewhere with somewhat diverse scenery (aka not kansas plains) that's not too horribly hot (aka the pure southwest - tx-nm-az) that nevertheless has a decent hispanic population and access to horses. The main concern is, of course, getting a job - I'm thinking of moving to central america for a couple of years first, to be quite honest, and build up some work experience down there where I know I can get a job. But we'll see.

Pueblo is looking like a fun place to research some more into, though - I'll definitely look into that when/if I decide to come out there.
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Old 06-03-2010, 11:14 AM
 
2,437 posts, read 7,124,706 times
Reputation: 1507
Quote:
Originally Posted by VinceraVivere View Post
Hahah yeah I've definitely seen that. It doesn't make much sense. Yes, I am young and unattached, and I want to do all of my moving around while I'm still that way.
In that case I would suggest narrowing all your possessions down to fit in the trunk of a car, or maybe even on the luggage compartment of a motorcycle, and then going to as many of those places as you can for as long as you can while you're still 'that way'. Just stay out of debt and you'll never regret it.
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