Since the girls are enrolled in the Mandarin immersion program at Woodstock elementary, and since I speak some Mandarin from my days in Asia, everyone wonders why the heck we aren’t going to China. All legitimate wondering.
At the end of the day, we were concerned about two things that ultimately ruled out China: the exchange rate and pollution (not listed in order of importance).
Having worked in a heavy industry in the region back in the late eighties and early nineties, I got to witness the ravages of pollution first hand. The breadth is astonishing. China depends upon coal fired plants for electricity, which dumps a lot of mercury into the air, which then gets into the food supply. Air quality is low and asthma and other lung related illnesses are high. I worry about heavy metals and other industrial pollutants that are dumped into the water supply that then get integrated into the food chain. (I remember meeting with one building owner in an industrial park who advised me to dump all of our manufacturing waste in a creek behind the facility…yikes.) Those kind of pollutants have a big effect on small growing bodies, so we decided to stay in the Americas and head south.
We also would like our dollar to go as far as possible, which makes China less of an option.