Love in the Time of Cholera?


“His examination revealed that he had no fever, no pain anywhere, and that his only concrete feeling was an urgent desire to die. All that was needed was shrewd questioning…to conclude once again that the symptoms of love were the same as those of cholera.”
― Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

When I was visiting my mother in the states, my neighbor, Julio, posted this photo of our puppy on Facebook. He said, “Don’t worry, Debbie. I’ll take care of Capie for you while Ron is in the hospital.”

                                           Where are my mommy and daddy?
Capie copy Did Ron have Cholera? Read on to find out.

Does Death Become You as an Expat?


              “None of us are getting out of here alive.” ~ R. Alan Woods

IMG_5748If you are an expat or consider becoming an expat, I’ve written an article called, Does Death Become You as an Expat? for the Nicaragua Dispatch. With an increasingly older population of expats retiring in Nicaragua, planning for an emergency or possible death abroad is vital.

I have a friend who had to return to the United States because palliative care was not an option in Nicaragua. I’d like to network with a hospice program that provides hospice or palliative care abroad. If you are familiar with a program and have information on how to start one in Nicaragua, please let me know. Let’s help to make death dignified and compassionate abroad. After all, none of us are getting out of here alive. :-)

Other articles I’ve written:
Marina and Socialized Medicine In Nicaragua
Helplessly Mute: A Trip to the Dentist
Expats and Obamacare for Los Idiotas
Health Care for Expats in Nicaragua
No Family Left Behind

House Sitter Haven


IMG_3589We were very fortunate to find Max and Alize to housesit for us when we traveled for a month through Ecuador. Max is from Canada and Alize is from Belgium. They were housesitting in Leon, Nicaragua and posted on a Facebook page for expats in Nicaragua that they were looking for a housesitting gig for a month. They’ve been on the road four years, working online to provide income for their travels.

Keep reading.More tips on choosing housesitters.

Anchored to La Isla


“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
― Augustine of Hippo

IMG_2027One of the main reasons we retired to Nicaragua is because it is centrally located and only a two-hour flight to Miami. Our original plan was to build a house on Ometepe Island and use it as a home base allowing us the freedom to travel the world and return to our inexpensive boomer nest when our gypsytoes ached for the comforts of home.
Can we cut the umbilical cord? Read on to find out.

Travel Theme: Ready, Set, Glow!


Where’s my backpack? has a weekly travel theme. This week’s travel theme is GLOW and I have the perfect piece for this theme.

El Cerro Negro volcano in Northern Nicaragua is one of Central America’s youngest volcanoes. He ( Spanish El means a masculine volcano) was born in April 1850 and continues to be one of Nicaragua’s most active volcanoes. Currently his status is “restless”. His last major eruption was in 1999.
Eruption Cerro Negro

More glowing photos. Keep reading.

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Inside Scoop on Corn Island


The Weekly Photo Challenge is Inside. Our trip to the Corn Islands in Nicaragua provided me with many opportunities to get the inside scoop on Corn Island.

From inside one island, to another. Looking out the ferry window. Adios Ometepe.
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Keep reading. There’s more scoop.

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Treasured Heart


The Weekly Photo Challenge is Treasure. In a new post created specifically for this photo challenge capture something you treasure.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Ometepe Islanda treasured oasis of peace which captured my heart.

                                       “One love, one heart, one destiny.”
                                         ― Bob Marley
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Don’t stop yet, there’s more!

Weekly Photo Challenge: One Window of Our Lives


The Weekly Photo Challenge is Window. They are portals into the world’s stories. Glimpses into other people’s lives. Looking out (or into) a window can tell you about where you are — and where you’re not — and mark a particular moment in time, linking you to a physical place. Join me as we peek into one window of our lives on Ometepe Island.

A Barbie doll pink house, a big ole’ cement pila, and a worn window signified the beginning of our quest for a simple and carefree lifestyle culturally immersed with friends and family on Ometepe Island.

IMG_2260When Ron destroyed the big ole’ cement pila our journey began.
knocking out a concrete sinkLight filtered through our window and the only thing we saw was the beauty of things to come.
IMG_2797We pretended we worked in a McDonald’s drive-through, happily dispensing peanut butter sandwiches to our workers through our window. They laughed, not having a clue what we were talking about. Later, we found our sandwiches stuffed in a hole of the Mango tree.
IMG_3080I thought retirement was supposed to be… welI…retiring. Instead, I sanded my soft hands to the bone refinishing the window shutters.
IMG_3118Look! We have a TV!  Steeler football games and a cold Tona after a hard day’s work. What more could we ask for?
IMG_3252As the house progressed, the garden grew. We harvested our first batch of tomatoes.
IMG_3919Then the mangoes began to drop…and drop…and drop. Delicious mango jam is on the menu.
Mango JamThe tropics require drinking lots of water. Ron, I caught you drinking out of the jug again. I won’t nag this time because he built us a pine trestle table in front of the window.
IMG_4044Ron’s table has served us well. Family and friends gather around our table for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even a game of spoons. The table nestled in front of the window houses my collection of Pre-Columbian artifacts and my lending library books.

My cupcake and cookie buddy and I often gather around the window where she displays her marvelous treats.

Life outside our window involves swinging, watching chickens, and making dough balls to trap rats in the garden.
IMG_0527We added a string of lights around the window for a festive look at Christmas.
IMG_1439Our window constantly changes scenes adding to our contentment on our little island of peace. One small portal of our lives, one giant step toward our dreams.
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Moments of Bliss This Holiday Season


“One instant, you’re just a regular Joe, schlepping through your mundane life, and then suddenly – what is this? – nothing has changed, yet you feel stirred by a grace, swollen with wonder, overflowing with bliss. Everything – for no reason whatsoever – is perfect.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

This busy holiday season, I have become acutely aware of those tiny, fleeting moments of bliss. They restore my sanity, alleviate my stress, and fill me with a sense of wonderment and gratitude…no matter how quickly the moment passes.

Everyday since we’ve returned from the states, we’ve had a houseful of visitors. Now, don’t get me wrong…I enjoy company and take delight in sharing our stories and playing with the kids, but I have so much to do this holiday and little time to do it. When I do get a moment of soulful solitude…it’s blissful.
IMG_0392Ron and I have a running argument about cutting the grass. He likes the wild, untamed look, where I prefer the low landscaped look mainly because I don’t like to be surprised by all the creepy crawlies that bite my feet when I’m wearing flip-flops. Julio came to cut our grass with a machete the other day and Ron said, “Don’t cut the grass under the banana plants because the long tufts sway in the wind. They’re really beautiful when the wind blows.” So, I learned to compromise when I spotted a golden tuft of grass near the lake fluttering and dancing in the breeze. Another blissful moment!
IMG_0654An Osprey was diving for fish over the lake. I glimpsed freedom perched on his wings. It dawned on me that I am as free as the Osprey…I can fulfill my passions without interference. What a blissful moment!
IMG_0360A friend of mine once told me that when I see the litter in Nicaragua as a thing of beauty, then I have arrived. We jokingly call all the colored plastic bags hanging on every tree branch, “Nicaraguan flowers.” I experienced a moment of bliss watching the shreds of plastic bags twinkle in the setting sun. I guess I have arrived.
IMG_0550I don’t often have roaring belly laughs, but yesterday when I was in the park, I spotted the peeing boy fountain wearing new attire. Belly laughs are blissful!
IMG_0691Christmas shopping is stressful. I used to take pride in avoiding all shopping malls over the holiday season. Now, we have no shopping malls and life is simple. Yesterday, I had a moment of bliss while watching the handmade Christmas tree stars sway over the town.
IMG_0688I’ve been in a tizzy trying to make Christmas cookies for everyone in our community. Fortunately, I have lots of helpers, but it is still nerve-racking because all directions need to be in Spanish, and I have to teach them how to use a mixer, a microwave, an oven, and my icing bag with all the different attachments. Lourdes was whipping icing and whirled the green icing all over my kitchen walls. But, there were several moments of bliss, when the cookies came out of the oven. The smells of cookies right from the oven…blissful.
IMG_0672I wish you all to be swollen with wonder, stirred by a grace, and overflowing with bliss this holiday season. No matter how fleeting the moment…life is perfect!

 

View our House Hunters International Show


If you missed our episode of House Hunters International, click this link to watch it. I published it unlisted on YouTube, so you won’t be able to find it by doing a search on YouTube. Enjoy! This was so much fun to make.

House Hunters International: The Retirees and the Volcano on Ometepe Island