Oh, give me a home where the animals roam
And the monkeys and parrots all play
Where seldom is heard, the “evacuate” word
And the skies are not cloudy all day

                                         This is how the chicken crosses the lake.

                                                    Bicycling cowboys

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Coming Home?

“There is a kind of madness about going far away and then coming back all changed.”~ Gypsytoes

Madness describes my feelings about returning home. I haven’t written on my blog for months because what can I say that hasn’t already been said before? With mixed emotions we left Nicaragua mid July. I don’t want to go into all the gritty details of the move. Instead, I want to try to explain the emotional turmoil I have felt since returning home.

Where is home? We have no idea. People say that home is where the heart is, yet my heart is broken for Nicaragua and for the United States, thus I can’t honestly say I am anywhere close to home at this point in my life. The week we arrived, we bought a car and drove to Canada. 5,200 miles later, we have returned to our rented house in the states where we have a little bedroom. Thank goodness we didn’t burn any bridges and our good friends who rent our house feel comfortable letting us stay for a while.

We gorged on fresh berries, sweet corn-on-the-cob, spinach, and fig newtons, treats we could never find in Nicaragua. But, it didn’t satiate our quest to find our home in this mad, mad world. We could have stayed in Canada for 6 months without a visa, but winter was approaching and although I love the idea of snuggling under down blankets and knitting fuzzy warm socks…our bodies are acclimated to a hot, hot climate. We would never survive a winter in Canada.

From thriving cities like Montreal and Quebec City, to the countryside with lush fields of vegetables, to quaint fishing villages in Prince Edward Island, we drove through awe-inspiring vistas. Everything was so neat, orderly, and clean! So unlike the place we called home in Nicaragua.

We asked each other everyday, “What do you miss about Nicaragua?” Not surprisingly, the answers were always, “Not much.” Leaving Nicaragua I was washed with relief, yet drowning in lingering anger about the Ortega regime and disillusionment about people in general.

It is the process of grieving, I understand that, but everything changed so quickly. One morning we were living in the heyday of Nicaragua, the pinnacle of success, then the next day the country collapsed. It is still unbelievable to me.

Now that I have had two months to process leaving our home in Nicaragua, I am still trying to sort out my feelings. Some days I am overwhelmed with anger. The violence and murders have slowed down, but things are not normal in Nicaragua. Tourism is dead, the economy is collapsing, thousands of Nicaraguans have fled the country. Repression, torture,and imprisonment are the new norms.

I feel guilty because we had options to leave Nicaragua when so many don’t have any options. I am angry because the people are suffering without jobs. I am outraged at the atrocities that have occurred. I am heartbroken for those who are imprisoned and tried in a kangaroo court without a lawyer because they marched and protested for a better life and their human rights. I am appalled at the torture of innocent people. I am puzzled by the reactions, denial, blame and indifference of some people living as guests in Nicaragua. I am alarmed at the repression and fear this regime has instilled.

Although the dark days hang like a repressive cloud over Nicaragua, I have no regrets about the many years we lived immersed in the culture. My only regret is that I had planned on turning my “Let’s Get Real about Nicaragua” series into a book. Now, that series is only a sad reminder of the way things were.

My grief for Nicaragua will slowly diminish, but probably never completely disappear. That is a part of life, right? I have never been one to feel totally helpless about any situation. I help where I can, and will continue to support my children’s library and my librarian. I thrive on activism and a realistic viewpoint of life.

The revolution in Nicaragua was a tipping point of our lives. Will we ever be able to call Nicaragua our home again? At this point, I doubt it. I can’t live in a heavily repressed country where we have no freedom of expression, where fear dominates every action, where trust is venomous, where corruption is rampant, and people are disempowered and castrated for speaking the truth.

Will we ever find a place to call home again? Maybe not. We’ve changed too much. We’ve experienced too many things in our lifetime…good and bad. An untethered lifestyle fits us now. We have no bills, no responsibilities….and a passion for travel.

Our lives are an open road. We are planning our new adventures to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Mexico, Colombia, and Curacao for the winter and spring.

Thanks for being so patient with me. Life took a big turn for us, and it will take me a while to adjust to life on the road again. But, we are ready and open to more freedom in our lives knowing that our home and pets in Nicaragua are well-loved!


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