Great Expectations



“There are two ways to be happy: improve your reality, or lower your expectations”
Jodi Picoult, Nineteen Minutes

Yesterday, a friend sent me a link to this article: Migration in the Americas. The first comment asked about the cost of living in Nicaragua, so I responded with information and a link to my blog. Throughout the day, I watched as the hits to my blog steadily climbed. By the end of the day, I had received more than 3,700 hits. Why? Is it because people are desperate to fulfill dreams of sipping margaritas under gently swaying palm trees, while watching the ocean waves lap at the doors of their tiki huts? Is it because of frustration and economic despair that life has so rudely thrust in their paths?

Comments ranged from curious to hopeful, and on the other end of the spectrum, from hateful to distorted with many bitter political viewpoints. Are we all doomed because we dream of a better life with great expectations? Are we fearful of improving our reality or are we expecting too much out of life?

We moved to Nicaragua without too many expectations, for I have learned that great expectations lead to great disappointments. Life has not been easy here. We knew better than to expect an idyllic lifestyle surrounded by margaritas with those cute little umbrellas poked into frosty glasses. Instead, we learned to take one day at a time, and improve our reality without playing the blame game.

I am not a victim of my circumstances. I consciously chose a simple, culturally immersed lifestyle and deal with the challenges it presents every moment of every day. As a result, I’m happy and fulfilled because I chose to be realistic and live without great expectations. Not that I lowered my expectations..I don’t agree with that part at all. I simply don’t have expectations. For me, life is easier without them.

Life in Nicaragua can be described with the Big Brother motto, “Expect the Unexpected.” After building a house in the worst flood in 60 years, encountering daily power and water outages, discovering that I have a severe allergic reaction to ant bites, a frustratingly slow internet, and watching my close friends commit suicide out of hopelessness and despair…I am still here. Why? Because this is….my life…one day at a time.





15 thoughts on “Great Expectations

    • Z..I have been reading your blog all morning. I am absolutely in love with your perceptions of the world. Thanks for nominating me for the Booker Award…I’m surprised and a little flustered because I don’t feel as if I refuse to live in the real world…lol. If anything, I am a realist, just trying to maintain my balance in the world between extreme ‘isms’. I’m in it for the long haul and trying to find my way through the mysteries that life presents every moment of the day. 🙂

      • Hey! I am honored that you’re devoting time to my scribblings! I don’t think that the ‘refuse to live in the real world’ is a big requirement for the award. mainly a love of reading and writing is the focus!

        ‘gadfly’ certainly lives in the real world and is about as anchored and solid as anyone i know!
        yes, life presents us with mysteries every day, thank goodness! otherwise we would live boring lives! we just keep swinging at the balls that life hurls in our direction!

        thanks again!

  1. Great post, as always. I am so glad that Nancy directed me to your blog! You do a great job of sharing the typical life of trials and triumphs in a unique life on Isla Ometepe. How tragic that you’ve lost more than one person to suicide.
    Thanks for sharing with the world a glimpse into your grounded-yet-eclectic life in Nicaragua! Z

      • Right! I read on the WordPress feedback post that some people have trouble finding things to write. You and I are lucky in that we draw and paint and read and write, and I am willing to bet a lot that you also love to cook and garden. What a joy it is to awaken each day and know that the day will be rich and rewarding no matter what the choices! My biggest problem is editing what not to do so that I can remain true to what’s planned for the day!
        It will be great to meet you.. maybe I’ll fly into Managua, stop over in Rivas/Ometepe for a day or two and then head to Costa Rica. I also live in Guanacaste on the Nicoya Peninsula and would love to go to Ostinal to witness an arribara. But hey, there’s one between SJDS and the border, isn’t there? Hmmmmm.

        That will be a month or more down the road..
        Thanks again for your kind comments!

  2. The key to happiness is simplicity! If big shopping malls, skyscrapers and metropolitan cities make you happy, than you have a long way before you achieve nirvana

  3. I also bet that by living in Nicaragua you have developed or discovered attributes and strengths that you did not know were part of you. I think people react to challenges in vastly different ways. Some people have a very specific comfort zone and challenges produce fear and anxiety . Others embrace challenge as an opportunity for growth.

    • You are so wise, my friend! Yes, I’ve had to make friends with my anxieties and my fears when choosing this lifestyle. If I didn’t, I would have been paralyzed with fear. You are right. We all have specific comfort zones. I was cast out of my comfort zone, when I closed my eyes and jumped into the unknown. I’ve learned to soar…but not without many trials and errors, bumps and bruises, and ant bites along the way.

      I miss you! Come back soon. 🙂

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