Our Lives Abroad in the Idioms of Mind

This week marks the fifth anniversary of our retired lives on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua and the fourth anniversary of my blog. Attempting to explain what these past five years have been like for us, the origin of the word “anniversary” came to mind.

The word “anniversary” first appeared in English in the 13th century, and was based on the Latin word “anniversarius,” meaning “returning yearly” (from “annus,” year, plus “versus,” a turning). The first uses of “anniversary” were in the church, and “anniversary days” were usually dates with particular religious significance, e.g., the days of martyrdom of saints, etc. The use of “anniversary” for the yearly marking of any past occasion dates to a bit later, and such dates were previously known as “year-days” or “mind-days,” times when a notable occasion or person is “brought to mind.”

Mind-Day…I like that expression because looking back on our five years of living on a tropical island in the middle of a giant sweet sea, in the middle of Nicaragua, in the middle of Central America reminds me to always be grateful for every aspect of my life. Happy Mind-Day to us!

Our Lives Abroad in the Idioms of Mind

Mind Boggling
This was our life in luggage in September 2010. It took us five years to plan for our move, and the adventure had just begun the day we boarded the plane to take us to Managua.
My Life in Luggage.


Out of Our Minds
We started building our house during the flood of the century. The lake rose into our front yard. All building supplies had to be carried over three barbed wire fences or hauled in by a tractor.
Construction Chaos

IMG_2862Out of Sight, Out of Mind?
I wasn’t exactly a country girl. I grew up in a small town where snakes, scorpions, and other nasty critters lived in the country…far away from my house. Living in a foreign, tropical, and rural place gave me nightmares for a while. I was afraid of everything that crawled, bit, and lurked under our roof tiles.
Little Things that Go ‘Bump’ in an Expat Night

scorpionsState of Mind
Expats go through definite stages, kind of like the grieving stages, when living abroad. We were no exceptions. Our state of minds fluctuated daily like the stock market. Some days we were ready for a new adventure, other days we energetically and creatively tackled the next project without fear. Living abroad is definitely NOT paradise.
The Honeymoon is Over!

honeymoonMeeting of Like Minds
My saving grace in living abroad is and always will be the Nicaraguan people. They are the most giving, gracious, and vivacious people I have ever met. I cherish our friendships and throughout our lives here, I have always felt a sense of belonging where we can share our customs, our traditions, and our values without judgment and with compassion.
Thoughts of a Nicaraguan Groupie

IMG_8535Peace of Mind
Living in Nicaragua has given us peace of mind. Our lives have blossomed. We have overcome many trials and tribulations with the help of our family and friends. Many things have crossed my mind in writing this post, but the most important thing to keep in mind in celebrating our Mind-Day is growth. We are better people because of our experiences of living abroad. We’ve changed and grown into a loving and accepting community where tolerance, understanding, and compassion thrive and blossom daily.

IMG_5366Do you celebrate a Mind-Day? What thoughts are brought to mind?



15 thoughts on “Our Lives Abroad in the Idioms of Mind

  1. Anniversaries are definitely opportunities for mindful review. So glad your new home has worked out for you and I have no doubt that your friends and neighbors in Nicaragua are grateful for your presence, as you are for their…

  2. Congratulations! As a long time reader it occurs to me that you practice MINDfulness many times during your week, pausing to reflect on what you’re thankful for and very conscious to share what you have (your love of reading and desire to be part of a community) with others and your readers. Certainly no place is perfect but you have worked hard to make your adopted home and adopted family on Ometepe Island a perfect fit for you! Anita

  3. Congrats on the anniversaries, Debbie and what a fabulous post. Mind boggling what you guys have accomplished. Willie Nelson’s song, “You’re Always On My Mind ” comes to mind. There are always friends and family to stay connected with on a regular basis and if I I let it slide, well…you know the rest. We’re in Prague right now and had the most wonderful day, in the countryside, checking ancestry records at two village town halls. Tracking Ron’s great grandfather. No luck, yet. 😕

  4. WOW,,,SOOOO FABULOUS !!!!!!!
    AWAY WE GROW …is my motto, and yours too…its such a blessing to follow your heart and most of all having the Warrior Spirit to,,,,,,,, DO IT!!!!
    I know of soOOOOO many people who just don’t have the guts and the balls,,so they stay stuck and complain about their lives instead of GOING AND GROWING!!!!
    Your adventures and NEW paths broaden your lives in ways that are mind ,,,,blowing …and hey….
    try to BLOW YOUR MIND EVERY DAY !!!!!!

  5. Great post !
    WE are planning to move to Nicaragua in one year.. been planning since 2014.
    For us.. the people seemed to be a large draw… sort of like old family we had yet to meet. Their respective warmth, genuine caring and unhurried pace of life in general – does it for us. Have been to Ometepe one afternoon in 2014 but did not see anything up close… next time will be different when we spend time researching where we would like to end up spending our life. Thoroughly enjoy your posts. Thank you for sharing.

    • Well, Mark…you must return to Ometepe Island when you move to explore the island. For us, it was the perfect location. The Nicaraguan people grabbed our hearts from the first time we visited. I can tell the same thing happened to you, too. Best wishes on your move and come see us when you have a chance.

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