The Weekly Photo Challenge is: A Good Match
Ometepe Island has been a good match for us to retire abroad because…
Our island and volcanoes go hand in hand.
Charco Verde lagoon is in harmony with nature.
“It is such a happiness when good people get together — and they always do.”
― Jane Austen
Valentine’s Day was also the wedding day of Ever and Blanca. I’ve written about Ever before in Humans of Nicaragua: Ever Builds a New Community. And now, Ever and Blanca are building their new lives together.
For me, Nicaraguan weddings are a wondrous act of simplicity, creativity, and love. The whole family pitches in to create an atmosphere tingling with joyful camaraderie.
“Lets have faith that right makes might; and in that faith let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.” ― Abraham Lincoln
Five years ago, the U.S. Embassy warden for Ometepe Island moved back to the states. She asked me if I would be willing to take on the duties of the warden for the island and of course, I said I would.
My primary responsibility as a warden for the U.S. Embassy is to aid in communicating with my fellow U.S. citizens living and visiting Ometepe Island in the event of an emergency. So, I’d like to describe my volunteer position to you.
“Settling into a new country is like getting used to a new pair of shoes. At first they pinch a little, but you like the way they look, so you carry on. The longer you have them, the more comfortable they become. Until one day without realizing it you reach a glorious plateau. Wearing those shoes is like wearing no shoes at all. The more scuffed they get, the more you love them and the more you can’t imagine life without them.”
― Tahir Shah
I can’t imagine life in Nicaragua without Nicaraguan ingenuity. My Scottish sister friends moved to their new house on Ometepe Island and they needed to move their belongings.
I know you are thinking, hire a moving van or rent one, right? The problem with that is that the only professional moving company that we are aware of is in Managua. We know that because when House Hunters International filmed us, they had to hire the only professional company in the country to move our belongings from our house, so they could film us “pretending” to view our house to buy.
How in the world did I explain this to our Nicaraguan friends and neighbors, who are only familiar with horse cart moving, when a giant moving company truck pulled on our sandy beach path? My response was, “It’s Hollywood,” and that seemed to satisfy their curiosity.
The Scottish sisters hired Wilber and his trusty old horse to pull their belongings in a repurposed cart to their new house. They were concerned that Wilber’s old horse might have a difficult time pulling a heavy load and the repurposed cart was heavy, too.
“Stealing, of course, is a crime, and a very impolite thing to do. But like most impolite things, it is excusable under certain circumstances. Stealing is not excusable if, for instance, you are in a museum and you decide that a certain painting would look better in your house, and you simply grab the painting and take it there. But if you were very, very hungry, and you had no way of obtaining money, it would be excusable to grab the painting, take it to your house, and eat it.” ― Lemony Snicket
I asked myself today, “When is it OK to steal?” We’ve had our banana stocks stolen every year because they are close to the small sandy path on the border of our property by the lake. Were they hungry thieves? Is that excusable?
We aren’t novices in crimes of opportunity. We live in a developing country and we understand that anything left out is fair game for people passing by our property. We’ve had hammocks, water hoses, and a fish trap stolen because we forgot to bring them into the house at night. We’ve had an iPhone stolen and a pair of Ron’s shoes by workers who came into our house to work.
Is stealing ever excusable?
Today, I felt betrayed by a young friend. Lauren started coming to our house with her dad when he was building our casita. She was 10 years old and we would make cookies and cupcakes together, draw and paint, and play card games. We developed a close relationship. I seem to have that effect on 5th graders. They like to hang with me.
As she matured into a teenager, she didn’t come to visit as often. When she did, we would give each other manicures and do girlie stuff together. The last time I saw her was last August. I was busy weeding the garden and I told her I couldn’t spend the morning with her. She asked to use the bathroom, and I should have followed my intuition. Something was not right. I found her in the living room and she looked guilty about something, then left quickly.
I didn’t give it much thought. Months passed. I looked for the phone, but figured I had misplaced it and the battery was too low for it to ring. We hardly ever used the Samsung. Lauren never came back to visit. Then, last night I had a dream where I saw Lauren put my cell phone in her purse. Was my gut feeling trying to awaken my consciousness through my dream?
This morning, I checked her Facebook page. I knew she didn’t have a phone and rarely posted. However, when I scrolled through her Facebook page, she had posted selfies every day since last August. And not just normal cute selfies…very sexually provocative selfies. She just turned 15 in November and I was shocked by her selfies. What was going on with her?
I wondered if my old phone number still worked because we still had the phone on our data plan. Long story about that, but Claro advised me not to remove the old phone number from my plan because I would have to start all over again with a more expensive plan. So, I called my old phone number!
“The smells of Christmas are the smells of childhood” ― Richard Paul Evans
My annual tradition has always been to bake dozens of Christmas cookies and pass them out to my neighbors and friends. Although it was meaningful in the states, for me it is more significant in Nicaragua for several reasons.
“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.” ― Pascal Mercier
Our housesitters left fresh flowers, homemade chocolate banana bread, and a mesh covering over our shower drain because we thought the cane toads were hiding in the shower drain during the day and hopping around the bathroom at night. Two weeks after returning from Fiji and New Zealand, I still find little remembrances of them.
Meet Doug and Johanne our housesitters extraordinaire.
“Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions.” ― Dallin H. Oaks
I love reading travel essays, but before we started traveling I was disappointed when the essays never explained how one affords to travel. I received a comment on my blog the other day asking me how we afford to travel six months of the year and live abroad.
I never gave that question much thought after we started traveling because we just did it, but it is a great question and one that I think deserves a thoughtful answer.
Let me break down the quote above because it explains our process perfectly.
….that’s how the light gets in. ~Leonard Cohen
Perhaps “Anthem” by Leonard Cohen, which took him a decade to write, is the most meaningful message for our troubled world today. In honor of the life of Leonard Cohen, my photos of New Zealand bring me comfort and solace along with his lyrics.
There is a crack…a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.
The birds they sang at the break of day…start again…I seem to hear them say…do not dwell on what has passed away…or what is yet to be.
I can’t run no more with that lawless crowd…ah, but they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up a thundercloud…and they’re going to hear from me.
There’s a crack…a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.
Every heart, every heart to love will come but like a refugee
Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. That’s how the light gets in.
“There is a is a certain metaphysical comfort in knowing that you can cease to have material form and it doesn’t hurt at all.” ~Bill Bryson
We flew from North America to Fiji on Friday and lost Saturday. Every time one flies from North America to New Zealand, Australia, or the South Pacific, a day is lost. Literally taken away and no one asks how you feel about losing a day in your life.
Where Saturday went, I couldn’t tell you. Time is a strange thing. If I look at time like a little wrinkle in a linear line, then it is easier for me to understand that Saturday is not lost, just in the wrinkle, and to be fair, the lost day will be given back to us on our return flight to the United States, kind of like stretching the wrinkle out of the timeline.
Saturday, we did not exist, yet we were born again on Sunday. So bizarre. It puzzles me and leaves me with many unanswered questions. For example, if someone gives birth crossing the international dateline, what date does she put on the birth certificate?
Or, since we will be in New Zealand for the U.S. Presidential election, will I know who is elected President a day before everyone in the U.S.? Hmmm…I can see many possibilities in this scenario if I was a betting woman.
Seriously though, I do vaguely understand the principles involved in the establishment of an international date line. I see that there has to be some kind of invisible line where one day ends and the next one begins. But, the confounding oddities of a wrinkle in time always trip me up.
Not only is my sleep pattern messed up, but my circadian clock is all confused. What day is it? What time is it? See, I said I wouldn’t post anything while we were traveling, but I am wide awake at 3 am. I’ve had my coffee and toast, and am waiting for the sun to rise to remind me once again that another day exists for me.
There was a certain sense of satisfaction stepping off the plane in Fiji, knowing that I didn’t exist on Saturday. It was like my atoms all rearranged themselves in a transporter while I was watching “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” on the screen on the back of the airplane seat.
It was a pleasure, actually a miracle to me, to find myself in Fiji, all reassembled and ready to begin a new adventure. And we get to do it all over again when we return to the United States. But, on our return journey we will cross the dateline in the opposite direction and arrive in LA before we left New Zealand. Incredible!
So, anyway, we are thrilled to be in Fiji, even if we are not sure what day or time it is.
What kind of experiences do you have when crossing the International Dateline?