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.


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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Happy anniversary to me. My blog is one year old today. In honor of my first anniversary, I have created a list of the good, the bad, and the ugly things that have taken place in Nicaragua since July 2011.


  • My philosophy of compassionate cultural immersion is spreading world-wide
  • Health care programs are improving on Ometepe Island for the expats.
  • My mobile lending library for the elementary schools is expanding monthly
  • Newspapers, TV, and schools are educating people on litter removal and the effects of pollution on their environment in Nicaragua
  • Ometepe Island became a digital island in February 2012 with over 5,000 One Laptop per Child computers donated to all of the elementary schools
  • Sustainable tourism programs are increasing for local communities, offering new jobs and enabling self-sufficiency
  • Our major construction is completed and I have a comfortable nest
  • New Bread Fruit, Jack Fruit, Avocado, Grapefruit, Neem, and other fruit trees are growing rapidly on our property along with Ron’s thriving garden
  • We completed the process of residency and are now legal Pensionado Visa residents of Nicaragua
  • An Ometepe Expat Google group now connects all of the expats on Ometepe Island.
  • The local grocery stores on Ometepe Island are catering to the tastes of expats. Now, we can even place an order online for Hugo’s grocery store and they go to Pricemart in Managua at least once a month. My frig is stocked with chocolate chips!
  • The new airport is almost ready for business. There are pros and cons, but I like the convenience of the airport..I can walk to it from my house.
  • My Spanish has improved tremendously. I can make a dentist appointment over the phone, order pizza delivery, and call our taxi driver. Talking on the phone in Spanish has been difficult for me, so this is a major improvement in my life.
  • The following link is a PDF and the latest progress report of Nicaragua.
    Progress Report of Nicaragua


  • The USA denied Nicaragua the transparency waiver. Its denial will cost the Nicaraguan people $3 million in aid for the next fiscal year.  Read more about it at this link:   Witness for Peace
  • Pierre Doris Maltese, the dangerous cult leader of Ecoovie, is still in Nicaragua. However, powerful people are now aware and much progress has been made to gather evidence and deport him from Nicaragua.
  • The electric and water is still erratic. Much needs to be done to improve the basic  utility infrastructure on Ometepe Island before they open the airport.
  • Health care for the local people on the island needs a major overhaul. My opinion is that instead of a new airport, they should have built a new hospital.
  • The Capuchin monkeys, not native to Ometepe Island, are being held hostage with little food on Monkey Island near Hacienda Mérida. They have attacked  and severely mauled at least seven tourists. More on this later, once I do more research.


  • My friend Bobby took his life in Granada, Nicaragua in December. I am still dealing with the grief of his unknown despair.
  • Jerry died of a sudden heart attack in April. If only we would have had access to a defibrillator, it may have prolonged his life.
  • Ian and Jose ( young men) both committed suicide three days apart last year.

The total number of good things happening within a year outweighs the combined total of the bad and ugly… at least in this forever optimistic blogger’s voice. Thank you wonderful blog readers. You are the reason I write. I travel throughout Nicaragua; it leaves me speechless, then turns me into a storyteller.   Here’s to many more Nicaraguan stories next year. Life is good, retirement is better, telling stories of my life on an island in the middle of a huge lake, in the middle of Nicaragua, in the middle of Central America is….well, priceless.