Weekly Photo Challenge: Living Without a Door


The Weekly Photo is: Door

Two years ago I completed a Weekly Photo Challenge: Opening Colorful Doors

Yet, for this photo challenge, I am taking the opposite approach. What would life be like living without a door? You see, my neighbors are adding to their small dirt-floor house. Yesterday, I crawled over the barbed wire fence separating our properties to see the progress on their addition.

There are many ‘firsts’ in this addition, and they proudly showed me around their two new rooms. It is their first cement floor, their first barred windows, and their first cement block walls waiting for a smooth concrete finish.

IMG_8520But, they have run out of money, so they are going to live without doors until they can afford to have doors made. It may be a long wait because one strong handmade door will cost them several months’ pay.

“A door is an everyday thing, yet is often a symbol — of a beginning, a journey forward or inward, a mark of one’s home, or even a step into the unknown.” Yet, I wonder what life will be like living without a door? I can’t imagine life without a door…it’s a leap for me to step that far into the unknown…a journey of faith and trust extending outward in the world.

They live without so much as it is: no running water in their house, no gas stove, only a wood fire for cooking, no indoor plumbing, and an outhouse. Yet, they are always happy!
Marina even added a touch of color by attaching plastic flowers from Don Jose’s funeral to her new barred windows.

IMG_8523Do doors symbolize a new beginning, an opportunity, new possibilities, or potentials? Not for this family!
IMG_8525For this family, living without doors demonstrates their openness and trust between their inner and their outer world. They are so proud of their accomplishments in building this addition. All of their extended family members helped to build it…kind of like an Amish barn raising. I’m proud of them, too.

What do you think living without doors would be like? Have you ever met someone who lived without doors in their house? I’m curious to hear your thoughts.

Let’s Get Real About Personal Space in Nicaragua


Four airplanes arrived in Nicaragua on the same day and at the same time. We were standing in an unusually long, disorganized line in customs. There was a small space in front of me…enough space for the man’s backpack to rest on the floor. Suddenly, a family of Nicaraguans rushed into the space in front of me. I glared at them and pointed to where the line ended. Yet, they didn’t move. I think they were trying to tell me, “My happy place is in your personal space.”

Cultural space: The final frontier. Invisible bubbles of space surround all of us and they vary according to the norms of the places where we live. Why do we have personal space issues and how do they differ from Nicaragua?

me on chicken bus

Me holding a stranger’s baby on a crowded chicken bus.

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Toad Suckers in Nicaragua


Petunia gave birth to nine piglets yesterday. Today, she suffers from mastitis. My neighbors ran around my yard looking for a fat Cane Toad to alleviate Petunia’s pain, so she could feed her litter.  A Cane Toad?
“What will you do with the Cane Toad?” I asked.

I know they can be deadly to dogs and cats because if animals eat a Cane Toad, they can die from the milky white poison released from the glands of the toad. The Most-Traveled Cane Toad  What is really frightening in this article is that “people can die within 15 minutes of getting poisoned by a Cane Toad.”

I’ve heard of toad-sucking, but always thought it was an urban legend. I even used to live near Toad Suck, Arkansas. So, my curiosity led me to google toad-sucking, which, by the way, I also read today that googling daily may prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: My Magnificent Muse


The Weekly Photo Challenge is Muse.

My magnificent muse is Concepcion Volcano. Most of the time she sleeps majestically in my backyard and is a constant source of my artistic inspiration. See for yourself! Webcam for Concepcion Volcano.

No matter what is in front of her, one cannot help but be overwhelmed by her beauty and speculate about her origins and power.
IMG_4053IMG_288021saying goodbye copyIMG_4799

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Chikun…What?


“It is astonishing how much worse one mosquito can be than a swarm. A swarm can be prepared against, but one mosquito takes on a personality—a hatefulness, a sinister quality of the struggle to the death.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald

Marina tenderly wrapped her feverish two-year old grandson in a sheet and Gloria rushed him to the hospital on her motorcycle. Braydon, unable to walk, suffering from a high fever and severe joint pain is one of the youngest victims of the mosquito transmitted virus, Chikungunya.

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The Bottom Line: Budgeting for Retiring Abroad


“Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.” –Joe Biden

 

One of our biggest challenges in planning for retirement abroad was creating a realistic budget before we jumped into a new life. After our ‘pretirement’ experiment in Nicaragua in 2004-05, we set a goal to become financially independent. Many articles have been written about adjusting and assimilating into a different culture, but few articles stress the importance of financial planning before making the big jump.

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Lessons Learned about Legal Taxi Drivers in Nicaragua


IMG_8390Returning to San Jorge from Granada last week, I had an interesting conversation with my taxi driver. We were stopped by the traffic police in order to check the taxi driver’s legal documents.

“Are you worried when the police stop you?” I asked.

“Not at all,” he responded. “Everything is legal and correct.”

A friend, visiting Nicaragua for the first time, arrived in Rivas on a chicken bus. She needed a taxi to San Jorge to catch the ferry…about a five-minute ride. She told me that she paid $20 for the taxi ride from Rivas to San Jorge. I was furious because a colectivo ( a taxi that takes numerous people around the Rivas area ) charges 20 cords per person. An expreso ( a taxi that takes only one person to San Jorge from Rivas) charges 100 cords.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: The Off-Season in Nicaragua


The Weekly Photo Challenge is Off-Season.

“en la lluvia, cuando le recuerdo.”
― Sitta Karina

I love the rainy season in Nicaragua. It is the off-season for tourists, a time of tranquility, reflection, growth, and gorgeous sunsets as well as unusual cloud formations.

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The Start of Something Big


IMG_5343My former fifth grade student is visiting Nicaragua for the first time. On her 19th birthday, we took her to Charco Verde to see the monkeys. Returning home in the taxi, we had a flat tire. I couldn’t help but laugh at the taxi driver’s t-shirt. The Start of Something Big
His t-shirt says it all about living in Nicaragua.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Way Home


The Weekly Photo Challenge is On the Way. We’ve just returned from the USA…a wonderful visit with family and friends, but it is always GREAT to return home.

There are two ways to return to our Ometepe Island home. Sometimes we fly and walk to our house from the airport, but because we were returning with over 200 pounds of books and materials for my elementary school library, we took the ferry.

We usually see unusual things on our way home, but this was really unique. A circus was in town and the trainer took the elephant to the lake for a bath.
elephant in Lake

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