As Much Money and Life as You Could Want!

“As much money and life as you could want! The two things most human beings would choose above all – the trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone


IMG_5788What would you do if money wasn’t an issue? If you live abroad in a developing country like we do, would you move? Travel more? Buy a big house and a new car? Start a charity? Pay off college loans?

We initially moved to Nicaragua because we could retire early from our teaching positions with small pensions. Nicaragua is affordable and we could live easily and simply on a fixed income. I nicknamed us “Economic Refugees” because we could never afford to retire early on fixed incomes and stay in the U.S. Money mattered in our decision to retire in Nicaragua.

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Pros and Cons of Living on an Island

“Every man is an island, and every heart seeks the ferry to cross the main…”
― Mykyta Isagulov


Sunday evening, I was invited to speak with a group of women from Finding My Place, a travel agency for women who want to explore living abroad. It was a lovely gathering with well-traveled women who are exploring Nicaragua as a place to hang their hammocks. Many of the questions they asked revolved around the pros and cons of island life. Below are some of the things we discussed, which may be of interest to you, too.

Islands are slow and far away from many distractions. Ometepe Island, Nicaragua is no exception. Island living is not for the faint of heart, yet the rewards are many, tranquility is abundant, and our lifestyles are simple.

Pros of Island Life

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Boundaries Across Cultures

The Weekly Photo Challenge is Boundaries Boundaries are physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational. They can consist of the limits of what we consider safe and appropriate. They reinforce our values, goals, concerns, and roles we choose to play. There are similarities and differences in boundaries across cultures, so it is important to be sensitive to people’s differences.

Nicaragua has many forms of boundaries.

For protection and personal security

Our community built a safe and creative playground for our local children.
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A Three-Hour Tour

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip…I hummed that song for three hours on my flight from Ometepe Island to Managua, which was supposed to be a 20 minute flight.

IMG_0272I was a little concerned when I booked my flight online with La Costéna because it is usually $50 plus taxes for a one-way flight. This time it was $83. Why the increase in the cost? The flight schedule said the plane left at 2:45 and arrived in Managua at 3:05.

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I am off the island heading for the states this morning. I leave you with a few photos from our Nicaragua Independence Day parade.

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

IMG_9368“How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself?”
― Anaïs Nin

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Failure to Communicate

“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.” ~ the 1967 movie Cool Hand Luke

It sounds so simple: say what you mean. But, all too often, what I try to communicate gets lost in translation…literally. Let’s face it! Communicating effectively in a second language is not my strength. Many days, I have a failure to communicate. But, last week’s problem was not because of ineffective communication in Spanish. It was a problem with forgetting my cell phone.

Last Sunday, our god-daughter invited us to her presentation at the border of Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Her father, Jairo, had tried to call us for a week to invite us to Alba’s presentation. Unfortunately, I had turned off my old cell phone…the number that Jairo knew. So, Jairo had to walk to our house to give us the invitation.

That was my first mistake. I gave Jairo my new number and asked him to send me a text message with directions to the place where Alba would give her presentation. That was my second mistake. Jairo doesn’t know how to send a text message. Who knew?

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Shades of Pitaya

The Weekly Photo challenge is: Monochromatic.

Our Pitaya fruit is ripe and OHHHHH is it beautiful and delicious. I took a kaleidoscope photo on my iPad of our bowl of Pitaya fruit. Problem was… I was so excited to eat it, I neglected to get a “normal” photo of our ripe fruit. :-)


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Let’s Get Real about Garbage in Nicaragua

“To know our refuse is to know ourselves. We mark our own trail from past to present with what we’ve used and consumed, fondled, rejected, outgrown.”
― Jane Avrich


Basura…garbage…it is one of the first things most tourists see and comment on when visiting Nicaragua. A Google search “garbage in Nicaragua” led to more than one million hits!  We still have a long way to go, but I have seen many positive changes in Nicaragua in the area of waste management.

Let’s Get Real about Garbage in Nicaragua

1. Recycling

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Weekly Photo Challenge: The Umbilical Cords of Ometepe Island

The Weekly Photo Challenge is Connected.

Living on a tropical island an hour away from the mainland of Nicaragua requires many connections. Here are a few ways we band-together on our lovely Ometepe Island like umbilical cords.

The ferries tie Ometepe Island to the mainland with regular daily trips.

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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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