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.
“Don’t sit at home and wait for a mango tree to bring mangoes to you wherever you are. It won’t happen. If you are truly hungry for change, go out of your comfort zone and change the world.”
― Israelmore Ayivor
I love this quote! It really represents our life in Nicaragua. We definitely moved out of our comfort zone 13 years ago when we first moved to Ometepe Island. But now that we have settled into our little boomer nest, we are experiencing fruitful times.
Our last rainy season just ended and what a glorious rainy season we had. The past three years have been exceptionally dry, but now with the abundant rains, we have new fruits popping up everywhere.
Ron planted several avocado trees five years ago. This week, I noticed one avocado tree blooming and it is beginning to produce baby avocados. Last avocado season there were few avocados. The extended drought took a toll on the trees. But, this should be a great avocado season. It is still early, yet I am finding local avocados in the grocery stores now.
Last year we had one cacao or chocolate pod on our cacao tree. I was so excited because although the tree is seven years old, we never saw any pods develop. However, the pod cracked and fell off the tree last year. I think due to a harsh dry period. But, this year, we have a couple of pods developing and one is the size of my hand.
“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.
“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.
“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?
We’ve lived in Nicaragua on and off since 2004, and for the past six years we have been here permanently. We decided this year that we are going to wean ourselves off Nicaragua for six months a year. It is time for a change, if only temporarily.
We have had a love/hate relationship with Nicaragua for many years. The hate part is mainly because of the unreliable infrastructure and the brutally hot and dry months. The love part will always be the people. Yet, as we age, we realize that maybe Nicaragua isn’t the best place for us to age gracefully year-round. After much thought, we decided to scratch our gypsytoes by traveling six months of the year.
The best of all worlds is possible. Our goal was always to make Nicaragua our home base and travel extensively. But, that has not happened as much as we would like because we built a thriving life in Nicaragua by planting many varieties of fruit trees on our property, rescuing dogs and cats, and developing a children’s library.
“Folks don’t carry money around in their pockets. They’ve got to go to an ATM machine, and they’ve got to pay a few dollars to get their own dollars out of the machine. Who ever thought you’d pay cash to get cash? That’s where we’ve gotten to.”~Bill Janklow
Twelve years ago, we had to go to the mainland to take money out of an ATM. The first time we took our neighbor kids to Rivas, the ATM machine impressed them the most. They were amazed at the small cool room, and it really blew them away when money came out of a hole in the machine. When they told their Papa about the miracle they saw in Rivas, he asked us if he could get a card for the money machine, too.
Today, we have at least five ATMs to choose from in Moyogalpa. However, our MasterCard debit card from our bank in the states is only accepted by one bank and one private ATM at the Mega Super grocery store. Recently, our bank sent us new debit cards with the digital chips. Now, the only bank that accepts our chipped debit card is BAC.
“In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.” ― Mark Twain
People often ask what we do all day since we are retired. One thing is for certain. We have stopped watching world news. It is too depressing. Besides, there is very little we can do about fixing the big problems in the world. But, there are many little things we can do as expats to help make the world a little better for our local communities.
I started a children’s library in our small La Paloma Elementary school two years ago. It has become my solace and place of refuge from this mad, mad world in which we live.
It is my place of hugs, laughter, and wisdom absorbed through my skin.