Sunday, January 27, 2013

In the beginning...

In order to make this blog sensible, I will attempt to follow our journey to Belize chronologically. We have always known that once the twins(15) finished high school, that Sean and I would relocate to another country and spend some years living another type of lifestyle. We have both lived in various parts of the US and although there is a great difference between Georgia swamp and Pennsylvania mountains, it just is not different enough to satisfy our need to see and experience. No matter where you are in this country, there is a WalMart, a McDonalds, and a strip mall with in a few minutes drive. Our last forray into the US countryside ended abruptly when I was called home to care for my ailing mother. My brother and sister had put down their roots. I, as the rolling stone, was called on to come back to Pittsburgh and be sure Mom's last years were safe and comfy. So I found myself in Southwest PA (again). I wouldn't trade those 2 years for a lifetime of airline tickets! Mom and I laughed and cried and even got drunk out of our minds together. I was blessed to be there in the last few hours when all the age of her years smoothed from her face and she shone like a beautiful young woman again. (I realize it was from the swelling, but it effectively allowed my mother to look like she was 30!) When she left this world, I (even at 40 years old) couldn't help but feel like an orphan. My father had passed away when I was a teenager, and now the only thing left for me was my children. Life looked different to me. The buck stops here, with me. If I do nothing, nothing will happen. I lost Mom on Thanksgiving Day 2011. Quite apres pos... It taught me just how much I have to be thankful for.

But her death became the catalyst for my life! If we wait for the kids to graduate, then we may never have the guts to go! Each day is all you have. TODAY I'm planning to live my dreams. TODAY I'm going to show the kids the world is bigger than WalMart Supercenter...TODAY! I began planning for our escape. It was easy to get Sean on board, no grass grows under HIS feet! As for the kids....My Daughter, Abby, is a lot like her Mama...she's up for any adventure, tough as nails, adaptable. But her twin brother, Ben...He's a typical American teen. I don't know how I did it, but I raised one that feels without US gluttony, he might not have enough. More on them later....

We looked all over this planet for the place for us. Europe is too much like the US in that everything is available to you at a price. NO ONE wants to move to the Middle East. Africa intrigues us but the indigenous languages are not available on Rosetta Stone. (LOL joking) Mexico isn't the best place for our family...not to toot my own horn, but the girls in our family are quite good looking and forced slavery is not in the plan for us. We settled on the tiny Central American nation of Belize.

Why Belize? For starters, there are no WalMarts or McDonalds....It doesn't make the "Big Mac" index for cost of living comparisons. If one wants a burger, then one must prepare it on your own cook top. I was raised on a working farm, and I look forward to raising a few chickens, goats, and planting our food. Also, the "official" language is English, aalthough Spanish and Creole are widely spoken. My high school Spanish will come in handy for sure, but even without it, we should be able to make our way around. The climate of Belize is great for me! I have never felt a day that was too hot. This should allow for year round farming. Although we are not relocating to make a million dollars, I'm in my 40's and Sean is in his 30's...we are far from retiring. We needed a place that would allow us to (eventually) work. Belize allows expats to work, if the employer is willing to jump through the right hoops to prove that there was no one available locally to fill the position. Belize also grants work permits for people willing to invest their life savings to open a business that will eventually produce jobs for native Belezians. Land is affordable in Belize. Although Sean has dreams of finding the right parcel on the Caribbean Sea, I'll be just as happy inland some. We figure we'll need at least 6 months in the country to find the right parcel for us. So we started saving. We figured 6 months of expenses in US costs would translate to better than 6 months south of the border.

Once we reached our goal of cash savings, we started to look more closely at our travel plans. That's when things got really interesting! Check back soon and I'll continue my story.

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