Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sean's in the air....Such mixed feelings. Mixed emotions. Mixed up...

I'll feel better once he has landed and gotten his bearings. An adventure like this is phenomenal when you have a travelling companion. He is flying in all by himself. Part of me wishes I was able to navigate this first leg of our journey with him; part of me is grateful that by the time I land, he'll have a sense of what's going on. Mixed. Nothing fixed. Vary. Scary.

We are the only people I have ever known to move OUT of the states. I have some immigrant friends, and none can figure for the life of them why we would ever leave. We are leaving because life is just too short to stay. We have lived a lifestyle of convenience. We have been I Want It All And I Want It Now American consumers! 600 channels of mind numbing crap on the cable television....prepackaged foods preserved into 2030's...social services...ARRGH! I think we're looking for less. I think we're too restless. Isn't this adventure...this Never Satisfied...a product of the American dream?

I've been awake too long. I shouldn't blog on so little sleep. Check out this pic of Chief in Sean's carry-on...cute! He was just letting us know that if it's time...he's ready.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I had the dream again last night. It FINALLY made sense. I have had this recurring dream my entire life. It's not so much a nightmare; it's not so much my fantasy. I'm living on the coast somewhere in a house that's built on stilts. My bedroom overlooks the sea. I am watching a storm form. It blows in and shakes the house. It drenches and blows and sends sheets of rain! I can feel the house creak and groan under it's power! Dark skies looming...thunder booming! And in the morning, the sun comes up. It breaks through the window and draws me to the water's edge. The driftwood and sea grass tangle there and I can feel their textures squishing and scratching my feet. The quiet sound of low tide laps at my legs, and I feel truly refreshed and clean. Even the air feels cleaned by the storm. I revel in the sea mist and breathe it! Consume it! It compels my nakedness, and drives a primal urge. I am complete and alone.

So you see, my nightmare of lonely is filled by my drive for this. I am filled and so I have no room for emptiness. I will shine like the sun on the Caribbean morning.

I have another recurring dream, about a pig with a man's chest...or about a man with a pig's head...that's a blog for a day of fog. (Note to self.)

I finally caught an episode of House Hunters International filmed in Belize. I guess it explained to me why some people I have encountered are a little snarky. The couple was relocating with 4 small children from South Carolina. The husband had sold his construction business and planned to get into real estate once he settled in Belize. The wife was...well...not me. I understand a little more why the post about my education background was met with skepticism. This couple had 4 elementary school children, and never visited a school while house hunting. Maybe they had a plan similar to mine, and would cyber school or home school the kids. As for the husband "getting into real estate"...I have been looking at properties via the Internet, and I end up finding the same listings after a while. There are only so many properties in Belize. Why would someone list with a guy who lives in a gated community and does NOT live like any Belizean ever has? I realize that the properties I see on the Internet are only a fraction of those available. (That's why we haven't sunk our savings in a home. We figure once we are on the ground and making friends, we'll find out dream property.) I just think the market may be saturated with EXPERIENCED real estate agents. Maybe this guy thinks he can sell overbuilt American style homes for an inflated commission. I guess I hope that it works out for them, I surely don't want to be a nay sayer. I think, however, that if I found the home they settled on, I could knock on the door and it would be empty. I think that they might be a perfect example of what Belizeans have come to expect from expat Americans.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Today's fog in this short blog.
The minutes have a hazy feel.
The hours run a crazy squeal.
Only just this day's appeal
The last one for a few,
The last one here with you.

Monday, February 25, 2013

In 3 days Sean leaves for Belize. Time has just flown by! My house is rapidly emptying. I guess I should say something about how the finality of this is hitting me, but I can't, in truth. The finality of this hit me a few weeks ago when I had to allow my teens to enroll in school with their father. This has been a final plan for months. I am surprisingly calm. I hope that it is not the calm before the storm. I hope it's the calm from knowing we've done all the planning in the world, and I feel confident things will work out.

We made the choice to move a reality about a year and a half ago. We started looking at different countries including Costa Rica, and Mexico. We settled on Belize for so many reasons. Property in Costa Rica would be three times as expensive as Belize. Mexico is not the safest place for an American these days. I think when we began this plan, Mexico was still on the radar. The US media just makes the entire country out to be practically a war zone...we'll visit from Belize. Guatemala, Panama, Ecuador...All examined and eliminated for some reason or other.

We chose Belize. English is spoken officially. Although, I believe my high school Spanish will get quite the polishing. Americans can own land in Belize...even coastal properties. The climate is almost perfect...excepting the occasional hurricane. A hurricane is horrible, don't get me wrong. But they are not exactly the type of weather system that sneaks up on a person. When there is a huge storm forming over the sea, head for higher ground. If there is one thing I've learned already, it is that the building you are in is not your home. It's just sticks and bricks. Bring the ones you love and build again. The native Belizean population is, as a rule, friendly. EVERY populous has their bad guys, sure. But as in the states, if you want to keep company with shady types, then your door will be darkened. I'm a sunny gal! Bring it all to the light of day kind of gal...I have always said, "What you do in the dark will come to light." I believe that. And we picked Belize for the opportunity. I know from making some new Belizean friends, that some would argue there is no opportunity in this developing nation. I disagree. First and foremost, Sean and I are not going there thinking we will emerge in 5 years with our initial investments engorged to explosion. We are not the type of people who need a pile of money to sit on. We need opportunity enough to keep a roof over our heads, and food in our bellies. To be able to do this in a beautiful Caribbean clime...THAT'S opportunity!

AFTER settling on Belize, I began making contacts through various Internet allies. One of the gentlemen I met had a little tiny house he was looking for someone to house sit for several months while he and his wife are in the states. We thought that this would be perfect for us. It would get us on the ground and give us a base for exploration. We have saved enough money to be fine for several months or even years, so we had planned to give ourselves about 6 months on land before we dove into any business contracts. The timing, however, was not on our side. The fella' needed someone before we would be ready to leave. He was a nice guy though, and offered to assist us by looking into rentals for us. He was kind enough to offer to visit the rental and give us the "heads up" as to what we were getting into. During this process, I posted a thread to one of the (many) forums about Belize. The thread was a risk. People on the forums tend to be snarky, most seem like they don't wish for anyone to move to Belize. They pick and prod one another...like middle school, without detention. Anyway...I posted this thread about how Sean is a certified chef, and I have experience in varied fields, the most recent in education of youth at risk for dropping out of school. I have researched the education system in Belize, and drop out prevention is DEFINITELY a need. I thought this would be my ace in the hole! A proven track record keeping ungrateful American teens in class should sell itself, right? ...Not so much. I get the impression that no one wants me riding in on my white horse to save the education system of the country. I think I would be welcome to buy some supplies for the schools, and donate them. And by donate...leave them and take my high falloutin' American education when I LEAVE. lol

But the little blurb about Sean's credentials...The experienced chef...THAT brought an interesting response. I was contacted by an expat who is running a little resort in Dangria. He has a partner who has a resort in the Mayflower Bocawina National Park and needs a chef. Emails, phone calls, and more emails....Sean took the job. We will be staying on property thus giving us our base for exploration. The gentleman who owns the place will go to bat for Sean to get a work permit. So...in just 3 short days, Sean will be proudly joining the staff of  http://mamanootsbelize.com/! Mama Noots is an eco resort, completely off the grid. It offers jungle adventures including waterfall rappelling, and the longest zip line in Belize! And as of Thursday....some of the best food in the country! Keep reading...this adventure is about to take flight!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

If you are following this blog, then you know one day last week I counted out the days I have left to roam this planet. With Sean heading out in 5 days, I feel like I should have counted it in minutes...or even seconds! I am just dreading the time I will spend here without him. The kids are staying at their dad's, and this place will feel like 10 rooms of lonely. I remember when the sheer enormity of this place was such a blessing to me! It was filled thumping down the stairs, one thousand trips to the fridge, someone's bass turned up too loud, rushing, flushing, and gushing, knowing and growing. Just myself and the kitty, we don't fill the sofa! We certainly don't fill this house! I'll close the doors to help with the echo. I'll take myself to dinner. I'll wait for this ending to make ME a beginner....

"Don't borrow trouble!" My mother would say.
"Don't worry. Don't fret. Kneel down and pray."
I'm never as strong as when I'm on my knees.
Please stay with me, God, as I head to Belize.

Little terse verse. Little word bird.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Planning, preparation, patience. It's all coming to an end. Rapidly replaced. Acting, action, ability in it's place.

I spend my days planning this move. I research, and network, and research some more. Then I clear out some closet. Then I research my planning. All this planning has occupied my thoughts and words and life. Now that the time to act on it is here. I have a minute to be nervous. Not so much nervous as DOWNRIGHT TERRIFIED! I don't know anyone else who has ever made a move like this. I have no litmus measure of the acidity. I have no scale to weigh the weight of this choice. I have no models of the covalent bond between myself and this new adventure. No way of knowing what parts of me I will give up and share, and no way of knowing what parts will attach and complete me. All these months of gathering facts, and at the pinnacle, it's still the complete unknown.

Sean is leaving in less than a week. I will follow shortly thereafter. The twins will be about 3 months behind. They are finishing the school year here with their father. I am clearing out possessions and often pause to wonder why? Why did we become attached to all this stuff? Part of the choice to move to Belize was because I wanted the kids to see that the world does not revolve around possessions. I am hoping to show them how much beauty is in the inhabitants of this planet. So much more out there waiting, growing, and evolving...Although the Walmart has gotten MUCH larger, there was no growth. It's just stuffed with more stuff. Possessed by possessions. I want more for my kids. I want less for myself. I am completely consumed by the plan. It now possesses me. The baskets and candle holders and big screen TV's are just my ball and chain.

I live in and am surrounded by the plan. The plan is the cocoon, I began it a pupa. I hope I have spent enough time on my wings. The imago arrives!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I have always loved the Wizard of Oz. When I was a child, it would come on the television every year, and my mom and I would plant ourselves in front of the tube and fantasize 2 hours away. Then came the VCR, and VHS tapes. I think the first movie we ever played through ours was probably The Wizard of Oz. I still have that tape 30 years later. I found it when I was clearing out my library last week. Although you would think that a little sweet faced brunette child would relate to Dorothy, I never did. Even at 6 years old, I found her whiny and a serial victim. She seemed to enjoy the trouble she found, thrive on it, and never really did solve her own problems. But the Wicked Witch of the West...Now there was a 'can do' gal! She knew how to get things done! She could FLY! If someone landed a house on my sister, I'd have been angry also. I didn't understand how her vendetta made her wicked. And when that whiny over sized child blasted her with the scrub water and fizzled her off the planet...I cried. Later, when I was in high school, and the Gregory McGuire book series began with Wicked, I became a fan right away. He gave the witch all the depth that I had known was there. I gobbled up his books and passed them to my mother. SHE always knew that I was not a Regular.

Over the course of my 40+ years, I have collected several green witches. I know that they were meant as Halloween d├ęcor, and most people would store them for the better part of the year. Not me. I have proudly displayed them throughout my home year round. Now that I'm moving, I need to deal with my witch collection. Last night I was bon voyage partying with my Regulars, my Dorothy(s). I was reminded that they ALWAYS follow the yellow brick road and I tend to straddle my broom and fly! They tried to melt me with their tears and fears. But they are not MY fears...not MY tears. I did not dissolve my resolve.

After the Regulars were spent, my Reals and I returned to my place and CRUSHED a bottle of Parrot Bay. (I am not near as sick as I thought I would be...might be my new drug of choice...but that's another blog.) I gathered my witches and we split them among ourselves. I had to keep the first one. She's cheap and she came out of a crane machine when I was just a child. But she was the start of this correlative collection, and she'll get to move to Belize also. My Reals each have a Melly doll!

I said yesterday that my Reals and I will see one another again...but I learned last night that one of my Reals can not get a passport! WOW! Who knew? I guess as a youngster, she did some crazy stuff with a stolen prescription pad...WOW! Again. So, I'll have to visit her in the states....SIGH...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Yesterday's move preparation consisted of....SHOPPING! (Go Melly!) I am only in my early 40's...and I have been guilty of giving up in the last few years. My winter wardrobe consists of; long floor length dresses or skirts, THICK leggings, sweaters (I counted 14 argyle sweaters alone!), and sweat suits. My summer wardrobe is....well....my summer wardrobe consists of some of those sweats with the appendages cut off. HaHa...Time for an upgrade! I am not too badly shaped under all this wool and fleece. My arms don't wave in the wind yet, and my kneecaps don't look like the pantie hose are sagging. All I need now is CONFIDENCE! Thank goodness for teen aged daughters! My baby went with me, and she is a REAL confidence booster! Some of the stuff she thought I should buy was a little more fashion forward than I am ready for...even in a Caribbean locale! I DID go with a two piece swimsuit though. HUGE STEP! And you can't go cold turkey on Quaker Wear, so I picked up a couple maxi dresses. Shorts are a little tougher....when I was in my 20's, I loved the fact that I had legs for miles! My Gram said "That girls got legs CLEAR up to her ass!" I liked my lithe legs. Yesterday, my legs only served to make the shorts look shorter! When did ALL shorts become short shorts? SIGH!

I'm a little tough on myself, and I felt like the day was fun and wasted in the shopping malls. So when I got home, I posted a bunch of junk for sale on my Facebook. People will buy ANYTHING! I was going to pitch a bunch of stuff until my oldest son's girlfriend convinced me that it would bring a couple bucks. We took some pics, and WOW! Fast and sold! Who knew there was a market for used baskets?

This evening I'm meeting The Regulars for a going away party. It will be interesting. Poor Regulars....

Monday, February 18, 2013

Aren't you going to miss all your friends?

This seems to be one of the biggest concerns my friends, The Regulars, have. The Regulars apparently do nothing without texting the Other Regulars first. Going for a burger? Bring Betty Regular. Want to catch a movie? Bobby Regular will join you. The Regulars somehow thing that person in the restaurant eating quietly and reading a book is somehow...Irregular.

It's not that I don't have good friends. I just have friends that ROAM. In my early twenties, long before Facebook posts inspired it, I eliminated the people from my life who were not positive. I had a group of Regular Girls and we did everything together. Until I realized that if I was ever going to amount to anything, I would need to walk alone. I remain friend(ly) with the Regular Girls. I just don't run every aspect of my life by them for approval. Once my mom passed, I kind of felt like "The buck stops here." The only approval I seek is God's.

Even Sean, with his "It's all just sticks and bricks." attitude...even Sean is sentimental for his old Regulars. Most of his Regulars are regulars at the local watering hole. He's spent a few evenings recently up to his eyeballs in alcohol. The reason? He might never have a chance to do a shot with any of his Regulars again. He may never see these people again.

I don't get it. I'm a funny kind of girl, I guess. My oldest and dearest friends, my Real Friends, are all over the planet at this point. It's not strange to meet up with the Reals for lunch at some random airport when we are within 200 miles of one another. My Reals are the type who take a drive to clear their head, and end up relocating to Oregon. My Reals are not in sync with the Regulars. It never occurred to me that I wouldn't see The Reals again.

The Regulars don't need to fret that they will lose sight of me. That DURN Facebook will make sure I know what they are eating and where they are drinking. The Regulars will post Regular updates. The Reals...well The Reals are just that...Real. Tangible. Visible. Huggable. The Reals.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A choice like this...one to relocate your family 3000 miles away to a developing nation...a choice like this does not come quickly, or easily, or even without it's share of tears. We started planning our escape over a year ago. If I'm realistic about it, we probably started planning our escape 10 years ago when Sean and I first fell in love. We have always had the plan to sell out and retire to somewhere far away. We bounced around some destinations. Italy was promising; Mexico was in the running. We hadn't eliminated the Philippines, or Taiwan. The dream just kind of meandered through our lives, pausing to spark a conversation every now and again. For me, the catalyst was the death of my Mama. I had spent years at her side caring for her through her illness and we lost her at just 63 years old! Sixty three short years, just 23,193 days, that was it. That's the entire life span. I am already on day 15,153! If my life times out at the same time hers did, then I have just over 10,000 days left to roam this beautiful planet! Should I believe the nay sayers and spend them sitting here, looking out the same safe window, at the same neighbors, and the same stray cats, and the same landscape, and work the same job, and drive the same car, and pay the same bills, and eat the same mac and cheese, and even create the same art E V E R Y D A Y? I think not. I am sorry for all the folks who don't have the gumption or backbones. I am sorry so many of my friends will spend their days as expected. I wish I could build the drive fire in them and assure everyone that they could do it! I am reminded that most humans are creatures of habit. Some of the same people who think we're nuts to do this, are the same people who eat at the same restaurant every week. The type of people who look forward to the chef's chicken n biscuit special on Tuesday. They come in at the same time. They greet their server by name and ask about her sick doggy. They have their drinks already laid out, they are so predictable. They are "The Regulars". I refuse to live a weekly life. I have about 1144 more Tuesdays and I'm going to eat 1144 different meals. I might even forgo the meal altogether...eat cheesecake at 11pm and call it a meal! Who knows? All I know for sure, I WILL NEVER GET PREDICTABLE!

Things are continuing to fall into place. Sean heard from the fella' that will be his employer. I think it's moving into the next trimester, and it is pretty safe to share our joyous news with the rest of the world. Up to this point, I have been vague about our concrete plans in Belize, because I didn't want to jinx us. AFTER we picked Belize, and AFTER we had planned our escape, I "met" a guy on the Internet looking for a chef. Sean is a master chef. (He was only working at the power plant for the $$$.) I got everyone in touch with each other and it looks as though we're going to try one another out. Sean will be running the restaurant at an Eco Friendly, Off-The-Grid, jungle resort. We will live on property and that will give us time to get accustomed to our new life before we jump in with both feet. It's an amazing opportunity for him and I am so proud! I believe there will be a position for me at this same resort if I chose. I have not set anything in stone because I'm not sure it's a great idea for BOTH of our work permits to be held by the same company. I have varied work experience. I have been everything from a bartender, to a 911 dispatcher, to working with at risk teens to prevent drop outs. My favorite job has been The Birch Tree- my own craft business. My bestie has always said that I'll leave better jobs than most people will ever get! lol That's just in my risk taking nature. I think perhaps I will expand on my Birch Tree experiences and build myself a primitive kiln. I could apply for a work permit as a small business. I would then be allowed to be my own employer. I could offer different activities for tourists...basket weaving, primitive ceramics. I would like to meet some native Belizeans and learn any craft they are willing to show me! I could hire locals to instruct tourists. I could take items on consignment. Heaven forbid something goes awry at Mama Noots. If it did, we would not be out of work completely. Sean could work with me! And then again...maybe we'll love Mama Noots so much that it will be our dream place. Maybe I'll stop dressing like a Quaker, show a little knee and tend bar again. Maybe I'll be having so much fun hiking the Mayflower Bocwana National Park, and rappelling the waterfalls that I'll become an activities guide at Mama Noots. It's fun to speculate, especially knowing that Sean will be there for back up. Please click through the link and check out the resort. It's breathtaking!

http://www.mamanootsbelize.com/









Saturday, February 16, 2013

Gotta' Eat.
Gotta' Eat Meat.
Gotta' beat feet to eat meat.
Like it's a sweet treat,
from a vendor in the street.
I repeat.
Gotta' eat.
Gotta' eat meat.
We are omnivores. In our house, WE EAT ANYTHING. We harvest the forest as well as our garden. We go 'shrooming for Morels and bring in shopping bags full. My daughter's favorite dish is Gramma's Turtle Soup!  My son was a mere 5 years old when he shot and killed his first meal for the family. At 8...he was taking trophy whitetails big enough to win the buck pool at the sportsman's club. At 12, he took his first bow kill. Right now, in our freezer, alongside the supermarket shrink wrapped chicken, beef and pork...We have packages of venison, elk, and some trout from a local stream. WE EAT ANYTHING! Meals always include meat.

That is our choice. I know some people don't partake in animal flesh...and some really strong willed folks will not even eat dairy. I don't understand how a restaurant could not be aware of this! It's 2013! The hippies have been perfecting their game for 50 years! We all know someone who DOES NOT EAT MEAT! When that someone shows up unexpectedly around meal time, Sean is able to provide a meal for ANY of our friends on a moments notice! Strictly vegan? Fine...no pasta for you. Have rice with your stir fry...and no one will flavor your rice with bullion. A vegetarian, or vegan, should not have to eat a series of side dishes when a guest in our home! And most certainly should not have to order a series of side dishes when out at a restaurant. It only takes a moment to prepare a fresh and balanced meal with no meat products. Shouldn't most establishments have taken this under advisement, and offer a vegan plate?

With the tasty produce offerings in most Belizean markets, my vegan friends should eat like kings! And they will...as soon as Sean gets off the plane. ;)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I spent the day yesterday driving all over God's country, Almost Heaven, West by God Virginia, looking at motor homes for sale. I write a lot about my twins, but not as often about my oldest son. He is 21 and out on his own. He has expressed ZERO interest in joining me on this adventure to Belize, even though I volunteered to foot the bill. So...I'd like to leave him with a shelter in case his were to be lost. I know that at his age, stuff sometimes happens. By leaving the country, I am taking his fail safe away also. There will be no running home to Mom's house if you don't pay your bills. So I thought I'd buy him a motor home! He could park it in his yard until a time he needs it. Hopefully, he will never need to sleep there...but... If he doesn't use it for shelter, then he could use it to go to those "gigs" he's always booking for himself. That way if the "gigs" involve drinking (or anything) he can just hole up in a field until he's sober. I didn't find anything yesterday, but I'll keep trying.

Today I am going to get Sean to send out an email to the guys that we may be meeting up with in Belize. I say may because although there was an offer on the table from them, again...stuff sometimes happens. I will believe it when I see it. Today, Sean will contact them again and hopefully get enough confirmation that I will be confident posting our CONCRETE plan to arrive in Belize. Until then....

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I DID IT!!! It took two days instead of just one, but I got through Mount Bookstore! I gave a bunch to my family and friends, and I kept ONLY ONE SMALL BIN! (Yeah me!) Once the dust settled...and I mean that literally, those things were dusty...Once the dust settled I was left with the small mountains I'll picture below. I posted them on my Facebook, and they were gone by nightfall! Mount Bookstore is no more!




I know I'm late today...but I'm awful tired now. More tomorrow...

Monday, February 11, 2013

Today I will tackle this mountain of books!
On every flat surface and in all the nooks...
I'll stack and I'll sort
and finally abort
And give to each one my last looks...


As cliche as it is...Sometimes when it looks like things are falling apart, they are really falling into place. We got some wonderful news late last evening. Again...I'm reminded of why expectant moms don't reveal until after the first trimester. I know...I know... The suspense is killing you right? In due time....lol!

I guess I startled someone with my cruise ship plan...PLEASE know that this is not the path we have chosen. It was merely part of the thought process we have been through. Heck! There was a moment when I considered driving myself and the twins down through Mexico! Without a man! LOL...never happen.

I surprised at how sentimental I've been about my stuff. I was cleaning out closets and found my (very SMALL) remaining collection of 45's. For years, I collected 45's. I would spend hours with my mother at thrift stores, or flea markets pouring over other's collections and carting out my picks. I had amassed quite an ENORMOUS collection! About 5 years ago, when the collection was at it's peak, I had well over 2000  little black records. They were overtaking me so I gave a pile of them to a DJ friend of mine. I sold a bunch on Craigslist, and whittled down to the remaining 200 or so. The ones that I kept, I will still pull out, put a stack on the old turntable, and jam out! Every time I do, I think of the little suitcase record player I had as a child. It had plaid wallpaper on the outside, and you had to tape a nickel to the arm for weight. I got caught up in the 45's in the back of that closet that day. I caught myself flipping through them and belting out all the songs to my poor fat cat. Not unlike a 1970's Mr. Microphone commercial. Poor kitty. I'm a terrible tune! And I realized that I am attached to...stuff. So the 45's made the cut. They are in a bin bound for storage and eventually I'll reunite with them. SIGH

Today's mission is the book collection. Floor to ceiling and 21 feet long...How will I fare? Each of those books was chosen. Many contain memories pressed between their pages. Sean will remind me that "It's just stuff honey...even the house is just sticks and bricks." I know it's unrealistic to think thousands of pounds of books can be moved with me to Belize. But...books have personality, they have always been my friends. I'll crack their spines and sniff their pages...I'll be stuck for hours on those with inscriptions. But I will do it. I will carry my friends to the back of the truck and haul them off to their new forever home.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

I have always known that success in life is not measured buy your bank account.

The Dali Lama said, "The planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds."

This is my story. My measure. My live life. Success!
When I began blogging, I said that I would try to follow our journey chronologically.The daunting task of opening my mind to strangers and (harder still) acquaintances has drawn me off course. It sometimes has removed all logic...not just CHRONOlogic. So this morning I'll share with you some of the plans we have kicked around...

Although Belize has a very generous retirement program, as I mentioned before, we are not near retirement. I still feel at least 20 or 25 years left in this old nag. And Seans younger than me! Even if I did want to retire to Belize this year, I am still (a couple) years shy of the 45 years one needs. So the QRP won't work for me.

We considered planting me in Belize and then have Sean become the wage earner. He would go back to work for Disney only this time on the cruise ships. He could work out of Cancun or Miami and would earn an American salary while living a Belize lifestyle. The ships would require him to work 3 months on the boat then he'd get 3 months off...This would eliminate his chances of obtaining residency in the near future. In order to be considered for residency status one must not leave the country for more than 14 days in a year. If this plan pans out...I'd be farming and living in Belize all year. My primary job focus would be to get that residency card. I'd be able to hire a local to help me with my daily tasks, and get my foot in the door as an employer. Sean would be flying in and out as his job permits, and direct depositing his paychecks. Once we have reached our next savings goal, then he could quit the cruise ship. and come to Belize for good with me. If I have residency before then, I'll just be able to open a business for us. If I'm not a resident then we'd just have to request a self employment permit from the GOB.

We hesitate to set this plan in motion. Sean is a big guy... He's got legs like tree trunks and his shoulders rival those in the NFL. Although he's a gentle soul, and he doesn't intimidate small children or puppies...he does intimidate the average bad guy. I laugh because often times a man will be making his best play toward me, then when Sean walks up I get..."Uh. Yes, Ma'am. You sure do have a nice looking family. Let me buy you that drink I've been mentioning...One for your husband? Great to meet you sir." But without that...to plan to spend 3 months at a time without him...(where's my big pink SIGH?)...I'm not sure if I'd even be safe! I looked into arming myself once I got into Belize, and although this is possible, it's not as common as it is here in the States. I would not be able to bring a sidearm into the country, and would have to buy one once I arrived. I know there will be people (especially on the forums) who will think that I am inviting trouble. People who feel that by carrying a gun, I would be inviting trouble. Let me just say this... I was raised in a house where guns were common. My mother's second husband was a gun dealer for goodness sakes! I could be packing on the beach and NO ONE WOULD EVER KNOW! I would have the peace of mind knowing that my 100lb self is protected. I am not going off half cocked and waving my stuff all around. And it's not all about the people! I find that people are generally kind and helpful when given the chance. VERY few axe murders or rapists even exist. But what about the animals!? In spite of my hippie tree hugging history, I wouldn't hesitate to take out a puma or pig...or croc...or even a cute little monkey if it's getting aggressive. As my God requires, I would eat what can be eaten and pray for what couldn't. Ever thankful for it all.

The cruise ship plan is not the best plan. It is not the ideal plan. It is not the plan we have settled on. It is a plan though. Feel free to copy and paste this plan into your own lives...lol. And feel free to copy and paste this blog onto your own pages! :p ...More soon....

Saturday, February 9, 2013

I have a gift. I have the gift of completely forgetting. It is truly a gift. It allows forgiveness when people are cruel. It provides a place to lay down the weight of the world. I am able to block out a single event...or an entire state of being. There is a psychological term for this; and it's widely considered unhealthy. But in the spirit of making lemons into lemonade, I have always embraced it! Cherished it! My little black hole of memories...

Sometimes a little bubble breaks the surface, and I am reminded of one of those deeply sunken treasures...

When I was still in high school, I knew everything...I was the only kid in my senior class to have an apartment and a job. Good friends would climb the fire escape and drag my bum to class...Ahh! Bubbles...

Anyway...this was the 80's! Many cultural evolutions away from the 1960's...Yet I spent that summer touring the coast with the Grateful Dead sleeping in a van and selling grilled cheese. Yup. Me. Funny to me now. But also one of the parts that have made up this whole...one of the driving turns in my ability to adapt... Not adapt. THRIVE! So...please don't worry and be smart enough not to doubt.

I can do ANYTHING!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Some people are cut out to be drones,
clones,
never on your owns.

me? More the roller coaster ride,
fire inside,
never even tried
to be satisfied.

kinetic energy
The last couple days have been hard on me. It's a very personal issue involving my children, and I'm not comfortable sharing the gory details on a blog. Just suffice to say that I'll probably be leaving for Belize ahead of them. I don't know how I managed to raise twins woth NO SENSE OF ADVENTURE! I feel very strongly that this plan is one that will benefit them in their lives. I see what the kids leaving high school have under them as a foundation, and it's scary! I have always just assumed that my kids would continue on to college. I feel that the cyber education I am able to offer them while in Belize will be plenty to allow for them to get their degree(s). I also feel that the opportunity to live in a completely different culture, a completely different way of life, would help to build their foundations even stronger. But alas! The nay sayers have gotten them. They have asked me to enroll them in school and allow them to live school years with him here in the states. They will visit for extended times, but they are not ready to jump in with both feet! As my children are my world, this presents quite a dilema. Without going into a "trash bash ex-fest" Allow me to say that I have been the primary care giver for these kids all their lives. Their father has had some issues over the years, and has not always been a fine upstanding father to them. My dilema is this... Do I go to court and force my kids to move 3000+ miles with me? I have spoken with my attorney, and because of the history, I would have no problem getting an order stating that they are to live and school with me from Belize and spend summers here with their father. The court will actually look at it as though I'm bending over backwards to assure that the twins still have the contact with their father that a child needs. But the whole nature of a court order is daunting. I fear that the kids will resent me if I take away the choice. Teens are hard enough, without turning them into resentful teens! I knew that a custody order was in order, to protect myself as well as the other parties involved. I never dreamed that I would have to sign off on an oprder that allowed for their (lax) father to have custody of them for 8 months a year! That's what it'll amount to...school years here with their dad and their friends...then summers in a third world country with Mom. This is tough on me. Just the thought is tough, imagine the day I have to walk away from them at the airport and leave them behind. Just writing it, makes me cry.

I have to continue. I have to push through. I am hoping that once this school year ends, and they come for a summer visit, that they fall so in love with the lifestyle, that they just stay with me. But even if they don't...even if they hate every slow minute of Belize life...They will still have some of the benefit of another culture. I will not turn back, or allow the nay sayers to instill the fear of the unknown in me! One of these pop stars has a slogan... "Everybody dies, but not everybody lives!" I am living! And once the twins see just HOW I'm living...hopefully they'll be living with me!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Push through it! Stick to it!
You promised to blog every day,
so put your private thoughts away
and open them to display
They want to hear what you will say.


I'm having a series of rough moments...I'll sit down this afternoon and try to make sense of them for you all...In the meantime...SIGH!

Monday, February 4, 2013

I can't write. No words today.
I might get drunk and let Jimmy Buffet Play...

Sunday, February 3, 2013

One of the forums raised the question of education today.  I have a set of 14yo twins, I have thought about this months ago during our planning / saving process. I will be cyber schooling the twins. The education in Belize is not up to US standards, and as the twins may want to live differently than I am once they are grown, to take their education away is just child abuse. Luckily, our local school district offers a cyber program for students who have goofy parents that drag them 3000+ miles to an underdeveloped nation. I have worked extensively with students who have used a similar program because they either had attendance issues at a traditional school, or because they were removed from public school for some other reason. I find the biggest drawback to such an education is that students don't complete their lessons when left to their own devices. Ahhh...but this mom is going to get ahead of that. I will block all other programs from the twins' laptops. If they want to Facebook, or Instagram, they will have to use MY computer...If they want to use MY computer, they will have to show that the school work is complete. Simple. Effective. And only a little bit mean. ;)

I believe that they will have to return to PA each year for their finals. The flight home will still be more affordable than a good private education in Belize. Also, the twins still have family and they will want to visit. I'll ship them home in time for finals, and they can stay here with their family until the weather turns cold again... Then fly back to sunny tropical Belize with Mama! What teenager wouldn't love that?!? Well...mine. lol As I touched on before, Abby seemed to be excited with our plan and Ben was not quite as gung-ho! Ben will miss his Friday Night Lights...Big Dog in the hallway of high school. I am torn about weather I should allow him to stay with his father for the school year. I had thought that might be a good idea, until I remembered how irresponsible that father is...sigh. And Ab is kind of getting cold feet. For the longest time, she seemed excited about a new culture, and 5 hours of cyber classes each day. The closer we get to time to fly, the less excited she seems about it. I thought I had a good plan, but I might be changing it up...think on my feet. I may allow the kids to try out staying with their dad for the remainder of this school year. That would give me several months in Belize without them. I would take a bunch of beautiful pictures and send them off in hopes of bringing the twins around to how much fun I'm having. If their grades and attendance are good with their father, then the choice is theirs. If their schooling slips (as I predict) then they are not so far behind that I can't help them correct it via cyber school. This is all so confusing. I don't know how it will play out...SIGH

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Lurkers Lurkers everywhere!
They seek a blog to read.
Posts and comments here and there
Reflecting on my feed.

Feed Fly Flow Fodder!
Let the judgement begin! There are those who think we're just coo coo to even want to do this. I can understand that. We are, after all, Americans. Most of my peers are just trying to pay off the mortgage, and the orthodontia, keep gas in their SUV's, and Big Macs on the table. I understand the thought of moving to the jungle and building a hut to live in is not every one's cup of tea. I'm excited to get back to basics for a while! I want to render my goats milk into soap. I want to gather eggs from my chickens (and worry about them when they molt). I want to harvest my breakfast. Most of my friends get testy when the Eat & Park runs out of potato soup. I can't think of any one who would chose to give up all the conveniences besides us. But that's why WE'RE the ones doing it! The judgement I'm talking about this morning has nothing to do with our relocation plans.... Someone (and you know who you are) is upset by my blog post that said I would be bringing BOTH of my Bibles. This person went into quite a rant about how each time the King James Bible is translated, 10% of it's original meaning is lost. Hummm....Unless you have read the text in Hebrew and re-read it in ALL it's translated forms, how can a person tell me that what I'm teaching my children is 10% less accurate!?! For the record, I read to the kids each morning before we head out for the day. I randomly pick a chapter and then we discuss the meaning and how we can bring that meaning into our modern lives. I read it aloud from a translation called The Living Bible, but I also use my King James Version as a comparison. There ARE times when we prefer the KJV...but there are also times when the NLV is more relatable to my teenagers. As a Christian, I would hope that other Christians are not so busy on their soapboxes that they overlook the good that comes from our family's morning Bible read. If my choice of translations does not match up with your choice of translations then let's go with BOTH versions...

Luke 6:37 KJV "Judge not and ye shall not be judged: condemn not and ye shall not be condemned: forgive and ye shall be forgiven..."

Luke 6:37 NLV "Never criticize or condemn - or it will all come back on you. Go easy on others; then they will do the same for you."

I can concede that this verse is maybe not the best to compare, as it DOES read quite differently. I don't find this much discrepancy usually, but in the interest of plowing through, I am posting the verse I looked to when I feel judged. I really owe a big old thanks to my Christian friend, as I have been attributing this verse incorrectly to Matthew for years... Maybe she's right? Ahhh...religion...more complicated than a blog.

I found the words yesterday to explain to Sean my testiness lately. I just am overwhelmed because all this has now somehow become MY responsibility. I was caulking the bathroom tub surround, and he made a comment about how he'd help me this weekend. HELP ME!? Wha?!... I don't know how this house sale stuff has become MY responsibility and HIS responsibility is to get to Belize before this job offer falls through. (Hey Christian Friend...unequally yoked.) I asked him to PLEASE bust butt for the next few weeks and get as much done as he could. He responded by fixing the stair rail, sorting his winter clothes, replacing lose tiles, re grouting the lose places in the main living room, FINISHING the trim in both the living room and upstairs bath, and replacing a pile of plastic outlet covers. He would probably have done more, but we found ourselves with no kids at home on a Friday and went out to a grown up dinner. No wonder I fell in love with this man! All I needed to do, was find the words and ask for help. He jumped to it! By the time he flies out, I should be languishing in a completely repaired home that is listed and ready for sale! HOORAY! I see the light at the end of the tunnel and no longer think it's a freight train coming at me!

We had a nice meal last night at The Grotto in Uniontown... Check out the page. Like it! Try the mussels... http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Grotto/165637496819082?fref=ts WEB SITE... http://www.thegrottorestaurant.com/ DELICIOUS! FRIENDLY! LOCALLY OWNED! GO THERE!

Friday, February 1, 2013

I called the vet to make an appointment for Chief (MisChief) to get his booster shots. He'll need to be current for entry into Belize. I also looked at the airline's website and Delta Air flys into Belize City and will allow me to take Chief as a checked bag without too many hoops. Good to know.

Sean has had this awful flu all week and has not been able to do much. I joke and tell him that it's OK. He needs to get better or when he arrives in the Caribbean, they will quarantine him to prevent him from creating a Pandemic. I told him that if I was lucky, they would put him in a hospital bed and he would be stuck there until I sell this house. :) Wouldn't it be poetic justice that the only friends he could make would be the nurses? The only sunrise he could enjoy would be from a little bittle hospital window? Nah...That's just me being nasty. He's on the upswing, and will be 100% long before he flys out of Pittsburgh.

This blogging thing is harder than it looks. It's tough to keep things going; fun, fresh, in some type of order...

I shared that I am a forum lurker...is there a name for that? TROLL? not really. I thought that Trolls said snarky things or posted countless links to their blogs or their naked pics. That's a BOT you say? Ah well, I'm getting off topic again....

I finally worked up the nerve to post something to the boards. I posted a hypothetical about our situation and asked if it would be possible for us to work once we got to Belize. We are not old enough, or really in any financial situation to "retire". The feedback I got from the other posters was this... The Government of Belize (GOB) allows non residents to work in Belize in two ways. One can open a business that will eventually employ native Belizeans. Or one can work for someone who is willing to "go to bat" for you. By this, I mean that the employer must request your work permit and show that they have exhausted themselves looking for a qualified Belizean citizen. Sean and I figured that we would go the small business route. We kicked around a bunch of ideas; that's another blog in itself. Our budget would allow us to hire a Belizean right away -even before we opened a business. This is good. You have a fella' who is working for you, and goes with you to say what a great employer you are. The GOB sees you as an asset, rather than some smarty pants American taking the jobs.

But it looks as though this is not how things will be playing out...