New Year – 2017 in Nicaragua

Another wonderful New Year to look forward to for me in Nicaragua.  I honestly cannot be thankful often enough for following my gut and moving to Nicaragua.  This is a beautiful and eye-opening place to learn and share my life.

Some people stay up to watch the ball drop at Times Square in NYC.  New Year’s Eve I stayed up to watch the fireworks displays at three beaches from the friend’s house where I was staying for 12 days.  It was an amazing  display in the sky.  One of the venues lasted for almost 10 minutes.

As I mentioned  in my previous blog, I have been somewhat of a gypsy since Thanksgiving.  Fortunately my condo has been rented.  However, when the condo is rented, I have to move out.  This presents new opportunities to organize stuff in the “personal closet” so that everything that needs to be put away will fit into a VERY small lockable space.  A challenge, and enlightening.  I am finding it interesting to realize what “stuff” is really important.  The moving exercise is also fascinating as I learn  my friends life’s routines.  Once again, I ponder on how and why does one put value on stuff.

Living in this rural area in an upscale community versus the village communities surrounding Rancho Santana is enlightening to say the least.  Although the stark contrasts of the early years of my life here versus the contrasts of today have diminished, stark contrasts still exist.

The villages of Limón # 1 and Limón #2 have three times as many new brick or block homes with concrete floors and painted exteriors.  This has occurred because more of the people can afford to buy the materials to slowly build their homes.  (That sounds like me with my Guasacate house building project–the slowly part.)  There are still pigs with the triangular orcetas around their necks roaming in and crossing the roads without a care of cars, buses, or motorcycles.  Horses wander where they please and cows are herded in the road from property to property.  I somehow have accepted these phenomena as normal and surprise myself about this at times.  Then I sit on my terrace and watch the most spectacular skies at sunset and am so grateful once again.

Life updates:  I have embarked on another exciting work adventure.  I am working with a Rancho Santana friend, Gail Geerling, who has a business called Success Nicaragua.  We are starting a property management segment of her business and will soon have a website for the world to see.  For the past two weeks I have been busy relearning Excel spreadsheet formatting and writing property management documents that can be used as “plug & play” templates.  Relearning something that changed since first learned is challenging.  I guess I should say unlearning old habits is challenging.  I’m not perfect at the tasks yet, but certainly farther ahead than I was two weeks ago.  Gail teaches time management, therefore she is trying to get me to perform laptop operations in the most expedient way.  Gail has been a patient mentor for sure.  I love what I/we are doing and it keeps me out of trouble and off the streets.

Many of my RS friends are returning to the Ranch this past week.  Last year many of them were here for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays and vowed not to come again at that time because it was so crowded.  As a result this year the Christmas “crowd” here was minimal at best.  Almost all the condos were empty except for mine and three or four other condos whose owners live here full time or are owners from Managua.  My renters  were Managua residents who brought their Santa paraphenalia with them for their young children.  I had to laugh because the five year old told her parents that Santa was “very skinny”.  Santa was the mother’s brother  visiting with them from CA over Christmas and is indeed tall and thin.  Everyone at my condo had a good time.

I have been to the new Esmeralda Coast International airport (ECI) twice in the past two weeks picking up clients and neighbors in the condos.  Since it is only a 15 minute trip, it is a piece of cake drive for me.  And of course, you have to know that I have been an airplane/airport buff since I was a very young child.  So seeing how our little ECI runs is a pleasure for me.

The Guasacate house has had more infra structure on the ground around the buildings to accommodate a road on the ocean side of the houses which required three big pieces of earth moving equipment onsite for about six hours one afternoon and night.  The end result will make the driveway on the ocean side as solid as the rock the houses were built upon.

This coming week is the annual Roberto Clemente Clinic Board Meeting and Health Fair.  Of course, I will be in attendance at the Meeting and working at the Fair. My Spanish has improved immensely over the past year as  I have learned to listen in Spanish versus trying to interpret between Spanish and English as I hear words.  This is not such an easy task for a visual learner–me.  I hope to be more useful to the Fair attendees as a result of the improved language skills.

There is always something new and interesting to do here.  So I look forward to see month by month what 2017 has in store for me.

Buen Salud y Prospero Año Nuevo to all those who follow my Life in Nicaragua.

Earth moving from my Guasacate terraces–downstairs on the left, upstairs on the lower right.

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Christmas Holiday in Nicaragua

This is the first year that I haven’t traveled back to California for the many December birthdays and the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.  Since this is my home now and all of my children came to Nicaragua this summer, I felt like I needed to stay here and share the festivities with my friends and families in Nicaragua.  Like in the US, the Christmas decorations began appearing in the stores in October even before the Day of the Dead decorations were presented for sale.  Marketing is endemic.

We are currently enjoying cool days, nights, and rain which is late for this season.  Although we have had good rain, we are still not up to the past ten year average.  It looks like mud for Christmas around Rancho Santana with slippery roads even with 4WD.  The tires fill with mud and tend to slide unless going very slow.  Driving in mud is one of the pleasures of rural living. (I’ll take mud over snow any day.)   I keep a pair of outside sandals at the door.  Think next year I’ll invest in a pair of garden/mud boots.

The past two months brought lots of work to me.  Dr. Raman Basha came to the Tola area for his fourth Basha Health Clinic which we held at Carmen’s Spa in Limón #2 for ten days.  Basha brought with him an assistant, Rebecca Gitana Torres, from NYC. We worked a lot everyday in the morning.  Dr. Basha did acupuncture and after dark we did Thermography–total body scanning.  We did have some beer breaks in between.  All in all the Clinics were very successful.  The local folks who came were treated gratis.  Surprisingly we even had a group of people who came all the way from Rivas to be treated. Rivas is one hour away; one family came two days in a row.  As a result of the success, Dr. Basha and I decided that he would return to the Limón #2 area every 90 days in 2017.  It makes sense for us to have the Clinics here in our area, although we had previously thought Dr. Basha would have the next Clinic in the Laguna de Apoyo area.

While Dr. Basha was here, I had the condo rented for a week so we all had to move out.  Dr. Basha and Rebecca stayed at a great hotel in Guasacate–Hotel Popoyo and El Toro restaurant, while I moved up to Rancho Santana friends Abby & Felipe’s house.  Lots of excitement during this week away as well.  One day I received a call while we were working at Carmen Spa that there was a tsunami alert that was FOR REAL.  Since Basha and Rebecca’s domicile was very near the beach and on flat land, Rebecca was anxious to get over to Guasacate and collect their things.  We had a flurry of activity for about an hour, retrieved their precious things and headed up to a higher ground restaurant in Las Salinas.  Many of the local folks in Guasacate were enroute up my house on the hill above El Toro.  After one hour, the alert was called off, the waves never got above three feet.  At the same time on the Caribbean Coast Hurricane Michael hit Bluefields and Corn Island.  Rivas was on alert for hurricane damage as well but it turned south before it hit land and calmed down.  We didn’t even get much rain out of all the commotion at that time.

In early November I was a guest at the wedding of one of my friend’s son.  I rented my condo to the family at a very reduced rate so moved out during that time too.  The wedding was small 35 guests but beautiful and so much fun for three days.  Dinners at La Taqueria here at Los Perros beach and the wedding and dinner at La Boqueta at the Rosada beach.  It was fun to see some of the NY ladies walking in the wet sand–yes, it rained that morning–in their stiletto heels.  Needless to say, I have a pair of sandals that are sort of fancy and work for me on sand.  (Dress Up for me is putting on earrings.)   The group of young folks who were part of the wedding party and their friends were such a delight to get to know.  It was very obvious that everyone cared a great deal about each other and their relationships with the wedding couple.  There was the choreographed wedding party dance and the groom throwing the bride’s garter over his shoulder into the pool where the guys all ended up in their wedding suits–minus their jackets.  Father of the groom knew the score, came with his swimsuit on under his clothes and stripped to the swimsuit at the appropriate time of the dunking.  I can’t remember when I ever enjoyed a wedding that was so much fun for three days.  Maybe the fun part is that of being a guest and watching it all happen rather than being a participant in the event.

Last week I had a first time experiencing sunset from my Guasacate house that is under construction.  All I can say is WOW.  Now more than ever I can’t wait to get that house finished and move up there.  It was one of those clear and cloudy days.  You could see Costa Rica during the day from the property and at sundown, the clouds were scattered and like sheep puffs that reflected the colors of the setting sun on the sky and ocean, a spectacular sight.

Almost everyday in December I have a birthday person in the US to call and sing to on their special day.  It certainly is a lot cheaper to make a Magic Jack phone call then to pay for a plane ticket to the US.  I will be going back in May and June  2017 for three of my grand daughter’s graduations–Esther from college, Robyn and Jessica from high school.  It is hard to believe that my grandchildren are getting to be adults already.  Yikes!  As for birthdays, I like my mother’s quote, “It is only a number on a piece of paper.”

Time to sign off here, look for some candles to put in the menorah on the table, and dig out the Christmas table runner.  Yes, I still maintain some favorite traditions for myself.  Not sure what the tenants who are here for Christmas week will think of their schizophrenic host’s decorations.  Home is always where my heart is.  I invite friends and family to come visit in 2017 especially after June.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Joyful Peaceful Holidays.

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 Awesome

 

 

Rain Brings Humido

Yes, in order to be grateful for the wonderful rain, one has to accept the humidity as well.  I can’t honestly say that I like humidity so I turn on all the fans in the house during the day.  If it is really bad, I’ll turn on some AC for 30 minutes or so to dry things out here in the condo.

Since Sept. 28th I have been back at my condo and will remain here off and on in between  renters.  The new owners of Barbara’s house where I had been living for two years finally were able to move in on Oct. 1st.  It is good to be living in my own place for a number or reasons.  I am able to see what needs repair or replacement on a daily basis.  The condo is almost seven years old and has had its share of renters–some good, some not so careful.  All in all, Loamy Guzmán and his maintenance crew have made all the changes I requested and repaired the dings in concrete, wood, and paint.  In Nicaragua, as in the US or anywhere when you own a rental property, there are always maintenance issues that create choices to repair, replace, or ignore.  I like my homes to be pristine whether or not I live there.

I have had company in October.  Barbara, who was homeless when her house sold, became my roommate for three weeks.  We had a great time, sorting, repacking, and discussing what I need to store and what I would need to use here at the condo.  It was amazing how many things I had moved up to Barbara’s house that then came back to the condo with me. Thank Isis my personal closet at the condo is able to handle six crates of items that will eventually move into the new Guasacate house.  My children brought many of the crates that were stored in my daughter’s garage in CA when they came to visit this summer.  I had forgotten about what I had left in CA–out of sight, out of mind.  Barbara, with her previous packing wisdom, offered to inventory every item as it went into a crate for storage.  Each crate has a number and a separate inventory sheet.  I can now decide in the future if my stuff is relevant to whatever the lifestyle becomes.  Careful inventory lists are not only useful but I recommend they are mandatory.  It is interesting that I had always done the crate inventory lists when I was bringing supplies for the Clinic.  I could whip out the lists from my computer, send the lists to MENSA and then show them to customs at the airport.  This saved me many a headache upon arrival in Managua.  I won’t have to report my stuff to MENSA when I move again, however our lists will be prioritized for unpacking in the new home.

We had a visitor for a week here at the condo.  My friend, Joan Livingston from Salina, KS, finally came to visit after six years.  I met Joan in the Houston airport in 2004 when I was returning from my first NI trip.  Joan was on her way to Rancho Santana to look at property.  We sat next to each other at a coffee shop in the airport and started talking.  I gave Joan all the info about the lot that I had just bought and shared my love of the area.  Joan did buy a lot not too far from my original property in Rosada area of Rancho Santana.  She, however, sold her piece six years ago and hadn’t been back to NI since.  You can imagine the fun that Barbara and I had taking Joan to all the places both inside and outside of RS that were new to her.  We spent everyday, rain or shine, exploring.  Then we rushed back to the condo made dinner and played Dominoes–or tried to learn to play Cribbage.  We made up a new game but never did figure out the rules for Cribbage; had much laughter though.

The three of us had the privilege of invitations to a Fundación Fenix feria and the following evening the 1st year birthday party–a grand event–for Sebastian Morales Guzmán.  Sebastian is my friend/family Carmen Guzmán’s son.  That family/campo has grown from 32 people when I lived there three years ago to 50 members now.  It is so encouraging to see how the family interacts with each other.  The love that is shared among them at all times is elevating.  There is no hierarchy apparent.  Everyone receives respect or correction/instruction as appropriate.  I am fascinated and grateful to be a part of this family.

Fútbol is a big sport in our area.  Three of my Guzmán family chicos play on the RS Limón team so I have been attending the Saturday afternoon games when they are played at Fun Limón field.  The last two games were a dangerous sport because the field was a relative lake.  Players were sliding all over each other in singles and piles.  I honestly don’t know how they played but I guess the water from being down on the ground kept them cool.  It made it hard to run and kick though.  The games are fun to watch although sometimes a little sad too when the opposing team only has half the players and the RS team is in full force.  We tend to support our own in this community and one way is getting them to their games.  I like sitting behind the goal, although this is a little scary sitting at the picnic tables there.  Generally others at the table protect me from flying soccer balls.  I can yell as loud as anyone at the goals and at the referee when it isn’t the only woman ref I have ever seen at a men’s game.  The chica ref reminds me of my son, Aaron, how she calls serious infractions and talks to the players about other stuff.  She is especially good on the very wet field calls.  The last male ref was a real gestapo and nearly caused a riot from both team’s sideline spectators.

There are so many opportunities in NI now.  Alex Cuadra, the general manager for the new Costa Esmeralda International airport 15 minutes from me, spoke at the October El Limón Salon.  He not only discussed the ease of coming in to NI through Liberia, Costa Rica and ECI, he talked about the growing number of opportunities for development in this rural area of Rivas Department.  It seems as though if you blink your eyes too many times, there is a new building in front of you that didn’t exist prior.  In November the El Limón Salon speaker will be Juan Cadera, the president of ANID–Association of Nicaragua Independent Development.  I am very anxious to hear Juan again.  It has been a year since I last heard him speak about development in Managua.  Now with the airport in Rivas, I want to hear what he sees for our area.

Everyday brings a new possibility for me.  I have been showing new people the properties that are for sale. No I haven’t added real estate broker to my Bio, but maybe I should.  It is fun for me and I learn new things too.  There are so many pieces to the puzzle of my life; I enjoy fitting a new piece into place.

Although I haven’t taught my Cuidadores de Personas classes for over two years, there is interest now to begin teaching the course again through the NGO Fides Camina.  A definite need for caregivers exists in NI.  The hospitals especially would benefit from using nursing assistants for the caregiving tasks.  Dras. Chamorrow, who run Fides Camina, are very interested in the possibilities for the defined caregiving program that I developed.  We are slowly working on details of execution for the program.

This brings me to discuss work with Dr. Basha’s Clinic that he will be doing again here in the Limón area this month.  Although we are planning a large Basha Clinic for January in the Granada/Laguna de Apoyo area, Basha can’t resist coming here again to work.  Did I mention that he also likes to surf early in the morning and then work all day.  Basha is such a good Chinese Medicine doctor and acupuncturist; we are privileged that he wants to come here to work.  Of course, I’ll be doing his logistics again.  Unfortunately, my condo is rented while he is here so I’ll have to find another place for him to stay.  There are many options for places to stay close to the surf and to work.  The Spas at RS and Carmen’s Spa are perfect venues for Basha’s work.

Although I have been bragging for years about my great dental health, this week I will get to experience the excellent work of the NI dentists.  I developed a cavity under my gold bridge that served me and lasted 50 years.  The bridge was removed last week.  This week, I will have the affected tooth removed, two posts placed for a new bridge in two months that will hold both the new tooth and a false tooth that replaced the one in the original bridge with new white crowns on the supporting teeth.  And by the way this whole process will cost me less than $3000 at the Vivian Pellas Odontological Clinic, the most modern facility easily comparable to the best dental practices in the US.  I am very happy with the four dentists I have already seen–the regular dentist who cleans my teeth, Dra. Cynthia Watson; Dr. Ramon Hernandez, the prosthedontist; Dra. (can’t remember her name) endodontist; and Dra. Alvarado, the peridontist who will begin her magic this week.  All of these dentists speak fair English and all but Dra. Watson have had specialty training outside of NI although their initial dental school training was at the university in Leon.  Dr. Hernandez was recently accepted at Loma Linda U. in So. CA for a second Master’s Degree in Prosthedontics–a three year course.   It would pay to come to NI to have major dental work done.  Medical tourism isn’t a joke here especially if you have a local advocate.  Maybe this could be a new business for me too.  Never retire is my motto.

November is the beginning of homeowner’s returning to RS and the general area.  There will be many gatherings and catching up with news.  Hopefully I will be able to keep all the activity lined up and not double book myself–which I have done and had to apologize for the error.

Please continue to pray for rain for us here in NI and ignore my complaint about the humido.

Solo el amor prevalece.

Sebastián Birthday Party Kid’s tables  —  Barbara, Me, Joan (Adult tables)

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Sebastián with his proud Dad, Warren.  Birthday tradition someone always puts a finger in the frosting and then puts it on the celebrant’s cheek.  Sebastián had a great time with this.

 

 

 

 

Busy in Nicaragua

It feels like yesterday that I wrote my last essay/blog.  As I have mentioned in the past, retired I am not.  It is hard to state whether my busyness keeps me out of or gets me into more trouble.  All my activities seem to have a positive flow that still gives me time to relax and watch the beautiful colors of the fields, ocean, and the amazing sunsets.

In August I had a very interesting guest at the condo for one week, Patricia Layton, who spoke at the August El Limón Salon.  Patricia lives in Matagalpa Department and is a certified Food Over Medicine Instructor and Health Coach.  She showed us how to use the trees and plants we have locally for better health.  While she was staying at the condo, she  made me a special green smoothie everyday.  I hated to see her leave as we had such a good time getting to know and learning from each other.

From August 30 to September 4, I had a fun time volunteering at the PGA Latin America first Nicaragua tour held at the 18 hole course at Guacalito de la Isla (GDI).  The last three days were over 12 hours at the event.  I was a live scorer at the 9th hole the last two days as well as the on-call nurse/medic.  Fortunately the on site ambulance was parked a stone’s throw from the 9th hole where I stationed myself under the trees.  Although we didn’t get to associate with any of the pros, I met a lot of really nice folks who were also volunteering.  We were a family unto ourselves for the week.  Supposedly Guacalito has a three year contract for the PGA.  If so, I would definitely volunteer again.

The past two weeks I have been dog sitting–a chihuahua–for friends who will be the new owners of Barbara’s house.  One of the reasons for me taking care of Drifter was for him to get used to his future home.  Unfortunately, he had to stay inside for those long days of my volunteering.   Although I didn’t find any pee spots, he did leave me some brown packages.  The first three days I couldn’t let him out of the house unless he was on the leash that I made by braiding string.  He would head up the road to go to home and I couldn’t chase him up the hill.  I was surprised that it only took him four days to stop the escape behavior.

The past two months kept me running back and forth to Rivas for items at the new Sinsa hardware store for repair parts and paint for both the condo and Barbara’s house.  I feel fortunate that our little area is no longer isolated from items that we used to have to get only in Managua.

Three days in a row I made the Rivas trip to the Provincial Clinic/Hospital for Melvin, my young friend who I sent to nursing school and who now works at the Roberto Clemente Santa Ana Clinic.  He was hit while on his motorcycle by a “taxi” and fractured both the ulna and radius of his left arm just above his wrist.  I was concerned because his repair surgery couldn’t be scheduled for over two weeks due to a genetic blood coagulation problem that he hadn’t been aware of.  I rallied friends and some of his Clinic co-workers  to help bring him green smoothies and get him on iron tabs.  Bless Melvin’s wife Adriana, a nursing student, who came daily with food and support.  Both of these young people are still going to university as well as working and now this interruption.  Fortunately both of their professors took heart and sent their school work via Adriana so that they could study for their exams which are coming up at the end of this month.  Melvin had his surgery finally last Wednesday and was sent home Thursday–in pain but a very happy camper.  I am so fortunate to have good friends who help me help others.  This past week, five days post-op, Melvin was promoted in a Community Leadership program that offers massage and physical therapy to the poorest folks in the villages of our area.

We have had some really good rain storms this past month.  Two days it stopped the PGA play for several hours.  Although the area is beautifully green, we can use a lot more rain.  The rivers are still dry in most places where there should be running water.

I made a big decision this past month to sell my Condo 1B at Rancho Santana.  I am not listing it with a realtor, although I will give the normal finder’s fee of 2%.  The decision was made because I want to finish the Guasacate house and move to a final parking place.  Guasacate is growing everyday, a community is building there so I won’t be isolated.  I love Rancho Santana and all my friends here.  However, most of my RS resident friends have sold and left the area for the US.  The condo has tenants through mid-January and I am not in a fire sale rush to sell.  I will continue to rent the condo and offer my management service if the buyer is interested.

Work on the Basha Health Clinic in Nicaragua has been postponed until early January.  With the Nicaragua elections coming up mid November, there are frequent  demonstrations that create havoc for transportation in many areas.  Government agencies are slow to make official determinations and customs is preventing many items to be imported at the moment.  Since Basha wants to bring his thermography equipment, I feel it is safer to wait until after the election and holidays for a successful clinic.

Time to go outside with Drifter.  Take care of yourselves wherever you are.

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Melvin’s promotion one week post surgery

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Garden wall between the two Guasacate houses
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My house in process taken from the ClubCar driven through the front door area
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Where I sat while waiting for players at Hole #9  Background large tent is where all the volunteers gathered
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Hole #9 at Guacalito de la Isla – Not a bad gig for work

I Am Grateful

Celebrations for me are small treats not grand events. However, this June for my 80th birthday I had a GRAND Event. All four of my children made the trip for their first time to Nicaragua. Rivka and Aaron, my youngest two had planned their one-week trip to be here for my birthdate. The night before they were leaving CA, my oldest son, Greg, got a ticket and met the younger two in Houston. Three out of four on my birthday was pretty exciting, knowing that my oldest daughter and her family were arriving two weeks later. Greg, Aaron, Rivka and I stayed at my condo and had a great time mostly tranquillo. I was able to tour them around our area and introduced them to many of my friends and of course my two Nicaragua families—Guzmán, and Urroz Zavala. We had two dinner parties with friends at the condo and had a blast with both groups. The last two days of their stay the four of us traveled to Granada for one day and night and then to Managua for a day and night. I saw things in Granada and Managua for the first time as a tourist—the inside of the cathedrals in Granada, and Salvadore Allende Park and the museums there in Managua. The Ruben Darío museum was particularly interesting since the speaker at the El Limón Salon two days earlier featured Ruben Darío, his life’s work and influence on the people of Nicaragua. Aaron, who came to the Salon with me, and I were quite impressed with the museum and the knowledge that we had received from the Salon.

After the Wilkers left, three of my expat friend groups arrived for short visits to Rancho Santana. This gave me more chances to show them progress at my Guasacate house and check out for myself the daily changes. Enjoyed the opportunity to catch up on the lives of my coming and going friends.

On June 27th Leah, Tim, and Isaiah Smith, Isaiah’s friend Ricky Guzmán, and my cousin Suzi Taylor came for one week. Since I couldn’t fit all of us in my car at one time, we rented a van and driver to be with us for the 7 days they were here. My friends Dolores and Bill Watson gifted me use of their beautiful big house in Los Perros as a birthday present. This family was a lot more active and wanted to “do stuff”. I sent the group with the driver to go “quading” in San Juan del Sur. Maurice, my friend the driver, took them to a high point nature reserve on the ATVs. Spots that I didn’t know existed. We had several awesome meals at the Watson’s house but no outsiders for dinners there. We were a tribe unto ourselves for three days.

The last two days we went to Selva Negra in Matagalpa which is a lot cooler. There we toured the coffee farm and finca areas. It rained the whole time we were there, although this didn’t stop Tim, Isaiah and Rickey from a very long hike in the foothills.  We decided to leave Selva Negra early and go to Chichigalpa to tour the Flor de Caña plant. That was a spectacular tour, although I am not so sure I would recommend rum for breakfast at 9:00 am. The rum was excellent quality though and not such a bad breakfast after all. From Chichigalpa we went down to Leon, had lunch and a quick tour through town. Maurice knows where everything is and an efficient and fun guide. We checked into my favorite hotel in Managua the Camino Real near the airport for two nights. Again Maurice toured us through Managua, shopped at Wimbus Market, and then kept the van at his house for the following day’s adventure. Maurice took the group to the Volcan Masaya for a zipline that Tim proclaimed to be the best he had done including HI. I stayed at the hotel enjoyed learning about and reading on my new Kindle while sitting around the pool with occasional dips in the water–not rum. We had dinner at the hotel that last night with Ron Urroz and Ana Zavala. Leah and family got to meet almost all my friends and Nica families too. It was sad to have them all leave and I have tears in my eyes again at the thought of how blessed I was to have all my children here to see my Nica world. Each of my children told me before they left that they now understand my life here a lot better and know that I am safe and loved here. Leah’s family left on the early UA flight on July 4th. My friend Barbara Tenbusch Wisley, owner of the house where I live, came in from FL at 7:00 pm so I waited for her to travel back to Rancho Santana with me. Byron Vasquez, my usual driver/friend, brought my car earlier in the afternoon from RS so that we could do the shopping before Barb arrived. Long and enjoyable day spent reading and planning at the hotel.

It is interesting to me that so many of the Hotel Camino Real staff remember me from all the times I have stayed there over the years. Many of them know that I am a nurse. This time as I was sitting at the pool area, several of the staff came and asked me for medical advice. I felt honored to know that I am considered helpful to them. I always preface my advice with, “I am not a doctor. I can only give you my opinion.”

Barbara was here for almost two weeks and outdid herself getting more cleaning and sorting for the sale of the house. Efforts paid off, she received a deposit for the house the day before she left. I had shown the buyers the house almost two years ago and kept bringing them back up for dinners to see what a fantastic place this is. Now I will have to find another place to live probably sometime around October. I have several options outside of the condo. Since the condo is my main source of income outside of Social Security, I want to keep that rented. Little by little I am evaluating possibilities.

The weather has been absolutely spectacular here the past month. Rain a little now and then, nice cool breezes mixed with hotter than hell before it rains. Everything is so beautiful and green. I have watermelon (sandia), cantaloupe, and squash growing out of my compost pile at the house. The trees that I thought were absolutely dead six months ago have green leaves slowly coming out. That is tenacity for sure.

To keep me “off the streets” I have embarked on a couple of projects this past week. I will start teaching the Cuidadora de Personas classes again. I keep getting requests for caregivers and then can’t find one. (Same problem as the US.) Instead of having a four-hour class five days a week, I will hold a Saturday 6 hour class for three weeks. I believe that I can impart all the info needed for a caregiver in this timeframe. I spoke to Carmen Guzmán about using a massage room at her spa in Limón #2 for the bed portion of the classes. I will redo some of my info for the longer sessions and hold the first class in the beginning of September.

I told Dr. Basha that I would research doing another Basha Health Clinic in Nicaragua. This time we want to offer the Managua and Granada people acupuncture and thermography. I made a trip to the newly opened Pacaya Lodge and Spa outside of Granada at Laguna Apoyo. The place is beautiful and perfect for the high-end clientele that Basha would like to reach. I am waiting to have a meeting with the Pacaya owner. Once again, I am on the road. It is good that I love to drive and that Granada isn’t the chaotic horror that Managua is for drivers. This week I made two trips to Granada—one to Pacaya and the second to Clinica Apoyo to introduce the leaders of Roberto Clemente Clinic (www.nicaclinic.org) in Limón to Dra. Reyna Cordero at Clinica Apoyo. (www.comarcasapoyo.org)

The condo is pretty consistently rented until the end of the year. Not rented everyday but enough to break even monthly.   Now I am concentrating on plans for the commercial property and whether or not to build the apartment on the bottom terrace level at Guasacate before completing the upper house where I ultimately plan to live, be cared for, and die. If the apartment could be finished when I need to move from the Wisley House, that would be my first choice of new quarters.

It seems like I am always juggling multiple small projects that keep me occupied—wound care patient consulting, legal research, writing or consulting for business plans for friends both Nica and expat. My life here is fulfilling and I love it.

Remember there is always room for guests where I live. The invitation is open.

Sitting on the terrace IN THE RAIN

What else can I do when I am so grateful to have this blissful rainy day and the ability to sit here on the Wisley House terrace and listen to classical music from my Sacramento station streaming from capradio.org!  Yes, I could succumb to my addiction of playing Candy Crush Soda Saga but alas, I’ve decided to share the latest and greatest news.

The hills are now very green and the flowers are blooming profusely around the house.  The terrace where I am sitting smells of the multiple gardenia blossoms on the bushes surrounding one part of the terrace.  I planted a gardenia bush under the office window in my CA house because I love the smell and I am once again blessed with this aroma.

This is also bird nesting season and I have been battling two pair of jarracas who want to build a nest in a funny lamp on the terrace next to where I sit.  They have tried to start a nest in the back of the sofa where I sit.  I talk to these birds and again they don’t listen with their “bird brains”.  On the other hand I do listen to their beautiful voices and generally that is how I know that they are on the terrace when I am not sitting here myself.

The past week we have had rain almost every day during the day and night with and without thunder and lightening storms.  It reminds me of my first year in Nicaragua, 2004, when we had LOTS of rain with rivers overflowing the roads and lakes across the road that were too deep to pass.  We didn’t have “chicken buses” then that go through almost unbelievable depths of rushing waters.  (I think either the drivers are nuts or they have such a heavy load, 4WD and tough engines.)  This past week I was in a line waiting to cross a very fast running deep river and watched as the bus drove through with water up to a little above the back door.  Needless to say, I along with several others in the line decided to turn around and go back to whence we came.  I know the water stops rushing if it stops raining in a few hours. You still have to drive through the river but you won’t be flipped sideways or hit by a tree or animal as the river races on course.  I made my same attempt about two hours later successfully, slowly in 4WD.  It is a riot because the village kids think this rushing water is a fun place to jump in and play.  I think it is their form of “chicken dare”.  Scary since few of these kids know how to swim and in 2004 and 2005 we had three deaths at the very river I am talking about, one was someone who was in an SUV and flipped sideways down the rushing water and the other two were trying to cross on horseback.  Things that NGO volunteers are teaching kids are swimming in the ocean as well as surfing.

Dr. Basha Healthcare Clinic’s May trip was much more organized and successful.  No use of my condo as the treatment space so he had privacy in his living space.  Carmen Spa was perfect and he successfully treated 6 to 8 patients at a time on several days.  Of course, the local Nica people were given free treatments.  What a blessing for all of us.  He worked at Carmen Spa in the morning and Rancho Santana Spa in the afternoon.  Basha will be coming back again at the end of August and I’m looking at a new Spa in Laguna Apoyo–Hotel Placaya–to service more of the Managua and Granada folk.  I need to start working on the logistics before the family comes–Aaron and Rivka this coming Wednesday for a week.  Leah and family and my cousin two weeks later for a week.  I am so excited to have them see this Nica Life.

I have been busy for the past two weeks listening to webinars on investing and health.  Actually I’m collecting CEUs to renew my CA nursing license and Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist certificate.  I’ve had several health issue consultation projects as well this past month.  I love these opportunities.  It keeps me on my toes and off the streets.

My house in Guasacate is now visible to all from the road since the roof is on.  I’ll try to attach photos that I took looking from my terrace through Ron and Ana’s house where I could see Costa Rica from my terrace.  The electrical wires and tubes are being chopped into the concrete walls at my house and Ron and Ana’s place now has tile floors and lighting.  It looks like I’ll have room on the lower level for a small apartment.  Ron wants me to design it soon so he can put in the utility  infrastructure while he is doing the main house.

Progress is being made even with the rain.  I’m glad that the roof job is over.  I hate to see the workers up on the sloping roof beams when they are slippery.  One of the workers fell a couple of weeks ago and broke his collar bone.  Ron and Ana took him to the hospital in Rivas and the next day to his home in Managua.  Construction accidents are very common.  I have seen many patients since 2004 who had serious accidents that we treated at the Roberto Clemente Clinic.

Enough writing for one month.  Next blog will have adventures of Margie’s family in a third world country for the first time.  Pretty exciting.

Sorry about the photos at the top.  I am still trying to figure out how to attach photos in WordPress.

Rain rain come again!

Yes, the rain blessed us for five straight days in a row.  However, it only lasted for one week.  So we are still praying and rain dancing.  It is amazing, however, that so few days of rain could turn the very brown landscape into an eruption of green on the hillsides.  It also produced an abundance of cortez tree brilliant yellow blossoms on the hillsides in our area.

The birds are building nests as fast as we take their homes out of the rain gutters and outside fans on the house.  This is a sad process.  I tell the birds every morning that they can’t make their home where it isn’t a good idea.  The birds must indeed have “bird brains” as they don’t listen.

Dr. Basha from the Basha Health Clinics in CA stayed at my condo for almost two weeks and practiced accupuncture at Carmen Spa in Limón #2 as well as worked on me and some of my friends at the condo.  He is coming back to do some more alternative medicine practice on May 17th for one week.  He will practice at Carmen Spa in the morning and the Rancho Santana Spa in the afternoon.  Those of us who utilize alternative medical practice know and understand the benefits of this more natural method of getting and remaining healthy.

Many wonderfilled events have occurred this past month in addition to Dr. Basha’s visit. The El Limón Salon is going very well with its monthly gathering the second Sunday of the month.  The May 8th event had a good group of attendees to hear Ciara from UK talk about her experience as a PhD consultant to leaders on the topic of ecological practices for sustainable life on this planet.  Her talk certainly pointed out to me that we are individually responsible for small and large actions and how we treat each other and our surroundings.   I am so grateful to have this monthly Salon opportunity available here in the area where I live.

Since everyone knows I have almost as much energy as the Energizer Bunny, it won’t surprise you that I have been doing research and writing a business plan for AE Integrated, or in Spanish Alternives Sostenibles, S. A.  It has been a lot of fun and enlightening about the new products for solar, wind, and battery backup systems.  When Lennie Wilker and I built our solar house in Hayward, CA in the late 1970s, there weren’t a lot of alternatives for energy.  David Shelton, the owner of AE Integrated is a strong proponent of ecologically sound and sustainable energy systems.  We can talk for hours and share past and present ideas.

My Guasacate house is leaping up at this point.  People who drive the Guasacate road or live in the area have remarked at “the houses up on the hill”  Yes, one of those houses is mine, the other is Ron and Ana’s house, the first to be built on the La Loma development and it is next to mine.  If I can finally figure out how to attach photos to this blog, you will see the current progress of my house.

In the meantime I am adding some comfortable touches to the condo such as a screen door at the main entry and a table for the Weber barbeque for the entry patio area.  I actually had somewhat hidden the Weber in the laundry room because I didn’t want anyone putting the barbeque on the wooden outside table of the terrace–a logical spot unless you want to kneel down to barbeque your food.  My future project will be an outdoor bench for the entry patio area because the breeze out there is fantastic and the view of the forest area where the howler monkeys live is awesome too.  The ocean view side of the condo I call the terrace versus the entry side which I call the patio.  Both views are spectacular in my estimation.  My guests according to my Airbnb https://www.airbnb.com and TripAdvisor https://rentals.tripadvisor.com reviews think that the condo is pretty nice too.

This brings me to my last subject for this blog.  I have spent a lot of time learning how to link sites to take advantage of the rapidly changing world of social media.  It would be good to receive some comments regarding the subject.  I am adding some hashtags to see if this is working.

#Nicaragua #lifeinNicaragua #tropicalparadise #tropicalvacation #tropics #centralamerica #Ranchosantana #luxuryvacation #familyvacation #dreamvacation #wavesfordays #surfersparadise #popoyosurfing #dreamweddings #ultimatehoneymoonvacation #centralamericasurf #Nicaraguaconnections #beachfrontcondo

Guasacate house two months ago
Guasacate house two months ago
Two months ago
Two months ago
The 13 day old donkey was with his Mom and the owner on the road to a friend's house. So cute and right at home.
Guasacate House May 13, 2016

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It is green again
It is green again

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The 13 day old donkey was right at home under his Mom on the road to a friend’s house. So cute and part of My Life in Nicaragua.