Monthly Archives: June 2013

Keeping Our Eyes on the Prize

Posted by Cassie

We have come a long way. When we began writing this blog five years ago (five years!), we had no idea how to write a blog (the very first posts are pretty bad, lol) and we had only a vague idea of when we were moving to Puerto Rico. We had a contract to buy a finca with 25 acres in the jungled outskirts of Lares, Puerto Rico and were just waiting for the paperwork to clear, a mortgage to come through, and ideas for income sources when we moved to appear.

At the first property we tried to buy

We thought, perhaps, within that year.

But things changed; the title work didn’t come through cleanly. The mortgage companies said it was non-comforming and in general it just sort of fell apart. In the mean time, we kept working and living in Colorado and as we thought about it we became more and more drawn toward the west side and the ocean. We looked and looked for properties and visited PR various times. We even put in another offer/contract on a place in Isabela/San Sebastain, before we finally found and bought our little slice of paradise in Rincon, Puerto Rico.

From other side
The Prize! :-)

Now, we are finally on the verge of the big jump. We have worked out the kinks. In just about 100 days, we will have left all that we know -our friends, family, jobs, home- and will begin our new life, from scratch.

Now that we are in the home stretch, we have to close down our life in Greeley, Colorado. I am finding that this is much like attempting to unravel all the various roots and ties we have here. And they run much deeper and tangled than I initially thought.

We are still selling nearly everything we have. This has been a much more emotional task than we thought when we started. Everything we keep in our lives has some sort of reason for being there. Sometimes they are very superficial, and other times, they have huge sentimental and identity attachments, like Britton’s Corvette or my jewelry armoire that was a gift from BK.

We are also trying to detach from opportunities and work we have here. While we have to remain somewhat present to our current lives, we also have to know that we just can’t get too wrapped up in the latest and greatest new event. As it turned out, at my work, one of the grant programs (a cardiovascular health disparities program) that I coordinated just happened to end too. We had a nice celebration to acknowledge all the work we had done over the last two years on this program.

Ama Tu Vida crew
There’s going to be lots of goodbyes

We are also going through our to-do lists. Like doctors’ visits, vet visits, making accounts paperless, arranging places for our too-sentimental-to-sell, too-bulky-to-bring stuff, checking off our Colorado bucket list (and occasionally adding to it). We are planning our going-away party. I also had some information to share with Greeley chicken enthusiasts who want to know what the chicken laws are, so I finally wrote a page here about the rules for chickens in Greeley that I had been meaning to write for some time.

americana chickens

Sometimes we still get so busy in our day-to-day chores we forget what we are moving towards! It’s important to keep our eyes on the prize, but we also can’t be so forward looking that we miss what we are doing right now. This life-changing stuff has been a good practice for a lot of things. Mostly of balance and of letting go.

Letting go of our egos. Letting go of our stuff. Letting go of money and comfort and jobs. Letting go of our identities (somewhat). Letting go, moving on and making space for something new entirely. Sometimes we get profound insights on why we are doing this and other times we break down (probably mostly out of fear) and start having alternate reality fantasies of what our life would be if we just stayed in Colorado. And, of course, we know that it would be good and fine, because we love our life, but it would be, well, the same game. Rinse and repeat.

We have played the game here in Colorado. We have played the heck out of it! We are really good players. We have won this game. It’s time to collect that prize and start playing a new game. Watch out, world. Here we come.

BK and Cass2

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Summer in the Rocky Mountains

Posted by Cassie

One thing we will miss when we move to Puerto Rico is summer in Colorado and the ability to go to the Rocky Mountains in less than one hour from our house in Greeley.

Nice Mountain Shot
In the Colorado Rocky Mountains this weekend

This weekend we went to a wedding of our good friends Shana and Rick in Estes Park, Colorado. We took my old ’89 Oldsmobile car because Britton’s ’98 Honda is less reliable than my car to make it up the steep grade (as we found out last year). The Corvette used to be the best car to take up the mountains because it has the most horsepower and torque of any of the three, but since he has sold it, we were left with the Honda or Olds choices. My car did ok, but it had a major miss and we had to stop various times on the way up and down the mountain.

Shana Rick Photo Op

The wedding was at beautiful Mary’s Lake Lodge in Estes on a bright, sunny, if a little windy of a day. We then enjoyed spending time with our friends at the reception.

Me Jody and Shana Me and B in Estes Park

Afterward, we walked around Estes a bit and hiked a small while at the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park.

Pine Cone close Pretty Estes Sharp rockies Me and B by a river

It is such a gorgeous place. Estes Park is interesting because unlike other Colorado mountain cities, the only attraction is the beauty of the place as opposed to ski lifts and the like.

Yellow wildflower field and devils backbone
Wildflowers and Devil’s Backbone
On the way down the slope we topped off the great day with a stop at Devil’s Backbone in Loveland for a quick hike.

Cloudy backbone

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Flashback to Puerto Rico: August 12-14, 2005

Posted by Cassie

This is the 5th Part in the Honeymoon Flashback Series. I would like to finish sharing this whole journal that we wrote on our honeymoon in 2005 before we leave to start our new Puerto Rico life adventure this fall 2013. Go here for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

The Mofongo/Mango Mishap and Great Hunt for Chili’s

Friday we decided to stay another night in Rincon; we took a long walk down the beach barefoot and ran into some rocks that we had to walk up or swim around. It was fun, but with Britton’s sunburn he was a little sore and had to wear a shirt. After a nap we went up to a surfer bar called Calypso. It was somewhat expensive but fun -a lot of gringos apparently have bought in Rincon -some surfers, some investors, some snow birds, some retirees.

Rincon Sunset
Beautiful Sunsets in Rincon!

We slept in late Saturday and checked out of Coconut Palms -we decided since had slept so late that we would make a late night out of Saturday. We drove into Mayaguez, one of the bigger cities on this west side. We looked in a tourist magazine and saw that there was a Chili’s restaurant and since we had received a Chili’s gift card as a wedding gift, we drove around and around and around looking for that darn Chili’s!

We got caught in a huge rainstorm as we were looking. The rain looked like it was peeing from the buildings, people were putting whatever they could on their heads from boxes to plastic bags and the begging people in the middle of the street ran for shelter.

Since it was raining so bad we couldn’t find Chili’s and instead decided to go see a movie. I wanted to see The Island (since we were on an island) but it didn’t start until later so we saw Deuce Bigalow European Gigalow with Spanish subtitles which was more interesting than the movie itself.

We left and kept an eye out for Chili’s and tried to stop for gas at a gas station. I had started to feel really sick to my stomach. Maybe it was the mofongos we had eaten or maybe a mango from an Econo grocery store, but the navigator (me) was out of commission. I didn’t know whether I had nausea, diarrhea or just a weird hunger, but I felt horrible.

We continued on with me just sitting miserably in the passenger seat and Britton went to another gas station because the previous gas station had been flooded with water. At the new gas station I told Britton I had to use the bathroom one way or another or both.

So I very sickly got out of the car and looked inside the station. I asked in Spanish for the bathroom but the guy behind the glass just strangely looked at me. So I went back to the car and before we could drive away I opened the door and puked it all out -mangos, mofongos and all.

I felt a little better but I knew it wasn’t over. So we went to a nearby Baskin-Robbins and shared a banana split and I spent some time in the bathroom.

The kids that worked in Baskin Robbins said Chili’s was at a mall by Wendy’s and Church’s Chicken, but by then we were so spent driving around in circles that we just left Mayaguez and drove on to Cabo Rojo. We took a country dirt road around to an old water tower. We saw a little birthday party in progress. Since we never did find Chili’s we just stopped at a Little Caesar’s pizza place. They have no sales taxes here which is pretty cool. (Editor’s note: PR instituted a sales tax not long after we visited in 2005.)

We decided to drive back to Mayaguez and found the mall AND Chili’s! The mall, apparentely, is the place to be on a Saturday night. Everyone was out and they had some cool stores too. But it was closing so we decided to see a late movie -again! Wedding Crashers at 12:10am. It got out at 2am so we drove off to some neighborhood and just slept in the car. Well, it saved us at least $75-$100 in hotel costs! The first place we parked to sleep we were busted by a security guard, but then we found a nice quiet neighborhood. It was pretty fun as we settled in to our dreams to sounds of chirping frogs and insects.

Deserted Beach somewhere in western PR (photo taken from top of car)

We woke up at about 6am to rooster crows and dogs barking. And so we drove down to a deserted beach. I don’t know how we found this beach but we slept some more and then went for a swim. The water was so clear. After a while we got moving and found ourselves at the Salt Bay -Bahia Salinas- and another dirt road that led to a beach right by the Cabo Rojo Lighthouse/Faro. It was really cool -we swam again for about an hour and we checked out the huge pile of salt that Morton’s Salt Co collects.

 100_1864100_1866One of the most beautiful beaches and water we saw near a salt collection site


We then drove to Parguera where we are now. The dock area was really neat and we ate Pinchos which are meat kabobs with bread on the end and a really good Pina Colada. We are now at a little guest house where we actually had to wake up the owner (in the middle of the day) to get a room. Well, we are up to date now. Tomorrow off to Ponce and the south of Puerto Rico.

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Everything Must Go!

Posted by Cassie

Everything must go!

We have slowed up a bit on the sale of our stuff front, after we sold some major items like Britton’s Corvette, Stratocaster, Amp, some small furniture pieces and plants but we are realizing that we still have a lot of stuff that will need to be sorted through, sold and/or given away before we leave. In short, in order for us to go, everything else must too! We need to get with the program and get rid of some stuff!

Here are just a handful of the wide range of remaining items we will need to part with:

Framed Metallica MM Poster Treadmill Side Table Loveseat Entertainment Stand Futon Jewelry Armoire to side Living Room Stuff Coffee Table    IMG_2871Seltzer in box with chargers

We sort of pride ourselves on not having that much stuff, but when it comes down to it, we actually have a lot! Way more than we thought. We have so much still to get through. If you know of anyone looking to buy anything, let us know. Or if you’re a friend or really in need, we might just give it to you. Seriously. We have a lot of stuff and we need to pare this down. Or maybe we could trade for a Home Depot gift card or something (I have a strong feeling that we will be at Home Depot in Mayaguez a lot when we first move!). Make us an offer. Leave us a message here or email us.

We are planning on having a neighborhood garage sale in July. Hopefully we can unload a lot of this then or before! We are nearing the 100 day countdown and we need to get our butts in motion! Puerto Rico here we come!

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