Traveling with Dogs

ImageWhen we decided to move to Nicaragua we knew we would be taking our two large dogs with us, a Rottweiler and a Flat Coated Retriever.  We considered flying them down but gave up on that quickly due to costs and size restrictions.  The Rottweiler was right at the max weight and if she happened to be having a fat day she wouldn’t have made the weigh in, and as you can see from the picture most of her days are fat days. The only other option was driving and my boyfriend decided he wanted to drive down with a friend of his and have me fly down once they arrived, not sure if this is over concern for my safety or his lack of confidence in my map reading skills but regardless I put up no argument over that decision.  The next question was what to drive, I have a Miata & he has a Harley, see any problems with this? After a bit of car shopping the dogs approved a used SUV with plenty of room for them to stretch out (we haven’t told them yet that they will be sharing that space with tools, clothing and kitchen appliances).  With the purchase of the vehicle out of the way the next step was to find out the requirements for taking the dogs in and out of each country they will be traveling through.  I researched on the net, trying to find the requirements of each country and reading any stories posted by people who had done this already and once you sift through all the confliciting information it seems pretty straightforward.  The USDA has a great website (http://www.aphis.usda.gov/regulations/vs/iregs/animals/) that gives specific requirements for each country.  There are other websites that do the same thing but they seem to include in the “requirements”, things they are trying to sell you, (microchips, country specific health certificates, pet passports, etc.)  Hopefully Mike will be able to remember the actual requirements of each country and I will list them here once the trip is done. If anyone else out there has done this already any tips or tricks you learned on the way would be greatly appreciated.

Too Much Stuff

Another day closer to the move and I am overwhelmed (has anyone ever been underwhelmed) with the amount of stuff I have accumulated.  How did this happen?  I lived on a circus train for the last five years, where did all this stuff come from?  Why did I think I needed it?  Do I really need 24 plates and 30 glasses, there are just  two of us.  Why did I buy over 50 pairs of black shoes?  I have made many trips to goodwill in the past weeks but now I am down to things I have some attachment to but no real reason to keep.  It is getting harder and harder to fill up those boxes even though I know I will have no need for these things in Nicaragua.  I am trying to come up with a scenario where I would need a pair of leather Jimmy Choo boots with 3 inch heels but nothing comes to mind so they have to go.  My favorite winter coat will have no place down their either but I’m sure I can get a lot of use from my blue strappy sundress. I have always considered myself a light packer when it came to vacations (2 weeks in Greece with just 1 small carry on) but now that it is a permanent move everything changes.  Trying to fit my life into 2 suitcases that weigh under 50 lbs. has turned out to be harder than  I anticipated.  I just have to keep asking myself what is irreplaceable?  Anyone have any ideas?  What would you take with you if you were moving to another country?  In the past it would have been photos and books but now that is all digital.  Even though I know I can buy anything I need once I get down there it is still hard to throw away so much of my life from the states.  Has anyone else done this, any thoughts?

Hello world!

Well it is official, we will be moving to Nicaragua in less than a month.  I have told all my family and friends, given notice at work and started packing.

We have been talking about the move ever since we bought the house in November of 2010 and while I am super excited about finally living in Nicaragua it is a little scary also.  What if we don’t like it once we are there, what if my spanish never gets past the competency of a 5-year-old, what if I never get a grasp of the local currency and end up paying $100 for 2 tomatoes every time I go to the market?  Lots of scary questions but if you “what if” enough you will never leave the house, much less the country.

A little bit of background…………me and my boyfriend started looking for a house in another country in 2010 after a trip to Costa Rica.  We met quite a few expats living there and really liked the idea but the prices in Costa Rica are crazy insane now, it is cheaper to buy in Florida.  We decided to expand our search and after considering Ecuador, Guatemala, Belize and Panama we settled on Nicaragua.  We made our first trip to Nicaragua in 2010, we were there for only 1 & 1/2 weeks and after a few quick tours with various real estate agents we bought a house on the beach. 

Luckly the house came with a caretaker and his family who have been godsends getting us aclimated to life in Nicaragua, everything from killing scorpions for me to showing us where to pay the power bill, to explaining no that is not cheese (turns out what I though was cheese was a mix the locals boil with water to make a drink, good thing, it was awful cheese).  The fact that they speak no English is good also, we have to learn Spanish in order to communicate.  The house is located about 1 hour outside of Granada in a town called La Boquita it is right on the beach and within walking distance of a small fishing village where you can buy the catch of the day right off the boat or order it from one of the many restaurants on the beach.  A great place to watch the sun set while enjoying a few adult beverages.