When I found myself unexpectedly out of work at the age of 64 having been riffed (“reduction in force”) by my employer as part of a “staff reduction,” I actually went out and looked for another job for a year and a half. However, since the limitations of starting a new career at the age of 65 are enormous, it was a complete waste of time. So, I decided not to fight the inevitable and accepted retirement as a way of life. But, I had things I wanted out of retirement: the beach, time with the family, learning a new language, the beach, gaining a new computer skill or two, snorkeling, traveling and the beach.
I lived at the beach in Japan while I was growing up. Over a sand dune from my backyard was the China Sea. It was a glorious, never-ending adventure in the flora, fauna and moods of the ocean for two and a half years, and I was hooked. But, since I left Japan in December of 1960, I had only been near the ocean on the very occasional trip to Ocean City, Maryland when I lived in DC, and more recently on vacations in Latin American which only served to whet my appetite. I wanted the beach again, and I wanted it bad!!!
However, there was, between this desire for the beach and my recently diminished pocketbook, the proverbial clash of the titans. No way I could afford to live even near the beach in the United States, so I looked for alternatives. The most appealing and accessible of those was Mexico!! I had vacationed on the Mayan Riviera and in Belize several times, so I picked the town of Progreso, at the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula on the Gulf side, for my first foray into Mexican life.
Ruminations on my Mexico experiences (and pictures) can be found on the “Mexico” menu. I spent a year in the Progreso corridor (Chicxulub, Uaymitun and Progreso itself), and in the second year, I moved to the area known as the Riviera Maya, where I had previously vacationed. The two sides of the Yucatan could not be more different if they were in different countries. As a result, my experiences were myriad, varied and very educational. And, I actually did learn enough Spanish to be able to get myself into trouble.
However, I have now returned to the United States, the state of Arkansas specifically. It was a complicated decision incorporating many factors: family (Oh!! how I missed those grandkids), the Mexican business culture (which is summed up perfectly with the word, “predatory”), and truth be known, except for the occasional snorkeling adventure, I wasn’t in love with the ocean anymore.
My husband and I built a new home on property we own south of the town of Fort Smith, Arkansas on Sugarloaf Lake. It is a pristine pastoral area with forests, grassy meadows and ponds. You can see pictures of our progress on the Arkansas menu. And, when I say “we” built the house, I mean it literally. Marv Farrar, aka “The Hillbilly,” has enormous talent in many areas, including electrical, plumbing, cement work, carpentry, etc. – all very handy in building something. I, on the other hand, make a great “hod carrier.”
In the meantime, since winter has begun to set in here in Arkansas, my peripatetic soul has begun to long for those 80 degree winter days at the beach in Mexico. But, as a Canadian friend of mine, Ken Birch, remarked to me on Facebook, “Arkansas looks like Florida to the Canadian “frozen chosen.” Those crazy Air Force Canucks really know how to put things in perspective!
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