Back when we sold it all two years ago, we wrote about how relieved we were to be free of clutter. Why did we need all those office supplies, hair products, cookbooks, shoes, kitchen gadgets, CDs and fabric scraps? How do such collections happen? Here’s how:
TO: Expat Almanac readers
SUBJECT: Not Too Proud to Beg
Did Tom ever tell you that he is the man who brought the public radio “beg” to the West Coast? It was working so well for a public station in New York that he initiated his own “Buck-a-Watt” campaign at KLCC in Eugene, Oregon, in 1974. They needed 10,000 dollars for a 10,000-watt transmitter and got it three days ahead of schedule (in Eugene the boisterous celebrations are renown). Now we all look upon public radio solicitation is a plague, but the cause is a good one.
“You ought to write a book!” Professional writers, if lucky, hear that many times in their lives. But we’ve never heard it as often as we do now. The Expat Almanac does not have millions of fans, but the ones we have are loyal and loving. We blush and try to keep our egos in check, but thank you, dear readers. Making the blog into a book is really a good idea.
People tell us they have been entertained by the blog, and we believe that people need all the entertainment they can get; it’s not optional in adult life. People tell us that our optimism is inspiring, and the world needs more optimists. People tell us that we’ve opened a bit of the world to them, and anything that contributes to better global understanding is great by us.
Often, people tell us they want to do the same thing. We’re happy to share what we’ve learned, and we encourage adventurous spirits on the edge of decision to pull the trigger. We made some mistakes, and the book will tell all. We did some things right, and we’ll brag about those. We feel that the Senior Year Abroad is an idea that is about to blossom as more and more of us retire healthy and raring to go.
People tell us they’ve read every word, but do they remember every word? Even I did not remember a lot of the entries when it came time to review them for the book. We wanted to leave out the dull stuff, organize the dramatic elements of Tom’s hospitalization, and add some new material. Also, we will cut out all the parts where we repeat ourselves. Where we repeat ourselves.
Blogs are great, but ephemeral, they’re a little hard to pass around. We want to have a book that can be of use to people, that can be enjoyed and shared. We travel with Kindles, but we still love the power of paper. Gift it, turn corners down, underline it. So not only will you be able to get the Expat Almanac for Kindle (free for blog readers like you—we’ll tell you how), and you’ll be able to get it on paper, too.
So, we’re working at it. The first draft is done and we’re editing now. We figure we’ll be launching about May 15th. We so appreciate your support, and everything you’ve contributed so far. The time and money we’ve put into it is well worth the delight we feel when we get positive comments and also great private notes. It’s going to be so much fun to spread the joy.
We thought this blog was over, but there’s been a great outpouring of “Now what?” Maybe two or three people, even! So here we are, back in Portland after our Senior Year Abroad. I love the cooler air, the gentler sun, and even the refreshing drizzle. I love that everybody speaks the same language. When we walk into a grocery store, we can identify everything in it. We have new phone numbers and we make calls like real people. If we haven’t called you yet, here’s why: Continue reading
Our front yard here at Los Tules is a swimming pool. Right now, at 10 a.m., all of its 24 lounge chairs are occupied, as usual.
Five are occupied by people, one by a teddy bear, and eighteen by towels. The towels are meant to reserve the chairs for people who won’t come until later — people who don’t want anyone else to use these chairs until they’re good and ready to do it themselves. It’s not uncommon in resorts and along parade routes world wide, but here in Los Tules it is a very touchy subject.
Traveling as we do, we meet a lot of people. Conversations ensue. Questions are asked, and among the first is, “Where do you live?” Then the familiar words: vagabond, expat, ne’er-do-well, and homeless.
After we tell the story of our travels — so well-rehearsed we can recite it in our sleep — comes the inevitable question: “What will you do next?”
Our answer has always been, “We don’t know.” But now, with less than sixty days remaining of our planned expat adventure — less than sixty days! — we have decided.
We’re going home.
“Pie lady! I’m the pie lady!”
She said this as though she were the Statue of Liberty. Yes, I’m what you’re looking for! We had indeed heard that when we got to the beach at the ancient town of Yelapa, fifteen miles southwest of Puerto Vallarta, we would find the pie lady roaming the beach, selling slices out of Tupperware. We bought a lemon meringue slice and ate it from our hands (she doesn’t offer forks) while walking down the beach.
We’re pinching ourselves in disbelief. This can’t really be happening to us.
We have arrived at our home-for-six-months in Puerto Vallarta and we’re dumbfounded. Dumbfounded and a bit bruised from all the pinching. This place has to be seen to be believed. Continue reading