Aug 14, 2006, 11:38 AM
Rolly, thanks so much for bumping this up. I've been reading a lot of back threads but hadn't come across this one. Reading about everyone's lives is like meeting characters from a book--except more interesting than fiction.
I'm Betty (58), married to Bob (also 58) for 33 years. We have 3 grown, married children and one adorable baby granddaughter. We live in Frankfort, KY in a house we built about 7 years ago, on a ridge with about 11 wooded acres overlooking a beautiful, rolling valley. This is our 13th home together in 33 years (not counting temporary housing). We picked this spot because it's about halfway between Lexington, where Bob works for Lexmark, and Louisville, where I worked. I'm an English prof. for Jefferson Community College, based in Louisville, but I now teach on the new Shelbyville campus just 13 miles away from home. (For five years I commuted from Lex. to Lou., a round trip of about 150 miles a day--grueling). We weren't looking to retire for another 4-5 years, but Bob may be facing a forced retirement from Lexmark next year after his 59th birthday--not a great age to be looking for employment. Having retired from the navy in 1992, Bob is fortunate to already have his navy pension coming in. When we looked at the hard realities, we realized that most of Bob's current income goes to support the mortgage on this beautiful house and property and two fairly new cars. And we asked ourselves, why? And why not an early, or at least semi-retirement? (Well, part of the answer there is that Bob, after working his whole adult life, can't imagine not working. He hasn't gotten into the mindset of "early retirement"; he still views it as "unemployment." But I'm working on that concept. I'd love to hear from some of you about how you dealt with that issue.)
So, why Mexico? We don't have a lot of experience with Mexico. Besides day trips to border towns and nearby forays (Nogales, Tijuana, Rosarito Beach), we just spent a wonderful family vacation in el bajio (Guanajuato, Dolores Hidalgo, Las Trancas, SMA) in late May/June and loved every minute of it. We didn't feel like strangers to Mexico. We have a number of Mexican friends here in KY, and Bob and I both volunteer for Centro Latino, an agency in Shelbyville that works to ease the transition for our large population of Hispanic immigrants. We already knew very well the warmth, friendliness, and generosity of the Mexican people. I grew up in Tampa, FL and studied Spanish (Cubano version) in school, then joined the Peace Corps in Ecuador after college. My Spanish is rusty but my friends help by correcting my grammar mistakes immediately! My aging brain amazes me with what it dredges up grammatically complex from the distant past, but it confounds me when I can't remember the most obvious and familiar palabras. Bob is learning Spanish gradually, though he oftens gives it a French twist since that's his only other language.
We've traveled a lot and actively seek out varied cultural experiences. Besides my Ecuador time (before Bob), we traveled all over the US and Asia while he was in the navy, volunteering for two tours of duty--one in Japan and one in the Philippines. While there we also visited a number of other Asian countries. He also has traveled extensively in Asia and Europe for Lexmark. I haven't been back to Asia since 1982, but I have been able to go with him on some of his European jaunts. Hooray for frequent flyer miles! A few years ago, some good friends encouraged us to try home exchanging like they were doing. We've been very surprised that people in other countries want to come and stay in a home in KY! We've had 6 exchanges in as many years: three in England (London, Yorkshire, East Anglia), Holland, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Unfortunately, our home exchange organizations don't have many opportunities in Mexico.
Possible plans: I'd like Bob to retire, or at least work at something from home, while I keep my job for a few more years. I have a great deal of flexible time, including the long summer break. Moreover, our college is encouraging us baby boomers to teach more online courses, possibly teaching one semester on campus and another from wherever we choose online. That's a very attractive option. We could keep a small place here, possibly a condo, and live the rest of the year in Mexico--not necessarily the same place in Mexico all the time. We have a visit to Lakeside planned for the whole week of Thanksgiving. It seems like a logical place to start or a good base from which to explore other areas. We loved Guanajuato and want to go back for a longer stay. We'd also like to check out Patzcuaro. Our children are spread out from LA to Louisville to DC, so we aren't exactly leaving them behind. And as former navy brats, they're ready to pick up and travel anywhere, anytime.
I want to thank all of you for being so generous with your experiences and information. I've been soaking it all up this summer like a thirsty sponge. Bob calls it my obsession. I've also had Amazon busy sending me every book I could find about living in Mexico--the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful. I'm looking forward to hearing about lots more.
PS I think I accidentally sent a PM to somebody. Sorry about that. Just clicked prematurely somewhere.