Thursday, June 30, 2005

In Minneapolis

We began our day at 5 a.m. in Nicaragua. We flew from Managua to Houston and then to Minneapolis. We have already been to pick up the keys for the house and now have a rented garage too. Now we just need to buy a car! Meanwhile, we have one rented for a week.

The phone (and Internet) will be connected at home tomorrow.

We're off to buy a telephone and TV, then back here to the Holiday Inn Metrodome to relax and sleep. We must meet the various techinicians at the house by 8 a.m. tomorrow.

All´s good.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Hello from Managua

This is our last full day in Managua. My father's 81st birthday was yesterday. We had a good time together at his house. During this trip I met another brother, Agustin (junior/hijo), who is a doctor. We also visited with the brothers I have already met - Elmer, Cristian, Miguel - plus Elmer's son Miguelito, who we met when we all went to Granada during the last trip here. My brother Miguel and his wife Ruth have a 2 year old charmer named Michele. She is quite friendly and was very curious to meet her "tia (aunt) Janetita" .

This trip we also visited the north of Nicaragua and the part of the family that runs the various coffee plantations. We were given a huge bag of ground coffee and a smaller bag of coffee beans. Naturally, I have taken tons of photos.

Ian and I arrive in Minneapolis tomorrow afternoon and are counting the days until Alexandra and Peter arrive (July 3) for their summer weeks with us!

All's well. More from Minneapolis.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

In Newark

WOW, what a LONG day! We arrive at zero dark thirty last night into JFK. The ride was bumpier than I liked, but movies were good.

We fly to Houston and then to Managua today, arriving at 9:30 p.m. CT. Back in US on 30th, staying at Holiday Inn Metrodome in Minneapolis for that night.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

One week from today!

One week from today - sometime in the late afternoon or early evening - Ian and I arrive in Minneapolis. We will spend that night in a hotel, then move to our home on Wentworth Avenue the morning of July 1. The phones, Internet and cable TV will be connected in the morning and the rented furniture will arrive at lunchtime.

Tomorrow (Friday), we fly on British Airways from Barcelona-London Heathrow-JFK. We spend the night in Newark, New Jersey and continue to Managua via Houston aboard Continental Airlines on Saturday. My father is picking us up at the airport Saturday evening and we will stay at his home.

Happy trails!

Sunday, June 19, 2005


Living abroad in a culture that is not familiar and trying to function in a language that is not my mother tongue can be stressful. After living in Spain for three + years I speak Spanish grammatically as well as any local 4 year old! I will say that my accompanying nonverbal communication is must more advanced. However, despite the occasional frustrations and cultural disconnects, there are things in this laid back land of 'manaƱa' that work quite efficiently. Earlier this week Ian and I registered with the provincial socialized healthcare named Cat Salut (Cat = Catalunya and Salut = is Catalan for health). Because we are local residents within the province of Catalunya we are eligible. We had carried private medical and dental insurance, but because we're going to spend more time in the States we decided to cancel that and register for the free stuff. Oh, yes, I meant to say Cat Salut is FREE and it covers everything --- medical, dental, glasses, prescriptions, hospitalization, treatment (shrinks, drug dependencies). Basically, it is publicly funded health insurance.

To register we had to bring a form from city hall that shows we are local residents. Regardless of citizenship, all you do anywhere in Spain is walk in to your nearest city hall and ask to be registered as a local resident. You provide a copy of a rental contract or deed and, voila, you're registered and therefore entitled to the provincial coverage. I'm not sure of the ins and outs of how it works yet (all information is in Catalan) but my understanding is Cat Salut gives us free access to all healthcare-related services throughout Catalunya. Our local Cat Salut facility where we registered is in La Cava, which is 8 km or 15 minutes drive from the house here in Riumar.

The process to register took us 15 minutes, which was basically "firme aqui, por favor" ("sign here, please"), plus the receptionist filled in the forms for us and patiently answered questions. We came away with temporary cards with plastic ones to follow in the mail. As we returned to the car I asked Ian, "Why can't we have something like this in the US?" For Ian, being British, this coverage is normal. For us to have basic medical/dental coverage in the States WriTech will pay at least $10,000/year in premiums and that will not eliminate co-pays, deductibles, and other related costs.

I suppose I could begin to find the answer to my hypothetical question in someone's doctoral dissertation, as no doubt it's not just flipping a switch, waving a wand or following a "Make it so" directive. Too bad, really.