Friday, April 7, 2017

Book Em

My pragmatic side - which is my dominant, if not “best” side - usually keeps me from being too impulsive. I tend to over-analyze and run through every permutation in my head before making a decision. We’ve been talking about leaving for Portugal after our nephew, Jake’s 10th birthday at the end of October. I was looking at airfares soon after that date and the lowest price was November 8 (which happens to be the first anniversary of the election), but I still wasn’t ready to pull the trigger. What if the early retirement incentive doesn’t go through? What if something else comes up between now and then? What if??? 

Yesterday I got an alert that the airfare had dropped again. Not by a lot, but enough to make me think it might be a good time to commit. Frank was urging me to “just do it.” Soooooo we booked our flight! We’ll be on our way at 6 am Wednesday, November 8. Now we just have to wait for the confirmation of our first month’s apartment and we’ll be all set to go 7 months ahead of departure!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

I’m feeling a little frustrated that we haven’t gotten all the financial dealings settled. Just some miscommunication on our part about the type of account we want to open, but it should be taken care of tomorrow. Yet another item on the checklist to be completed. I saw a TravelZoo deal on a 6-night trip to the Algarve for $699, including air and hotel. I put it out on Facebook with the hopes of enticing some people. I definitely got some interest! I’m excited about people coming to visit us!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Too Much Going On

We had a really busy day yesterday to close out my Spring Break. Frank took the day off and we got our taxes done, met online with a financial advisor about investments, and took Pop’s coins to the coin dealer. The taxes turned out in our favor, although I won’t believe it until I see the check! It was a little sticky with the sale of our house and it being a rental for part of the year, but it’s another box ticked. We then spent an hour and a half with an advisor from Schwab. We had filled out an Action Plan earlier and went over our hopes and dreams, as well as our finances and expenses. Again, it was another box ticked, but even more, it gave us a sense that this really can be done. It will actually work financially! I was expecting more “You’re crazy” than “I’m so jealous!” from her. Then it was on to the coin shop with the bins of coins Pops had gotten from his brother. I had gotten a few appraised after Pops died and they suggested making an appointment to bring in the bulk of them. We spent 3 ½ hours with him going through the hundreds (thousands?) of coins. But again, a positive result and another checkmark. It was actually pretty fascinating. He told us stories about some of the coins, including a Roman coin he said was counterfeit - but was still 500-600 years old! Feeling so productive lately!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

It's Out There!

I put it on on Facebook today. I guess it’s “official.” No turning back! I told my coworkers over the past few days. I emailed my siblings yesterday. Now the whole world knows! Many stunned reactions from our friends. I get it. I totally get it! I’m stunned as well. But now I want to focus on what we need to do to make this happen as smoothly as possible. I don’t mind the occasional bump on the road less taken to new beginnings But Frank would prefer the road always taken because it’s simply the most comfortable one. I sure don’t want to go through some of the frustrations of when I moved to Malaga and to San Diego. Strangely, Malaga was the easier move. Everything seemed to fall into place - from meeting my first friend on the airplane to Malaga to getting the first (only) job I applied for. San Diego was another story altogether. It was so hard to meet people. It took 6 months to land a decent job (not that delivering phone books wasn’t a character-builder). So many bumps on that road. But at least we’ll have each other and that’s something I haven’t had in my previous moves. We will be able to ground each other. When he gets frustrated by something that doesn’t work the way we’re used to. When I freak out about the cost of things I hadn’t anticipated. That’s why I’m diving into research. So much to do! SO much to learn. But we have time. And soon, we’ll have all the time in the world!!!

Some of the best reactions:

  • Wow! And Wow! So excited for you both and now I have some awesome friends to visit in Portugal.
  • Wait...WHAT??????? Does Debbie David know this???? What about Ari and Jake??? What about all of US??? How can you be so SELFISH??? *SOB*!!!!!!!! Bahahahahahahah! Congrats. Good ON ya!!
  • What? Wait! I haven't visited you in CA!! Now I have to go to Portugal?! Wowza. Congrats 😜
  • Wow! Congratulations! Living life to the fullest.....the only way to go!
  • No. Fucking. Way.
  • Awww Frank Remiatte the San Diego performing arts will not be the same! ❤️ we will just have to visit you is all 😬
  • NO!!!!! In shock!
  • Wow! So excited for you guys. You always wanted to move abroad so here's to making your dreams come true! ❤️
  • Powodzenia ..😉 (from my cousin in Poland!)
  • Oh. My. God!!
  • Congrats to you both! Can't imagine life here without you, but so excited for the whole world of opportunity that awaits you!!
  • You two are my heros cause you are livin' life to the fullest! You'll always have a couch to surf on here in PS!
  • Oh my gosh!! That is phenomenal!! You will have to share more details! We might decide to follow you!! We can all do theater!
  • Congrats! Retirement rocks! You're going to love it.
  • I love you both and will miss you, but am over the top happy for you too, because I know it's going to be a wonderful new chapter. And maybe we'll all wind up on the same cruise ship someday! Congratulations!!!
  • You are my idols! Way to go!
  • I think I'm speechless.....

And a text from my Vice-Principal Micheline the evening of the day I told her:
“I have to tell you... I am so happy for you and Frank. That made my day. Living the dream!💜💙”

Monday, March 20, 2017

Start Spreadin' the News

We've been slowly telling more people. We are really going to make this happen! I've only told a couple people at work though. I'm not sure why I am waiting, but I am. I think sometime this week, I'll start telling at least admin. And then start telling the teachers. It's all part of the transition. Frank and I went over to Nancy's on Saturday and she was laying down on the couch after her 3 1/2 hour hike on Dictionary Hill. When I told her I was retiring in three months she jumped up and gave me a big hug! She was so excited for us! It was the best reaction so far, but that hasn't been the reaction from everyone. People need to understand we need to follow our own path.

We met our friend Marla at our local watering hole (Baja Betty’s) last week, and while I was chatting with her, Frank stuck up a conversation with a guy next to him. This guy, David, overheard us talking about Portugal and said he goes to Portugal to golf on occasion. And he owns an apartment in Paris. And one in New York. So obviously, Frank was intrigued. They talked about our move and his business interests all over the world. They exchanged information and we hope to keep in touch in the future. Just goes to show you that striking up a conversation in a bar can go a long way!

It reminds me of my flight when I moved to Malaga in 1992. You never know where a chance meeting will take you.

(Saturday) 1:30 am  1 February 1992So I met this guy, Dave, on the flight from London to Málaga. I was supposed to sit by this fat woman, but Dave agreed to change seats so she could sit by her husband. I found out he was a tour manager. He knows Ozzy Osborne, Duran Duran, Wham, Elton John, Led Zeppelin, Dave Edmunds, Jeff Beck, Adam Ant, Level 42 and Frank Zappa! He was coming back from spending time with Frank in California after an aborted tour with Yngwie Malmsteen. Or something like that. Anyway, we were talking on the plane about my decision to move to Málaga. He was very supportive. Said he knew I would do well, etc. It was so nice to hear that. He said he truly believed in fate and that he was meant to sit by me to encourage me! Maude! I told him about “Maude” who I had met on a train in Germany the summer before, who reminded me of Ruth Gordon’s character in  "Harold and Maude." He said the only other time he switched seats on a plane was to save a guy's life. The drummer on the Wham tour in China was possessed and stabbed himself on the plane to Beijing, but Dave pulled the knife out! Yes, he’s a talker! He asked if I was staying in Málaga and I said I think so. He talked about how smarmy it can be and was thinking (I think) about offering for me to stay in Torreblanca with him and his Norwegian girlfriend, Gitta. But he didn't -- yet. Near landing he told me to take a good look out the window because I was embarking on a great adventure in my life. Hell yes, I was! I asked him for his address so we could keep in touch and he said he could find me a place in Torreblanca for $60 a week! I, of course, accepted! Gitta, Dave, their poodle, Minka, and I drove back down the Costa del Sol highway and stopped at a German pub in Fuengirola. We had a couple of drinks and went back to their place. While Gitta prepared open-faced sandwiches, Dave and I went to get some champagne from their bar. Did I mention they own a bar?!? It's a tiny place in the condo complex overlooking the Mediterranean. I was so stunned. It was incredible. Just perfect! So we had a beer in the bar and talked. He showed me his Frank Zappa and Level 42 pictures. Gitta eventually had to came up to get us. We went back to their apartment and had some food and wine. It was so nice! I still can't believe it all happened! Then they took me up to their friend's place that I’m renting (he's in Saudi Arabia.) This place is paradise! I hope the future stacks up to the present!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Turning Portuguese, I Really Think So

What are you doing on your Friday night? Frank and I are learning Portuguese. I found this awesome language app - Duolingo. I started using it months ago to brush up on my Spanish, but switched to Portuguese when we started leaning towards Portugal as our next destination in life. Frank and I have been talking about moving overseas for at least 9 years since we spent a week in Belize. Actually, I wrote in my journal, "We're going to live here one day," when we first visited Belize on a cruise 10 years ago. But things change. By the time we were ready to make a move - which we are - Europe got a lot cheaper. Portugal appeared on our radar after seeing it was number one on the Invest Overseas ? 2017 Country Index. We looked at the Algarve - a place I had driven through on a trip out of Malaga 25 years ago - and more specifically the town of Portimao, which seems a little more tame than it's summertime party neighbor, Albufiera. We looked at $400 - 600/ month apartments near the beach, Placa de Rocha. Seriously? For 2 br/2 bath fully furnished? Then an early retirement incentive from the school district seemed to seal the deal. Why wait until 2018? We can leave in 8 months! 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Retirement Reality

I just heard that 20 million People relocate to a foreign country every year. That is really hard to believe! But Frank and I are about to join them! I received my early retirement benefits information on Friday. Today I started to look through it more in depth and if I am reading things right (and I'm not sure I am) I  can really do this. This year! In three months! 116 days!! 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

What the WHAT?

Yesterday was a banner day! Pops' house went into escrow aaaaand... I was offered an early retirement incentive. I'm still not sure if i will do it. But I'm definitely looking into it! 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Four weeks in the sling and I am officially over it! I'm define doctors orders for the first time and I am walking around at the apartment without it on, doing laundry. How liberating! Frank had a shitty day. And we only had a short amount of time before he and I had to rush off to the theater tonight. But I'm glad that we got a chance to go to Betty's for a while. We saw some friends but we also had a chance to talk about the future. I told him that I had looked at some Portugal sites today. Especially looking at the costs. There's a site that compares the price the cost of living in various cities around the world. So I compared Faro, Portugal with San Diego. It came in at about 50% of the cost, which is what I was thinking. Made me feel a little better about our plans. We are meeting with a Financial planner next week and I want to make sure we have a plan ahead of time. I know there will be a lot of resistance. I felt it when I move to Spain 25 years ago. I remember my brother asking me what if you don't find a job what if you can't make any money? I told him, I guess I'll come back. Or go somewhere else. We have a nest egg and that is what allows us the freedom to take our time. We agreed that we won't even consider working for the first six months. I want us to have time to acclimate to explore possibilities to see if it's really where we want to be.

I had a wonderful hour-long talk with John Zerfas tonight. It was so nice talking to him about our proposed adventures. He told me of his dreams also and we pushed each other to go for it. I remember him and I talking about my departure before I moved to Spain 25 years ago. And also when I returned when he was in a relationship and I said "I want what you have!” Thinking about my new adventure, he said "I want what you have!” Why can’t we have it all?? So many possibilities out there.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Hardest Part

Looking out at the ocean in Mission Beach, I can't help thinking I'll be doing the same in Portugal in a year and a half or so. So many adventures awaiting. I wish I could get more into writing about our move. I want to get started on my nexpatriates blog. I have a lot in my head, but I just have to take the time to transfer it into words. So many unanswered questions remain, but we're at least looking at the possibilities. Money, of course, is the big one. Timing is another. Residency requirements, health insurance, language issues. Where we're going to end up isn't as much of a concern to me. If we try a place and don't like it, we'll move on! Of course the biggest issue is leaving our friends and family. The hardest part.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Whispers of Early Retirement??

I like the fact that Frank and I are talking through plans for Portugal 2018. I don't want to think about it too much but if I could retire this June instead of waiting until next year because of a buyout, we could make it work early in 2018. Maybe Frank's birthday? I really want to look into teaching English but also wondering if we could start a tour business or maybe a video production business.
I've been looking into the town of Portimao. It's probably the second or third largest town along the coast and it seems like the right size for us. It even has a gay bar, so that's a plus! We saw some apartments that were incredibly cheap but the price we saw was probably the low season price. Of course, we may only be there for the low season if we leave in February. Or do we want to lock in a year lease? I'm thinking we go and rent something small the first week or two and then we will try to determine how long we even want to stay there. Will it be six months or will it be a year or more?

So if this early retirement offer does happen this year we will really be cranking our timeline up quite a bit. In fact I had been toying with the idea of waiting until December 2018 to retire instead of June 2018. It's a lot to plan in just one year but as I told Frank last night I moved to Spain with less than six months preparations, so it can be done!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A Plan

Frank and I had a nice talk tonight. ABOUT THE MOVE. He had a rotten day at work, which spurred him on. But we’ve talked about it a lot lately. I spent my morning researching TESOL classes so we can teach English overseas. I’ve been listening to an audiobook called, “Retiring Overseas on a Budget.” I’ve looked into health insurance costs, apartments in San Pedro, Placencia, southern Portugal, Spain and even Malta! We’re ready to put this into motion. Within two years - we’ll be out of here!

So many thoughts. So many decisions to make. But we’ve set a date. That’s so important! When I was toying with the idea of moving to Spain at the end of my month in Europe in the summer of 1991, I knew I had to tell everyone immediately upon my return, that I was planning to move to Europe. I had to put it into motion. Not “I’m thinking about….,” but rather, “I’m going to…” I talked about it so much that my coworker finally asked me to give her an idea of when I’d been leaving so they could start thinking about a replacement for me. So I did. This was in TK October and I made a commitment to leave by the end of January. Now I had a schedule. A timetable. A PLAN. That’s what we get to work on now. OUR PLAN! Where we want to be in two years - financially and psychologically, as well as geographically. 

We started gearing up for this in earnest on Election Night. While we were watching the returns, and I was saying that “it’s early” and “those states aren’t important anyway,” I was already on my laptop looking at property in Belize. Saw a couple great potentials. We realized that night that it had to happen. The question was when. I submitted a retirement estimate request the next morning. I have an appointment with a CalPERS retirement specialist in two weeks. We have set this into motion!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Election 2016

I still can’t deal with it. I’m seriously still in the denial stage. I’m avoiding it. Not watching the news. Couldn’t even THINK of watching his acceptance speech or even her concession speech. What I want to hear is her ACCEPTANCE speech. I would LOVE to hear that right now. I know it wouldn’t change the outcome, but hearing about the momentous success of how far this country has come and how it will continue on a positive, progressive path. I need to hear HER. I need to hear about the accomplishments past and future. The thanks to a pioneering president who has brought us so far in social justice issues these past eight years. (Remember he was elected the same night Prop 8 was voted in to stop marriage equality in California.) You know Lily Ledbetter, health care for millions and marriage equality are in that speech. I need that reassurance. That hope for the future. Because that’s not the path I see ahead. I see women, people of color, LGBT youth facing the overt oppression that has been somewhat veiled in the past. I see what has already happened in the past two days continuing unabated because it’s been sanctioned by their leader.

I finally started reaching out tonight. Frank and I shared the wrenching experience Election Night (so glad he didn’t have rehearsal), but I really only talked to one friend at work yesterday. I was avoiding it. Still in denial. Tonight after work I talked to my neighbor about it. It helped to talk it a out a bit more. We talked about how fortunately isolated we are in California. But it’s the young woman in Oklahoma, the gay kid in Michigan, the Muslim family in Kentucky. Those are the ones I’m worried about. She’s ready to march in the streets. And I will be there some day. But not right now. I can’t even get behind Michael Moore right now. In denial. I was texting with some (more politically-inclined) friends in Michigan. I had to reach out. I remember calling (was that even a thing?) my best friend in 2000 when it looked like Al Gore was going to pull it out. How exciting, yet, tenuous it was. Then…. 

I just want to shut it out. Denial. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Time to Hit the Road??

Watching the US Presidential results coming in. Checking out properties in San Pedro, Belize. Might be time to pull the trigger.