Another dimension

Ever since the time that our family first started to think of moving to Nicaragua some three years ago, I have been a perpetual lurker (if this is the right term) of nicaliving.com. I have been positively impressed by its content and the erudition of the contributors. Nicaliving has helped us a lot in getting a more solid grasp on a number of practical issues on the jump that I and my family were contemplating.

To add a little more background - my wife is a Nicaraguan/UK citizen and we have a 16 year old daughter. I am now retired and we are presently living in Diria, Granada. We have a delightful bar/restaurant on the crater rim of the Mirador de La Laguna de Apoyo. We moved here permanently only a month ago after having lived in the UK for 18 years and after having visited Diria many times. Our bar/restaurant is only a very modest business that helps to support us and my wife's family, who all live in the same village. My wife has gone back to teach part-time at UCA where she worked before coming to the UK on a World Bank project. Our daughter is studying on the IB programme at Notre Dame in Managua. My plan is to teach at the local secondary school as well as to work in the bar/restaurant.

In sum, I think we followed as much advice as possible, much of which came from NL contributors.

To get to the point of this posting - having got here and not being one of the seasoned contributors to NL, I feel that there is something of a vacuum that might be usefully filled for newcomers. I would emphasise that what I write in no way takes anything away from the present NL content. But I think there could be a forum that enables newcomers to participate without feeling that they have little or nothing to say in the face of all the accumulated wisdom and knowledge. I can well appreciate that some might think that the site has such resource but when you go to the recent posts page, which is the one that you are most likely to be drawn, there is not such an immediate link. Or am I being unfair?

I think it has to be remarked that there is a limited number of contributors who post often and that their postings give good insights and often a very interesting debate. But contact and help for recent long and short term arrivals must also have a valid role to play.

Is there a case? Reactions?

Please come and see us at the Embrujo de Bokete. Mirador del Diria. Or e-mail.

Very best,

Terry Bray

ps I want to start a cricket team and already have a UK club interested in coming

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It's the small things

Some of my favourite posts are the initial observations from newcomers. When you think about it, anything that's really big or important is covered in the media or guide books. Customs, daily life, birds, plants, animals, the process you go through for anything, comparisons to home, lots of photos - It's all interesting. Just tell people you're a newcomer or mention these are your initial observations.

The proper place for it is in your blog, but the way the site is set up we don't have a page where you can easily access everyone's blogs. I'm guessing at least half the information on this website is hidden there so it's a good reason to learn how to search.

(For everyone's info, we tested a module that let us see all the blogs - It was a great way to learn we have more cleanup work to do!)

To find a person's blog, just click on their name where it appears above a post and you're taken to their profile page. One of the top entries on the page is the link to their blog. There's more info under the Site's menus (top of the page) and we have over 4,000 photos so you can explore for a long time.

This is a whole new life and adventure for you so I hope you have a blast and tell us about it.

Susan

One thing that would help

If you can, make comments on the blog optional. I wasn't intending to give the absolute definitive answer to how to get a cedula, but was writing about the process as it was on-going. I'm rather pleased that one of those people has disappeared and the other only makes appearances when I mention the gay thing. Neither had anything to contribute as far as I could see and were liabilities to the site.

Rebecca Brown

comments can be disabled for a topic

If we could default the comments on a blog to being optional, we would have set that up long ago. If it's important to disable them for a topic, just e-mail me. I usually log in twice a day.

Rebecca, your cedula comment could only make sense to people that read your 2 year old cedula posts - context is kind of important. :-)

Context, when I was applying for a cedula

...I planned to post a trip to trip log of the process, what steps I needed to take, how long the decisions took, and all that. Various men started telling me I was doing it wrong (not all the guys) and said that this would be an example of how not to do things. They were wrong.

Rebecca Brown

With your quote...

"But I think there could be a forum that enables newcomers to participate without feeling that they have little or nothing to say in the face of all the accumulated wisdom and knowledge."

Two fold..

Your typical "New" poster, who posts prolifically, is so glassy eyed with the positives that the replies on the negatives or even the slightly less positive spin go unheeded...

The typical prolific "Seasoned replier" .. Has " Seen this line before and knows how it plays out"

While I spend my most of my time on 'Nica Site brand A" (TRN) I think both sites have the same affliction with new poster looking for information.

I know myself, married to a Nica Spouse for 20+ yrs, that even then there were surprises on my first visit (Although I did give context a heck of a lot from our previous 12 yrs of relationship prior, as you may have found as well :-)

So just for the search engine ... there are only two pieces of advise you can give a tentative first world escapee..

1) Go to visit for at least 4 to 6 months in total first ( You can cut it up into smaller chunks, but chunks of at least 3 weeks at a time)

2) To keep an open mind and not judge or criticize those you meet.. If you want a downhill slide fast just start passing judgement or offer unsolicited offers on how to improve things... Asked for, for sure.. But under all other circumstances .. Mouth shut..

Cheers..

PS.. Pub location noted.. May drop by from our home base in Masaya next visit.. Got any thing other than Tona and frost?

I think everyone suggests six months before committing

I've met one guy who came sight unseen to Nicaragua and who had it work out. I still think the "don't finalize anything until you've been here five to six months" is a good general rule, and was pretty much the one I followed.

I won't say that every piece of unsolicited advice I got the first year I was on NIcaLiving was profoundly wrong, just 99% of it, but the more irrelevant, the more insistent the man was that I listen to him. The more stereotyping about Nicaraguans or classes of Nicaraguans, the worse the advice has been, also. Not all expats are nice. Not all are bad. Same with Nicaraguans.

One of the books I reviewed on this site warned expats about hanging out at expat bars drinking and trashing the country they were living in, all while very likely being observed by the country's counter-intelligence service. The book suggested that the more expats had nationals as friends, the better they spoke the language, the more they'd break up their stereotypes and defensive clinging to the expats stuck in the "ain't it awful" game, and the happier they'd be. There are things wrong with every country -- and dwelling on them while living there will make for a miserable experience, but some people like being miserable if it also gives them a sense of being superior to their surroundings.

So even whining about the country, which I find tedious at best, makes some people happy. Not My Kink, though.

Rebecca Brown

"Not My Kink, though."

way to turn a phrase! i was tempted to ask what was your kink....but, NEVERMIND!

"Maybe, just once, someone will call me 'sir' without adding, 'you're making a scene." -Homer J. Simpson

Not original with me

And it's fairly commonly abbreviated NMK. YKINMK is another one, and so forth.

Rebecca Brown

I think one of the things that inhibits people

...is the occasional hostility to newcomers who may seem naive. There's something to be said for the observations of people who aren't taking it for granted yet. After two years, I don't see all the things I used to see (was thinking about that when I looked at some of the older photos I'd taken) but I see different things.

Having a Nicaraguan spouse, you'll be able to see things that those who don't won't know about as quickly. Having the experience of living in the UK, you'll have a compare and contrast pair that will be different from those of us from the US and Canada.

Rebecca Brown

Blog?

I expect my opinion is not going to be the mainstream but let me toss out my story/the site history.

I started the site when I was moving to Nicaragua. While I had a lot of knowledge of Nicaragua from my activist work from the 1980s when I started NL I was totally new on the ground. I had no idea where NL would go but I wanted to record what I was seeing. The recording still exists in my blog. Some of it even I find amusing when I go back and look at it.

I am not 100% happy with how NL is organized but, for an assortment of reasons which ultimately translate to lack of time, it is what it is. That said, I find a blog to be a good thing as you get to watch a person grow as they spend more time in a place. While the forums and the book pages should offer more to the point information, sometimes watching an individual grow tells you a lot about a place.