Sunday Morning 7/3/2022: 4th of July

I am really not feeling the Fourth of July this year, and not just because we’re outside of the U.S. I feel like the person on Twitter who said that this year it feels like we’re celebrating someone’s birthday while they’re in hospice. The last two weeks of Supreme Court decisions have felt almost personal as they ran roughshod over previously settled decisions, ones several of these justices swore under oath they had no intention of overriding, with the majority’s logic flipping from decision to decision (we have to do this because of history but no, history can’t be a factor with this one), etc. The more I continue to learn as well about what happened on January 6, 2021, has also been deeply unsettling. I have no idea what’s going to happen in the coming months and years, but I feel great despair about the direction our country is going and how we are already losing freedoms many fought and died for, and that we have been blessed with for so many years.

On a brighter note, we rented an apartment in Nashville and will move in the second week of August! Our daughter-in-law sent us a link early in the week indicating the available apartments at hers and our primary location choice, and we noticed that one of the one-bedroom units was not only in our price range but available for occupancy the day after we arrived in Nashville! So, we applied online, were accepted a few days later, and will now only have to stay in a hotel one night before moving in. Our idea is to unload our boxes from Massachusetts into the apartment on move-in day in the morning, then head to Costco and buy a mattress and a few other supplies so we can sleep there that night. The next day we’ll start unpacking the boxes and do some grocery and supply shopping, and then the day after that we’ll drive to Memphis and pick up our IKEA furniture and start getting that set up (Brett weirdly enjoys assembling IKEA stuff). Fingers crossed everything goes as planned, but our arrival week is going to be crazy (our DIL will also be moving into her apartment the same week). We only hope buying a car will go smoothly once we get there. We got our financing approved this past week, but so far we’ve either been quoted prices w-a-y over the MSRP or the car(s) we’re interested in are “in transit” or sold before we can complete anything and we’ve been told there could be anywhere from a 90- to 120-day wait for the next batch of cars to arrive. Sigh. We may end up buying a car when we’re in Massachusetts and bringing it down with us to Tennessee as Nashville dealers have all been a complete bust but we hope we don’t have to do that.

Some of our IKEA furniture choices.

I can’t honestly say I’ve been miserable since we arrived in SMA in May, but whether it’s been the altitude, the heat, the dry air, a lack of sleep (it can be very noisy around here during the night), occasional vertigo, or the current constant noise throughout the day (neighbors have been having their rooftop patio renovated the past three weeks and it’s been constant sawing and tile cutting going on the entire day, every day, starting at 8:00 a.m.), I just never have had my usual energy and feeling of well-being. I think I may also be/have been suffering from allergies caused by one or more of the plants in our compound. I felt bad enough one day last week (run down, sore throat, cough, and sinuses) that I took a Covid test but it came back negative so who knows what’s going on?

An unexpected afternoon rain on Friday was refreshing and cleared pollen and dust out of the air.

This morning I am thinking about:

  • What we accomplished: 1) Getting our apartment lined up in Nashville was the big accomplishment this past week. The one we’ve rented is the same square footage as the crazy-landlord house we lived in on Kaua’i, but costs so much less each month, actually a full $1000 less a month than what he’s currently charging for rent, and the apartment comes with a washer and dryer and a dishwasher (can you guess what I’m excited about?). 2) Getting our car financing set up this past week was easy, and it’s great that whenever we finally find a car we’ll be ready to go.
  • Looking forward to next week: I am looking forward to feeling better and hopefully getting a handle on what’s been bothering me – that’s my focus now. We didn’t do the San Miguel de Allende historical tour this past week so maybe that will happen this week.
Surrealism in the sink: Peaches, plums, mango, and raspberries getting washed in an antibacterial solution. Anything that will not be peeled or that will be eaten raw gets the treatment.
  • The ways we saved: 1) We spent very little on food this week, around $75 for fruit at the frutería – mangoes, cantaloupe, peaches, plums, figs, and raspberries – and a few items from City Market following our brunch on Friday. It will all get us through the next couple of weeks except for maybe one or two more stop at the frutería. 3) We will be paying more initially but but decided we will save overall by buying a car versus leasing. We currently don’t know what we’ll be doing when we leave Nashville, and felt it would overall be better financially to own a newer car at that point rather than having to start over after finishing up a lease. The car payment will be higher than the lease payment would have been, but we plan to pay off the loan in two years. It’s sort of weird to think this is probably the last car we’ll ever buy. 4) Our son and daughter-in-law booked and paid for our hotel room in Nashville as a small treat for us – we appreciate the savings!
  • Good things that happened: 1) The kennel sent a video of our puppy this past week and Kai looks healthy, happy, and fluffy, and we love how his little tail never stops wagging. We are very excited about meeting him in August! He will be almost six months old at that point, and the kennel is going to take care of having him neutered before we pick him up. One of our first tasks once he’s back in Nashville will be to get him groomed as he’s going to be very shaggy at that point! 2) Brett and I enjoyed a tasty lunch date at Raices on Wednesday afternoon. I had the Amor Amarillo (“love yellow”): chicken, beans, and cheese inside a fresh, handmade tortilla with yellow mole sauce. A pepper leaf was grilled to the outside of the tortilla to add extra flavor – yum! I should have ordered two of them, it was so good. Brett had the enchiladas verdes I had the first time we ate there and we both repeated our previous tea and lemonade drinks. We’re already planning our next visit. 3) We also had a delicious brunch on Friday at Turk Mediterranean Street Food, another nearby restaurant. I had a beef and lamb wrap and Brett had a falafel wrap, and he got a second wrap for free because unknown to us it was “Falafel Friday” (we brought it home and shared it for dinner). We had a lovely, long chat with the owner (originally from the U.S.) while we were there and he helped us think in a different and more positive way about possibly living in San Miguel de Allende in the future. The BIG (and fun) surprise though was during our conversation the owner and I figured out we grew up about three blocks from each other! Seriously! Talk about a small world. 4) The emergency J6 hearing on Tuesday was very compelling. 5) Our daughter-in-law was sworn in this past week as an official Consul for the nation of Japan. She will receive her diplomatic passport later this month to begin her position in Nashville. We’re so proud of her!

We enjoyed some good eating last week at Raices and TURK. The culinary scene in SMA is one thing I can’t complain about – so much creative, delicious food at affordable prices. The beautiful mosaic was part of the floor at TURK.

I am going to take a few weeks away from the blog again, although I will continue to post on the Occasional Nomads Instagram page and keep up my reading list. It feels a bit like we are now marking time in San Miguel de Allende with our focus more on getting to Nashville and getting settled there for the next two years. I also feel like the direction of the blog needs to change and adapt a bit and want to think about that for a while as well, with the focus of the blog less about travel, travel, travel, and more about creating an alternative (retirement) lifestyle and making it work. Although we plan to continue traveling while we’re in Nashville (visiting Mammoth Caves & Great Smoky Mountains National Parks – with some misgivings as visitors are now allowed to bring loaded guns into National Parks – and a couple of Civil War battlefields; touring Washington, D.C. with our granddaughter and DIL; visiting Asheville, N.C.; and doing a big family reunion at Walt Disney World in 2023) Brett and I will mostly be enjoying our time with family in Nashville and setting up where we’ll be going and what we’ll be doing next. I’d like the blog to focus more about that and keep track of our steps as it will be one of the most significant changes we’ll make in our lives.

Although I might not be feeling the holiday spirit this year, I hope others are and I wish all a happy Fourth of July, and a fun but thoughtful time with family and friends. I’ll be back in a few weeks.

31 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 7/3/2022: 4th of July

  1. I have learned that living where people vacation is not such a great idea. Biding time in a place at this age is not fun. We are still at odds trying to figure out what is next for us. Like you I am trying to make sense of things and figure out the next step. It is not easy as we get older. At least that is what I am finding. And of course now everything seems so much harder than ever. Between shortages of everything from cars to computers and the horrible and very depressing state of our country. Finding what is next seems more difficult. I look forward to hearing about your ideas going forward and hope your blogging break isn’t too long.

    Like

    1. I know exactly what you’re saying! We’ve lived in tourist areas several times, a few with “seasons” versus year-round, and it can be tiring. It’s been fun to live in those places though, and know you don’t have to leave after a week or two (but also deal with higher prices, etc.)

      Brett and I are working up a spreadsheet now. We have come up with a list of things we want and need going forward, from cost of living to healthcare as well as what we like to do, and that is driving the list. Even without kids in the mix this time, we’re finding it more difficult than it was before our move to Hawaii because we’re frankly more particular than we were then. There are things now we just flat out don’t want to deal with any more.

      I’ll probably be back in a couple of weeks. I’m already thinking and writing down somethings that will eventually turn into a post.

      Like

  2. Hi – I live in Massachusetts and I am a few years short of retirement. My husband and I spend a lot of time thinking about what we want to do next so I enjoy reading your blog. I agree with you on the sad state of our country. I just wanted to say that cars are very hard to get here too. Depending on the make, you either end up on a months long wait list or you have to be there with $$ in hand when they unload the truck. My son recently bought a Mazda CX-5, sight unseen from a dealer in NH. There was someone right behind him who also wanted the same car. Also if you buy a car in MA (or register a new car in MA) you may have to pay sales tax even if you immediately take it out of state.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The car situation is awful, but I think we MAY have found our car and there seems to be enough of them in the area that we should be able to purchase one. Who knows though – they may all be sold in the coming month and we’ll be back to the beginning again. Buying in MA is positively our LAST choice and only if we’re desperate. We can purchase there as long as we don’t register it there and will be paying sales tax and registration in TN.

      Brett and I are working on a definite decision of what we want to do post-Nashville, one we can take along and work toward while we’re there. We’re currently going back and forth with pros and cons, but there’s quite a bit of emotion and heart involved as well which has surprised us.

      Like

  3. My son recently bought a Toyota Corolla from Dollar Car rentals. It looks like new and was a fair price. I have that same ikea dresser and love it. I have enjoyed your blog since Portland. I always look forward to it. Thanks for sharing your life’s journey.

    Like

    1. Our financing is for a new car and was for quite a bit more than we intend to spend. If we want to purchase used we have to go through the financing procedure again as the interest rates are different although we imagine it would go very quickly. We got at fantastic interest rate through our credit union for a new car so our fingers are crossed. We’re looking to buy a small SUV this time – we’ve test driven them all and know the one we prefer so our fingers are crossed we can find one in the area when it’s time to buy.

      Like

  4. I have bought a slightly used Toyota Corolla last November at Tuscaloosa Toyota. Since you are only one state away, I thought maybe you could look at the prices. To be candid, I prefer dealing with Windham Motor in Demopolis, Alabama. Tyler, the owner, tends to try to help as much as possible, and they sell
    used cars of all makes, but they are a Chevy dealership if you are looking at new cars. I hate car buying tho. They all try to upsell you on extended warranties, etc. so annoying. I also started to walk out of Tuscaloosa Toyota until they gave me the interest rate I wanted. Of course now interest rates are so much higher.

    Like

    1. We haven’t looked down in Alabama yet, but we just might. The ideal location for us would be Knoxville as we could buy the car and drive into Nashville with it. But, if we start having trouble we will start looking in Alabama as well as Kentucky and other locations. Our financing is for a new car (we got a fantastic rate from our credit union, better than anything else we’ve seen), and we’re planning to get a small SUV this time – we want to be higher off the ground than we were in our Civic.

      Like

  5. Enjoy your holiday and break, I’m looking forward to hearing back from you!

    I find it so difficult to choose a place to settle for a really long time or for the foreseeable future. When we returned from Romania in 2019 ( we spent 2 years there, caring for my mother) we looked at so many places and eventually decided to stay in California, closer to my son and our little granddaughter. We found what we thought “forever home” and although we love it here, the circumstances have changed so much. The cost of living has increased I’d say by 25% in the last 2 years which puts us in a scarcity frame of mind, with a constant worry about what will happen if this pattern continues for another 2 years or more. When we first retired, we did anticipate a rate of inflation of just about 2-3%/year but nothing like this. This and the dramatic change in the culture, which right now is so full of division and resentment, loud and hateful rhetoric, and violence promoting, makes us increasingly uncomfortable. So now, we start looking at other options ( we’ll always have Romania as an alternative) and try to become financially stable and nimble, so we can pivot when we’ll fall under the affordability threshold. Only time will tell, but being prepared for bad circumstances never hurts. I am just trying to learn from other people’s experiences and perspectives and share with others what I have learned in the process. It is a very difficult decision indeed and I am following the decision-making process that you so generously share with us in your blog. Thank you very much and have a fabulous week!

    Like

    1. We honestly cannot be as flexible about a location as we were in the past. Time seems to fly by these days and it’s no longer as easy for us to move around of fix things if we choose wrong. We have financial considerations as well that we didn’t have in the past or at least didn’t worry about as much, and of course healthcare becomes a much bigger consideration as we age. We hope to have a solid decision before we leave Mexico so that everything we do while we’re in Nashville helps to get us closer to our goal.

      Brett and I are currently working up a small of list of places that would work and where we would be willing to go. All have pros and cons, some more than others, and some would be more practical than others but do not tug at our hearts as strongly.

      Like

  6. I think you put too much stress on yourself to have a focus for the blog. So many of us just enjoy hearing about your life and seeing where your adventures take you next. These Sunday Morning posts are my favorite and I hope they will continue for a long time.

    Don’t put too much pressure on yourselves to make a decision about post-Nashville just yet. A lot can change in two years. As a “planner” myself, I understand the need to have a plan for any scenario but sometimes it is good just just enjoy the ride, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Full-time travel doesn’t seem like it will be happening again and the need to settle seems to be growing stronger all the time, so it’s a good time for the blog to segue as well. The Sunday posts will continue – they’re fun for me to write and a positive way to reflect on how things are going every week.

      We have decided we want to have a solid decision about what to do post-Nashville before we go, so that we can be working toward that goal while we’re there. Of course we know that things can change – and we’re good at accepting change if necessary – but two years for us now goes by VERY quickly. We plan to thoroughly enjoy our time with our granddaughter and daughter-in-law while we’re there as we know it will be an experience we’ll never have again.

      Like

  7. Lots to think about, but again it sounds like your plans are falling into place.

    DH just bought a car and he searched until he found the one he wanted, which was a newer version of the one he had. He searched dealers with Certified Pre-owned cars within a certain radius and then negotiated with a couple of them. He ended up driving to Cleveland to get it  🤷‍♀️, but we both bought our last cars in DesMoines. Each of those dealers are 5-6 hours from us, but it was worth the drive. With the internet, you can find a car anywhere you’re willing to drive. Just a thought.

    Hope you feel better and don’t stress about your blog. I’m sure we’ll all love reading whatever you decide to write. 😊

    Like

    1. The whole car thing has been eye-opening, that’s for sure. We have come to a decision about which car we want and there are some available in the area (with more “in transit” although no one seems to have any idea of when they’ll arrive). We’re just crossing our fingers at this point that one will be available when we arrive. I think we may still try to make a deposit and sign a sales contract before we leave here.

      Things are coming together for a decision although we’re not there yet. So much to think about this time, with several factors we really didn’t have to think about before.

      Like

  8. Get well soon. Love your blog no matter the subject. It’s just good easy reading.

    Like

    1. I have figured out that my not feeling good comes from two sources: not getting a good night’s sleep and my ears are plugged. When I get a good night’s sleep I feel great the next day, but there have been two many nights here where my sleep is interrupted (fireworks, storms, etc.). I am going to get my ears examined when we get to Nashville and hopefully that will settle the vertigo issues – they’re not as bad as they were though thank goodness.

      The blog will be back, probably in a couple of weeks. It’s hard for me to be away from it even for a couple of weeks!

      Like

  9. Your furniture choices will make a very pretty new home. But, haha, you will need extra patience to assemble the Hemnes eight drawer dresser! I speak from experience. Great dresser, you will enjoy it. My husband and I are near the start of our retirement journey. I look forward to following your decision process as you plan for the future. Love your blog, have been following since you were planning your move from Portland to Hawaii. You are a wonderful writer and every post is a treat. Enjoy your break, and am looking forward to your return.

    Like

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment and for being such a faithful reader.

      Assembling things is something Brett excels at. He’s good at following directions, lots of skill, and a ton of patience, the Trifecta for IKEA stuff. He loves the process. One of his commanding officers once said Brett might not have been the quickest when it came to repairs on the aircraft but when he finished a repair it was done properly and fixed for good. He has put together a Hemnes dresser before (the three-drawer one) so he’s up for the challenge. Currently the nearest IKEA does not have the gray eight-drawer in stock but it’s due to arrive right before we get there so fingers crossed. Everything else is thankfully in stock.

      The blog will be back in a couple of weeks, maybe with a firm decision about what we’ll be doing post-Nashville.

      Like

  10. All in good time, moving is hard enough. I just moved and it was particularly hard on my physically. I had to admit to myself that I overdid it. On another note, if you do road trips, please reach out. I manage an adorable Airbnb unit at the base of Boise, Idaho foothills. It’s quite lovely here in the spring and fall!

    Like

    1. LOL – we have just been talking about this, about how we don’t want a difficult move after this one to Nashville (although it certainly won’t be the most difficult or expensive move we’ve every made). And, Brett’s been wondering how we’re going to get the IKEA stuff up the stairs into our apartment. I can help somewhat, but other things are going to be way to heavy for me to help with (the sofa and the dresser, for example).

      And thank you for letting me know about your Airbnb – we may still do that road trip!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Did I miss something? I thought you had decided to move to Maine after Nashville.

    Please consider consignment and second hand stores to furnish your home in Nashville. Fast furniture from stores like Ikea have a short life cycle and only add to waste not to mention that they are made in countries that do not have fair labor laws.

    That photo of the garden in your apartment complex is lovey. I’ve also been enjoying your posts about eating out and the prices…wow, you sure get a lot for your money there. Grocery prices, like everything else here in the U S, have gone through the roof. We had to buy a new car back in March and had to pay way more than we should have but like you, purchasing outright made more sense for us than leasing. Enjoy the rest of your stay in Mexico!

    Like

    1. Maine dropped off the list as we started to look deeper into what a move there would entail, like buying a house and then having all the upkeep that goes along with that, as well as the winters and all the extra equipment that goes along with that season (snow blowers, generators, etc.), and on and on. It was all just much more than we wanted (or needed) to take on, as well as an economic burden we did not want at this stage of our lives. It was kind of sad though to give up the idea. We also looked at other places in New England and even upstate New York, but none of them really work for us for the above reasons. We can see now that we would have most likely become very unhappy in Maine very quickly.

      IKEA was chosen because of the timeline and budget we will be working under and with. We will sell it all in two years.

      The central courtyard here is the best thing about our rental – it is a joy to look out the front window/door every day and see so much green! The cost of living here continues to amaze us – we went out for dinner and wine last night. A big (delicious) Margherita pizza and two big glasses of wine along with the tip was just $10. Brett picked up two pounds of coffee this morning for less than $5. We know prices back in the U.S. are going to be shocking.

      Like

  12. Hi Laura, I always look forward to your posts because of the thought you put into everything. I mentioned before that I had a few tips for things to see around Nashville. Let me know if you want more info on these, but you seem to be the ultimate researcher when it come to travel.
    Franklin, TN – both for history and the charming downtown shops and restaurants.
    Opryland Hotel – Do not miss the Christmas decorations at holiday time!!
    Bardstown, KY – Not too far from Mammoth cave. Heart of Bourbon country, the Bourbon museum is free and fun. The Old Talbott Tavern has been in operation since 1779. They still have a painting that Jesse James shot holes in. Also the “Old Kentucky Home” house is there.
    Shaker village of Pleasant Hill, KY – Beautifully preserved living history village built by the amazing Shakers. You can stay in the 200 year old buildings that are furnished in Shaker style. It is one of the best and least well known attractions in KY.

    Like

    1. Wow Bruce – thank you!! We will be living in Franklin and know we will do lots of exploring there, but also so happy to read about other interesting places to visit while we’re there (not too sure about taking our granddaughter to the Bourbon museum, but you never know). I definitely want to visit the Shaker Museum and hopefully stay there. Just around a month to go until we’re there!

      The blog will be back in a couple of weeks.

      Like

      1. Ha ha! There’s no bourbon flowing at the museum. It has displays about the history and how the industry got started in KY. There are collections of stills and other equipment, bottles and jugs, prohibition era memorabilia, etc. I loved the life-sized Carrie Nation with her axe and Bible.

        Like

      2. I absolutely love Shaker village and would happily be your tour guide. It is such a wonderful, peaceful place. I love going there to explore and always learn something new each time I visit. Plus you have to eat at the restaurant. The food is delicious.

        Like

  13. Interesting post. For selfish reasons, I look forward to a blog focused more on retirement and less on travel. I hate to say it, but my wanderlust disappeared during COVID and I am focused more on planning for my retirement and figuring out where to live, etc. I used to love to travel, but when I read about airline issues and everything else going on, I’d rather not bother. I’m just grateful I traveled as much as I did when I did.

    Good to hear that you found an apartment in the same building as your DIL. I like the IKEA furniture and you’re lucky Brett likes to assemble it!

    Like

    1. It’s taken us a while to figure out we probably won’t be traveling full time again, for a variety of reasons. The getting to and from places is a giant hassle these days, and we’ve been thinking this is a good time for us to settle down. The location may or may not be in the U.S. – we’re thinking that through. We’re happy too that we’ve done as much traveling as we have, that we lived in Hawaii and overseas in Japan.

      We won’t be in the same building as our DIL, but just across the parking lot from her, so we’ll be close. We have a strict budget for furnishings this time, and IKEA comes in under budget! We’re ordering our bed from from Amazon, and getting our mattress at Costco, but otherwise IKEA it is, and we’ll sell it when we leave (or maybe take it with us – who knows?).

      Like

      1. I actually think it’s better that you’re not in the same building as your DIL. It’s good to have a little ‘space’. I live near relatives and back when their kids were little, I would babysit quite a bit and living close was nice for a lot of reasons, but it was also good to be far enough away that I had my own space and privacy.

        I have to go on a business trip to Montreal next month and I’m dreading dealing with the airports, etc. I haven’t flown since before COVID and I keep hearing horror stories, both in the news and from friends/relatives who have traveled. Who knows, maybe things will improve at some point and you and Brett will feel like traveling full-time again, or maybe do mini trips instead. If not, at least you know you made the most of it when you did, and that’s a wonderful thing.

        Like

      2. When our son first asked us if we would come to Nashville, it was unclear whether we would be sharing a place with our DIL or getting our own place. As much as we love our DIL we really wanted our own place, and suggested we look in the same apartment complex which turned out to be what they wanted as well. DIL is working on her rental now, and should have word by the beginning of next week. She’s getting a two-bedroom and there are several available in the complex (unlike the one bedrooms – there were only two available when we applied) so if her first choice doesn’t work out there are others.

        We are already dreading our flights up to Boston. We purchased new masks for the flights. We had credit enough back from British Air to purchase first class seats on the Boston flight (with funds left over) so we won’t be so close to others, and we will stay masked the entire way. I read on Twitter the other day where someone flying was told they didn’t need to wear a mask any more and they replied, “Oh, I just attended what looks to be a super spreader event so I’m just being careful.” The person who told them they didn’t need a mask had one on in less that two minutes! That’s going to be my answer too if anyone tells me I don’t need a mask.

        We did make the most of our time when we could travel and made so many wonderful memories. I wish we could be doing more of it, but don’t think that’s going to be possible any more, and we can’t afford first class every time we want to go somewhere.

        Like

Comments are closed.