Friends, Romans, lend me…okay, friends. HELP!

Sadly I lost my oldest and dearest friend with whom I spoke for hours before deciding to move to Ecuador. She was very helpful and helped me make that important decision. If I had to make a guess I think her hubby wasn’t keen on her talking to me for hours. So be it, but now I really don’t have anyone to bounce ideas off of to know if I’m just crazy or thinking straight.

The issue is what do I do with my life and where do I go from here? Ecuador obviously turned out to be a disaster on so many levels, not the least of which was the falling Canadian dollar which meant I could not afford to live there, or anywhere for that matter. When I made the decision to move to Ecuador after months of research I never planned to come back to Canada, ever. As John  Lennon famously said “life is what happens while you’re making other plans”. So very true for me.

The last couple of years have been more the result of a series of unfortunate events. Things certainly did not go as planned in Ecuador, forcing me to return to Canada and somehow end up in Belleville, Ontario, the very last place I ever thought I would be. I viewed it all as temporary to just give me time to figure out what I was doing and sort out some of the messes I had, like needing to replace my passport (still a nightmare). Living in the reno was a big mistake but I appreciated the help when I came back with no plan. Then I moved into a group home in Belleville, then to another one a few months later and stayed for over a year. Again, not planned. My time was up at the group home and I ended up in the hospital and also had nowhere to move to once I got out. Graciously I was allowed to move to yet another group home but with only three months max. As I have for the passed several months I’ve been looking for an affordable room from Trenton to Kingston. Having visited Kingston last year several times I really like the city. There is so much more to do there than there is in Belleville.

The issue with finding a place in Kingston is the thousands of students who live there during the school year. They pay outrageous rents, or should I say Mom and Dad pay them, plus they rent for the whole year when they are only attending college or university for eight months. It’s crazy! I need something under five hundred at the most and that’s hard to find. In the meantime I’m also looking in Belleville only in case I can’t find anything in Kingston.

The primary issue here is whether it matters where I live here in Canada. I’ve been researching a place in Mexico to death, called Ajijic (Ah-hee-hick). It sounds wonderful but so did Panama and Ecuador. The climate is described as the second best in the world. Unlike Panama and Ecuador it’s not hard to find things you are used to because the Walmart is just down the street. Food is cheap. There’s tons of things to do. There’s a very large Expat community, many of them Canadian. Spanish is the local language but apparently even most of the locals speak English, mostly those working in the stores and restaurants. The community in both Ajijic and Lake Chapala, which is not far away, is vibrant. Everything I learned encouraged me to start designing a city portal website. It’s called AjijicToday.com but it’s not ready for the public yet. My primary goal is to create a unique business directory for people to find things and then charge modest fees for local businesses to become members. Eventually I want to expand the city portal sites to everywhere in Mexico and hopefully generate enough income to replace my lost pension.

Obviously a big consideration is housing. It’s not cheap and most rentals are in US dollars, which is worth far more than our Canadian dollar these days. The dollar has closed under 73 cents recently. Not good. I have found a gorgeous fully furnished house in a gated community with a pool. It’s two bed two main bath so I would need to find someone to share it with for the six months, October to the end of March. If I look at the prices for a small one bedroom apartment I could easily get three hundred dollars in rent, leaving me paying less than three hundred a month, which I could handle. I’ve been in touch with the owner and he has confirmed that everything is included. I only need to buy propane and that’s only a few dollars a month. I can take the bus anywhere I need to go.

A new wrinkle in things just happened. I was sipping a coffee when I suddenly felt something metal in my mouth. I spit it out and it turned out to be a decades old gold crown that had fallen off. I went to the dentist hoping that they could recement it back on, but no luck. It was worn down very thin and had a hole in it that could not be repaired. I asked how much a new crown would be and was shocked when they said a thousand dollars! Not a prayer I could ever afford that. As you may know dental costs in Mexico are far less than in Canada. I’ve asked a friend to check for me but I think we’re probably talking two hundred max. That means putting eight hundred towards my budget for Mexico. Although I doubt I will ever have any extra money, a few years ago I had an estimate done on all the dental work I needed. It was over four thousand dollars and that was without the crown. I assume that I could get whatever I need done in Mexico a lot cheaper. Might even be worth putting it on my MasterCard if it’s that much cheaper.

The first consideration is whether I can stay where I am for another three months. Given the normal terms of transitional housing, which is a maximum one year stay, I am confused as to why I was only given three months here. In all of their homes there have been exceptions to the rule, often for those who don’t deserve it. I have been a model tenant, always paying my rent on time and helping out wherever I was. If Mexico is in the cards for October and I am out of here at the end of June that means I only need somewhere for three months. Obviously it would be a lot better for me to simply stay where I am for an additional three months, but I don’t know if that is even possible. First job is to ask.

If I can’t stay here then the decision is do I find somewhere, anywhere actually, to live until next year when I might be better able to go to Mexico. There are issues with that of course, like paying probably more than five hundred a month for a simple room, which will eat into the budget for Mexico. If I can stay where I am that puts another hundred and twenty-five dollars a month for three months towards my airfare and getting a new passport. Also, according to people I am chatting with in Mexico I can rent a decent place for far less than the five hundred a month I would be paying here in Canada. Everything costs a lot less in Mexico, especially food which is very expensive here. I figure I am spending at least three to four hundred a month on food here and that’s just for the basics.

Yet another factor is what do I do with all my “stuff”? Over the last year and a half I have invested in far too many things for my own good. Much of it was things that where I lived didn’t have, like a coffee maker, dishes, utensils, even cutlery. For work on my websites I invested in a Dell 27″ monitor because the screen on my laptop is too small for my failing eyes. Back when I lived on Foran the TV was monopolized by guys who loved sports and not much else so I rarely got to watch any TV. I was at Best Buy on Boxing Day and they had an amazing sale on a Toshiba 43″ TV/Monitor. The guy I was with said they probably had an extra TV box and there was a cable running to my room, so I jumped to buy the TV. That didn’t work out and I tried to sell the TV at a huge discount but never did sell it. It’s now our TV at the new house but the owner hasn’t expressed any interest in buying it, so either try to sell it again or leave it here at this house until I return to Canada. It’s not something I could easily put in storage because it didn’t come with a box.

Thanks to the dollar store and some of the really cheap places in Belleville to get stuff I have far too many clothes to take plus many of them are things I would not need in Mexico, like winter coats and boots. If I’m coming back it would not be for the winter months so I wouldn’t need any of it, but just like what happened when I intended to move to Ecuador, I gave all my winter stuff to Value Village, then needed it all again when I was forced to come back to Canada. To be safe I think I need to put anything I don’t need in Mexico or won’t fit into my luggage in storage. That means renting a locker at about fifty dollars a month, but I think that’s the safest route given that I will be coming back in April next year when I will have a better idea if I am moving to Mexico permanently or not. Not sure about things like my bike or my bird feeder. What was I thinking? lol

A very big consideration is family, just like it was with Panama and Ecuador. Although I will never understand it until the day I die and not even then, my family has abandoned me long ago. I haven’t spoken to my daughter in almost twenty-five years, despite ongoing efforts to reconnect. My son has blocked me on Facebook and I’ve never met four of my grandchildren. My son’s oldest daughter requested that I remove her photos from this website. Really hurt. One of my grandkids has just recently connected with me on Facebook and she was very upset that her parents had prevented her from making her own decision on whether to connect with me or not. I’m beyond thrilled that we have chatted. The issue with moving to a place like Mexico is the same one I struggled with for Panama and Ecuador. The choice was to sit here in Canada, waiting, possibly forever, for my kids to change their minds and reconnect with their Dad, or go, knowing that if they expressed any desire to reconnect that we could Skype or I could come back to visit them. I hate to accept that I will die without ever again seeing my family, but it’s been something I cannot force. I’ve tried everything to no avail.

Well, there you have it. Confusing, eh? If you’ve read this far, well, congratulations! I would honestly welcome frank opinions from anyone, no matter how blunt. For the first time in my life I am very confused and not able to make a firm decision. I’ve usually made a list of the good and bad to help me, but this time there is so much to consider, so much that could go wrong, and all of it tempered by my experience with Panama and Ecuador.