I am not living the life I imagined. I think a lot of people can say that. For some, that’s a good thing. Or, it can be not so good.
Specifically, I’m contemplating the price of “paradise”…and if I want to pay it.
Tropica is in the news as the perfect place to live, work and retire. Real estate porn – colonial houses, pools, hammocks, low cost of living are why baby boomers are pouring into town. While the press extolls the beauty and virtues Tropica I’m thinking of going in the other direction.
This morning at 8 a.m. I was in a construction bodega buying grey cement, white cement, sand, water repellant compound. I never wanted to be a general contractor and delivery woman in such a macho environment. Water pipe burst in the wall. Call a mason, have the bathroom hammered, cement dust flying. Next a plumber. Then the mason again. I think of my cousin who lives in a gorgeous Chicago flat where nothing breaks and she spends her time deciding whether to go to the Art Institute or Steppenwolf.
Tired of rust. On everything. Even stainless steel rusts in Tropica. Your fridge, stove, dishwasher are irreparably pock marked within months. The calcium in the water crusts the insides of your dishwasher, washing machine, pipes and faucets, rendering them unusable, unfixable with the need to purchase again. And again.
Tropica only knows extremes. I’m talking of paralyzing heat, burning sun and drought, which overnight turns into mold, bugs, mosquitos and puddles when the rainy season begins. Electricity goes out when it rains or the wind blows or just because.
So tired of mold. My fridge is full, with nothing to eat: flour, baking powder/soda, bags of dried fruits, spices, pasta, sugar, mustard, batteries, perfume, all medicines. Everything — got it?
Tired of mold on clothes and shoes. Just today I took a blanket to the dry cleaner to get rid of the humidity stains. Clothing faded by the sun and destroyed by the highly calcified water. The souls of shoes unglue themselves over and over.
Tired of all bugs, marauding ants, tolocs, cockroaches, scorpions, horseflies, mosquitos.
Tired of tropical stomach upsets, amoebas and parasites in the intestines. Being wormed once a year like a dog.
Not being able to have anything mailed into the country. Can you imagine life with no Amazon, no L.L. Bean, no anything. In case you didn’t get it, I’ll say it again: no one ships into Tropica.
Not being able to buy shoes in my size because Tropican feet are small. Going to the mall and finding nothing to buy. (Well, that could be a good thing…) Not being able to cook what I want. Rather, going to the grocery and seeing what there is.
Tired of expat forums on FB with people asking questions about where to buy this and that, what this means, how to fix this. Houses are a full time occupation.
There is no perfect place. While many dream of paradise, I’m now dreaming of the first world. A modern flat with a view.
So tell me, what do you think about your life? Do you love where you are, or are you there because it’s where you ended up? Do you want to change locales?
Hello my lovelies! Wanted to give you the reality of living a “glam” life in the tropics. As I’ve said before, it’s def not for sissies! I’ll keep you posted on my decision. Do comment in the box below. If you enjoy being part of our community of intelligent, witty, life loving and oh so stylish women (!) enter your email in a box up there somewhere, so you don’t miss a thing.