Top 3 Things I’ve Learned in Our First 6 Months Living in Nicaragua

View of San Juan Del Sur from a lookout point under Cristo De La Misericordia

Hard to believe that we have already been out of Canada for 6 months. As I look back on our time here, is does not seem to have been that long, but at the same time it feels like we’ve been here forever. It has been a bit of a whirlwind as we found our community, adjusted our mentalities, and learned/still learning how to slow down and enjoy the little things again.

First thing I’ve learned… Parenting is HARD… no matter what country you are in. Finding our balance has been one of my biggest challenges. One of our biggest reasons for making this move was to give our kids more life experiences. To that avail I guess we’ve succeeded so far. Both our kids play outside more, we’ve been to more beaches in the last 6 months than we’ve ever been. We get daily doses of awesome nature to explore, be it the pelibuey that roam the roads (they are a breed of sheep/goat only found in Nicaragua from what I’m told), the horses that don’t seem to have barriers, the frogs that only come out at night or the scorpions that lay in wait to scare you. One of our favorites are the house geckos, they come in a range of sizes and move so fast they scare me at first, but they keep the other bugs at bay. I knew parenting was hard before leaving Canada… I don’t think I anticipated exactly how much harder solo parenting 2 kids under 6 was going to be. I had never had to solo parent before. My husband has always worked out of town but I relied on my parents a lot for support when we were in Canada. Moving here while my husband was still at work smacked me hard in the face with parenting. After my mom flew back to Canada I was all of a sudden solo parenting both of my kids for the FIRST time ever… and I was in a new country… Those first couple of months I questioned my sanity on multiple occasions. These kids tested my boundaries and my patience often… I had to constantly remind myself that they were adjusting also. They were in a new place, meeting new friends, with none of the comforts of home.

Second thing I’ve learned since being here… everything we thought we knew and things we had planned… didn’t run so smoothly. We had every intention of moving here to live a more simple life, be more active, eat healthier, save money and start the journey of a minimalist, traveling homeschooling family. We are now 6 months in, and we are nowhere near where I thought we would be. My children who ate everything under the sun when they started eating now eat only the same 4 foods, I haven’t been nearly as healthy or active as I had wanted. We definitely have less stuff than when we lived in Canada but even as I was unpacking our suitcases I realized I packed too much. The challenge with a journey like this is you really have no idea what you are going to need. Now I know how much ‘stuff’ I can still get rid of if/when we decide to pack up and head to another location. We have moved houses since getting here as our first house was always supposed to be short term temporary until we found something else. Bills on a monthly basis cost way less than in Canada (our rent and all our bills cost the same as a 2 bedroom apartment rent only in Canada) so in that sense we are saving money. However, with moving here we have had unexpected expenses, we bought a truck and since have had to put money into it (which is normal for here), we’ve had to make improvements to our house so we can stay for a year without challenges, and we’ve had to learn how/where to shop. When you first get here you try to keep some of the comforts of home which makes you end up spending more money because all those things are imported. The more ‘local’ we get with our choices the cheaper they get. We know we want to stay here for at least a couple of years so we don’t have to put our dog through the stress of travel again, so now that we are in a long term house we finally feel like we can settle in, try to get our groove going and get our budget under control.

Third thing I’ve learned… the importance of letting go of expectations and being more present. In Canada finances were a constant stress for us. Always weighing on us. Moving here and thinking we would have all the opportunity to save from day one was unrealistic. I’ve needed to learn to roll with our changing situation. Now that we are set up in a long term rental and feel comfortable in town, have build incredible relationships with the local expat community we can see this incredible adventure through open hearts and fully enjoy the experience. Yes, we are not where we thought we would be… but, we can see the light on the horizon. We expected life to simply role right into line after moving… thinking of it now we were naive. We have had to pivot more than once and the adjustment period was longer than we anticipated… but, by letting go of the things we can’t control and keeping our faith alive that we are doing something that is going to bring our family closer together we are starting to figure it out.