Reflecting on Two Years as a Nicaraguan Expat

As I put the finishing touches on the Christmas tree a light rain starts to fall. The birds chirp happily in the trees.  It’s our third Christmas in Nicaragua, but our first Christmas putting up a tree. 

December 9th marked the second anniversary of our arrival in Nicaragua and since then I’ve been reflecting on what an interesting, amazing and crazy two years it’s been.

Year one as a Nicaraguan expat was challenging…to say the least.

Getting used to not having all the comforts of home was tough. And figuring out how to be content with not having something to do 24/7 definitely took some getting used to. 

I had to learn to live on a budget. I struggled to communicate with the locals.

And I missed my family and friends back in Canada terribly.  

As much as I love my husband Gord being with your spouse all day, every day isn’t healthy for any relationship. That feeling I had whenever Gord and I had vacationed together—total bliss and relaxation—where the heck was that?

Reflecting on Two Years as a Nicaraguan Expat

– Our first trip to Nicaragua: Big Corn Island, November 2007

Reflecting on Two Years as a Nicaraguan Expat

– Enjoying Micheladas at our favourite courtyard bar in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico: January 2011

The transition to expat living was much easier for Gord. His biggest complaint was not knowing “a guy” when it came to getting things done.  And the most challenging thing for him? Keeping me happy.

Reflecting on Two Years as a Nicaraguan Expat

– “Happy wife, happy life!”

Life in Nicaragua definitely takes some getting used to. Expect a roller coaster of emotions that is guaranteed to come your way. Expect to love it, hate it and love it all over again.

But wait…year one wasn’t all bad. It really wasn’t.  

As our Spanish vocabulary increased so did our ease of getting things accomplished and staying on budget. 

Gord and I met some incredible Nicaraguans and some very interesting expats. 

Reflecting on Two Years as a Nicaraguan Expat

– Gordon and our Spanish teacher Alberto: Leon, Nicaragua 

Reflecting on Two Years as a Nicaraguan Expat

– Our friend and former landlord Glenn always has a good story to tell: Granada, Nicaragua

Year one was full of adventure.

Somoto Canyon

– Somoto Canyon Tour: February 2012


– Doing what I love to do in Granada (March 2012)

Semana Santa 2012

– Celebrating Semana Santa in Leon with the Kienle’s & the Yee’s: April 2012

And before we knew it we were headed into year two. With a year of experiences behind us living the life of a Nicaraguan expat became less and less challenging.

As much as we enjoyed our time spent exploring and living in Poneloya, Leon, Granada and Laguna de Apoyo moving to San Juan del Sur and settling down was the best thing we could have done. 

2013 started off right with a month long visit with my sister, her husband and my nephew Aiden. My parents visited during that time also.

Reflecting on Two Years as a Nicaraguan Expat

– My nephew Aiden & I: Playa Majagual, San Juan del Sur

Reflecting on Two Years as a Nicaraguan Expat

– Family Fun Day & Pool Time: Palermo Hotel & Resort, San Juan del Sur

Reflecting on Two Years as a Nicaraguan Expat

– Uncle Gordie exploring the Masaya Market with Aiden

In February we added a miniature schnauzer puppy to our family. If you’ve been following our journey you probably know her name is Maggie.

Reflecting on Two Years as a Nicaraguan Expat

– Maggie Mae (11 months old)

It was a couple of months into 2013 when I discovered I had made a new best friend. Mandy has been mine (and Gord’s saviour). With her in my life Gord doesn’t have to work so hard at keeping me happy. 

Reflecting on Two Years as a Nicaraguan Expat

– My Nicaraguan Bestie Mandy and Me

Over the past year Gord and I have enjoyed working on our blog. Gradually…it has gained momentum.

We’ve connected with dozens of followers. Some who are now living in Nicaragua and others who are still in the planning phase–with so many more just dreaming of their very own Nicaraguan adventure. Sharing our experience with so many people has been fascinating and fun.

Reflecting on Two Years as a Nicaraguan Expat

– Mia, Chuck and their dog Caleb moved to San Juan del Sur from the United States a few months ago

Cindy & Me

– Fellow Calgarian Cindy moved to San Juan del Sur after a Google search on “cheapest, safest places to live” led her to In Nica Now

And twenty four months into our adventure we have been blessed with a large network of close friends. Some live here alone, some have a significant other.

They come from Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, Holland, Ireland, Nicaragua, Switzerland and the United States. Conversations with our friends widen my view of the world and the people in it. And that’s pretty cool! 

Wine Tasting

– From left to right: Eric (United States), Gord (Canada), Katie (Ireland), Adrien & Caroline (Belgium), Elisha, Dave & Terrina (Canada)

I’ve been keeping busy this year. And it’s not all due to my full social calendar.

Gord and I have written a few articles for International Living magazine.  And recently I created a Facebook group — “Expats of San Juan del Sur” — which is helping us connect with even more people in our community. 

In addition to some concierge work that will begin in the new year I have committed to volunteering with a local organization called Comunidad Connect. Aside from photographing important events for them, once a week I’ll be spending some time with a group of children from a rural community just outside of San Juan.

As Gord and I venture into our third year as Nicaraguan expats and celebrate seven years of marriage I’m excited for whatever adventures and experiences come our way.

Bring it on Nicaragua!

Author’s note: Click on the highlighted text to follow links to more articles and photos of our two years in Nicaragua. 

Posted on December 23, 2013, in Daily Life, Making the Move and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Thank you so much for all the information you share. My husband and I are interested in retirement in either Costa Rica or Nicaragua, your blog has us leaning more towards Nicaragua. We are planning our first visit to the country in September 2014. Thanks again for continuing to inspire us and help us dream of life in Nica.

  2. Merry Christmas and The Best to you Both in the New Year! Just had a nice visit with Jason, Sally, Aiden, and met baby James. Having Christmas in Calgary with everyone. Love Ya Auntie Emeline & Uncle Randall

    • Happy Holidays to you too, Emeline! I’ve been thinking a lot about how great it was to have Mom, Dad, Sally, Jay and Aiden here visiting last year. Wish I could be in Calgary to celebrate with everyone (and meet baby James)!

      Merry Christmas!

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