Puerto Rico Adventure - Part 4: Saying Hello
...Saying Hello to Puerto Rico!
I'm continuing our journal of Julie's and my adventure of moving from Kansas to Puerto Rico. Here are the entries so far.
- Introduction - Carpe Diem
- Part 1 - The Brainstorm
- Part 2 - The Scouting Trip
- Part 3 - Saying Goodbye to Kansas
- Part 4 - Saying Hello to Puerto Rico (today's blogpost below)
Okay, we knew we were moving to PR. Dreamt about it. Planned for it. Sold pretty much everything to make it happen, including not only the contents of our house, but the house itself.
Which meant we were kinda homeless at the end of May, 2022. Now, I think I'd mentioned that we're pretty conservative - on all fronts, really, but specifically financially. And so after 26 years in Wichita, we'd paid off our home, drove an eight year old used car, were foot-loose and debt-free. Our plan was to take the cash from the sale and buy a place in PR outright.
Didn't want to buy long distance, sight unseen. Not sure that's even possible. Didn't want to fly to PR to buy something, stay in a hotel long-term or return to KS only to fly back and move in. So we needed an interim plan. We figured two months would be enough time to find a place, make an offer, close the sale, and move our four suitcases of belongings and cat into our new condo.
From flying here in mid-June to moving into our condo, we knew we'd need a place to stay for about two months. This would give us enough time to set up shop and transition to our permanent location. By 'set up shop' I mean get into the rhythm of a slower lifestyle (things happen on their own schedules in PR!), scope out the area, open a bank account, purchase a vehicle. All things that can't be done long distance or in a weekend!
(By the way, after years of owning a house, we decided we no longer wanted the responsibility of yard work and exterior maintenance. That's why we decided on a condo in a gated community. Yeah, there's HOA fees, which I don't love, but there's also beach access, a pool, gym, walking paths, security, beautiful manicured grounds, trash service, and friendly neighbors. It's worth the exchange, imo.)
We'd visited his beautiful retreat in 2018 when a group of us came from Kansas to help rebuild the roof of a woman's home. (See Part 1, the Brainstorm.) Mike was our crew chief on that week long work trip.
Boldly and politely, because that's really one of the best ways to get anything in life, we asked Miguel if we could rent his home for a couple of months. He was very open to the idea and graciously made his mountain home available to us, also allowing us use of the vehicle he kept here. So for the past six weeks, we've been living in the mountains near Orocovis, PR, and loving it.And lots of bananas. Mike has a pool and permanent cabana next to the house. Outdoor lines for an eco-friendly way to dry our clothes.
We're also thirty minutes from the nearest store! It's quite a lifestyle adjustment for us. Julie blogged about it recently, titling her experience: "City Girl Goes Country" - fun!
Our goal, however, was beach front living. I hate to keep sending you to another blog post, but I wrote about our house hunting adventures here on my writing blog. The long and short of it is, we were here only four days, saw three condos, and made an offer on Door Number 2!
Six weeks later, we have an ocean view, rooftop space, two bedrooms and a den area with a futon, living room, kitchen, and patio deck - about 1380 square feet. You're welcome to visit! First two nights are free, then we start charging!
During the past month and a half, though, we've stayed busy. One of our first priorities was to open a checking account. That way we could easily access funds for the eventual condo purchase and not rely on our daughter in Wichita to go the bank and cut a cashier's check and over night it for seventy bucks and then not have it show up until 2 days later, which is what happened when we had to put up the down payment to secure Door Number 2... grrr...
I don't do endorsements (unless I get paid, lol), but Banco Popular here in PR has been very good to us. If you want to open an account, you have to do it here - I don't think it can be done from the states - but we managed just fine using 50 percent English and 50 percent Spanish. Great folk at Banco Popular.
Speaking of quality service, our T-Mobile data and internet plan is very reasonable and so far, here in the mountains, the wi-fi using their wireless router has been excellent. (Psst, T-Mobile, any perks for this free promo?)
Now it's time to move. Over the next two weeks we'll get the condo ready (fully furnished, which is a blessing!) and transfer most of our suitcase belongs to the new place. By the end of next week, we'll take our 19 year old cat Charlie with us and make the move permanent. We are so grateful to Miguel for this transition home. It's been great. But vacation time is over! Time to start our beach chapter.
I'll provide another update in a few weeks as there's a lot to do. I'll share more pics of the condo - and talk about some of the challenges we still face - transferring utilities to our name, fixing some appliances that need attention, figuring out the HOA system in the condo community, etc.
Also, we still haven't purchased a vehicle or tried to get Puerto Rican drivers licenses. All things that will take time and will be good fodder for future posts. In the meantime, did you know we have a Facebook Page and Instagram Account? Julie posts regular pictures there, so be sure to like and follow us if you want. (We're also on Twitter but really don't know how to use it, lol. YouTube is coming soon with our first video. Will keep you udpated!)
Let us know what aspect of island life you want more info about. Questions and comments welcome below. Let's have a conversation! Thanks for reading and following along on our PR Adventure!