Life is Good

Hi there,

It's been a long time since we've updated you and mostly that is because life is good, it's not awesome, it's not amazing, but it's good.

We've been attempting to find a place to "settle down" in San Miguel de Allende where we can establish a bit of a homebase, in doing so we have spent the last 6 months renting two different plots of 6 acres each, the first was a 30 minute drive from town and the second a 15 minute drive from town.

Our first property was near a village called Las Cañas.

And once we moved to the first property a pair of horses became available plus the motorcycle wasn't sufficient, so we bought a truck.

Our horses, Kit and Shaw. Kit is 9 years old and has a dark main and tail. Shaw is 12 years old is on the left and has a white blaze on his face.

Guido the Tuk-Tuk, Our main mode of transportation for 9 months.

Meet Lobo Blanco, our 2005 F150 which is hauling our new 5,000 liter (1,320 Gallon) cistern.

People wonder how a traveling lifestyle mixes with horses, and I once said, "well, horses don't fly too well!" and a friend Brandon Pearce replied: "Unless they're unicorns!" (too funny not to quote here!). This is part of the homebase idea, live in SMA for 6 months a year and have someone house sit (take care of the dogs and horses) for the other six months of the year while we travel elsewhere.

At the second property, we started adopting more dogs and are currently fostering 3 additional dogs, for a couple weeks we had a total of 7 dogs, yes that's right we were outnumbered by dogs.

We also have hired a nanny and Becky has been working for the business.

Laura Hernandez our Nanny with the Kortman crew.

But we've continued to run into problems.

Problems with Gracie

Currently, the windshield is leaking in two places, we have to get that fixed before the rainy season! We also found a leak in our hot water tank, so we need to replace that (hopefully with a tankless model so we can have unlimited hot water showers). The black tank has overflowed too many times causing the floor in the toilet room to crack.  Driving her is more and more challenging as everything seems to break when we move her.

Gracie is awesome, but we have started to outgrow it. And I'm sick of repairing her.

Problems With The Business

We lost a couple of clients and I haven't been making enough money to afford the staff I had so I had to lay people off, and we haven't yet seen growth of new/additional clients.

Problems With The Kids

In general they're just kids, but each has their own special needs, Alia is in the process of receiving meds for ADD, we first had to run an EEG to verify that she doesn't have epilepsy (because Josiah has it) ... the other problem we're having is the kids want more time with Becky and I, but due to work and the lack of staff we've been relying on the nanny more than we're comfortable with.

We have Alia's EEG results, just need to see the doctor to decipher them.

Problems With Health

Becky's wrist is causing her significant amount of pain, and while the MRI determined it's not carpal tunnel it is significant enough that she is seeing a physical therapist weekly to tighten loose ligaments.

Problems With The Dogs

We've had to pay for damage to three sheep as the dogs view them as fun toys or playmates. What we've discovered is that sheep are very weak animals and just the trauma from a dog biting them on the hind leg is enough for them to die, so we've been buying dead sheep from our neighbors. Not exactly how we want to live life. The dogs also bark at the horses a lot, we've re-homed two dogs for chasing the horses, and now we need to re-home most of the dogs we are currently fostering for the same reason.

Becky with three of the four dogs we are fostering for a shelter that had to close down in town.

Meet Rosie, who has since passed away, she significantly maimed a lamb. (cost us $100 USD)

Problems With The Property.

We live right next door to a wedding reception venue. Let's just say some sterotypes of Mexicans are earned honestly. Namely that they start their parties late, they are loud and they go till all hours of the morning. So we've been struggling with sleeping (or not-sleeping) most Weekend nights from about 9pm to 5am... It's bad when you fight all night to sleep and you wake up with top dance music stuck in your head. We also live in the desert and while we're in the region around SMA that has the most water available it's still extremely dry and we're surrounded with sandburs/stickers all over the place... they're so awful the kids will not play outside, There's problems with them showing up in our beds, our underwear, our shoes and socks. They make country living here no fun.

Gracie on our current property, Note the hacienda in the background, that's how close we are to it!

Problems With The Desire To Travel.

We've been stationary in San Miguel for almost a year, that's the longest we've been anywhere in over 4 years. Sure we've been changing properties and moving around the city, but we're still shopping at the same places, eating at the same places and seeing the same friends.

 

But the title of this blog post is life is good?

Just as I finished writing that heading the sound system is being tested at the hacienda next door, it's 2:30 on a Saturday afternoon and I know there will be very loud music tonight. So how can I say life is good with all the problems I just listed?

Well, there are a ton of reasons, I'm not sure I can list all of them, but it's kind of like being forgetful to be thankful for health until you get a cold, right now there are hundreds of things that are really making life good despite all the negatives.

Marriage

Becky and I are doing better. We're celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary later this year, and we've had tough times along the journey, but right now we're in a good place, able to talk and communicate and being on the same page.

Kit with Becky and I.
Life is Good.

 

Gringo Friends

We've been able to hang with a lot of families here, celebrating birthdays, holidays or just going to the park together.

Celebrating Josiah's 10'th birthday with friends

The Kids Are Reading!

This is huge for me as I've always struggled with unschooling and our kids' lack of desire to read. Mixed with Alia's learning disabilities/challenges I thought we'd never see this day, so it's worth celebrating, and it is part of why Life is Good. It's proving to me that this unschooling "experiment" is working (since I'm not a professional or an experienced parent I feel like everything we're doing with our kids is an experiment to a certain degree!)

Sexing Monarch butterflies. Just another day in our classroom.

Local Adventures

We've been able to do some amazing things as a family here, like escape rooms, the monarch butterfly migration and a couple of water parks.

We were CIA agents who broke into a Soviet Nuclear control room and we needed to disarm the nuclear missile that had launched AND escape the room. A ton of fun was had by all!

Monarchs in the air at the Michoacan Monarch Butterfly Reserve.

The kids hanging with the Lewis family at one of the two water parks in SMA, (hint: Xote is better than Splash)

 

SMA Celebrations

We've been able to celebrate the day of the dead, independence day and many other celebrations they observe here.

Kortman family facepaint for Day of the Dead 2017.

We live in Mexico!

Seriously, I have to pinch myself sometimes when I read stories of families who long to sell their house/stuff and hit the road and realize we've been doing it for four years, that our kids are third culture kids, that Zander has spent more time outside of the US than he has spent in the US.

Watching the local horse race with illegal betting in our neighborhood. Mexico, it's an amazing place.

We can speak Spanish

We're growing in our Spanish language abilities, seriously I still cannot understand many things, but I have to remind myself that 2 years ago I couldn't talk to a mechnic in spanish, and now we do doctors and mechanics and lots of other interactions all in Spanish. Sure yeah we could have tutoring/lessons and learn faster, but there is a phrase Mexicans use ... "Poco a poco" which is very similar to "little by little" and is viewed as a better way to learn as it's absorbed more... or at least thats what I tell myself to justify our methods. We are learning new words each week thanks to our neighbors, friends and especially our kids' nanny.

The view from our place often includes hot air balloons most mornings.

Profit

The business is making money, we've had trouble paying our bills since October, and in the last two months have been able to start catching up to staff that we owe. So we're making a profit for today, just need to pay off the debts we incurred over the past 6 months.

Internet in El Campo

We have awesome internet, live in the country, have horses and have crossed off a major life-long goal for Becky. (one of mine was living in an RV and traveling, so we got that out of the way a few years ago )

Thys on Kit, the kids have taken to the horses really well and Thys loves helping Momma with the horse chores.

The Weather

While its dry and desert-like (who am I kidding, we live in a high desert surrounded by cacti and rocks) it is still amazing considering what our friends and family have been experiencing this winter. Days have been 70s-80s degrees and nights 40s-50s. Sure we're about to move into the rainy season and will get stuck multiple times in our own driveway due to the clay-like mud that this ground turns into, and sure it will be warmer as we push into the 90s, and sure our RV doesn't stay cool like the stone/cement/brick houses here, but man we've really enjoyed what we have, and I'll take this over snow any day.

Morning winter-time fog

The coldest it was this winter saw a layer of ice on top of the truck and the tenoca (water tank, pictured)

US Winter Trip

We were able to visit friends and family in Michigan and Georgia in January. It had been a long time (2 years) and it was good to re-connect in person.

Sledding with Uncle Mike (Becky's brother) in Michigan

Hanging with some of Zander's half-siblings. (at Hop-Cat in Grand Rapids)

Snow Tubing at Cannonsburg in Michigan

Karen and our crew in Buford Georgia, she's been a fun friend since we crashed at her place for a month in 2015.

Auntie Christy, Bethany and Benjamin. We miss you guys!

Cousin Benjamin playing an amazing song on the piano while we all chill together and play toys.

Alia with her cousins Esther and Daniel

The cousins not wanting to separate, note the winter clothing in Hot-lanta Georgia!

The cousins pose with their Christmas shirts from Grandma & Grandpa Edighoffer.

The Cousins silly pose

So that's the update for today, there is a ton going on, and Becky has been dreaming of visiting South Africa and the Maldives lately, we've got major itchy feet and would like to travel again, but first we have to find a stable place to homebase here in SMA and re-establish our income. things are moving slower than we desire. But in the grand scheme of things ... Life is Good.

Campfire in December...
Life is Good!

Paul Kortman

Dad of 4, husband, blogger, digital marketer, follower of Jesus. I podcast at nomadtogether.com and own connexdigitalmarketing.com We're on this crazy journey to travel the world as a lifestyle. Looking for help in how to live as a digital nomad family? Join this Facebook Group!

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6 Comments

  1. Karen

    Awesome update, and very interesting read! Thank-you. I’m glad to hear that y’all are doing well. I’ve been cleaning the place up some here (outside), we got a new roof and 9 more cameras on the property so far this spring. I’ll post some pics on Facecrack for you to see. Give kisses n hugs to all from me! ❤️

    Reply
    • Paul Kortman

      Will do, and I’m so glad we were able to spend some time together when we visited!

      Reply
  2. Dave Meekhof

    Need a “Gracie 2.0”? I’m selling the 1999 Winnebago Adventurer. Only 165000 miles! Oh and I’m sorry I don’t deliver. 🤔

    Reply
    • Paul Kortman

      Thanks Dave, but that would not be an upgrade for us! We need to get out of the RVing business. Back into the Airbnb/house living … there’s just something about having multiple bedrooms, and not trashing your house by driving around in Mexico. Oh and then there’s the flying to a different country… yeah looking forward to doing that again!

      Reply
  3. Susan

    Hi I just started reading your blog and the post about Alia, and then this one where you say Alia will be on a med for ADD. You were able to get her diagnosed obviously. That’s great. Which blog posts talk about how and when you did that? Was it in Mexico?

    Reply
    • Paul Kortman

      Hi Susan, and welcome to our story! Thanks for asking about Alia, I did not put too much emphasis on her in this post, and we’ve been unable to blog about much of anything especially her.

      We’ve worked with a counselor and a psychiatrist here in Mexico and the counselor didn’t give a diagnosis, however, the psychiatrist is 90% sure she has ADD. We’ve been given this diagnosis before and didn’t agree with it before, however we’re getting more desperate to have Alia on a medication, so we’re willing to keep pursuing this diagnosis this time to see if an ADD med will indeed help her, we’re all at the end of our ropes when it comes to her behavior. We’re having her thyroid checked and we have to have epilepsy ruled out, but if both of those come back “normal” she’ll be on an ADD med by the end of this week (I think) and then we’ll see how that helps/hurts her situation.

      Thanks again for following along, and for asking. I’m amazed by the care of complete strangers!

      Reply

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