The Integrator Blog
Home
Share |
about
Contact Me, Experience, Mission, Sabbatical in Central America, plus
Editorial Advisory Board
Columnists
Bill Benda, MD
Michael Levin
Taylor Walsh
Daphne White, CHTP
background resources in PDF
Insurance, Integrative Clinics, Industry Summit Reports, News Files '99-'04
some organization links
Professions, Academia, Research, Policy
some CAM/IM publication links
Electronic, Peer-Reviewed, Blogs, More
Bradly Jacobs, MD, MPH, Revolution Health Blog
supported conference
Institute for Health & Productivity Management - Integrative/Complementary Healthcare
Sabbatical in Central America PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   
Thursday, 09 March 2006

Weeks/Kimball Family Sabbatical (sort of) in Central America

The Integrator Blog News and Reports marks a return to writing and reporting after a three year plus lay-off. Most of this time I lived in Central America with my wife Jeana Kimball, and children Lucas and Roz. We were on a semi-sabbatical.

Image
Family in a sunny cloud forest

The time brought us all we had hoped for, and more: the experience of new culture and language, change of pace, and most important, the deepening pleasure of more time together as a family. I share the following outline and few photos to stimulate your own fancies about how to take a chunk of time away.

Image
Home in Monteverde, 03-04

The world is large, life is short, and home office work is possible from virtually anywhere ...

September 2002-January 2003: Traveling and Home Schooling in Costa Rica

We set up a base camp in a small cabin ($160/month) adjacent to a friend’s home in the high cloud forest of Monteverde, just below the Continental Divide. Mostly we traveled the first 5 months. We home-schooled the kids from inexpensive rented rooms ($12-$35/night) as we explored Costa Rica glorious beaches – Tortuguero, Cahuita and Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean side, San Jose (where we got our movie and museum fixes), then three weeks in a rental on a beach in Playa Hermosa. Home-schooling was a great experience -- and we were all glad when it was over!

Image
Roz with Costa Rican school friends

February 2003 – June 2004: Monteverde, Costa Rica

We put Lucas and Roz, then 7 and 10, into a school where a friend of ours was the director, the Cloud Forest School. The school has a 90% Tico student population, but was taught 80% in English. We added additional Spanish tutoring to our children’s curriculum (and to our lives). We rented homes (average price $450/month), just below the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, with howlers and squirrel moneys not infrequently overhead, and bellbirds, hummingbirds, toucans, and the infrequent quetzal sighting. We had many visitors the first six months, then began to be more protective of our time together.

I began to work 20-30 hours a month with a client in the states, via email and internet phone. The amount grew slowly over time. Also via internet, Jeana began half-time schooling

Image
Our rooftop view Granada
in an excellent MPH program through U Mass Amherst.
Monteverde, with its extensive gringo culture (the school’s teachers and their families, scientific community, students, tourists), proved to be a comfortable and soft landing in a new world and language for us. We still recall the Cloud Forest as a poultice for the ailments of our formerly harried, both-parents-working, US life-style.
Image
Family who took Roz and me in when the Trooper broke down

July 2004—June 2005: Granada, Nicaragua

The next year we moved to Granada, Nicaragua, to enjoy a more rich cultural and language experience. Granada is a nearly 500 years-old colonial city of 80,000 in the Western Hemisphere’s second poorest nation, as measured in per capital income.

We splurged on our rental ($600/month), selecting a renovated colonial two blocks off the town’s central plaza. The location allowed us also to become friendly with our neighbors, local merchants, and the street kids. Lucas and Roz attended the best educational options in town: Spanish-only learning in Catholic schools, Maria Auxiliadora and Salesiano ($18/month).

Image
With Jorge and family in their outdoor salon

Both the kids played on organized baseball teams – our daughter was the only girl in the league. I co-coached both as part of my own community emersion. A few of the parents of the other ball-players became my closest local friends, with whom I shared a little low-cost rum from time to time, loosening up the Spanish vocal chords. We intentionally stayed out of Granada's growing gringo community -- except one US-Brit couple and their two kids who owned and ran one of the backpacker hostels, The Bearded Monkey and a beautiful place an Laguna de Apoyo. My love of politics I sated with daily doeses of La Prensa, and the commentary of my very conservative neighbor, full of opinion on one side, and the Sandinista co-coach of Lucas' team, who I assisted on the other.

Over the last year in Granada my work picked up to 30+ hours per week. I continued with other consulting, visiting the States for work every 4 months or so. I also began organizing the National Education Dialogue to Advance Integrated Healthcare: Creating Common Ground. While sitting at my desk in our Granada home, I sometimes managed conference calls which included participants from Australia, Canada, the United States, and Central America. What a world!

Image
Beach in Nicaragua, December 04

Late Summer 2005 … to the Present: Return to a Seattle

We kept our house in Seattle, renting it to while we were away. On our return, its 1930 wooden exterior and decks were in need of some patient, holistic treatment which would likely not stun the actuaries. The kids – now 10 and 13 – quickly re-acclimated, relishing life among friends in their own language and culture. Roz, who formed close relationships with both Tico (Costa Rican) and Nica friends, speaks of missing them. Lucas, more than ready to be a teen in his own culture, mainly talks of missing his spirited bass teacher, Juan.

 

The time away holds us. We all miss the feel of the life. We wrestle with some of our basic values choices here, now informed by our in-the-blood experience of other ways of living. We are all more aware than ever of what great good luck blesses our lives.

If you and your spouse or partner or families are intrigued by some similar urgings, go for it!

________________________

A few more photos ...

 

Salesiano school classroom for Lucas
Salesiano school classroom for Lucas

 

Image
House of friend Maria in Granada

 

Image
Back up to let our car pass, near the coast

 

Image
Sojourn to Georgetown for National Education Dialogue planning mtg, July 04

Image
The Tigritos, Roz's team in Granada

Image
Neighborhood well

Image
Co-coach and shortstop, both Edwins

Image
Lucas with Volcan Mombacho 30 minutes biking from Granada

Image
Dec 31 2004 in front of our house

Image
Our street, facing south to Mombacho

 

 

Last Updated ( Friday, 08 September 2006 )
Subscribe to the Newsletter
Search
Advertisement
Advertisement
 
 
Advertisement
Sponsors
NCMIC Group
AMI Group
Integrative Practitioner
voluntary contributions
Support the work!
Archive
All Integrator Round-ups
Integrator Top 10 Lists 2006-2013
Issues #116-#118 - Oct-Dec 2013
Issues #113-#115 July-Sept 2013
Issues #110-#112 April-June 2013
Issues #108-#109 Jan-March 2013
Issue #105-#107 Oct-Dec 2012
Issues #102-#104 - July-Sept 2012
Issues #99-#101 - April-June 2012
Issues #96-#98-Jan-March 2012
Issues #94-#95 Nov-Dec 2011
Issues #92-#93 Sept-Oct 2011
Issues #90 and #91 - July-Aug 2011
Issues #88 and #89 - May-June 2011
Issues #86 and #87 - March-April 2011
Issues #84 and #85 - Jan-Feb 2011
Issues #82 and #83 - Nov-Dec 2010
Issues #80 & #81 - Sept Oct 2010
Issues #78 & #79 - July August 2010
Issues #76 & #77 - May June 2010
Issues #74 & #75 - March-April 2010
Issues #73 & #73 - Jan-Feb 2010
Issues #69, #70 & #71 - Nov-Dec 2009
Issues #67 and #68 - Sept-Oct 2009
Issues #65 and #66 - July-August 2009
Issues #63-#64 - May-June 2009
Issues #60-#62 - March-April 2009
Issues #57-#59 - Jan-Feb 2009
Issues #55-#56 - Nov-Dec 2008
Issues #51-#54 - Sept-Oct 2008
Issues #47-#50 - July-August 2008
Issues #46 & -#47 - May-June 2008
Issues #43-#45 Mar-April 2008
Issues #41 & #42 - Feb 2008
Issues #39 & #40 - Dec-Jan '08
Issues #37 & #38 - Nov 2007
Issues #35 & #36 - Oct 2007
Issues #33 & #34 - Sept 2007
Issues #30-#32 - July-Aug 2007
Issues #28 & #29 - June 2007
Issues #26 and #27 - May 2007
Issue #25 - April 2007
Issues # 23 & #24 - March 2007
Issues #21 and #22 - Feb 2007
Issues #19 and & 20 - Jan 2007
Issues #17 and #18 - Dec 2006
Issues #15 and #16 - Nov 2006
Issues #13 and #14 - Oct 2006
Issues #11 and #12- Sept 2006
Issues #9 and #10 - Aug 2006
Issues #7 and #8 - July 2006
Issues #5 and #6 - June 2006
Issues #3 and #4 - May 2006
Issues #1 and #2 - April 2006
All Articles by Subject: 2006
All Articles by Subject: Jan-June 2007
IAYT-Sponsored Series on the Future of Yoga Therapy