Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Doctor Love: Staying Put


Readers, email your question to [email protected]. Your letters are edited solely for grammar, spelling and length.

Dear Doctor Love,
My husband and I are having a real conflict about moving to San Pedro. He loves the idea of owning a beach condo and is ready to put the “For Sale” sign on our home in Indiana. I am in tears over the thought of leaving. He works from home and is comfortable in any situation, so it doesn’t affect him as far as income or fitting in. I have two very close friends with whom I craft and paint and I dread leaving them and trying to make new friends. I love my house and daily routine and space I have created for my hobbies. We are in our mid-fifties, if we do sell and move, there is no going back. I am sick with worry about this. What do I do?
/s/ Staying Put

Dear Staying Put,
Moving in the spur-of-the-moment is never a good idea, so the Doctor applauds you for being pragmatic while your husband takes the romantic approach. But neither of you will be happy if the outcome is not in their favor. So why not compromise?
Don’t sell your home until you are one hundred percent certain a fulltime life in Belize is for you. Close your house for six months to a year and head south, rent a place and settle in.
Living in Belize can massacre your savings if you don’t budget. San Pedro is expensive. How expensive? Go grocery shopping. If you eat like you do at home, your grocery bill may make you gasp. Imported foods are pricey, and not always easy to get so if you are addicted to Ben and Jerry’s, you are in for an unpleasant surprise at the price tag.
There are many things to do in San Pedro but “tourist adventures” are priced in “tourist dollars” and are better saved as treats. For daily amusements, volunteer at SAGA to walk the dogs. Try Splash and Paint on the beach, visit the farmer’s markets or enjoy the numerous live music and karaoke venues as a means to meet people and make friends. Carry some of your crafting supplies with you and buy a snorkel and fins and see what’s under the surface of those inviting blue waters.
Figure out a plan for long-term health care. Medical facilities on the island are rudimentary and while the private clinics on the mainland are excellent, look into expat health insurance.
Put a time limit on your stay and if at the end you reevaluate and realize that you have adapted, go home and put the sign on the lawn.

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