When my sweetheart and I made the decision to live in the Azores together, we made a deal, we would try it for two years, and if it didn’t work out, we would move.
It is hard to believe it has been nearly two years. And in the past two years, I have experienced so much. This island, has a strange sort of powerful magic, that forces you to grow. Forces you to move through your own fears.. I compare it to the island from that TV show Lost. At times the island is paradise, and at other times, the island is blanketed in gloomy despair.
I was born 38 years ago, on an air-force base in Washington State, and across the world, there was a little barefoot boy, 8 years old, growing up facing severe rural poverty, a life most of us couldn’t even imagine. At 8 years old, he was catching fresh water eels, picking limpets and fishing in the ocean, gardening, slaughtering pigs and chickens, and harvesting wild plants and herbs. Living off the land, forced to be a provider, so his family didn’t starve. His entire family lived in a tiny home with dirt floors. There was no electricity. There was no running water. There were no telephones. There was no money. This was 1977. This little boy, is my daughters father. And his story, is similar to that of my mother, and of many people from the Azores..
How many people all over the world have left their homelands, in search of a better life? How many people have journeyed into the unknown to escape poverty and starvation?
Well, it is 2015, and we are living in the Azores, and honestly, we nowhere near facing starvation.. we live in a large beautiful home, with views of the mountains and the ocean. I make healthy gourmet meals, three times a day.We have a closet full of freshly picked onions and potatoes. My children can go play outside and the only thing I have to worry about are the cows. Moo. It is very safe here.
But the economy is very bad. Even with my sweethearts government job, and my yoga, writing, and bar-tending skills, we barely make it here. And I mean we barely have money to buy basic things, like shampoo, underwear, socks! So thank goodness for that closet full of potatoes and onions! 🙂 HA! Honestly,there are many families here much worse off than we are. Unemployment is very high in the Azores. Opportunities are few here. Especially for the young people. With no jobs, no opportunity, and no money.. what happens? Alcohol, depression, and that awful cycle of poverty continues.
Thinking of my children’s future, especially my teenage son, we have made the decision to move back to the United States-at least for a few years. The decision is a difficult and painful one, because it forces my sweetheart and I to live apart once again, until we get things settled. My sweetheart is the best father and partner in the world. It will be very difficult to say goodbye-even for a short time. Tears are already falling. How many families are separated by borders???
But the decision is also exciting. ADVENTURE! A new chapter in the book. Exciting opportunities for my son. For my daughter. For me. For my sweetheart. And we still have the beautiful little wooden house here, so I guess technically we have a vacation home in the Azores! HA!
I don’t know exactly how things will play out (Do we ever really know?). But I do know that the kids and I are flying to Miami in September. Our journey will be interesting for sure, Santa Maria, to Sao Miguel, Sao Miguel, to GERMANY?!? We spend one night in Germany and then fly straight to Miami.. They were the cheapest plane tickets we could find.
South Florida is certainly not paradise, but we have many friends and connections, and I have some work opportunity.. It is a good place to start.
For now, I plan on enjoying this island, this love, this life, as much as I can.
Living in the present, while making flexible preparations for the future.
haben Sie einen guten Tag (German for “Have a good day”)~Tiff