As several our readers have noticed, we haven’t posted new articles in a while. We have been through a whirlwind of changes. We have returned to the USA. We are not discontinuing our blog. We plan to continue to write about and document out travels and experiences. Elizabeth and Dale Abroad is not going anywhere, or wait, we are actually planning to go to lots of places! So here is an informal article to let you know what we have been up to, why we have been inactive on our blog for a little while, and our future plans.
Those of you who follow the news about Brazil may already be aware of the economic and political crisis. We were in Brazil during a difficult election. Since then, the Brazilian currency took a nose dive, the Petrobras scandal came to light, and now the President of Brazil is facing an impeachment trial. All these things affect businesses and business decisions. Dale’s company decided to sell off its shares to their Brazilian partners. We waited months and months while both companies went back and forth in negotiations. Those months were stressful to say the least. It was difficult to make any solid plans for the future!
In January we finally received confirmation that we would be leaving Brazil. We still had no idea where we would be moving. We began the process of packing, selling our things, filing taxes, completing necessary paperwork for the Brazilian government, shutting off utilities, and the list goes on and on. We thought moving to Brazil was a lot of work, and it was, but leaving Brazil is just as cumbersome!
Only 7 bags, one surfboard, and a bike!
The end of February we moved into a hotel for about a week as we had emptied our house. The last week in Brazil we tied up some loose ends and spent the week saying goodbye to our Brazilian and expat friends. We also spent a lot of time eating out at our favorite restaurants and gaining more weight!
On March 7th we departed Brazil feeling sad to leave, yet excited to see our families and friends! We were ready to come home. Both of us have parents with medical issues so we looked forward to being closer to home and having some quality time with mom and dad.
Painting with wine with my mom
We also found out that we would be relocating to Orlando, Florida! We were happy with this decision and excited to get out lives started in Florida. I (Elizabeth) lived in Orlando for about 5 years in the early 2000’s and still have a lot of friends in the area. So this move was an easy one. We both love the beach, palm trees, and sunshine, and I already had a built in support network of wonderful friends!
We returned to Tulsa, Oklahoma to visit our families and clear out our storage unit. All our belongings were placed in a storage unit when we moved to Brazil. We took a week-long trip to Orlando and found a new house and a nice used car. We accomplished a lot in that short time, but it was stressful. For those of you returning home after living abroad; be prepared for a lot of hassle. Trying to buy a car and rent a house was not a simple process. It was as if we had disappeared for 2 years. We had to pay extra money for our insurance and on our security deposit because we lived outside the USA for 2 years. Everything costs more when you return to your home country!
Florida doesn’t make moving easy either. Because it is a major tourist destination with a transient population it is more difficult to get property managers to show you homes, potential employers to call you for an interview even though you are highly qualified, etc. Lucky for us Dale already had a job in Orlando, so this helped ease the transition some.
Once we found a house and a car we decided to relax and have fun. We drove to Blue Springs to see the manatees. Unfortunately, they left the area the week before. So we took a boat tour and our guide pointed out several species of bird and we of course saw a lot of alligators. This was a nice break from house hunting and car shopping!
We love our manatees!
We returned to Tulsa, and two days later with some help from my beautiful niece and her amazingly strong husband, we packed up all our belongings into a large moving truck, said goodbye to our families, and drove two days across country to our new home.
The drive itself was not too bad. Other than the fact that the truck we drove was huge, loud, guzzled gas, and had the most uncomfortable bench seats. So I lined the bench with lots of pillows and a few of my stuffed animals as a joke. We made the best of the drive and had a lot of fun talking, planning our future lives in Florida, listening to music, and I hammed it up a little to give other truck drivers on the road a laugh. I also rediscovered the Waffle House and my love for greasy hamburgers.
The day after we arrived in Orlando, my best friend from High School, and her son (my godson) came for a visit. We put off unpacking for a few days and enjoyed several of the Disney World parks with them.
On the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
We reminisced about our old High School shenanigans. We swam in our swimming pool and looked for lizards. I had breakfast with them at the Disney Polynesian Resort. We took a lot of photos with the characters. We were exhausted but happy to get the opportunity to spend time with them!
At the Polynesian
April consisted of Dale going back to work while I unpacked the house, worked on obtaining my license to work in the state of Florida in my field (LCSW), and of course all the other fun items on my checklist. Dale had several out of state trainings and meetings that month so I spent some time with a friend to get a break from unpacking. I also managed to come down with a cold that would not go away. It took about 4 weeks for me to get well again.
Also in April, my friend Laura and I went paddle boarding at Silver Springs. This state park features a lot of wildlife as well as some escape monkeys for the Jungle Cruise ride. We were able to sit and watch the monkeys in the trees surrounding the water. I plan to take Dale there soon to get some better photos and do a full blog article. This is an awesome area to paddle! Here is a little tip. If you are on the river and you want to take good photos of the area, buy a water proof camera that has a good zoom on it. I took out our Sony Action Cam and the monkeys in the trees look like tiny dots! We now have our water proof camera and plan to return soon, so please stay posted!
Laura and I also attended the event, “Drinking around the Hood”. This event took place in the Thornton Park neighborhood. This is a trendy area of Orlando with many interesting restaurants, local art stores, and bars. For $25 you get to sample drinks and food from several of the restaurants and bars in the area. They also provide free transportation using a local rickshaw company. Drinking in the Hood occurs every third Wednesday of the month. You can find more information about this event and other local events at OrlandoWeekly.com. Stay tuned because we will blog about some of the fun events in and around the Orlando area soon!
Towards the end of April, things became rather scary. Dale’s mom had a cold that turned into pneumonia. I already had purchased my airline tickets to return to visit my family in Tulsa. My father has been through two bouts of cancer, including surgery, chemo, and radiation. So I planned to spend a week just relaxing, helping out around the house, and visiting with my parents.
Dale’s mom took a turn for the worse and was admitted to ICU. So Dale went to Tulsa a few days before I did and spent several days and nights in the hospital. She gave everyone a scare but then one day, she was coherent again, and she started to recover. She was recently discharged from the hospital and is now at home. A lot of us were praying for her and thinking of her. We are so happy she is on the mend!
It is now early May and we are both back home in Orlando. Our house is mostly unpacked, IKEA furniture put together (I’m so good at it now I joke about standing outside IKEA and charging people to put together their new furniture for them). We still have a garage full of boxes and items we are working on organizing and we are making some progress. I’m slowly but surely checking items off my “to do” list. I’ve applied for several jobs recently and have two interviews. So we are getting settled finally! Recently we took a day off for fun and we went out to Wekiva Island to stand up paddle board. A blog post about this experience is coming soon!
Finally, a moment to relax!
So now that I have caught you up with the past few months of our crazy lives I want to share with you our future plans for the blog. We have a few articles still in the works about our travels in South America. We also plan to share with our readers all the amazing things you can do in Florida, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and other areas of the Caribbean. We will share with you insider information and local hang outs. Florida is a lot more than just Disney World! But we will also share with your our tips on Disney World -so don’t worry. We are annual pass holders and I am already familiar with the parks. We also plan to continue to take several trips overseas and blog about our experiences. Yes, we are living stateside but we plan to continue our adventures abroad! We look forward to sharing our new experiences with you.