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Category Archives: Health

10 Tips For Relocating to a New Country

Playa Grande in Punta Uva, a seaside village in the Límon province of Costa Rica.

With a growing number of countries offering Digital Nomad Visas and as a recent podcast guest on this topic*, it occurs to me that I have a unique perspective that may be helpful. Whether you are looking to work remotely or to change your lifestyle, here are a few tips if you’re considering relocating to another country (or if you’re asking for a friend…wink, wink).

1. Make a list: No, not a to-do list, but a passions list! What are your interests? What brings you joy? What are the things that you’re passionate about but have never found the time to pursue? Use this list to guide your ultimate destination.

2. Do your research: Create a list of must-haves and build your destination list around it. BTW – your passions list should be part of your must-haves. It doesn’t have to be exhaustive, but you want to make sure that you find a good fit for your life or how you want to live.

3. Take a trip: Break out that passport and travel! It’s a big world, go explore it. You can’t get the feel of a place without getting the feel of a place. When you visit, you can do a few tourist activities, but make sure you get some local flavor. Talk to the hotel concierge or your Air BnB/VRBO manager or host for some local experiences and/or local people that can serve as a guide. Also, talk to the indigenous people about their country.

4. Be flexible: If you’re moving to a new country, don’t expect the nuances and rituals of your previous home. Learn something new, have patience and if there is a new language, learn it (people will appreciate your effort and respond to you differently).

5. Make connections: Social media can provide you with a window into different countries. There are groups for just about everything. Join a few that match your needs (I joined a Black Expats in Costa Rica Facebook Group about three years prior to moving.)

6. Create a plan: No, everything doesn’t need to be etched in stone, but at least plan your logistics: moving, selling or storing belongings, finding a renter or buyer for your residence, etc. This should include a timeline.

7. Credentials please: Particularly if you’re moving with a family, have your vital records and paperwork stored in a manner that it is easy to access. I mean passports (obviously), health records, birth certificates, ID cards and other country-specific administrative records.

8. Make a budget: You are no longer a tourist. Make sure you account for the essentials (rent, utilities, healthcare, food, transportation) as well as some splurges along the way.

9. Follow your heart: This is your journey. What is right for you may not be right for someone else and that’s okay. Don’t be deterred if everyone is not onboard with your move (this excludes your family unit – you need some consensus). Do it anyway!

10. Enjoy the ride: Even if this isn’t your final destination, lean into it! Slow down. Take in the scenery and culture. Find your tribe. Have some great experiences!

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2022 in Career, Family, Health, Reflection, women, worklife balance

 

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Podcasts: love ’em or hate ’em?

Everyone has a podcast these days. You can find them on just about every topic: some have a very niche target say, Stephen King book fans or Queen Sugar enthusiasts, and others have a broader audience of self help or a celebrity’s musings.

Yours truly in Delaware last fall for my girlfriend’s podcast Grown Women Shit.

I remember prior to the pandemic, I had never listened to any! Can you believe it? I can think of at least two people in my circle being horrified and wanted desperately to help me find my show(s).

Now, I’m about to dip my toe in… My significant other and I have been saying for at least the last year, when we moved to Costa Rica we would launch it. Well… we’re here! We’ve known each for 31 years (whew, that doesn’t sound right!) and we’ve had some great conversations. Some have been filled with laughter, others not so much. So we’ve decided to take our show on the road!

Talk to me! Tell me if you do podcasts or not. Let me know some interesting topics that you haven’t heard discussed and would like to. Please be respectful. 😉

 

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Register to Be a Donor

Are you a donor? Of any kind? If not, you should consider it. You could change lives. You could save a life.

Some donations, happen after you have passed away. Others can happen while you are alive. One such donation is bone marrow and stem cell donation.

There are many people who wait for a blood match and never find one. For this reason, there is a need for donors who are certain ethnicities, especially African American, Black, Latinx and Native American.

I am a stem cell donor and I am registered. It is an easy and fulfilling gift to give. Learn more.

If you are healthy and under the age of 40, sign up and register as a bone marrow donor. Join the registry.

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2022 in Health, Real Talk

 

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Bittersweet

On June 30, 2022, Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in as an associate justice to the U.S. Supreme Court making her the first Black woman to hold this position. I recall how much pride and emotion her nomination held for me and so many others.

But, I feel sorry for her. Does she still want the position? The precedent that the majority of SCOTUS just overturned of Roe v Wade is a slippery slope for so many other freedoms and attacks on privacy. (I bet Loving v Virginia remains intact. Not that it shouldn’t, but the hypocrisy is blatant.) A precedent that was not found faulty in its legal foundation but rather the personal opinions of justices…

What’s worse is that on the proverbial other hand, recent rulings have upheld loosened gun laws, greater latitude for possible infringement on individual rights (by police and politicians), blurred separation of church and state and regulations that impede climate change.

U.S. History shows us that SCOTUS can be expanded if and when necessary, but unfortunately I don’t imagine Biden would take that bold step. Nor do I envision him changing the lifetime term.

As a lifetime position, there is time for the tide to shift. However, in the meantime, how many minority opinions will she, Sotomayor, Breyer and Kagan write?

 

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The Answer Is Yes

Steve Kerr talks about elected officials’ responsibility.

I loved Steve Kerr when he played for the Bulls. I love that he uses his platform to speak out. But, to answer your question Steve, it is a resounding YES. Legislators are and have been more interested in holding on to their power than to pass any legislation that would curb the ongoing violence in America.

I knew in the aftermath of the slaughter at Sandy Hook that nothing would change. If a classroom of murdered kindergarteners didn’t change hearts and move them into action, nothing would.

 

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My Grandma Has Alzheimer’s

This year she will be 94 years old. She is in great health, albeit a bit thin. Amy Scroggins is the matriarch of our family. She is the only surviving child of her parent’s 11 children. She raised nine children (seven boys) with my Grandfather in southern Maryland, outliving him and two of their children. She was an avid reader and seamstress and the disciplinarian. She is the great grandmother of 14. And she has Alzheimer’s Disease.

My Grandma and my son last fall.

She was diagnosed in 2020 at the height of the pandemic and shortly after unexpectedly losing a son and granddaughter. There was a rash of erratic behavior then, but then it vanished.

There are moments when her mind slips and she is in another time, detailing the one-room school house that she attended. Or she is telling me that she had a good day except for the spanking that she got… then her mind shifts and she is quiet, trying to reconcile it all.

Grandma and Granddaddy at an event.

My mother and her siblings have a rotating schedule. They stay with her a week at a time so that she can be in her home. It has been rough on them, seeing their mother slip away. Having to help her with the basics as she once did with them. However, she remembers everyone and can walk, talk, eat, breathe and bathe on her own.

There are moments of regression, but they don’t last. Sometimes, she is far away and sad. She knows something is wrong but cannot understand or repair it. She repeats herself frequently in a conversation, but I just listen and agree as if it’s new information.

Grandma at age 20.

I love my Grandma. I am glad she can’t recall some things because she is a strong, proud woman and she would be frustrated and ashamed that she needs this level of assistance, especially from her children.

I know the disease can and will progress. Being so far away from her is my only regret for relocating. But thank goodness for technology.

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2022 in Family, Health, Reflection, women

 

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Be the Match

I found this draft post from 2015.

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About two weeks ago, I received devastating news. It’s taken me this long to process it and finally, share. I learned that my teen-aged stem cell recipient died. She rallied after a year which is an important milestone for transplant recipients. She was even able to return home and resume normal activities, so we were extremely hopeful. About six months later, she was hospitalized with respiratory issues and I stopped receiving updates.

I’ve thought a lot about the upside, the silver lining if there is one to find. Here’s what I have:

  1. Health: Protect it. Be thankful for good health.
  2. Life: LIVE it…seriously.
  3. Children: If you have them, cherish them. To lose one must be unbearable.
  4. Donate: Time, blood, organs, marrow if you are able to do so.
  5. Share: We can not make it alone. If you have something to give someone else, please do it.
 
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Posted by on March 2, 2022 in Health, Reflection

 

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A House is Not a Home

I just finished blasting the Mayor’s office as well as the Director of DC Housing and Community Development. I am not naive to believe that my comments will be addressed or even read, but I am sick to death of seeing this type of abuse.

This is the Nation’s Capitol. I believe that we pay the HIGHEST taxes, have no representation AND have extremely shitty and limited affordable housing. Over and over, we hear about property owners in our city (seldom do they even live here) exploiting residents by taking their rent and providing housing that is unfit and unsafe. They are finally hauled to court, ordered to pay fines and nothing changes. WHY?!?? Is it because the impacted residents are on the low socio-economic rung of society?

I do not understand why there is no cap to the neglect that a landlord can inflict. If you have over X number of code violations and/or X number of lawsuits, your property can be seized and sold. What are agencies waiting for? Someone to die? A child to get seriously hurt?

I am so disgusted…

The Rental Housing Accommodation Nuisance Abatement Amendment Act Of 2016 was introduced last May in the DC Council but no action has been taken on it to date beyond it being added to the Public Register.

More, if you’re interested…

North Philly Notes article

Urban Turf article

Washington City Paper article

 

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Have You Seen My Mojo? 

I lost it somewhere between August when my 8 year-old started asking me questions about Trump and December when I still had a real-life Michael Scott (fictional character of The Office) as a director. Good news is Scott is gone! I think you know the bad news.

I have not posted in a long time. I have not written (aside from work) in a long time. For me, that’s a bad spot… I managed to  eek out a poem to my love, David, for his birthday but it was a struggle. 

I am uninspired. Not surprising, but no less disturbing. Oh, there are plenty of constipated thoughts in my head but they want to stay. I almost posted after I finally made it to the National Museum of African American History and Culture this month, but even that never happened. 

I don’t like this mental space. It’s unhealthy and I don’t know the cure. Ideas are welcome. 

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2017 in Health, Real Talk, Reflection, writing

 

Stay Safe Buckeyes

ohio-state-buckeyes

When are we going to keep our young people safe? How many more active shooters need to attack campuses, elementary schools, malls, workplaces? THIS IS BULLSHIT!
Make your voice heard on sensible gun control measures. Surely this has to matter…

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2016 in Education, Health, Politics, Real Talk, violence, Youth

 

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