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Hello Dear Readers,

Sorry for the late post. I had some unexpected drama last night when I discovered my basement was taking on water. Needless to say, it wasn’t the good kind of excitement. I’ve got a pretty good house, but it’s old, so it’s kind of like living in a time bomb. I never know what (horribly expensive) thing is going to go wrong next.

It’s no surprise that, in moments like this, my thoughts turn longingly to my island dreams. So, without further ado, here’s five things I won’t miss about living in my North American city.

1) Owning a home: Most of the places we’re considering, including Palau, do not allow expats to own property. Almost everyone rents. And even though my home has been a great investment, I’m relieved. I miss the days when a scary leak or a broken furnace were somebody else’s problem.

2) The weather: Old timers would say I have thin blood. I can’t stand the cold, so in my brilliance, I moved to a city that’s cold about eight months out of the year. (And even the summers aren’t guaranteed to be nice.) My ultimate goal is to never be cold again. The day I get to sell all my sweaters and coats will be one of the happiest of my life. For reference, here’s an awesome video that was made about our last winter.

3) Lack of privacy: As strange as it seems, moving to an island will give me more privacy, not less. In Palau, as long as you stay out of the capital city, there are places to live where you can look out your windows and see nothing but the ocean or trees. It’s like living in the country. I swore I would never buy a house where one looks out their window into another house, but I soon discovered there’s no choice in the city. Unless you’re independently wealthy.

4) My neighbours: The frightening thing about neighbours is that you have no control over who moves in next to you. With more space between us and the nearest neighbour, that won’t be as much of a problem. Currently, I have an older gentleman who likes to wander the neighbourhood screaming to people, along with his screaming grandchildren and the children they play with, who also scream. The guy on one side of us has a garage band that plays “Blue Suede Shoes” and “We’re Not Going to Take It” ad nauseam in his living room, and the one on the other side is apparently growing a dandelion farm in his backyard. At least I’ve made peace with the woman who constantly watches my house from across the street. That was pretty creepy at first.

5) My exs: As large as this city is, sometimes it feels like a small town. Everyone knows everyone, and that’s especially true of your ex. It’s hard to cut ties with someone after a brutal or painful relationship when a good portion of your friends are still friends with him. Or when he starts working for your former employer. Thankfully I’ve never dated anyone from my dojo, but I still have more opportunities to bump into an ex than I’d like–one lives less than a block away! The thought of starting over somewhere new is pretty damn appealing.

Of course there are many things I will miss, but I’ll tackle those in another post. If you were to move tomorrow, what would you make you the happiest as you waved goodbye?

Thanks for reading!
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22 Comments

  1. Lisa

    Hmmm You stumped me on this question…I had to stop and think for a second…I think at first I wouldn’t miss the winters, but to be honest there is something beautiful about sitting in my living room, looking outside as the snow comes down. I love the stark white beauty in winter’s blanket and I know that I would miss it.
    I have amazing neighbours, a pretty cool job, a house that has been relatively problem-free (any work we’ve been doing to it is by choice)
    I don’t think I could move away from any of this…especially since my family is here.
    That said…I wouldn’t mind not living in the same city as my ex…:0)

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      Hey Lisa,

      Thanks for commenting. You seem to have an enviable life. Do you live in a newer home, or just one that is better maintained? In any case, you are very lucky to not have had trouble with it. You are lucky to have amazing neighbours too. I used to have a couple I absolutely adored living beside me, but they moved. The screaming old guy with his screaming brood wasn’t here when I moved in either.

      Family does tend to keep lots of people in this city, and that’s not something I have here. But I will miss my friends.

      Reply
  2. Rhonda Parrish

    Yeup, every time I read about your upcoming move to Palau I become a little more convinced we need to move somewhere exotic too LOL We *are* planning a move to an island soon… but it’s not tropical LOL

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      So…what won’t you miss, Rhonda? And where are you moving again? Was it Vancouver Island, or the east coast?

      Reply
  3. Karen Jones Gowen

    Holli, I did not realize you were planning on the expat life as well! I look forward to hearing more about it. As for the home ownership? It’s a relief for me as well to be done with it. We also do not own a car, another huge money drain we are glad to be rid of.

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      Hi Karen,

      Yes, that was one of the (many) reasons I was so happy to find your blog. There’s so many things I want to know, including how on earth did you settle on a place and are you happy there? I have much to learn from you.

      We don’t even have a car here! But letting the house go will be a huge relief.

      Thanks for commenting. Every Monday is a post about the progress on the Operation: Island front. Hope to see you again.

      Reply
  4. Donelle Lacy

    Among your five things are some I’d have on mine – such as living in a geriatric house that needs constant upkeep. Definitely a pro toward renting.

    The others I’d list are:
    – Running into people from my high school who I didn’t want to run into IN high school.
    – Ridiculously humid/hot summers in Ohio. You’re not big on cold, but I’m not big on heat. Ohio should not be this gross, but it has been lately (and it’s not even July!) I’d want to move somewhere that the heat isn’t extreme and doesn’t come with humidity.
    – Having to drive awhile to do anything I’m interested in. The big gathering place in my town is the Super Walmart. ~_~
    – Most of my friends living over an hour away.

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      Hi Donelle,

      Thanks for adding to my list, and welcome back to the blog. I’m sure the humidity of Palau will take some getting used to. I’m not a big fan of humidity either, but I suspect it’s easier to love when you can work in a bikini.

      I can completely relate to your list! I’d ask you to join us, but somehow I don’t think the heat would be to your liking. However, you might love Winnipeg. Eight months of winter!

      Reply
  5. Susan Scott

    Great post Holli! What would make me happiest as I waved goodbye to previous ‘comfort zones’? I’d welcome new beginnings, and say goodbye and away from smog, beggars, traffic, sometimes smelly air. Gosh, I’m having to really think about this .. I’ll have to give more thought to this!

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      Thanks for commenting, Susan. Where are you living now? That sounds like some good things to say bye-bye to. In my neighbourhood, we occasionally get these horrible smells from the nearby mushroom plant. I totally forgot about that when I was writing this post–I’ll have to add it to the list!

      Reply
  6. Chrys Fey

    Oh yes, I would not miss my neighbors. I don’t know what it is, but I never like my neighbors no matter where I live.

    If I could move tomorrow, which I would love by the way, the idea of starting fresh, being able to redecorate, and of having a new adventures in my new town/city would make me the happiest.

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      Hi Chrys! Nice to see you here again. I don’t blame you on the neighbour front–I haven’t had great ones, either. I quite like the nice older lady across the street now, but if I chat with her, she does not let me go, so I have to pick and choose my moments, which is too bad.

      I think the idea of starting fresh is really appealing. I just hope it happens…some days it feels like a dream.

      Reply
  7. Steven

    I understand your desire to move on. As much as I love where I live, there are a few things here that drive me nuts. The biggest thing I wouldn’t miss is the big culture war here. It’s nuts, completely off the hook, and ridiculous — seriously like nowhere else in the U.S. I hate being caught in the crossfire constantly.

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      Big culture war? Where on earth do you live, Steven? I’m not even 100 percent sure what that means, but it doesn’t sound good.

      I was only supposed to be here for two years–enough to finish my diploma. Somehow, I stayed for twenty. I think I’ve done my time. 🙂

      Reply
    • Steven

      I live in Utah, or more specifically in Salt Lake City. I was supposed to be here just to go to college and it’s turned into much more than that. I think I’m feeling itchy to get out of here again since there is another big fight breaking out here, again.

      Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      It’s the same way with me, Steven–I came here for school and was only supposed to be here for two years. That was a long time ago!

      I’ve actually been to your city. It’s quite beautiful, and was an interesting place to visit. I’m guessing the conflict is between Mormons and non-Mormons?

      Reply
    • Steven

      It is quite beautiful here and has some good qualities. That’s some of the conflict, and there’s a fight even in the Mormon church with a feminist group that is asking for more respect for women (gasp!). I don’t have my kids in public school here anymore because all of this trickles down even into kindergarten classes, which is completely ridiculous but true. Moving somewhere more mainstream would be a really nice change, because that’s what I’m used to.

      Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      Wow, that does sound like a nightmare. I don’t blame you for wanting to move.

      Reply
  8. Susan Francino

    Haha, I admit to being one of those people who likes the cold. This past winter was a bit much even for me, though. That, however, is mostly because my place at college is under-heated and has walls as thin as cardboard. :/ Definitely something to leave happily. It also holds smells–bad smells–with unfortunate tenacity. That’s my home at college, though. I am much more attached to my home at home. I’d be kind of heartbroken if I had to leave there. I could do with less bugs, I suppose…

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      Welcome to my blog, Susan! Your place at college sounds like a bit of a nightmare, but at least it’s a temporary hell. And it’s for a great cause…you won’t regret it!

      Thanks so much for commenting. Hope to see you back here.

      Reply
  9. Stephanie Faris

    I do miss the days when I didn’t have to worry about keeping the yard mowed or getting our a/c repaired when it breaks. We also had a flood in 2010 (the Nashville flood) and we had to rebuild the home. If we’d been renting, we could have just exited and found somewhere else to live.

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      Oh, that’s terrible, Stephanie. Sorry to hear. Floods are a sad fact of life around here. If it wasn’t for the floodway, which diverts the water and puts other areas in crisis, this city would be under water a lot. As it is, people still have issues with basement flooding and sewer backup a lot.

      Reply

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