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The Gringarican Handbook - stories about moving to Vieques, PR, life in the slow lane and becoming a Gringarican

We Gotta Get Out Of This Place, The Animals, 1965

"There's nothing to do there".  Perfect, I thought.  At once I became intrigued, almost obsessed, with a small island off the coast of Puerto Rico.  And I hadn't even been there yet.
 
That was my introduction to Vieques.  In the back of my mind, there was a recollection that some acquaintances in our small town of Mooveover, VT had vacation homes there - or maybe had even moved there permanently.  This was worth investigating.
 
During that snowy winter we were suddenly talking about selling our home in rural Vermont where downhill skiing was 5 minutes away and cross country skiing was right out our back door.  Of course, first you had to shovel the front walk, garage entrance and, oh yeah, don't forget the roof.  You can't get out the back door without shoveling the deck.  If you've ever lived in Vermont, you know this housekeeping chore needs to be done, sometimes in excess of 3 times a day, as part of the winter home maintenance.  Then there's the wood.  The old saying of "wood heats you 3  times" is so true.  First time stacking, second time bringing it inside and third time when it actually is in the wood stove.  Since this was our main source of heat, we were all too familiar with this old adage.
We started to realize we were getting older (though nowhere near old) and we didn't want to shovel forever.  Or, maybe it was the untimely death of a dear friend that made us eager to follow our dream NOW.  At that point, our little brains were still in Vermont mode.  So, we had a realtor friend show us some condos.  This was during the recession in Mooveover.  Second homeowners from Connecticut and New York were eager to sell their mountain retreats and be rid of all the expenses that went with the joy of "their little getaway place" - lots of gas money to get there in gas guzzling SUV's, high tech ski equipment and fashionable togs for during and apres ski, 4-wheel drive vehicles that often ended in a snowy ditch, condo fees and high electric bills.  What we found was cramped living, little ambiance and shoddy building.  Unsealed windows letting in those wonderful winter breezes, uninsulated walls, and a roof that let you know springtime was here by the water stains on the ceiling would mean more out of pocket money.  Would we even be able to sell our home in this economy and would all of our profit be eaten up with condo fees and electric bills to save ourselves from physical labor in our old age? 
 
Then we were struck with an idea - why did we have to live in Vermont?

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