Wednesday, December 28, 2011

To Vaccinate or Not??

Looks kind of scary doesn't it?

We have traveled outside of the United States many times on vacation. Only once did we have to take medication or have vaccines, that was when we traveled to Peru in South America. Since this time it will be a little more than a vacation, and we will actually be moving to Belize, our doctor recommended we check out the CDC (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) for guidelines for anyone traveling or living in foreign countries. So we sat down with our doctor in his office and he pulled up the CDC web site and gave us a list of the recommended vaccines we should consider. We plan on traveling throughout Central America, South America, Mexico and the Caribbean, so we thought that the pain of taking a few pricks to the arm would be worth it. 

Now I absolutely hate getting shots. I mean really who doesn't?? Just thinking about taking some shots to the arm was causing my anxiety level to go up. Our doctor said we should go to our local health department because the vaccines would be a lot cheaper than he could give them to us. You should receive these vaccines 4 to 6 weeks before travel to be fully protected from these diseases. We were already running out of time and Hep vaccines require several trips to the doctor for a series of shots. According to my doctor the CDC recommended TDAP, Hep A, Hep B, Typhoid and Rabies.

Hepatitis A - Hepatitis A is transmitted through contaminated food and water.

Typhoid Fever -  Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection. It occurs worldwide and is transmitted by contaminated food.

Hepatitis B - Hepatitis B is a viral illness transmitted through blood products, contaminated medical instruments. 

Rabies - Rabies is transmitted by a bite or scratch from rabid infected animal.

DTAP - DTAP vaccine protects from diphtheria, tetanus (lockjaw), and pertussis (whooping cough).

Bill getting his second series of Hep.

I am happy to report that the shots didn't hurt at all. We obviously had a nurse with lots of experience and a good aim. She said our arms would be sore and we should take ibuprofen for the next two days afterwards. My arm never got sore, not even once.

My doctor was right, the vaccines were pretty pricey. We have spent $436.00 for both of us so far going through our local health department and we have one more series of Hep to go. We are also taking the accelerated version of the Hep vaccine over a 4 week period of time instead of the normal 6 months. We opted out of getting the Rabies shots. Just one series was almost $200 each. We decided we would just take our chances on it and hope we don't run into a rabid animal. As one friend said the other day, these things are just a small price to pay to live in paradise. I think I agree.

Moving or visting a foreign country, do you plan on getting the recommended vaccines?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Opening an International Bank Account

Thank goodness for the Internet, We were able to open an international bank account with British Caribbean Bank International Ltd. in Belize online. I contacted Ms. Flor Nunez and she emailed me a list of documents she needed and the application in order to open the bank account. You can go directly to their web site and print out the application from there if you would  rather. Here is a list  of the things that she needed:
  • Completed application
  • Certified copy of passport
  • One bank reference
  • One character reference
  • Proof of address
Your character reference must be from a lawyer or certified public accountant.  It is a good thing I have lots of friends that are lawyers. 
I emailed all of the documents she needed and within about a week I had received an email with a letter attached with all of my new bank account information. Deposit $1000 to activate the account and that's it, we now have an international bank account. 

Here are the features of having an international bank account with British Caribbean Bank:

  • Available in US Dollars, Canadian Dollars, Pounds and Euros
  • 24-hour online banking
  • Visa & MasterCard Credit Card
  • Visa Debit card
  • Cheque books - available upon request
  • Standing orders
  • A monthly statement is provided free of charge
  • Minimum deposit of US$1,000 (or currency equivalent) to open accounts should be maintained at all times
  • Overdraft available upon request (refer to Credit) Other Ancillary Services: Wire Transfers Bank Drafts Online Banking
How do you plan on handling your money transactions in Belize?

    Merry Christmas 2011 in the US

    Our family had a different but a very Merry Christmas this year. Our daughter's family came to visit two weeks ago, so we started celebrating Christmas early this year. Bill and I decided up front we were not going to buy each other any gifts to open. There was really nothing we needed and besides we are getting rid of everything and we have plenty of stuff to haul to Belize already. 

    We did get each other a Christmas card. Bill's card said "Of all the things I could ask for...the only thing I want for Christmas is YOU". Haha, I am not so sure I believe that some days, but it was the thought that counts.

    While "Belizean Betty" was in town, I wanted to take her to Bass Pro Shop to see Santa. Betty has never liked Santa and is not worried presents won't show up under the Christmas tree if she doesn't sit in his lap. A little wave is about all Betty would ever give Ole St. Nick. But low and behold, Betty decided to sit in Santa's lap this year. I am not sure who was excited more, me and her parents or Betty. 

    Betty sits in Santa's lap for the first time.

    Our Christmas Tree

    We had this Elf named Aubrey that kept hanging around the house.

    Bill and I had Christmas lunch at the Waffle House.

    Friday, December 23, 2011

    We Are Officially Retired

    Retirement, according to Wikipedia is the point where a person stops employment. December 1st, 2011 Bill officially retired from Gray-Daniels Ford after 17 years. I had been a realtor with Century 21 Maselle since 1998 and I loved my job. But yes, we did it, we actually quit our jobs and stopped working. You would think we would be jumping up and down and celebrating. Well the strange thing is, we haven't had time to feel retired yet. With the holidays upon us and so much to do before we move to Belize, our real official retirement will have to wait a few more weeks. 

    We sold our home in October, all of our furniture and most all of our personal things and moved in with my father. I had spent hours, months, years shopping and collecting things from all over the world. 28 years worth of stuff, most all of which was gone in a matter of a few weeks. Did I get upset? Well again, I really have not had time to think about it all. It has been happening so fast. We are just focused on the the real thing we are looking forward to in our retirement, a much simpler life and time to spend together.  Yep, that's it folks, it is just that simple.  That is all we really want at this point in our life and while it might be a simple life, it will never be a boring life. 

    When you retire, what kind of life will you be looking for?

    Friday, December 16, 2011

    It's RUM POPO (Belize Egg Nog) time again..

    Belizean Rum

    Last December I did a blog post on Rum PoPo (Belize Egg Nog). Well it is time to break out the rum again, just in time for all of the holidays. Egg Nog or Rum PoPo as it is called in Belize is made with Belize Rum, if you happen to be so lucky to have some on hand, it is the perfect holiday drink. I found this recipe on I had never had egg nog until a few years ago and I thought I would give it a try. It was actually very good and I plan on making more this year. CHEERS!

    Rum PoPo (Belize Egg Nog)


    1. Soak cinnamon stick and raisins in rum for 2 days.
    2. Beat eggs well for about 15-20 minutes. (Removing beater and rinsing in clean water several time to
        remove strings (eye of egg).
    3. Add evaporated milk and beat again.
    4. Add Condensed milk and check for sweetness.
    5. Add grated nutmeg and the rum (used for soaking the cinnamon and raisins). Please strain.
    6. Mix again and then store in clean, dry bottles.
    8. Shake before serving.

    • 9 eggs
    • 1 pint strong rum (more if you like) 
    • 4 nutmeg grated
    • 1 oz. cinnamon stick
    • 5 tins large evaporated milk
    • 3 tins condensed milk
    • 1/4 lb. raisins