Rebuilding my Web Presence in One Location

The new Home Page image at charliedoggett.net now under construction
MY WEBSITE WILL CONTINUE TO BE PHOTO & INFORMATION RICH

I have just started rebuilding my website, meaning if will be skimpy for awhile as I learn the processes inside a WordPress Website. But I will bring to it most of the content from the old website, just presented in a better way I hope. There are several family history and cemetery articles that can be helpful to those doing family history research, along with personal stories and history and about my photography. Much of my content has been and will continue to be information for people doing research on several topics. Plus as a personal website it will continue to be partly about me, documenting my life and pointing to my interests.

MY BLOG WILL MOVE INTO MY WEBSITE
WordPress began as a blogging program and they excel at blogs. They say they can move my blogger.com blog into a new WordPress blog. We will see how they mesh. I believe that will strengthen both the blog and the website and basically blog posts become articles on my website that can be organized in categories or similar subjects as a seamless part of the site. 
THEN I MOVE MY PHOTO GALLERIES INTO THE WEBSITE
WordPress has many good gallery templates and attractive presentations as well as organizing tools, though possibly not as many features as my current SmugMug Costa Rica Galleries, so it will be my last move and maybe most difficult. Though WordPress has tools to move my SmugMug galleries into WordPress and I think the same from my older PBase Gallery. Hopefully I will then have all my photos together and well organized. Plus they will be easier to use or link to in both the blog and website articles. 
CONSOLIDATED
Maybe that is what it will be – consolidated – or everything in one place! And I hope more beautiful! I have been using Joomla for my web design and it is complicated and difficult to use and a lot of things I simply do not like about it. I like my web host, a friend in Nashville hosting out of his house in addition to his regular job. But now I will use one of the WordPress Hosts call DreamHost and will supposedly have more help, more plug-ins, and more possibilities! Though they host businesses and commerce and I could try to sell photos, I will not. I’ll keep my CafePress Shop and if WordPress adds 3rd party vendors of my photos without any production on my part, then maybe. But I am not in business! 
ANOTHER FUN HOBBY
And maybe the best part is having another creative outlet for this strong desire to always be creating something of beauty or value. The creative part is fun! The technical stuff drives me crazy as the last few days trying to get my domain name moved over has. I almost changed my domain name to Retired in Costa Rica which will continue to be the overarching theme, but decided that I needed to stay with my domain name used since 2000 in The Gambia. 
AND A NOTE ON LINKS TO MY PAGES
If you have any links to my family history pages, the Nashville Hardgrave Cemetery page or Uncle Earl’s WWII page, etc., then you will need to relink after I get the new site up and running. Links will be different.

AND SUBSCRIPTIONS TO THIS BLOG
You will most likely have to resubscribe to the blog once it is on WordPress. I will let you know in advance. 
¡Pura Vida!

Starting a School Blog Yesterday

Escuela Colina Azul
A Private Elementary School Nestled in the Mountains of Atenas, Costa Rica

Belinda, the teacher in a local private school here who helped me get my Cedula renewed, talked to me about having wanted to maybe start a blog with her 6th Grade Computer Science class and asked if I would come tell the class how I started my blog and if they could do one on the same platform, blogspot.com. I was happy to help and went yesterday afternoon. With the school’s projector I showed the class my two blogs and explained the purpose and the importance of keeping posts short and simple, (though I obviously don’t always follow my own rule!).

But, instead of showing them how to blog on the Google platform that I use, my research showed a better place for both them and their teacher, designed just for schools with proper security, spam-free, advertising-free, etc. It is called


Belinda has a young student-teacher who was excited to hear about this and of course wants to set it up which is helpful for the regular teacher!  🙂  The class will have a class page the teacher can post homework on, blog assignments, messages to parents, etc.  AND each student has a blog page which the teacher will have some control over, but students from other schools and countries who are on edublog can comment on their posts and visa-versa. I showed them some samples of 6th Grade blogs and read a short story written on one blog by a 7th grade boy.

I browsed through some posts of other 6th and 7th graders and it was great! At least I thought so! And if I have a little bit to do with the 6th graders at Escuela Colina Azul getting started with blogging, I’m happy! And if you work with a school at any grade level, check it out at https://www.theedublogger.com/     It is a subsidiary of WordPress, but it is free for schools and students/teachers and their teacher website has a lot of good teaching resources.

Belinda also teaches 6th Grade English, thus the blogs will be in English and a tool for both her English class and her computer science class (same students – all the 6th graders in a small school). How cool! And almost all of her students are Ticos! There is another private school that is mostly foreigners and more expensive. I really enjoy being involved in the local community like this when I can. Old people and foreigners can still contribute sometimes!  🙂

Escuela Colina Azul Website  

Or go straight to the school photos

AND THIS IS COOL:
Story of a rare American 2nd Grader at Escuela Colina Azul.  On Mom’s blog.

And my Spanish teachers David & Corinna have there son Nicola in 3rd grade here! It’s a new school for me and I like it!  

OTHER BLOGS FROM ATENAS or COSTA RICA

This Month’s List from Atenas Today Newsletter (Not all blogs are from Atenas! And by listing I am not recommending! Most I have not seen.):

We are providing a list of blogs that might be of interest to our readers. By providing this
information, we are not endorsing or accepting responsibility for any content found therein.
Please contact us if you have any other blogs of interest that you would like to share. These are
alphabetized for your easy reference. Please advise if you find that some blogs no longer exist.

Biolley Buzz   bcrcoffee.com
Bunky Bartlett   http://www.bestofcostarica.org
Carole Connolly   http://carolejeanscostaricacapers.com
Claudia Leon   http://photoleraclaudinha.smugmug.com/
http://straightline-cmkl.blogspot.com/
Charlie Doggett   http://costaricadecisionprocess.blogspot.com/
De La Pura Vida Costa Rica   delapuravida.com
Dennis Easters/Pure Life Development   http://www.atenasrealestate.cr/index.php/blog
Diane Miskell   http://dianascostaricablog.blogspot.com
Going Like Sixty   http://goinglikesixty.com
Julie and Rick in Costa Rica   http://julieandrickincostarica.blogspot.com/
Marietta Arce   http://marisundays.wordpress.com
Mi Chunche   michunche.com
Nadine Hays Pisani   happierthanabillionaire.com
New Life in Costa Rica   http://www.anewlifeincostarica.com/nuevo_vida/
Paul Furlong motorcycle blog   http://eyeneo.com/
Pura Vida Mommy   puravidamommy.blogspot.com
Rubiatica   rubiatica.blogspot.com
Shannon Farley   http://enchanting-costarica.com/
Somewhere In Costa Rica   http://somewhereincostarica.com
Su Espacio   http://www.suespacioatenas.blogspot.com/
The Real Costa Rica   blog.therealcostarica.com
The Very Worst Missionary   theveryworstmissionary.com
The View From Here   theviewfromherecr.blogspot.com

New Blog in Español Added: Aprender Español en Atenas

No blog here yesterday. I am setting up another blog in Español because as my September 2 blog said, I really need to be using what I am learning with multiple Spanish learning efforts. Since I live alone and write a lot, it makes sense to write more in Spanish since I am not talking with people all day every day. It will be difficult and short for awhile, but hopefully will help my language learning! The title is Aprender Español en Atenas, linked here for your language experience. At least I won’t be so long-winded in a language I’m learning!  🙂

In my second post there I refers to a local book some university students put together on culture and language as the first in a series. This one on music, Dances of the Sun and Moon. I just reviewed it for Goodreads and basically a good idea for teens and young adults, but I will not be continuing the series. See my review for why.

My “Target Audience” for this English blog has been and will continue to be mainly friends and family in the United States, though stats show it is being read all over the world by about 150-200 persons a post!  🙂  It is about my retirement in Costa Rica and the other main audience is people who are thinking about retiring here which is a growing audience and by people already retired here!  🙂

The new Spanish blog is for Spanish-speakers, particularly in Costa Rica, whom I hope will help me in my journey to learn the language. It will NOT be a translation of this blog or visa-verso!

This English blog will continue to be what used to be my “Adventures” blog and “Nature” blog all in one. I’m including some “Spiritual” in this blog but may still restart or continue my old Spiritual Blog, “His Spirit Blog” since it is a more targeted subject and thus maybe audience. Not sure yet.

Pura Vida!

How I Know I’m in Costa Rica

Peacock photographed at Rescate Animal Zooave – More about it tomorrow.

ELEVEN REASONS I KNOW I’M IN COSTA RICA

  1. The first week I used the washing machine and microwave with my Spanish-English Dictionary in one hand! 
  2. People write emails of concern when I go 4 days without a blog post. (And Thanks!)
  3. I use Google Translate to write out questions and directions for bus drivers and taxi drivers before I leave for a trip! And still they don’t always understand me!
  4. Then when I still get lost or have trouble finding my bus stop there is always a friendly Tico to help me out. Like today a worker from Zooave stood out front with me to make sure I got on the right bus back to Atenas – Then when the bus zoomed by without stopping, he called the cab for me since after an hour I was tired of waiting. Still don’t quite have Tico patience yet!
  5. I’m averaging about 5 miles of walking per day with much of it uphill and feeling great!
  6. Have I mentioned that everything is in Spanish and I am still in Beginner 1.1 Spanish? Unlike the tourist towns where it pays locals to know English, a farming community has no motivation to learn English. (Can you imagine a farming community in Tennessee learning Spanish because a few migrant workers live there?) So communication is still the biggest challenge!
  7. I’m eating more fresh fruit and veggies than ever in my life and feeling great!
  8. I’m in shorts and T-shirt all day every day while sleeping under a comforter with the windows open at night. 
  9. I already have two visits from Nashville scheduled on my calendar and I’ve only been here 4 weeks! And I’m excited about both! Though a little nervous about the first group that includes two Nashville restaurant owners who want me to take them to one of my little farm town restaurants. But . . . I think they’ll like it!   🙂
  10. The word I hear most often from the maintenance man here is “manana.” 
  11. Today a letter was slipped under my door addressed to “Senor Charles Doggett, Apartado #3.”
I gave up on my Iolo System Mechanic support for my latest malware problem and went online to Geek Squad (since my new computer came from Best Buy with the geek service – I used Live Chat since calling them even with an 800 # is an international call.). They were wonderful! The poor guys spent 3 hours on my computer but everything is back to normal again. Think I wills stay with Geek Squad! And renew after my one year free subscription expires! 
I’ll catch you up some more tomorrow and hey! Life is still good! 

10 Reasons to Go to Costa Rica

One View from a Rainforest Trail
In Corcovado National Park by Me

10 Reasons to Go to Costa Rica is one of the later posts on Chris Howard’s “Living in Costa Rica Blog” could almost all be my reasons for both visiting and moving there. I would just substitute nature photography and affordable living for the zip-lining and surfing.  🙂  Check out his article and continue to watch his blog which is probably the best one on living in Costa Rica!

Another reason I am so seriously considering the move is that I plan to expand what little online business I have to give a better supplement to my meager pension and I can do it just as easy from Costa Rica as I can from Tennessee. In fact I have just enrolled in an online class to help me build a strong online business that really works. We will see! But I’m believing it will happen and will include a lot more than me just trying to sell my nature photos. So that could be my eleventh reason to move!   🙂   Two weeks from today I go on the tour with Chris Howard. I’m excited and now I’m now looking for reasons why I shouldn’t move. I’ll share my list later, but so far more positive than negative. The two-week trip will probably be the decider. 

Background for Moving Overseas

HISTORY OF A TARZAN WANNABE
Dancing in The Gambia on a 2009 return trip, photo by Jill

I’m a person of adventure since childhood, always wanting to live in a jungle or rainforest, as a teen to be a medical missionary in Africa, not making the medical part and a marriage that didn’t do missions, I continued to dream. After divorce and early retirement, God gifted me with a 3-year job in The Gambia, West Africa. My favorite job and place to live ever! But mission board politics and philosophy was such that I wouldn’t re-up for another 2 or 3 years and retirement there was not practical because of horrible medical services and the unstable and corrupt government.

SO I TRIED THE CONCRETE JUNGLE

My Condo Downtown near State Capitol, Farmers’ Mkt.

Living 10 years in downtown Nashville in a condo and loving it! I traveled as much as my meager income would allow, including three trips to Costa Rica along with trips to Guatemala, Mexico, Kenya, Brazil, Tanzania and this year to Panama. The problem was I could not afford these trips I loved so much and was spending my very small savings. Plus I saw “the handwriting on the wall” in my condo of mostly mobile young adults in an aging complex that was going to start costing more for big repairs like roof and parking lot and I needed to “really retire” and not parent young adults. 

THEN I MOVE TO A RETIREMENT VILLAGE
My Cottage at McKendree Village, Hermitage-Nashville

Two years ago I picked the only one I could afford in an old suburb of Nashville, put my condo on the market, sold it in one week, and made the big move to an independent living cottage (2 bedroom house) in a beautifully forested neighborhood of senior adults, where I took up local birding, and making photo books of my experiences. I really like McKendree Village where I now live and if Costa Rica doesn’t work out, I will stay here. But I soon discovered that there are other expenses and my active lifestyle and love of eating out left me almost no money for travel. I was using my equity money for one or two exotic trips a year and that was not wise. Plus the management here was targeting or getting too many elderly in poor health, even in independent living, making me feel like I’m living in a Nursing Home as I trip over walkers and wheel chairs in the dining room. I still ride my bike 50 miles a week, walk a lot and do my adventures, but the money will run dry and the community is not one for my active lifestyle. Sooooo . . .

My photo, Resplendent Quetzal,
While on 2010 Bird Safari, Costa Rica
NOW I’M MAYBE CORRECTING MY LAST DECISION:
I started researching online about retiring in places like Panama, which I thoroughly enjoyed visiting last January and could live in. One thing led to another and I’m now big into checking it out now and refocused on Costa Rica. I know, I’m like a kid just out of college starting all over again and somehow that invigorates me!

A RECORD OF MY DECISION-MAKING PROCESS
One of the things I’m reading online are blogs from people who live in another country and they are sometimes helpful. So today I decided to start this diary of the steps I’m going through that might help someone else and give me an interesting record of what I went through, whether I move or not. This is in addition to 3 other blogs I write. But this will either have an ending or maybe be turned into a Costa Rica Blog. We’ll see!