No. of Recommendations: 20
Due to popular demand, I am posting my RE history (yet again) on this, my fifth anniversary. But this time, to keep it short, I present the highlights in point form. I hope that's not too annoying.

2000
Labor Day weekend: We visit Portland for first time, decide to move there.
October: Sell house in Silicon Valley, stop working (DW continues to work).
November: Move to Portland, arrive on birthday.

2001
January: Begin fulfilling life-long wish of improving my decayed Spanish by spending three weeks in Costa Rica doing an immersion program.
April: Begin taking classes toward B.A. in Spanish at Portland State.
September: Purchase house in Portland suburb.

2002
January: Spend month in Guatemala doing immersion program. Find school on internet that is affiliated with Portland non-profit, meet head honcho of non-profit down there while helping to unload semi trailer full of books that his group got donated. He turns out to be a financial advisor, gets me hooked up with asset manager who has more than doubled my investment since 7/02, paying for Guatemala trip more than a hundred times over, above and beyond performance of S&P index.
March: Spend month in Honduras doing immersion program and wandering around. Airfare to both Guatemala and Honduras covered by frequent flier miles collected by purchasing I-Bonds online with credit card in prior years.
Summer: Take program for medical interpreter certification. Start doing volunteer work at two clinics.

2003
April: Graduate with B.A. in Spanish, my fourth post-secondary degree.
August: At invitation of non-profit head honcho, return to Guatemala for a week to interpret for him conversations with directors of schools and programs supported by the non-profit. Spend a night at Santiago de Atitlán where recent storms killed many.
Sept/Oct: Two weeks in Spain with DW, then a week on my own.

2004
Summer-Fall: Attend H&R Block tax training, get certified by passing OR tax preparers board exam.
Sept: Ten days in Oaxaca with DW.
End of year: Start thinking about doing real estate investing. At this stage it's only a thought.

2005
Tax Season: Commute to H&R Block office in Latino area to do taxes in Spanish.
May: Spend the month in Mexico, including a week of immersion. DW joins me for final week.
June: Line up a real estate mentor who begins educating me in the ways of investing.
September: Two weeks in Spain with DW. Learn to eat with comb.
October: DW seems to be really serious about hanging up her job--this time I believe her. Her target: mid-2006. Close out five years of RE with first real estate-related investment.

A few words about the psychological aspects. The financial ramifications were non-existent because DW continued (and still continues) to work, and her income has been sufficient to meet our needs. I'm sure I will experience some anxiety when she casts loose the safety line, maybe more than I expect. Because I had something I enjoyed immensely to jump into and focus on, I had no big upheaval in the transition from work to no-work, but often found myself at loose ends when not actually in class or studying. I'm one of those who needs some structure imposed whether by others or myself, and the decision to try real estate was based as much if not more on that, on being able to set myself up with interesting and enjoyable things to be engaged in, as it was based on the desire for extra income.

And a few words about one of my favorite activities--studying Spanish abroad--something I recommend for everyone even more than bird rehabbing. It's very inexpensive to do this in Guatemala. For less than $200/wk you get room and board plus four hours of daily private one-on-one instruction. You can do a month for under $1000, not counting airfare, if you are very frugal. But it's good to budget a little more for side trips, at least to Tikal and Copán.

--fleg
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