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A Swift Kick In the Arse On The Way Out

On The Way Out Of Midwest Everything Fell Apart Into Pieces

on the way out to PR
This is where we want to be…

You already know that after much research, we decided to move to Puerto Rico, see our post We Pulled The Trigger – Moving to Puerto Rico. But I have to say that we’ve been feeling like we got a good swift kick in the arse on the way out.


You may think I’m trying to be funny, but truly I’m not. The past month has been extremely difficult for us on almost all fronts and we are simply exhausted, but let me start from the beginning..

In late fall 2014, we arranged to rent a lovely little condo on the beach in Luquillo, Puerto Rico and went down in early December to sign a lease and get set up. The plan was to bring a load of our stuff (4 large suitcases) and leave it in Puerto Rico and then go back to Michigan for 3 weeks, spend the holidays with family, pack, get rid of everything and come back down after the new year to settle there permanently. Oh, yes, we also had to work.

Well, it is now January 17 and we are still in the mainland but we’re getting closer to our destination because we are now in Florida.

Florida?! – what in the world?…. let me fill you in.

Around the second week of December, we came back to work and put in our resignations – a scary thing to do, since we’ve both worked at the University for there for many years – me 16 and Tim for 15 – so 31 years combined. At first that went over OK but then my boss’ boss decided that she wanted me to either stay longer into January or resign on December 24th, so that she didn’t have to pay me for the holidays – really?!

Obviously that was not OK with us and very stressful, since I had to stand my ground but eventually she relented and we were moving forward again. The next thing that had to be done is to give notice to our appartment complex. They too gave us grief, they wanted us to sign forms and agreements and their versions of everything. Of course, anything we’d sign would be legally binding us to their terms – so, no thank you! More stress and agruing with them but eventually they too dropped it.

OK, now we thought, we were on our way and focused on finishing off our last 2 weeks at work and packing, selling, and donating our stuff. It was slow going but we were making some progress.

Then, two things happened – Tim’s mom, who had been ill for a few months, took a turn for the worse and I came down with the flu. And so, I spent the holidays cooped up in the apartment very sick, while Tim was driving several times back and forth to Ohio to see his mom in the hospital (a 5-hour round tip). I got better but Tim’s mom did not. She passed away on December 30th – a complete shock to us. We were overwhelmed with sorrow and grief and completely stunned.

It was clear, at this point, that we had to postpone our plans of moving but what were we to do? We just gave up our jobs and gave move-out notice on our apartment. In the midst of all this our car was supposed have been picked up to ship to Puerto Rico – it didn’t happen, the company we hired – Puerto Rico Car Transport – totally screwed up and couldn’t get a driver to come get the car, despite the fact that they had 3 weeks notice to do so…but that’s for another post.

Oh, and the winter hit us hard with full force about the same time, too.


So, to recap: we no longer had jobs, had to vacate our apartment within a couple of days, we were behind on packing due to illness, and Tim’s mom passed away – so we now had to deal with grieving, family, funeral, etc. – and the weather turned rotten. And to top things off, the car that was supposed to be picked up for shipping, was still here. Would you not call this some seriously bad luck or a kick in the arse by the Universe? We certainly felt like it.

The only thing we could do is to deal with one thing at a time. First, we pushed back our air tickets by two weeks to Jan 20th. Then, we dealt with the funeral and family – that all happened on January 2nd  in Ohio. Then, we drove back to Michigan and moved the rest of our stuff out – in freezing rain, by the way – and spent the last two days in the apartment on an air mattress, cleaning, packing, and sorting the rest of our stuff. [ezcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””]   

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As if that weren’t enough, we had to go back to work for one last day on January 5th. That was also the day we turned in our apartment keys and became homeless. Now with our car loaded to the gills, we had to decide what to do about this car – it still hadn’t been picked up by Puerto Rico Car Transport and they wouldn’t give us a definite date on when that was going to happen.


So, we went to plan B, we decided to cancel the car deal and drop off the car ourselves in Florida at the shipyard – this way we were dealing with the shippers directly, without a middle man. So, we changed our tickets to fly out of Tampa, instead of Ohio to Jan 21st and started on this new plan.

A couple more trips between family in Ohio and friends in Michigan and several nightmarish stays in hotels and we were finally ready to head for Florida. On January 12, during sub-zero temperatures (I am not kidding) and a major snow storm, we finally left the Midwest and focused on outrunning the storm while heading south.

Luckily (finally some luck) the trip down was uneventful, except for a couple of interesting hotel experiences, and we arrived in Jacksonville three days ago, dropped off the car (which turned out to be pretty painless actually), and got a rental to drive ourselves to Tampa.

A quick stop in Cocoa Beach

Whew – it finally feels like we are over the hump. We are now chilling at friend’s condo in Cocoa Beach, Florida (a small detour to see a long-time colleague who also recently retired) and will be heading to Tampa to catch our flight in a day or two. We hope all the suck is behind us now and the Universe does not give us any more trouble on our way out of the old life and into the new one. In a few days, we’ll fill you in on how things go on the other end of receiving our car in Puerto Rico (I’m crossing my fingers).

Stay tuned for more of our adventures, as we settle into a new life in Puerto Rico and learn a new way of life. For the moment, we are relieved and finally able to catch our breath but, man, was this ever a rough December – we would not care to repeat the experience again.

Wish us luck and a better 2015 in our new home in Puerto Rico!



About Joanna

is a Polish American living in Arizona with her husband Tim. She is a founding partner of JTR Tech and she is proud to be a professional geek. She had dreamt of living abroad for many years. So, she and Tim created AbroadDreams.com to document the process of making their dream of moving abroad come true. They spent 2 years in Puerto Rico and several months in Spain and Poland. Now they are exploring the American Southwest.

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  1. Joanna
    Sorry to hear about all your roadblocks and your loss of a loved one. Just so you know your next dilemma will be to get your car you shipped to PR. Let me give you some advice in this matter since we went through this process. First of all depending on the year of the car you a shipping you will have to pay an import tax which you may already know about. We had to pay $ 800.00 because it was an older vehicle. This is the lowest amount you would pay. Plus about another $75.00 for other fees you pay at the place where you pick up the vehicle. Another thing is we worked with this older gentlemen who only charged us $ 40.00 to walk us through the process to get the car.This guy was hanging out near the area where you pick up the vehicle. Believe me it was well worth it because you will have to travel back into San Juan to pay the tax before they will give you the car. Also bring a can of gas because our car was almost empty when we picked it up I think thats one of the shipping policies to have only a little fuel in your vehicle when shipped. One other thing you will be able to keep your tags on your car for about a week or so but you will have to go to DTOP http://www.dtop.gov.pr/r in the area you reside in to get your Marbete and inspection. Hope this helps you out. Good Luck

    • Thanks Rick!! This exactly what we were wondering about. I read that car pickup is not exactly easy. We just arrived a few hours ago and the car should be here Friday.

  2. Sounds like quite the adventure to me. Life is full of surprises.

    Good luck!

  3. So sorry for your loss and all the frustrations you’ve had to endure, I hope from here on out everything is smooth sailing.

  4. So sorry, Joanna, to hear about Tim’s mom. Maybe all this fits under the “that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” or something like that? In any case, you’ll SURE be glad to get to your new home and feel like you’re moving forward again. Best of luck and look forward to following your new adventures!

    • Hi Arden,
      Thanks. That’s basically what my son Mike said too. He also said that if you have a hold lot of bad all at once, it will be followed by a whole lot of good. I sure hope so! We are flying to PR on Wed and can’t wait! in the mean time, chillin’ in Cocoa Beach and shedding all the cold and misery of the last month.

  5. wow- Here’s the proverbial “break a leg” and cheers to you

  6. Mucho suerte, both of you! Whew, after what you have been through, you deserve some luck now! I look forward to following your settling into your new life.