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  • Writer's pictureTina

Dreaming Big




It is that time of year again when The Bibbed Wonder and I dream of life in a warm climate. As we have gotten older, this dream becomes more and more realistic. Every winter, I wonder why in the world we are making soap in Southwestern Pennsylvania. In my idealistic mind, we could be making soap from anywhere. When I say anywhere, I mean anywhere in the world. When I say anywhere in the world, I mean mostly anywhere where the temperature is steady at 70+ degrees year-round.

 

Every morning, I go out to smash the ice out of my chickens’ watering bowl and refill it with warm water. I carry buckets of feed to my chickens and geese while tromping over snow-covered ice. My little hands turn numb even though I am wearing insulated gloves. My little toes turn blue from the cold. When there is a shift in the weather, I feel it in my bones. Eric has taken to calling me Madam Cleo because I claim I can predict the weather with my arthritic toe. His Jamaican accent is terrible, by the way. If I hear, “Ohhhh, Madam Cleo’s toe knows all!” one more time, I am going to inflict great physical harm. Sigh.

 

Two years ago, you may remember, I found the perfect paradise. I found a 140-acre farm complete with a natural spring, mature mango, papaya, and pineapple groves, outbuildings for animals, and a newly built home in Belize. Before I was ready to sell everything and move my goats to Belize, The Bibbed Wonder did some research. This perfect farm located in paradise was also situated on a dangerous road where “Many grisly attacks have occurred.” Sigh, who knew paradise could be so murder-y?

 

Since the whole Belize debacle, I have researched the perfect paradise for us to escape the cold winter months. I have a checklist my island paradise must fulfill before I even consider moving there. First and foremost, it must be safe…aka, not murder-y. It must also be secure from hurricanes and tsunamis…I do not want to die a watery death or be impaled by a palm tree while trying to survive a tropical disaster. There must be good infrastructure…I need Wi-Fi. It must be English-speaking…I got a C in college Spanish…it ruined my perfect GPA…I’m kind of bitter. There must be low taxation…this needs no explanation…giving my hard-earned money to the government also makes me bitter. It must be politically stable. It also must be a balmy 70+ degrees year-round with low humidity. I have found that the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao) tick all the boxes. However, my new obsession is Aruba.

 

My bean would like to go to college in the Caribbean. I am currently researching colleges in Aruba. I’m not sold on the education system. However, everything else looks perfect. I can find a flaw in perfection; something could always be improved. Aruba, to date, has no flaws. It sounds like paradise perfection. There are ranches in Aruba. They are a few acres, not hundreds of acres. However, there is no mowing because it is semi-arid. A few acres are doable. I could move my favorite goats with me and have a life…like low-key, relaxing, not freezing-my-butt-off kind of life.   

 

My nay-saying husband shoots down all my good ideas. He is strangely on board with the idea of moving to Aruba. I think I need to check his temperature because he never agrees with me. We have never set foot in Aruba. However, in February of 2025, we decided to take a trip there to check it out. It will be a practical trip. We will visit the universities, meet with a real estate agent, and meet with a tax attorney and an immigration lawyer to get a very real picture if this is even possible. I am a researching fool and have found trustworthy resources and contacts. We have a very loose plan in place.

 

This plan is years down the road. Jordan has to graduate from high school; we have a business and a farm and a lot to figure out. However, it feels like a very real possibility right now. Who knows, we may get to Aruba and hate it. We might not be able to handle the heat. We might not like the island. We might not like the food. We might find out that island living is not for us. I am willing to give it a try. Right now, when the temperatures are below freezing, I am cold and miserable, and taking care of the animals is a challenge because of the cold; island life sounds perfect. We shall see.

 

I am already planning soaps for the Aruba branch of The Smiling Goat Soap Company. I have a vision, if nothing else. My bib overall fuzzy bottoms told me he was proud of me because I have “the best dreams, and I’m not afraid to follow them.” That made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. I appreciate his support and willingness to follow my big dreams.

 

Until then, we will continue doing what we do best. We put our animals first, focus on those who help us realize our dreams, create new and exciting products, and always dream big. Stay safe, be smart, dream big, and keep washing your hands on this freezing January day.

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