You Are Here: el diario nica: 08.02.18

el diario nica: 08.02.18

February 10, 2018

Happy New Year everyone! 2017 has been a roller-coaster ride! Olive Studio has under-gone so many changes like moving offices, the launch of our new website, adding members to the team and officially adding more services like event planning, styling and prop rentals! It has been overwhelming at times but I think the transition has been a success!

Thank you to everyone who has continued to support our studio and also to the new clients who believe in what we do! We could not do this without your encouragement, support and love for our work.

I was excited to shoot my first wedding in Nicaragua this first week of January – and especially excited to be graced with the presence of one of my besties and fellow comrades, Keri Knapp.  We met in photo school and since she has moved her business to the lovely ski town of Revelstoke in B.C. I couldn't think of a better excuse to have her by my side doing what we love together!  The wedding was a success! 80 guests came from far and wide for this well traveled couple and we had the pleasure of shooting it at the exclusive Rancho Santana. When we finished the wedding, we took a mini trip along the Pacific coast. AND THEN…………… it was back to serious BUSINESS!

I have embarked on the next steps of making my dream come true!!!! YIPEEE! I am scared shit-less to be honest and have so many things to learn at once but at least I am DOING it. Little steps at a time, I will embark on this journey to build a dream destination wedding venue and retreat!

Last January, I returned to Nicaragua to visit the land that I had purchased in the summer of 2016. It was only the second time I had seen the land, and I rediscovered it knowing that it was all mine.

I bought 17 acres of gorgeous farmland that sits slightly elevated about 400 meters away from the Pacific ocean. The beach is called Los Clavos, which is about an hour drive from the city Chinandega. The journey is part of the adventure, and for me, a dirt road was a requirement to get to the property. It needed to feel like a true excursion to get there and INDEED it does! It is a bumpy ride and can be discouraging for the type of conservative traveller.

The buying process was fairly easy to be honest. I went with Aurora real estate, using Brett DeGreen who is a wonderful and experienced agent! He is from the states but speaks Spanish and is well adversed with the area. I paid of course a premium for my land, using an agency, but this was after-all the first time I had bought property anywhere and I do not speak Spanish. For me it was worth it, to have someone hold my hand through the process. You can expect to spend approximately $10k for an acre here if it is not right on the beach. This of course varies on where you are and who you negotiate with. Brett guided me for what to look out for and today I am the proud owner of 17acres of farmland!

I bought land that is honestly a bit daunting in its size and the fact that it is off the grid makes it more daunting. The closest electrical pole is far enough away to estimate in cost about $15k just to run poles to my property line. This in itself is extremely discouraging. I did however buy property with a pre-exisiting well. I had to expand the well last year but I knew that my land had water which is also a risk you take when buying land here. Water is not always easy to come by – and the closer to the ocean you are, the more risk you run by having no water or salt water contamination. My water it turns out is plentiful and clean, so at least, I have that on the plus side. As for the electrical – this will wait for now while I ponder my options….

This year my focus is to get that water pumped out of the well using a generator. This generator will be used as a backup for electricity in the future, as electricty often goes out here. For now, my focus is setting up a submersible water pump and connecting that to my water reservoir. I will have to time how long it takes to fill a 10,000 gallon tank and if my well fully drains while doing it or not.

I am also highly focused on drawing up my architecture plans with an architect in Chinandaga. My friend Hamid from Toronto helped me draw my initial drawings of my vision, so that I could bring them here and have a base for my architect to go off of.

For the last month, I have been back and fourth with the architect, directing exactly what I want and where I want it. I have designed the entire thing from the vision in my head, translating messy sketches to a computer drawing. I am almost done this process and am anxious waiting for the engineer to assess it to give me a base price. I have had to literally account for everything, like where each light will hang, what kind of light fixture it will be and what size my windows and doors will be. I have had to think of just about everything and honestly I have worked day and night making my changes and plans.

I am not made of money and I work hard and long hours to make it. I work for pretty much 8 months of the year and have to stretch that money to last me for 12. I have always lived a lifestyle like this, as many photographers do. It isn't easy, but I have gotten accustomed to budgeting myself. Now that I have this project on the go – I obviously have some serious financial strains but I think so far, I can accomplish this build in stages.

I am hoping that I can afford to finance what they call a ‘GREY BUILD’. This is the basic foundation of the house without any finishes but with the electrical and plumbing connections. Prices are increasing every year here so I don't want to stretch this on for years and years but I can’t afford to do it all at once. I will receive a price per square meter for this construction which will include the electrical plans, plumbing plans and concrete and woodwork. If I can get this done this year, I will be so happy!

As most of you can probably tell, I am an A-type. I like to control everything I do and be very organized! This build is going to force me to let go of things I cannot control. It freaks the hell out of me but I cant possibly be everywhere at once! I have decided that I will let the build go on while I am not here to supervise. This means that I need to employ someone I trust who can be my eyes and ears. I have decided to hire the couple that I met last year who helped me contract all my road and well work. They are a great team with an acute focus on details. They are Nicaguaran born but lived in the states for 20 years. They have a great balance of the Western mindset with Nica experience. So, lets see what the next steps are! I will try my best to keep this journaled experience. Come enjoy the roller-coaster ride!

 

xx- april

 

 

Happy New Year everyone! 2017 has been a roller-coaster ride! Olive Studio has under-gone so many changes like moving offices, the launch of our new website, adding members to the team and officially adding more services like event planning, styling and prop rentals! It has been overwhelming at times but I think the transition has been a success!

Thank you to everyone who has continued to support our studio and also to the new clients who believe in what we do! We could not do this without your encouragement, support and love for our work.

I was excited to shoot my first wedding in Nicaragua this first week of January – and especially excited to be graced with the presence of one of my besties and fellow comrades, Keri Knapp.  We met in photo school and since she has moved her business to the lovely ski town of Revelstoke in B.C. I couldn’t think of a better excuse to have her by my side doing what we love together!  The wedding was a success! 80 guests came from far and wide for this well traveled couple and we had the pleasure of shooting it at the exclusive Rancho Santana. When we finished the wedding, we took a mini trip along the Pacific coast. AND THEN…………… it was back to serious BUSINESS!

I have embarked on the next steps of making my dream come true!!!! YIPEEE! I am scared shit-less to be honest and have so many things to learn at once but at least I am DOING it. Little steps at a time, I will embark on this journey to build a dream destination wedding venue and retreat!

Last January, I returned to Nicaragua to visit the land that I had purchased in the summer of 2016. It was only the second time I had seen the land, and I rediscovered it knowing that it was all mine.

I bought 17 acres of gorgeous farmland that sits slightly elevated about 400 meters away from the Pacific ocean. The beach is called Los Clavos, which is about an hour drive from the city Chinandega. The journey is part of the adventure, and for me, a dirt road was a requirement to get to the property. It needed to feel like a true excursion to get there and INDEED it does! It is a bumpy ride and can be discouraging for the type of conservative traveller.

This is my guard Dennis and his wife Eleda, who live in the house behind us in the photo below that I had built for them last year. Little by little, I will make their life better by giving them more and more ‘luxuries’ like water and electricity. Eventually I hope to ensure they are equipped with all the basic needs a person should have.

Most properties in Nica are guarded to ensure that no one squats on the land or steals from it. The guard is paid a salary and also lives in a house on-site provided by the owner. If he quits or is fired, the house is then used by the newly employed guard.

So far this is my second guard in the past year as the first one did not work out. I hope Dennis stays and things work out well for us both because he is very driven and enthusiastic. He has taken great pride in his house and the land, and I hope I can eventually employ Eleda too.

The buying process was fairly easy to be honest. I went with Aurora real estate, using Brett DeGreen who is a wonderful and experienced agent! He is from the states but speaks Spanish and is well adversed with the area. I paid of course a premium for my land, using an agency, but this was after-all the first time I had bought property anywhere and I do not speak Spanish. For me it was worth it, to have someone hold my hand through the process. You can expect to spend approximately $10k for an acre here if it is not right on the beach. This of course varies on where you are and who you negotiate with. Your agent will make sure that the land titles are clear and that no one can come back to claim that it is their land. There are a few rules to follow here, and an agency will guide you in the right path.

I bought land that is honestly a bit daunting in its size and the fact that it is off the grid makes it even more of an endeavor. If there is no electricity hook up on your property, you must pay for it to be connected! Not only that – if there are no poles close to your land, you must pay for the installment of each pole to run to your property. The closest electrical pole from my property is far enough away to estimate in cost about $15k just to run to my property line. This in itself is extremely discouraging. I did however buy property with a pre-exisiting well. I had to expand the well last year but I knew that my land had water which is also a risk you take when buying land here. Water is not always easy to come by – and the closer to the ocean you are, the more risk you run by having no water or salt water contamination. My water it turns out is plentiful and clean, so at least, I have that on the plus side. As for the electrical – this will wait for now while I ponder my options and look deep into my wallet….

This year my focus is to get that water pumped out of the well using a generator. This generator will be used as a backup for electricity in the future, as electricity often goes out here. For now, I am concentrated on setting up a submersible water pump and connecting that to my water reservoir. I will have to time how long it takes to fill a 10,000 gallon tank and if my well fully drains while doing it or not.

I am also highly focused on drawing up my architecture plans with an architect in Chinandaga. My friend Hamid from Toronto helped me draw my initial drawings of my vision, so that I could bring them here and have a base for my architect to go off of.

For the last month, I have been back and fourth with the architect, directing exactly what I want and where I want it. I have designed the entire thing from the vision in my head, translating messy sketches to a computer drawing. I am almost done this process and am anxious waiting for the engineer to assess it to give me a base price. I have had to literally account for everything, like where each light will hang, what kind of light fixture it will be and what size my windows and doors will be. I have had to think of just about everything and honestly I have worked day and night making my changes and plans.

I am not made of money and I work hard and long hours to make it. I work for pretty much 8 months of the year and have to stretch that money to last me for 12. I have always lived a lifestyle like this, as many photographers do. It isn’t easy, but I have gotten accustomed to budgeting myself. Now that I have this project on the go – I obviously have some serious financial strains but I think so far, I can accomplish this build in stages. My goal is to get a house up and running as soon as possible, so I can at least start renting out the house to help pay it off.

I am hoping that I can afford to finance what they call a ‘GREY BUILD’. This is the basic foundation of the house without any finishes but with the electrical and plumbing connections. Prices are increasing every year here so I don’t want to stretch this on for years and years but I can’t afford to do it all at once. I will receive a price per square meter for this construction which will include the electrical plans, plumbing plans and concrete and woodwork. If I can get this done this year, I will be so happy! Crossing my fingers……

As most of you can probably tell, I am an A-type. I like to control everything I do and be very organized! This build is going to force me to let go of things I cannot control. It freaks the hell out of me but I cant possibly be everywhere at once! I have decided that I will let the build go on while I am not here to supervise. This means that I need to employ someone I trust who can be my eyes and ears. I have decided to hire the couple that I met last year who helped me contract all my road and well work. They are a great team with an acute focus on details. They are Nicaraguan born but lived in the states for 20 years. They have a great balance of the Western mindset with Nica experience. So, lets see what the next steps are! I will try my best to keep this journaled experience of my trials and tribulations. Come enjoy the roller-coaster ride!

xx- april


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Happy New Year everyone! 2017 has been a roller-coaster ride! Olive Studio has under-gone so many changes like moving offices, the launch of our new website, adding members to the team and officially adding more services like event planning, styling and prop rentals! It has been overwhelming at times but I think the transition has been a success!

Thank you to everyone who has continued to support our studio and also to the new clients who believe in what we do! We could not do this without your encouragement, support and love for our work.

I was excited to shoot my first wedding in Nicaragua this first week of January – and especially excited to be graced with the presence of one of my besties and fellow comrades, Keri Knapp.  We met in photo school and since she has moved her business to the lovely ski town of Revelstoke in B.C. I couldn’t think of a better excuse to have her by my side doing what we love together!  The wedding was a success! 80 guests came from far and wide for this well traveled couple and we had the pleasure of shooting it at the exclusive Rancho Santana. When we finished the wedding, we took a mini trip along the Pacific coast. AND THEN…………… it was back to serious BUSINESS!

I have embarked on the next steps of making my dream come true!!!! YIPEEE! I am scared shit-less to be honest and have so many things to learn at once but at least I am DOING it. Little steps at a time, I will embark on this journey to build a dream destination wedding venue and retreat!

Last January, I returned to Nicaragua to visit the land that I had purchased in the summer of 2016. It was only the second time I had seen the land, and I rediscovered it knowing that it was all mine.

I bought 17 acres of gorgeous farmland that sits slightly elevated about 400 meters away from the Pacific ocean. The beach is called Los Clavos, which is about an hour drive from the city Chinandega. The journey is part of the adventure, and for me, a dirt road was a requirement to get to the property. It needed to feel like a true excursion to get there and INDEED it does! It is a bumpy ride and can be discouraging for the type of conservative traveller.

The buying process was fairly easy to be honest. I went with Aurora real estate, using Brett DeGreen who is a wonderful and experienced agent! He is from the states but speaks Spanish and is well adversed with the area. I paid of course a premium for my land, using an agency, but this was after-all the first time I had bought property anywhere and I do not speak Spanish. For me it was worth it, to have someone hold my hand through the process. You can expect to spend approximately $10k for an acre here if it is not right on the beach. This of course varies on where you are and who you negotiate with. Brett guided me for what to look out for and today I am the proud owner of 17acres of farmland!

I bought land that is honestly a bit daunting in its size and the fact that it is off the grid makes it more daunting. The closest electrical pole is far enough away to estimate in cost about $15k just to run poles to my property line. This in itself is extremely discouraging. I did however buy property with a pre-exisiting well. I had to expand the well last year but I knew that my land had water which is also a risk you take when buying land here. Water is not always easy to come by – and the closer to the ocean you are, the more risk you run by having no water or salt water contamination. My water it turns out is plentiful and clean, so at least, I have that on the plus side. As for the electrical – this will wait for now while I ponder my options….

This year my focus is to get that water pumped out of the well using a generator. This generator will be used as a backup for electricity in the future, as electricty often goes out here. For now, my focus is setting up a submersible water pump and connecting that to my water reservoir. I will have to time how long it takes to fill a 10,000 gallon tank and if my well fully drains while doing it or not.

I am also highly focused on drawing up my architecture plans with an architect in Chinandaga. My friend Hamid from Toronto helped me draw my initial drawings of my vision, so that I could bring them here and have a base for my architect to go off of.

For the last month, I have been back and fourth with the architect, directing exactly what I want and where I want it. I have designed the entire thing from the vision in my head, translating messy sketches to a computer drawing. I am almost done this process and am anxious waiting for the engineer to assess it to give me a base price. I have had to literally account for everything, like where each light will hang, what kind of light fixture it will be and what size my windows and doors will be. I have had to think of just about everything and honestly I have worked day and night making my changes and plans.

I am not made of money and I work hard and long hours to make it. I work for pretty much 8 months of the year and have to stretch that money to last me for 12. I have always lived a lifestyle like this, as many photographers do. It isn’t easy, but I have gotten accustomed to budgeting myself. Now that I have this project on the go – I obviously have some serious financial strains but I think so far, I can accomplish this build in stages.

I am hoping that I can afford to finance what they call a ‘GREY BUILD’. This is the basic foundation of the house without any finishes but with the electrical and plumbing connections. Prices are increasing every year here so I don’t want to stretch this on for years and years but I can’t afford to do it all at once. I will receive a price per square meter for this construction which will include the electrical plans, plumbing plans and concrete and woodwork. If I can get this done this year, I will be so happy!

As most of you can probably tell, I am an A-type. I like to control everything I do and be very organized! This build is going to force me to let go of things I cannot control. It freaks the hell out of me but I cant possibly be everywhere at once! I have decided that I will let the build go on while I am not here to supervise. This means that I need to employ someone I trust who can be my eyes and ears. I have decided to hire the couple that I met last year who helped me contract all my road and well work. They are a great team with an acute focus on details. They are Nicaguaran born but lived in the states for 20 years. They have a great balance of the Western mindset with Nica experience. So, lets see what the next steps are! I will try my best to keep this journaled experience. Come enjoy the roller-coaster ride!

 

xx- april