When someone asks me what I do for a living I’m not always sure what to say…and I guess it depends on what kind of mood I’m in! I give responses that range from I invest in real estate, I’m a private land investor, I wholesale land across the Western United States, or I am a professional land flipper. And if that made you want to put your hands under your arm pits and flip them like the movie “Flipper” you’re not alone! It’s a good joke and I can handle it every single time it’s said because I’m so proud to be a flipper!
So what’s a flipper? It’s someone who buys assets dirt cheap and flips it quickly for a small profit. I’ve been doing this since 2001 and I’ve seen a lot, learned a lot, studied a lot, talked a lot, and taught a lot. At times I’ve worked for months without a day off. Usually its been because I wanted to but at times it’s been because I have to.
So here I sit with some new dreams after spending two weeks on Isla Mujeras, Mexico, the Island of Women. It’s a small island that you catch a 20 minute passenger ferry to across the bay from Cancun. I spent 3 nights in Cancun and 3 nights on Isla Mujeras a year ago when my sister got married on the island. When I got home I said I will always go back to Cancun because that’s where you catch the ferry to Isla Mujeras!
When I was there a year ago I met a gal named Brenda who had spent a lot of time raising money to buy shoes to give away to children on the island. She gave them away a few days after I left the island. It’s called Zapatos para Los Ninos, shoes for children. She has one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever met and I really wanted a chance to share in that experience. Perhaps it was selfish to want to be able to help but she welcomed it and said sure show up next year. So I did. Big lump in my throat and tears in my eyes just thinking about what I got the chance to help with.
She and her husband were able to purchase over 450 pairs of shoes and with the help of some local people and 5 of her friends we tried shoes on kids for 5 hours. We arrived an hour early and there were already children lined up for an hour. About 350 of the kids had tickets from signing up. Those that didn’t had to wait until after the children with tickets and then we tried to fit shoes on as many of those as we could. Imagine bringing your child to the shoe store today and saying we’re going to hang out here for 6 hours so you can get a pair of shoes, and there’s no food court or game room for them to go run around in!
But there was a beautiful wall along a sidewalk that had a gorgeous view of the Caribbean Sea and those kids had huge smiles on their faces while they waited ever so patiently! : ) Some of the local ladies got together and fed everyone who was there the most fabulous sandwiches you can imagine, mmm shredded chicken and onions with some green sauce! The popsicles were a big hit as well!
Brenda put a lot of thought into which shoes to purchase and chose several light up shoes for the younger kids. It seemed like most of them hadn’t seen them before and you should have seen their faces light up as they learned to stomp to light them up! Big grin still! Later that evening when we were all having dinner, a little girl was sitting along a sidewalk with her lighted shoes on. She waved big and we shouted “zapatos para los ninos!” One little day in the World, one big day in everyone’s hearts!
So that new dream I was sitting here and thinking about is actually a dream about some day maybe I will retire! I used to think that when I retire I’m going to go to the tax sales and buy some land! I couldn’t imagine really retiring until now. I love the land game I play. It’s like a never ending game of Monopoly! But I’d sure love to be able to visit the island for longer than 2 weeks! I would love to lay in the sand for a few months, get a massage on the beach, go snorkeling, eat fresh caught fish and chicken, and visit with some of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met, both the locals and the visitors who come year after year. And spend another day helping my friend give away shoes.
This tiny little island remains lost in it’s charming old ways. After spending 13 nights on the island I cried the entire way across the bay back to Cancun and half the way to the airport in the taxi. Wow I was so sad to leave! I’ve said a few times since coming home that money does not buy you happiness nor does poverty buy you sadness. A big thank you to Brenda for letting me be a part and to Silver Creek Rotary! Definitely a smile4me!