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Held Hostage in America's Heartland: Five Years in Southwest Missouri
by:Ms Gypsy Roz Lei
In 2006, Gypsy Roz Lei and her family left California's Central Valley on a motor home adventure to find a new home. Ms. Lei eventually relocates to a small town in southwest Missouri. Nothing in her California lifestyle prepared her for living in the Ozarks. Southwest Missouri is, in many ways, a land time has forgotten, where social rules and...
In 2006, Gypsy Roz Lei and her family left California's Central Valley on a motor home adventure to find a new home. Ms. Lei eventually relocates to a small town in southwest Missouri. Nothing in her California lifestyle prepared her for living in the Ozarks. Southwest Missouri is, in many ways, a land time has forgotten, where social rules and traditions supersede the rule of law, and outsiders are at a distinct disadvantage. Difficulties arise within days of moving into the house, and cultural differences instantly complicate matters. Ms. Lei's California background ensures conflicts with the locals when she unwittingly assumes life in the Ozarks operates along similar rules as her home state. Shunned as outsiders and isolated from family, friends, and anything remotely recognizable, within a few short weeks Ms. Lei realizes this relocation is one huge mistake. In an effort to remedy the error, Ms. Lei sets into motion various California-style solutions, but each one clashes with Ozark traditions bringing her an inadvertent education and numerous personal challenges. Frustrated with seeming misinformation and lack of acceptable options from local attorneys, she enrolls in college at the age of 49, determined to educate herself, protect her family, and clean up the biggest mistake of her life. As Ms. Lei moves through numerous betrayals, including by her attorneys, discrimination, and cultural predispositions against her and her family, with no legal background, she finally prepares the legal showdown herself. Confrontations abound as Ms. Lei defies the local culture, clashing with city hall, the homebuilder, real estate agents, attorneys, and the Missouri Real Estate Commission. As two distinctly different cultures collide, Ms. Lei's personal tragedies and triumphs unfold in this chronicle of an American dream turned nightmare.
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