Archive | November, 2015

One Handed Blogging

29 Nov

Holding our new grandson is the sweetest experience.  Our grandmotherly duty starts around 7:30 am with the handoff of Max, allowing the new parents some much needed sleep. 

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Grandma Lisa starting off her day.

Ask any retiree in Mexico what the hardest part about being away from the U.S. is and missing the grands is at the top of the list.

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The Texas grands Sophia and Hunter.

The Tortas will be braving the chill of Northern California for another week before heading south.

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The best places to take a nap, in Grandma’s arms.

The next best thing to being in two places at once is Skype or FaceTime. I remember being a kid and hearing that someday we’d be able to see who we were talking to on the phone. “Yeah right!” You don’t have to be living on beautiful Laguna Bacalar in southern Mexico to be watching your grandkids grow up electronically. What a miraculous time we live in.

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Eleven month old Sophia with Uncle Cullen.

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California Dreamin

22 Nov

After driving three thousand miles across Mexico and up the Baja to Northern California for the birth of our grandson, the Tortas say, “never again” that is of course until the return trip.

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First phase of our trip.

The ferry from Mazatlan to La Paz was not the seventeen hour trip advertised on the website. It was more like twenty-four hours. Geesh.

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Arriving in La Paz on the Sea of Cortez

The ferry ride was an adventure to say the least and the drive up the Baja was as breath taking as any I’ve seen, purple mountains, winding cavernous roads, forests of cactus, huge boulders and ocean vistas.

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Stopping for a little walk and to admire the view.

We arrived in Bakersfield to pack up Lisa’s mom (Everyday Courage). Our grandson, Maxwell Michael Toth was born November 19th, clocking in at 7 lb. 8 oz. and 24″. We are two happy grandmas.

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Grandma Lisa and a less than 24 hour old Max.

We’ll hang out here for awhile before heading south. The goal is to be home by Christmas. We miss our puppy who is growing like a weed, but there’s nothing like grandchildren.

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Everyday Courage

15 Nov

At seventy-two, leaving your home of fifty years to move to Mexico. Making the decision to grab the brass ring and being terrified. “What if….”

Courage, that’s my mother-in-law. Meet Alice, the newest Torta.

Exploring the pyramids of Palenque, January 2014.

Exploring the pyramids of Palenque, January 2014.

Alice visited Bacalar almost two years ago for a month and made the decision that yes, she would move to live with us in Mexico. None of us expected a two year wait for the green light.

Putting a life in storage.

Putting a life in storage.

We are here to pack her things, and hold her hand through a scary, emotional process.

A house full of

A house full of “collections”.

Alice is downsizing considerably. The rule is, if it fits in the truck you can take it. She has ten plastic bins. When they’re full, we’re done.
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Could YOU do it? I’m not sure I could. She can always move back of course. This next year will be a trial period for all of us. An exciting year for sure.

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Retiring in Mexico – Is It In Your Stars?

8 Nov

The Tortas are on an adventure. Please enjoy this popular post.

the adventures of dos tortas

There are many videos on the web celebrating and promoting retirement and tourism to Mexico. There are thirty-six Magical Cities of which Bacalar is one. Each individual Mexican state invites you to visit with stunning scenery, colorful fiestas and beautiful children (Quintana Roo). Even TV personality Anthony Bordain raves about Mexican cuisine and culture.

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Facebook has many pages, Expats Living in Mexico (4,700 followers), Traveling Around Yucatan, On the Road in Mexico, and many city-specific group pages, where you can ask questions and plan your getaway. There’s even an Adventures of Dos Tortas Facebook page! The 2010 Mexican census counted a million foreigners living here. If you hope someday to be one of them, Lisa and I have put together a few suggestions:

LEARN SPANISH
Even if you didn’t get those high school language credits in Spanish, and are of a certain age, (older than three), start…

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Benefits of Friendliness

1 Nov

Driving in Mexico, we think nothing of being pulled over by youngsters with machine guns. We smile and are relaxed, but then again, we are Dos Tortas.

The upper portion of our hutch. Skylights above add natural light.

The upper portion of our hutch. Skylights above add natural light.

Bacalar is thirty minutes north of the Belize/Mexico border. Because of illegal entry and the smuggling of goods, there is a checkpoint before entering Bacalar from the south. Vehicles are flagged for inspection according to a selection process that is not obvious to us. However, a large black pickup with Texas plates….

The window between our living room and bedroom. There will be a bifold door to provide privacy when desired.

The window between our living room and bedroom. There will be a bifold door to provide privacy when desired.

One week when we were making numerous trips up and down the highway, making purchases for the house and going to the bank, we were pulled over several days in a row by the policia estatal, state police.

Keeping the dogs from digging in the garden. Aren't I clever?

Keeping the dogs from digging in the garden. Aren’t I clever?

The usual questions, Where are you going? Where are you from? What is in the truck?

This time I told the officer that he knew us. I reached out to shake his hand and introduce ourselves. His face lit up with a big smile. He clearly enjoyed our response. Now every time we pass the check point we wave and guess what? They wave back. We haven’t been stopped again.

Day of the Dead. A chance to tell stories and fondly remember our ancestors.

Day of the Dead. A chance to tell stories and fondly remember our ancestors.

I’m sure others have horror stories about being stopped by the federales. Once in college I had a machine gun aimed at my face. Being Dos Tortas or two old women makes us pretty invisible. Not being afraid makes us respected.

DOS TORTAS

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