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Adiós Amigos/as

4 Nov

Dear Followers, Friends and Family, this will be my last blog post. I have been toying with the idea of discontinuing DOS TORTAS for sometime and the decision is final. With over six years, 310 posts, 5,848 views from all over the world, 195 likes, and 341 followers, it’s been a wonderful experience and a lot of fun. I’ve grown as a writer and pushed myself in ways that I wouldn’t otherwise have grown. I remember being thrilled at having 100 followers, woohoo!

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Our original route from Austin to Bacalar September 2013

There are so many blogs about moving, traveling and living in Mexico. I have veered off topic quite a bit lately which is death for a blogger. Any “how to” guide will tell you to be narrow in topic and write to a specific audience. I’m afraid that ship has sailed. 

A few things we have learned on this great adventure:

  • Living in Mexico is not easy. There is a gaping cultural divide. It is not insurmountable but there is a price. 
  • Living in a gated expatriate community is not living in Mexico. 
  • If you don’t speak Spanish you better have money to pay someone to help navigate a system that is frustrating and complicated at best and incomprehensible at worst – renting, construction/renovation, banking, immigration, shopping, medical, veterinary, etc. etc. 
  • Air travel back and forth from Mexico to wherever has only gotten more problematic. The easy travel that we imagined no longer exists. Missed connections, flight delays due to bad weather, the cost of rescheduling tickets and the unexpected need for a hotel room adds up. Not to mention the inconvenience of lost passports, credit cards and other identification. 
  • Be fearless no matter where life takes you. It’s so much better than the alternative.
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My hard won permanent residency card.

None of this is said to discourage anyone. We love it here in Bacalar and have no regrets or plans to return to the US. Even at 55 and 66 we talk more frequently about aging in place. Illness and disability are probably the main reasons foreigners pack it in and head “home”. Life can turn on a dime. It’s good to have a plan B.

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Lisa’s mother’s tumble which resulted in multiple broken bones, surgery and physical therapy.

I would still love to hear from you with questions or comments. I will continue on Instagram at dos_tortas.  With much gratitude, blessings and peace. 

DOS TORTAS

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Acts Of Kindness

28 Oct

Today is my last day in California. I feel like I helped get these babies off to a good start, which was my goal. My son-in-law is having back surgery next month and my daughter is healing from PPCM, postpartum cardiomyopathy. They have additional family members coming after we leave. Send prayers.

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Dad with the girls, Analise and Sara.

What an exhausting and rewarding experience. I am a bit at a loss for words. It’s time to get home to Bacalar. Lisa’s immigration is due and I am off to paint again for a week in Oaxaca, a commitment I wish I hadn’t made. 

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Doctor Max

This morning I went to church and found myself in tears thinking of the families in Pittsburgh who were themselves sitting in prayer unprepared for someone to attack their synagogue.

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Our bundles of joy.

And then there was the news story of an 18 year old who drove three and a half hours one way to deliver a favorite pizza to a man in hospice dying of cancer. Acts of kindness are all we really have. Be generous and compassionate, especially to people who are different from you.  

DOS TORTAS

 

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Two Tired Grandmas

21 Oct

Maybe we should rename the blog, Two Tired Grandmas. This is our last full week in California, then it’s home to Luna and Frida and Bacalar. The weather has become a bit chilly for us. It’s fun to see the leaves turning color and pumpkins galore.

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Keeping babies asleep is an art that Grandma is excels at.

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Not many folks up early on a gray Sunday morning.

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Some days you have to get out.

 

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Pohley’s grocery store dates back to the 1800’s.

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The town green is home to so many sweet dogs. 

I’ve been going to Sunday mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe. It’s a welcoming congregation and Father Michaelraj is a hoot.

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Enjoy your Fall days no matter what the weather, before the holidays take over.

DOS TORTAS 

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Finding Inspiration

14 Oct

We are nearing the end of our stay in California. Two weeks to go and it’s homeward bound for Mexico. It’s been fun watching the twins grow and hang out with our grandson. 

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Sara and Analise turn three months.

This week I thought I’d share what’s on my night table. There isn’t a lot of time for reading on grandma duty and yet somehow I’m in the middle of three books. Time to get cracking or I’ll be filling my suitcase with books. NOT!

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My daughter’s book collection.

I’m on the third read of a little yet powerful book, FALLING UPWARD, A Spirituality For the Two Halves of Life by Richard Rohr. It was recommended by a friend who’s opinion and spiritual path I value and it has impacted my life significantly. Spirituality and aging, presented in a thoughtful and personal way. The bottom line, “it’s all about love.”

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THE BOOK OF JOY with Douglas Abrams is our read aloud book before bed. Lisa and I usually select fiction to send us off into dreamland. The teaching and antics of the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu make us laugh out loud as well as inspire our lives. Being happy in the face of daily life, is it possible? These two amazing leaders walk the talk and shine a light on the path.

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And yes, I’m reading three books at the same time, THE BOYS IN THE BOAT, Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown.

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I guess the pattern here is pretty clear, inspiration. It would be so easy to be cynical rather than grateful in today’s world. What’s on your reading list? Comment, share, subscribe. Visit dos_tortas on Instagram for more…

DOS TORTAS 

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We All Make Mistakes

7 Oct

This week has been crazy on so many levels. While traveling back to California, I missed my flight out of Mexico City. It was totally my fault, but nonetheless caused a domino affect of long waits, additional expenses and cancelled debit card. While I ultimately reached my destination it wasn’t without the onset of a head cold that has me off limits to my granddaughters. The need for lots of rest is not necessarily a bad thing.

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Leaving Chetumal at dawn. Adiós Mexico for another month.

Sitting in bed has me doing the most unproductive behavior possible, watching the news, specifically the Kavanaugh debacle. A positive outcome, and I hope there are many, is that women are remembering long dismissed experiences and talking about them. I know I am. I’d like to share an incident where I spoke up and the resulting, appalling reactions of my community.

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Mexico City airport sculpture exhibit helps pass the time. Metamorphosis – Between Heaven and Earth.

In March 2017 I sent an email to our local list-serve reporting an incident with a very popular dentist in the Bacalar expatriate community. He speaks English and was recommended when we first moved to Mexico. You know how it is, you move to a new place and ask around for a dentist. Dr. M was the one. Then he tried to kiss Lisa.

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My favorite piece.

It was so easy to think she misread cues. After all everyone kisses everyone in Mexico. However, this was NOT the case. When we discovered two other women, friends of ours, who had the same experience, it was time to warn people. I did not expect the response I got.

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The emails that ensued made my head spin. People came to his defense. They accused me of reporting hearsay. They recounted all the years they had gone to him and he didn’t try to kiss THEM. I finally sent out the following email:

Dear Friends,

Because it didn’t happen to YOU doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Because it is reported anonymously doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. When it happens to YOU and you speak up and others come forward, you don’t get to say, why didn’t you say something sooner? The responses to my email is exactly why women don’t share. We are questioned and doubted. Most of us have been groped, forced, touched without permission, and some assaulted. If it’s happened to one, it’s happened to others. This was presented as information and a warning. Please consider this discussion closed unless you know how we can report it officially. Alex

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I love the morning visit with the dogs to our dock.

I cannot imagine what Christine Blasey Ford is going through. I doubt my blog will change anyone’s mind. Yesterday I watched several of his female judicial clerks describe Judge Kavanaugh in glowing terms. No one is calling him a monster. Everyone makes mistakes. In my opinion he should not be sitting on the Supreme Court, period. Please comment, share and subscribe.

DOS TORTAS

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Permanent Residency – Finally

30 Sep

After five years of retirement in Mexico, I received my Residencia Permanente. It surprised me how emotional I felt leaving the Immigration Office clutching my newly minted green card. It not only represents the passage of time, but a personal growth that could not have been achieved any other way. 

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Gotta love the photo. They really go for the mugshot look.

I remember when when we first started the residency process I dragged tons of file folders filled with bank statements, proof of income, rental agreements, etc., to the immigration office. We were so unsure what was required. We waited hours and made numerous trips due to inexperienced staff and my less than stellar Spanish skills. Today the process is more streamlined, my Spanish has vastly improved and the agents are experienced and very helpful.

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Artist Terry Smith of Seattle, WA. From my recent trip. 

On Monday I return to California and grandma duty for another month. I am so grateful to our house sitter who is caring for the dogs and managing the house in our absence.  We couldn’t have done this without you. Share, comment, subscribe.

DOS TORTAS 

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A Time For Reflection

23 Sep

It’s Sunday (my usual day of blogging) and nothing has been posted, written or is even dancing around in my head. I am in Bacalar, Mexico to handle an immigration deadline and I will be going back to California in a week to finish the commitment to our daughter and her family. 

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Our beautiful granddaughters.

I think I really want to spend some time this week listening. Our home in Bacalar is such a place of peace and quiet. California with our twin granddaughters and two year old grandson has been a challenge to my sense of calm. I believe that peace is not a matter of circumstances but a choice. My listening is about what I need to consistently make that choice.

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A lovely little shower moving across the Laguna. Can you hear the thunder?

I know this is out of the norm for my blog. It’s where I’ve been lately and trying to decide whether or not to share it. So here goes. What do you do when you need guidance that talking and thinking does not provide?

DOS TORTAS 

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Just Maybe There Are No Coincidences

16 Sep

Before retiring, I traveled a fair amount for my job. I’ve always wished I had kept a photojournal of the interesting people who sat next to me on airplanes and made the time literally fly by. There was a man who allowed my toddler to gnaw on his diamond watch as we were delayed landing in Newark airport. An animal trainer with scarred arms who was traveling with a lion cub in the belly of the plane on his way to Austin to shoot a movie. Once a man slipped into the seat next to me at the last minute, in shorts and carrying a large camera. He captained sailboats for the rich and famous and in his spare time shot pictures for National Geographic. I wish I’d thought to keep their names and pictures (this was a time before selfies).

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The marvelous Chihuly Glass Museum in Seattle.

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This week I took a break from caring for our twin granddaughters to visit friends in Seattle for a few days. It was lovely weather and I had a wonderful time. On my flight back to Santa Rosa I met a very special woman. But let me set the stage…

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No trip to Seattle is complete without a visit to the Space Needle

I am an avid Instagram follower of a dog photographer who calls himself The Dogist. His expressive photos make me smile and lift my day. Recently he’d been posting pictures and promoting the organization Canine Companions in Santa Rosa, Ca., about twenty minutes from where we are staying. I even told Lisa that it would be fun to visit them. They provide highly trained assistance dogs for veterans and anyone who needs them. A worthy cause indeed.

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Much to my delight I sat on the return flight from Seattle next to Ester Molina, the Director of Breeding and Puppy Program for Canine Companions. We had a wonderful conversation about so many things. We truly are kindred souls. We even discovered that she was born on my birthday! It’s so lovely to make a connection with a seeming stranger. It reminds me that there really are no strangers, only friends we haven’t met yet. So my recommendation to you is go out there and connect with someone new. It’s so much fun. Please comment, share and follow.

DOS TORTAS
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Today’s Spanish Lesson ¿Dónde está el baño?

9 Sep

This lovely little post reminds me of our early days living in Mexico. September first was five years since our arrival. Enjoy,

DOS TORTAS

via Today’s Spanish Lesson ¿Dónde está el baño?

A Walk Through Wine Country

2 Sep

If you have found your way to this blog looking for tales of retirement adventures in Mexico, you’ve come to the right place. However our adventures of late have taken a detour and are temporarily located in Northern California caring for our children and premature twin granddaughters.

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A tired and happy dad.

Life is good and shaken us out of our retirement routine. Nothing is predictable with newborns and their two and a half year old brother. There are middle of the night diaper changes, keeping the house in order and making sure our little team is hydrated and fed. A nursing mother consumes an extra thousand calories a day with twins!

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A trip to the children’s museum with Max.

My morning walk through neighboring wine country has been saving grace. The temperature is a far cry from tropical Bacalar.

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Hot air balloons overhead most weekend mornings.

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Front yard orchard.

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The smell of lavender everywhere.

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Country roads delight the senses.

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Early morning grape harvesting.

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Wild geese.

We will be in California until the first of November. Please comment and share. Until next time.

DOS TORTAS

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