Tag Archives: bacalar mexico

Let’s Book A Flight

10 Apr

When we retired to Bacalar, Mexico from the United States, we took so many things into consideration. I was working a job that gave me time to spend researching. Bacalar was thirty minutes from an international airport. We would be able to travel back to the US easily for holidays and visits with family. We had direct buses to Cancun where we could get flights to anywhere in the world. There was one caveat that we didn’t consider, couldn’t have possibly known.The world of 2022 is no longer the world of 2013.

Nine short years. How time flies. I’m not suggesting that we should not make plans because of an uncertain future. The future is always uncertain.

Sitting on my couch looking at travel search engines makes my head spin. Lisa said something his morning that is so true. “You should go. When you get home you’ll never want to do it again.” How right she is. I hate flying. Flights are long (there are fewer route options), expensive and involve crazy people. I also drop my cell phone and loose my headphones. The stress makes me crazy.

I will persist however. I miss my kids. Wish me luck.

DOS TORTAS

Culture Clash

3 Apr

As a US citizen, I find that living in a foreign country (Mexico) is educational, stimulating and often times humorous. At first I thought it was a Bacalar thing, but having visited other towns in Mexico, I know that’s not the case. This week it happened again to my surprise.

Also add the ability to wait.

I remember the first time I went into Parisina, a fabric store in Chetumal. Figuring out how to make a purchase was complicated, confusing and time consuming. I later discovered that the process is the same in the local hardware store and in the art supply store I found in Oaxaca.

This week I stopped to purchase fabric to make a blanket for a dear friend who is expecting baby number five. To my surprise, the store had no cotton fabric. With rows and rows full of bolts of fabric, there was NO 100% cotton. Scratching my head, I wandered the aisles until I found the perfect alternative.

They have a pug!

I took the bolt of fabric I wanted to purchase to a male worker. He took out a hand held device and produced a ticket that I was to take to a cashier. I waited in line to pay the bill. I returned to original guy with the stamped receipt and he then measured and cut my fabric.

This is the same process at a hardware store. An employee pulls your requested item from the back of the store. You receive a ticket which you take to a cashier. The stamped receipt allows you to pick up your purchase. The entire process requires you to wait in three lines, first to be waited on, second to pay and third to retrieve your purchase. As a USer I think I don’t like to wait.

I’m not sure if this process is the norm anywhere else in the world. I love Mexico but it sure does make me scratch my head sometimes.

DOS TORTAS

Sometimes Life Is A Miracle

12 Mar

I hate when the week winds down and I have nothing in mind for the blog. Somehow the Universe steps in, like it did today. (Saturday)

I went to the Scotiabank ATM in Chetumal to withdraw cash. One thing we’ve had to figure out living in Mexico is how to economically transfer dollars from our US retirement accounts to pesos for our every day living expenses. There are fees everywhere, bank limits on how much we can transfer, and the exchange rate to keep an eye on. At the moment, the dollar to peso is in our favor, so I thought I’d take out our limit on two different bank cards.

I had recently read that someone using the ATM at our bank had been robbed and I was being extra cautious and staying aware of my surroundings. I took one of the wads of pesos and slipped it into the side of my leggings. The rest was in my purse.

I proceeded into the mall where I bought a pair of house shoes and then walked to the opposite end to the supermercado and began to work my way through our long shopping list. We only go to this store every few weeks and mostly for specialty items (my particular brand of soy milk) we can’t get locally. I suddenly remembered the money in my legging and reached for it but it was gone.

Down near our dock. Gratitude gratitude.

“Stay calm, breathe.” I tried to talk myself down from panic. The wad of cash was 9,000 pesos or about $450 dollars. Was it worth a coronary? I didn’t think so. I continued with my shopping and prayed that whoever found the money, really needed it.

I saw a summer tanager this week (stock photo)

My mind was working overtime trying to figure out what could have happened. I thought perhaps I had dropped the money in the store where I bought the slippers. I headed in that direction pushing my full grocery cart. Suddenly there was a commotion behind me and I turned to see money scattered everywhere and people rushing to pick it up. I realized it was my money, but how…?

Coati. A group ran in front of our car this week. We counted 31 adults and little ones. (Stock photo)

When I walked up and said that the money was mine, all the angels handed over the cash. I got back every peso. I had patted down the wrong leg when I thought the money was gone. The money had been falling from my pant leg as I walked along. Boy did I feel stupid. Mexican people pride themselves in their honesty. However 9,000 pesos could be two months salary to a day laborer. Hard to resist.

Life’s lessons can be painful at times. I’m glad this wasn’t worse than it was. Lesson learned.

DOS TORTAS

Living In The Wilds Of Mexico

23 Jan

The weather has been lovely, dipping to 60F (15.5C) at night and low 80’s (28C) during the day. It’s been far easier to pull on my jungle shoes and take the dogs for a walk. Nature also seems to be enjoying the mild temperatures as I have had several amazing animal sitings.

STOCK photo.

Out on our afternoon stroll, I heard a thud and Luna was going ballistic. This lovely creature dropped out of a coconut palm about 20 feet from me and flew into the jungle. I stood in shock trying to figure out what I had just seen. After talking to some naturalists in the community and describing an animal I’d only seen in a flash, we determined it to be a tayra. They are members of the weasel family and like all animals in the area, quickly loosing their habitat. The picture looks small, but it was almost the size of Luna. No rumble in the jungle for this dog, although she sorely wanted to.

I’m still not sure exactly what this bird was.

Looking out my window this week I saw this lovely, large heron perched on my neighbor’s palapa. It hung out for a long time and I couldn’t get a great photo. I was hoping for a wing span. We don’t see many birds this size except for the occasional buzzard.

The rarely seen sofa climbing blind pug.

And finally we have Stela who escaped the yard last Saturday and went on her own adventure. It’s a good story…in retrospect. Stay tuned next week for details. Meanwhile, get outside and take in nature, before it’s gone.

DOS TORTAS

Allergic To Breathing

11 Dec

Austin Texas aka the allergy capital of the world has cedar fever. Ask anyone who is afflicted. You’d better book with your allergists a year in advance. Burning eyes, drippy noses and yes, sometimes fever make winter a time to be dreaded in Central Texas. Also it is intermittent. One year I’d feel smug as everyone else suffered and the next year I’d want to do myself in.

If you’ve ever heard the saying, “wherever you go, there you are,” well this moment I’m in Bacalar and the sugar cane is in full bloom. I thought I had escaped allergy season in Texas. Not so fast.

This week, on our way to Chetumal, the fluffy sugar cane flowers were waving in the wind. Sugar cane pollen is a known allergen causing runny noses and all the other symptoms I’ve been experiencing this week. If there’s anything in the air to be allergic to, it finds its way up my nose.

Certainly one option.

So I’m feeling a bit under the weather and trying to stay rested. One suggestion is to stay indoors as much as possible. For one, I practically live outdoors as our house is very open to the elements and second, my dogs just don’t cooperate. Maybe I’ll start wearing a mask!

DOS TORTAS

The only way to be sick.

As Thoughts Turn Home Toward Mexico

21 Nov

As my time to return to Mexico from Austin, Texas looms on the horizon, I have such mixed emotions. I wish I could be in two places at once, which always happens when I have to leave my dear wife. My departure requires her to be more independent, fixing her own meals, arranging transportation and most of all, finding support that is not me. All of it while juggling medication and healing from major surgery. She’s a trooper, I’m the one who’s nervous.

How I’ve been passing the time in Austin.

I do get the bennies of returning home to the jungle of Southern Mexico, seeing the dogs, returning to daily swims and sleeping in our bed. There is also much to be done. We have been navigating a lot from the US, including my mother-in-law’s care and clogged toilet. Daily messages from our workers, house sitter and MIL do not make for peace and quiet.

Home sweet Bacalar.

This week we will celebrate the US holiday of Thanksgiving. It will be a lovely visit with family and a delicious meal round a large table. A day devoted to gratitude while gazing on the faces of those we love is a good thing. We haven’t been in Austin for Thanksgiving since 2012.

February 2012 My 60 birthday.

Whether you’re in the US or somewhere else on the planet, take a whole day to devote to being grateful. I find that listing things I’m grateful for and WHY helps me to connect more to my heart.

Blogging has afforded me the opportunity to write, connect and hear from followers around the world. I appreciate each of you. So Happy Thanksgiving and catch my socially distanced hug.

DOS TORTAS

Everyday Miracles

31 Oct

Lisa’s surgery went well on Monday and she came home to where we are staying on Wednesday. Ever since we’ve been doing the pain management dance. Why is recovery always more challenging in the middle of the night? She’s experienced high fever, muscle spasms, leg weakness and pain at the surgical site. I’ve called the after hours service twice.

A Visit From Her Surgeon

As of today she is able to walk to the bathroom by herself (with a walker), her pain is better managed and she is sleeping less. We appreciate and give thanks for every little improvement.

First Walk Within Hours Of Surgery
Temporary Home In Austin

As for me, I think the doctor jumped the gun to diagnose a fractured pelvis. The X-ray was not very clear and there seemed to be no other explanation. However several days later, the pain miraculously disappeared! I am in no pain and went for a walk today. It truly is a miracle because I do not know how we would have managed otherwise.

DOS TORTAS

Could You Lend A Hand?

16 Oct

I think we are not good at asking for help. Is it women? Men? US’ers or everyone? It is certainly not just me. In a recent conversation with my daughter, she mentioned an App for organizing meals for anyone who needs help. Her aunt and uncle were recently in a car accident, and a friend stepped up to organize meal delivery. MEAL TRAIN is quite popular, especially for moms with new babies. What a fabulous idea!

What struck me right between the eyes is that it never occurred to me to ask for help. My partner is scheduled for major surgery in less than two weeks and I am the chief cook and bottle washer. While I would love someone to step in and organize the whole thing for me, it hadn’t occurred to me until this minute that I could even ask someone to do that!

This week the sunrises were amazing in Bacalar.

I remember when my now 38 year old son was born. Two friends brought food for which I was supremely grateful. We visited for awhile as I sat on the couch nursing my newborn. After some time they made moves to leave, putting on their coats and standing at the front door. Before exiting one woman casually said, “is there anything else you need?” The dishes piled in the sink flashed before my eyes and I took a deep breath. “Could you do the dishes?” They looked at each other, took off their coats and a few minutes later, the kitchen was spotless. It was a tiny kitchen and they had four hands. It meant so much to me, and all I had to do was ask.

Perfect swimming days.

It has been eight years since we left Austin to retire to Mexico, yet I had no trouble listing twenty people who would probably be quite willing to lend a hand. I need to look into the whole thing and see how it works. One thing for certain is that I can use the help and if I don’t ask, I certainly won’t get it.

DOS TORTAS

Just Take The Next Step

5 Sep

We have been NOB (north of the Mexico/US border) for almost six weeks. It has been a full on vaca which includes dodging Covid, eating favorite foods and hanging with the grands.

Up very early for a flight out of Austin.

There’s nothing terribly profound to share. We’ve been enjoying the amazing produce that abounds in Northern California. Figs are in season and are able to be picked off a neighbor’s tree. Heavenly.

One of my favorite fruits.

Temps are a bit lower than Lisa likes, but I am quite content. I just didn’t bring enough warm clothes. Living in the tropics, our wardrobe is limited in that department.

The local farmers market is always a treat.
My art journaling continues. Produce inspires.
Stela has put yoga on hold. Rainy cool weather in Bacalar has her ready to snuggle.

It is such a strange time we’re living in. Lisa’s mom got very sick with the flu. Thank God she didn’t have Covid but there was certainly a lot of anxiety until test results came back. Hang in there. Somehow we’ll make it through.

DOS TORTAS

Accepting Life’s Fire

28 Mar

In 1982, I couldn’t make up my mind which to pursue in my artistic quest, quilting or weaving. Then a job in a local quilt store was posted in the Austin American Statesman and I jumped at it. Do you remember the days of job hunting in the columns and tiny squares of newsprint? The Sunday edition always had the biggest Help Wanted section. One weekend, I hit the jackpot.

Bolts of fabric.

There it was, a part-time job in a hole-in-the-wall establishment that belonged to a mother/daughter team who claimed to be related to Willie Nelson. I don’t know about that, but they were an interesting pair who knew a lot about quilting. I applied with a little sewing experience and a lot of enthusiasm, and got the job.

I made this at the request of my mother. She collected cows. (The striped fabric)

I remember women excitedly coming into the store with ideas and patterns in hand eager to buy fabric and make magic. The shop walls were covered with bolts and more bolts of solids, calico prints, and stripes in all colors and shades. We happily pulled them off the wall and piled colors high to see the affect they would have when cut up and reassembled into a Grandmother’s Flower Garden, Log Cabin, Star of Texas or any of a million patterns old and new.

Lone Star
Notice the state of Texas quilted in the corners and armadillos across the bottom. The quilt was a gift for my mother-in-law who died of Alzheimer’s disease. It was later returned to me.

The shop owner would peruse our artistic efforts and pull out a special bolt she called the “fire”. A pink, yellow or orange fabric that was inserted into a blue, brown or green quilt. It was opposite on the color wheel. The customers would raise an eyebrow to which she replied, “trust me”.

Log Cabin
Machine pieced and hand quilted. All quilts made by me.
A variation on a Grandmother’s Flower Garden 1984
Hand pieced and hand quilted.

I am doing my best to trust life when it presents me with its “fire”, whether a pandemic, broken leg, or cancelled trip to visit the grandchildren. When the quilts were finished, sure enough, those unexpected bursts of color made them all the more beautiful. I hope I can say that about my life. The challenges teach me lessons I surely wouldn’t have volunteered for. The unexpected provides the fire, and for that I welcome it, to the best of my ability.

DOS TORTAS

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