Tag Archives: Inspiration

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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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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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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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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Finding Your Voice

28 Jan

I remember kindergarten and the teacher presenting a table of musical instruments for a pint sized marching band. For some unknown reason, I chose the baton to lead the band. I remember my teacher reporting later to my mother in a certain voice that I “liked to be in charge”. It is my first memory of having my voice squashed.

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We are living in inspired times with women finding their bold, beautiful voices. Whether marching in pink hats, accepting awards, or naming their abuser. I understand the old need for self preservation and its long term consequences to our soul, and the heady power of speaking out.

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The orchid in my yard has no trouble finding her voice.

My government job, at times helped me find my voice. I presented at national conferences and brainstormed around tables. I was respected in my field. Then the times changed, the funding dried up and my position disappeared. That’s the way it goes sometimes in a regime change. Also my gray hair made it impossible to find a comparable job. It was time to retire.

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Lisa and my last Christmas in Texas (2012). I was still working and planning our escape.

The question I ask myself and pose to you is, “how do you continue to use your voice as you age?” I find it easy to be quiet and let others make decisions, which affords little personal growth and is plain lazy.

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Retirement looks good on us.

Looking in the mirror, I realize at least two ways I continue expressing myself, one is this blog and the other my budding art practice. Some weeks I know what I want to say and have my topic well fleshed out by Sunday. Other weeks, like today, it appears as I put fingers to keyboard.

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Last night when I couldn’t sleep.

My art is becoming more and more fearless, at least for me. I leave next Sunday for a week of watercolor painting in Merida. We’ll see what shows up. I’m excited. So whether you need to be quiet and listen more, or sing your opinions from the rooftop, please share your thoughts in the comments section. It really is inspiring to hear from you.

DOS TORTAS

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Winter In Paradise

21 Jan

This is our fifth winter living in beautiful Bacalar, Mexico, on the Belize/Mexico border. In past years we’ve had a weeklong “cold spell”which required the addition of a light blanket and a long sleeve shirt in the morning until the sunrise. Our house is screened with persianas (Florida shutters) to protect from rain. We call it “glamping”, (luxury camping). This year has very been different.

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Persianas looking onto the screened porch and out to the Laguna.

With extreme snow and ice storms covering Northern Mexico, the US and other parts of the world, we have been enjoying a very cool, comfortable two months here in paradise. My MIL Alice, skinny little thing that she is, has been “freezing” and has brought out her electric blanket. Lol.

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The view to our front gardens.

Our nights have been in the mid 50s (13C) with lovely sunny days in the 70s (23-25C). Knowing how hot it gets in the summer, we are enjoying every minute.

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The women’s solidarity march in Chetumal 2017 (I’m second from right with Lisa in orange and Alice in pink)

It has also been dry, so my jungle walks have been wonderful beyond description. Watching the dogs cavort, I have been reminiscent of my lifelong predilection for walking.

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Luna heads for our jungle trail.

I used to pick wild blackberries walking down our country lane, crossing the railroad tracks on my way home from school in New Jersey. Those were the days parents didn’t hover fearfully over their children. My first homesick days of college, I walked the neighborhood around my school enjoying the falling leaves and breathing the cool air. In the 80’s I pushed my son’s stroller through the alleyways around our house in Okinawa, Japan, peering in windows, again homesick, but loving my new adventure.

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Summer will bring heat, rain and mosquitoes. Even the dogs won’t walk in a shower. The dirt trail will be a mud slide that will likely shorten our daily ritual. For now I will enjoy the time with the dogs, the temperatures and my musings. When Luna gives me the look that can not be ignored, I will lace up my shoes and head for the door. Seize the moment! for the only thing we can count on is change.

DOS TORTAS 

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No Wrong Turns in Mexico

12 Nov

Murals are an integral part of Mexican culture dating back to the ancients who decorated their homes with frescos that told stories of everything from human sacrifice to everyday life. In the 1920s the Mexican government used murals and even financially supported muralists, Diego Rivera being the most famous, to educate people on the new post-revolutionary order. Murals adorn every village in Mexico with health messages to whimsy.

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Mural in the stairwell of the National Palace in Mexico City. Diego Rivera

Today, whole villages are painted bright colors to create pride and interest for their residences.

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A small village not far from Bacalar.

We recently learned of a mural project in the village of nearby Chacchoben. Guests of our neighbors stumbled upon it by taking a wrong turn, on the way to visit some nearby pyramids. Of course we had to check it out. There are no wrong turns in Mexico.

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The village has been transformed.

A Mexico City artist, Carmen Mondragón, now living in Quitana Roo worked with residents to paint eighty lovely murals on the walls of their village of 1,700 people.

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The artist at work from her website.

The idea was to bring art to the people. There are streets of butterflies, ladybugs, flamingoes, and lovely little Mayan people adorning the stores, school, town square and even abandoned buildings.

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Everywhere we looked were delightful paintings.

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I especially love her people.

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As much as I love to share finds like this one, I cringe to think what tourism could do to this sleepy little town. We saw others taking pictures so word is getting out slowly. I’d love to meet Carmen and sent her a message through Facebook. Fingers crossed. I am off this week to Oaxaca for a week of painting with artist Connie Solera. Just maybe painting murals will be somewhere in my future. DOS TORTAS

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It’s That Time of Year

29 Oct

It is that season in Bacalar, cooler temperatures and beautiful sunrises. It’s the time of year that those who reside here year round, live for.

 

The Canadians and other part-timers usually show up about the first of December through April. The hotels are full and the restaurants busy.

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In the four years since we moved here, we’ve seen a lot of growth. There are many new hotels and a wider selection of good places to eat. I’ve heard there’s even a Japanese restaurant although we haven’t been able to find it. Lol

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Lisa really appreciates the new Time Out sports bar run by our friend Kim. We get to watch football and the World Series and eat some good food in Bacalar! Imagine that.

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Love love love Mexican murals.

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We are learning to enjoy the Bacalar of today and smile at the “do you remember when…?” reminiscings of those who moved here before us. The only thing you can bank on is change.

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So enjoy whatever is here and now for you. Love whoever is in front of you. Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude. DOS TORTAS 

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This Is Your Assignment

21 May

As I sat and pondered a topic for this week’s blog, I was approached on Facebook by Camille E. Torok de Flores for inclusion in a series she is putting together on Blogs About Mexico Worth Reading. I expressed interest so she sent me a list of questions to complete. While I have blogged in the past on most of these topics, I realize that four years into our life in Mexico perhaps it’s time to revisit the answers.

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Why do you blog? What is the purpose of your site? For whom do you write? In the beginning of the whole move to Mexico process, the blog was a response to the questions asked by family, friends and strangers, why and aren’t you afraid?

Then there was the retiring, planning, packing and never ending garage sales. My brain was spinning and the blog was an opportunity to process and share.

When we arrived in Bacalar, everything was new and exciting. We were adjusting to a new life and every aspect was intriguing. There were endless blog topics just walking around town.

The next few years were occupied with jumping through hoops to begin construction of our home, the construction itself and its completion. Mixed in were our various travels both within Mexico and to the States.

Where do we go from here? It’s a good question. September 2017 begins our fifth year in Bacalar. I do not know my readers well. I would love to hear from you what you get out of the blog?

Where can you be found? (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest etc)
I am on Instagram at dos_tortas Pinterest at Bacalar, Mexico and on Facebook at The Adventures of Dos Tortas.

What is your favorite blog post? Why? No favorite stands out for me, although my readers clearly have a favorite, First of All Have Fun (February 2017).

What has been the most difficult for you to blog about? Why? My most difficult blogs have been the ones that I share the pain of having left our family or the death of friends. Being vulnerable is required to live an honest life. But it’s hard.

What advice do you have for those planning to move to or travel in Mexico? I can see that it’s going to take more time than I have today to answer these questions. It’s time for a personal reassessment so look for future blogs to cover these topics.

What has been the best experience you’ve had in Mexico? What did you learn from it? To be continued.
What has been the worst experience you’ve had in Mexico? What did you learn from it?

DOS TORTAS

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