Tag Archives: living in mexico

Checking Privilege At The Door

12 Jun

Life is slowly returning to pre-Covid days which for me includes Thursday night drawing class. This week we had a group of about eight meeting on the second floor over the Pirate bar. We draw with our non-dominant hand, left handed for me, which helps to develop hand/eye coordination.

Left handed drawing.

The evening started out delightfully with a shapely model. All too often we have young, skinny models with no hips or butt. During a break someone turned on music that was louder than I liked. Then the model, while posing for a longer sketching period, began reading aloud in Spanish. With the reading and the music, it was hard for me to concentrate. Then someone lit a cigarette! Yikes.

My head began to spin. Needless to say I’m the oldest artist in the room. I know how old people are labeled cranky or finicky. While I didn’t want to come across that way, it was exactly how I felt!

An enjoyable evening turned into an internal dialogue with the teacher, requesting that the class suit my needs, turn down the music, and NO smoking. I was clearly no longer having fun. So I gathered my things and left.

During the days that followed, I have realized that it is not the responsibility of the group to meet my needs. If someone smokes, I am quite capable of asking them to go outside. I will also bring my earplugs, as I do in the gym, to protect my hearing.

I am so privileged in many ways here in Mexico. An older, white (from the US) educated, wealthyish woman is pretty much at the top of the heap. Time to check my privilege at the door.

Naked reading.

So I give myself permission to leave the class if I need to, without the angst and self recrimination, and I realize that privilege means that something that is a problem for me is not necessarily a problem for anyone else.

DOS TORTAS

Dodged A Bullet

21 May

Right before I left for California to see my daughter and her family, the US lifted the requirement for wearing masks on airplanes. I wore one anyway, as did most people.

We walked into this show four minutes before the curtain went up. It was amazing,

As a matter of fact, I wore a mask at all indoor events, shopping, museum visits, theater and a K.T. Tunstall concert. The only place I didn’t wear one was at home with family.

Fun at the Blue Note in Napa CA

The vacation was a lot of fun. Last Monday when I landed in Mexico City on my way home, I received a message from my daughter that my son-in-law had tested positive for Covid. Shit. He had driven me to the airport and hugged me goodbye.

This week I have tested negative twice after wearing a mask at home as a precaution. I’m getting back into routine and recovering from the change in time zones. You wouldn’t think two hours could make such a difference. Getting old sucks.

A big shout out to blog follower RudeinNewYork who sent me a box of Covid antigen rapid home tests. They are not available in Bacalar and frankly it never occurred to me to bring some back.

One of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me.

My doctor advised that if I tested positive to start antivirals. I found an agency that would deliver the medication to our door in four hours for a mere $950 us. We decided to pass. It seems I dodged a bullet. Please be careful out there.

DOS TORTAS

So grateful.

Shopping, Eating And Kid’s Parties

8 May

Whenever I visit the States, there’s a list of items to bring home to Mexico. They are things we can’t get where we live, or they are exorbitantly priced. All the corners of my suitcase get filled.

There’s also been a couple of trips to local eateries, Japanese and Middle Eastern. When I raise my eyes at the prices, my daughter reports, “that’s just the way it is”. I guess that’s why we live in Mexico.

Heaven on earth.

There have been three kid’s parties this weekend and today is Mother’s Day. That’s a lot of socializing for this introvert.

Friday afternoon was my grandson’s school talent show. From kindergarteners to eighth graders, children danced, tumbled, sang and played drums, piano and guitar. I was moved by their fearlessness. There wasn’t a savant among them, but I loved it anyway.

DOS TORTAS

We all have the mother we have. For some it is a happy relationship, for others it is a sadness. For some it is a blessed memory, for others a painful reminder. Motherhood itself is as we experience it. For some a vocation, for others a choice intentionally untaken. Today I want to invite us all to gather around these mixed truths of our mothers, celebrating the joy it means to so many, acknowledging the reserved response of many others. We all have the mother we have. We are all siblings of that reality, however we encounter it. May the Spirit bless us, with love or healing, as we embrace this day in our own way. And may the mothers we have be a door: to our thanksgiving and to our wisdom. Rev. Stephen Charleston

The Loss Of An Artist And Friend

24 Apr

When an artist dies, the art that never was is often mourned with as much grief as—if not more grief than—the individual themself. The individual, after all, was flesh and blood. It’s the art that’s immortal.” Esme Wang

Sometimes we don’t know what someone means to us until they’re gone. Filiberto Ayala had more talent in his little finger than I will ever have in my whole body. He also had more heart.

Me learning body painting from the master.
Such talent.

Fili died this week of brain cancer. I never did find out what kind. Coming from a poor, uneducated family, it probably didn’t make any difference to them. Having lost my youngest brother to a glioblastoma, it mattered to me.

He spent days painting this mural in our bathroom. I see him there everyday.
What a gift he gave me.

I had plans to visit him again on Monday. He died that morning before I could get there. When I went to pay my respects, he was laid out in a coffin in the living room with family and friends sitting outside. There was going to be an all night vigil and cremation the following day. I wish I could have stayed. I think it would have been awkward. At least that’s what I tell myself.

His art is not immortalized in museums, but on walls and in our hearts.

Fili’s Facebook page was flooded with photos, accolades, and stories. He was loved by many, an amazing, artist, son, father and friend. Go with God dear Filiberto.

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

Stela The Blind Pug’s Big Escape

29 Jan

In 2019 we lost our dog, Frida. Frida had had distemper and was given a 50/50 chance to live. We fed her by hand for weeks and persisted and she survived. I adored her. She was hit by a car and I cried for weeks.

My friend Carla picked her up off the street.
I could never be in the hammock alone. I still miss her.

Several months after Frida died, I saw a picture of a little sad-looking pug that was rescued off the street in Chetumal about forty minutes away. I’d never been around pugs, but I couldn’t imagine this little dog rummaging around the street looking for food. What is it with me and disabled dogs?

Her eye could not be saved. She had been used for backyard breeding and then dumped.

Stela is quite independent and nothing slows her down. She knows every inch of our property and roams freely in the big fenced yard. She runs the house, but on to the story of her “big escape”.

After my weekly massage and while my MIL was getting her’s, I slipped out the front door leaving Stela asleep in the sun, or so I thought. I was off to a meeting in Bacalar a few miles away. What I didn’t know was that Stela slipped out behind me, followed the car and exited our gate before it closed. She trotted down our road and out onto the same highway where Frida was killed!

Carmen our massage therapist and guardian angel.
Her mug shot posted to Facebook.

I returned home from my meeting to see Carmen (our massage therapist) sitting under a tree waiting for her husband to pick her up. He is always late. For some reason, I rolled down my window to ask her if she was ok. She scurried to the car asking if Stela was with me. My face was the answer, as I was very confused. She then frantically told me that Stela escapó and someone had her.

Some dear people scooped her off the highway and posted her picture to a Bacalar Facebook Group. The trouble is, I’m not a member and would never have seen it if not for Carmen. I made a quick phone call to their number and met up with them on the side of the highway. They handed her to my shaking hands. My poor mother-in-law was a wreck looking for her.

She thinks she’s a cat.

From now on, no one will leave the property without eyes or hands on Stela. Damn dog.

Everything was in perfect alignment that day. So many dogs get snatched, killed or just disappear. I give thanks even as she lays next to me snoring. And she has no idea.

DOS TORTAS

Even a little dog.

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

No Muddling

26 Dec

A friend recently commented on Facebook about muddling through in 2022. I had to give it a think and decided, “no muddling for me.”

I want to live a happy life. There’s something about getting older, I’m less willing to put up with bullshit, I mean muddling. I want clear communication, peace and connection. None of these things comes easily or naturally to me. But I’m willing and continually work at it.

This sweet video is an absolute inspiration. Maybe you’ll find something in it for you too. Enjoy and Happy Holidays.

DOS TORTAS

It’s Good To Be Home

5 Dec

I left Austin via magic carpet this past Wednesday on the first flight out scheduled for 8:30 am departure. I had a rental car to gas up and return. International flights require arriving at the airport three hours ahead of time. My sleep was restless so I got up and was at the airport waaaaay too early. Oh well.

I arrived to a rainy Cancun which made locating the car a bit of a challenge. Our house sitter had left it for me ten days prior. I prayed it would start, and it did! Much gratitude.

There was bumper to bumper traffic leaving the airport and construction along the Playa del Carmen highway. My gas tank was getting low and I planned to stop on my way out of Tulum. Way too many travelers had the same idea. There were long lines at the gas pumps so I crossed my fingers and kept going. True to the season I hit a thunder storm which slowed my progress. By the time I made it to the next gas station, I was feeling nervous and coming up with contingency plans.

I made it home to Bacalar safely and spent the first few days putting out fires. One of them was no internet and thus the tardiness of the blog. I’m sitting here watching large, fat, black squirrels prance on our coconut palms. Their antics make me laugh, breathe, and relax. It’s good to laugh. Welcome home.

DOS TORTAS

https://youtu.be/zJ6VT7ciR1o

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

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