Tag Archives: retire mexico

Life Markers

18 Oct

For most of us, we have life markers, events that forever changed us, our world and the way we look at things. Nine-eleven was a huge marker for many. It’s hard to find anyone in the world who wasn’t touched by it. I realized from visiting the book depository/museum in Dallas, TX that the assassination of President John Kennedy was a marker of my childhood, comparable to Nine-eleven. It too affected many people around the globe. Kennedy was a charismatic and beloved world leader.

November 22, 1963, fifty-seven years ago.

On a more personal level, the death of my youngest brother from glioblastoma/brain cancer in 2000 left a big gap in my life. Our parents get old and we know they will pass, but the death of a child or siblings can be extremely hard. It was for me. I can’t believe December will be twenty years.

On the left, Michael, older brother Ken on the right.
When we were lots younger. Michael on the right. I still tell folks that I have four brothers.

Covid is certainly an historic marker that we all share. There will be many stories of life before and after. And since we are still in the throws of it, it’s hard to imagine what the after will look like.

What are your life markers? This post started out with thoughts of how my life has changed after moving to Mexico seven years ago. It has turned out quite different from what I expected. However, clearly the blog took on a life of its own. Maybe another time.

DOS TORTAS

In Mexico Count on the Motociclistas

11 Oct

Thursday evening I got a call that no one wants to get. My phone said the call was from my wife, Lisa, so why was some guy speaking garbled English? He was telling me there had been an accident. It took my brain awhile to process.

The chariot that brought us to Mexico.

I jumped in the car heading to kilometer 51, about 15.5 miles away. I arrived on the scene to find a band of motociclistas directing traffic and surrounding Lisa who was sitting on the side of the highway holding her head. Her truck was off in the jungle. It was very dark by this time, and all I cared about was getting her to the hospital.

She is fine, a slight head injury and wearing a cervical collar. Her beloved truck is likely totaled. I didn’t get to thank those guys, not the guy who scooped her up and carried her to my car, or who went back to the truck to get her purse, nor the one who called me, or who stood on the highway slowing traffic keeping her safe. They were an incredibly sweet and caring group of men.

She had been side swiped while passing a car. Her truck went spinning off the road. The other driver did not stop. Thank you motociclistas. It could have been so much worse.

DOS TORTAS

Life Is Strange And Wonderful

20 Sep

Looking back over my previous blog posts, I see that I have three blogs devoted to my house full of statues, paintings and pictures of the Virgin of Guadalupe (I love looking around and seeing her). Of late I am reading a book that was recommended by a friend. It has definitely taken things up a notch.

It is written by a man who began having visions of a woman who told him to pray the rosary. Not being Catholic he was skeptical at the least.

From a church in Cartagena, Columbia.

The kicker for me is that in January we were in Cabo San Lucas during a layover from our cruise. It was a lovely evening, the sun was going down and I went for a walk by myself along the marina. A woman was there with her young son in tow. There were no other tourists about and she looked quite desperate to make a sale. For some unknown reason I bought a rosary from her. I have no idea why. I’d completely forgotten about it until I was introduced to this book.

Sharing this personal shift in my life feels very vulnerable. All I can say is that since I’ve begun praying the rosary I feel more at peace than I have for a long time time. The mantra-like prayers from my childhood soothe the daily stress with their repetitive cadence. Saying the rosary also reminds me to be grateful as I think of the many people who are having a hard time in the world. Life is strange and wonderful. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

DOS TORTAS

The Fine Art of Not Complaining

2 Aug

I’ve been pondering the line between talking about a thing and complaining about a thing. How to tell the difference?

Blooming in our yard.

This week I’ve been writing a lot of blogs in my head, but none of them seemed to settle into my bones. It’s been one of those weeks, hot temperatures, body aches and not sleeping. It’s left me lethargic and cranky. Last night going to bed I was crying, sad after having read stories about people who died this week from Covid. Lisa asked me what was wrong. I couldn’t talk about it. An explanation would have required a thought process. I was immersed in my feelings and didn’t want to put them in words. She patted my shoulder and we went to sleep, at least she did.

Sunrise on Laguna Bacalar

The night was a swirl of thoughts. Sometimes I feel like my dogs doing zoomies around the couch. My brain jumps from subject to subject and sleep eludes me. I was then up way too early when the dogs wanted to go out. As Lisa appeared from the bedroom I announced that I was heading back to bed, something I don’t think I’ve ever done. She began to ask me what was wrong but caught herself. That woman is a quick study.

My mother in law’s cat. Gato

Back to the topic at hand, how to talk about my thoughts and feelings without complaining. For me, factors include:

Tone – if I find my voice getting whiney or high pitched, I am surely complaining. Even in my head.

Intention – If I’m wanting sympathy, I am complaining.

Responsibility – if I’m trying to avoid taking responsibility, I’m complaining.

I guess I have two choices, 1) come up with a solution or 2) live with the situation. Complaining has never made me happy. Sometimes other people have good ideas but I find that I have to be in the right place to hear them. I do have one thing that seems to help no matter what the problem, exercise!

Daily swimming in Laguna Bacalar.

If I feel cranky, am not sleeping, or have body aches, I know I must exercise more. Sometimes it feels counterintuitive. It would be so easy to tell myself that I need more rest, but that’s almost never the case.

How do you handle the swirling thoughts or lack of sleep? Until next week.

DOS TORTAS

Living On Borrowed Time

5 Jul

My passport expires mid-December 2020. I was reminded by a friendly airline attendant the last time I traveled. (Seems like ages ago.) With added security measures, one cannot travel with less than six months left on a passport. You do the math, July! And somehow July is already here.

Leaving myself lots of time, I had an appointment for March 18 at the US Consulate in Playa del Carmen, about a two hour drive toward Cancun. New photos, check, directions to the Consulate, check, application filled out, check, prepaid return envelope from FedEx, check, renewal fee, check. I was all ready.

While giving up my passport always makes me nervous, my research told me that it was a relatively painless process and that I would have my new passport fairly quickly.

Then it happened, Covid and the quarantine. An email arrived the night before my appointment. The Consulate would be closed until further notice.

I have called several times for a status update. Still closed. They will issue emergency passports only. I once had my passport stolen, in Greece. I was issued a temporary passport to get me home to the US. That wouldn’t be bad if I absolutely needed to leave Mexico. The trouble is that the US is not renewing passports either. That means that I could be stranded in the States for who knows how long. Not what I want for sure.

Stela helps write my blog.

I will keep calling but with the cases of Covid going up in both Mexico and the US, things are not looking good. What would it mean if I were living in Mexico on an expired passport? I have no idea. As with so many other things in our lives, I’ll say a prayer and take it one day at a time.

DOS TORTAS

Adiós Carla

28 Jun

My friend Carla says adiós to Mexico and leaves for Europe with a one-way ticket tomorrow. She bought a little house on Laguna Bacalar, sight unseen eight years ago. For a long time she was the only person who spoke English in her pueblo.

While the view from her dock is beautiful, the little village she lives in on the east end of the Laguna is riddled with poverty, lack of education and little infrastructure. With Covid, there is more fear and crime.

Breakfast with Carla

We have been having breakfast together once a week for about a year. We talk politics, community drama, aging, and the tilting world we live in. I know she has been unhappy for quite awhile but hoped she could find peace.

Women’s March 2017

Friendship is not easy to come by among the expats in Bacalar. Actually anywhere. I will miss her.

DOS TORTAS

As The World Turns

6 Jun

It has been over six months since I decided to take a hiatus from the Adventures Of Dos Tortas. Life seems to be full of a different sort of adventure from when I first started writing in 2013. At that time we were packing up our home in Austin, Texas to move to far south Mexico. We bought property on beautiful Laguna Bacalar and had plans for a home and simple life. As it is with life in general, a lot has changed. 

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Some weather heading our way.

The sleepy little village of Bacalar has exploded with hotels, restaurants and tourists. Exploded is a bit sensational, certainly not like Playa del Carmen or Tulum, but on its way. The Laguna is overrun with boat tours taking guests to “explore” the mangroves. The wildlife suffer as the jungle is cleared. It’s not any different from any part of the world where tourism is the primary industry. Locals are being bought out and little homes are being replaced with all-inclusives. We didn’t see it coming.

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The “pirate cove” ruins of a failed restaurant and popular boating destination.

While you might think that we are regretting our move to Mexico, we are not. Due to health challenges and family need, we have spent more than our fair share of time in the US over the past year, both in California (the birth of our granddaughters) and Texas (Lisa’s neck surgery). Both times we were missing our home and wanting to return to Bacalar. Life in the US is no cup of tea either.

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Hiking in Austin. Enjoying the weather.

When I lived in Mexico in the 70’s, it was the time of Watergate, Nixon’s impeachment and the Middle East oil crisis with its winding gas lines. I extended my student stay at that time and received a letter from my father (a first) asking me why I was “hiding out” in Mexico.  One of my teachers didn’t skip a beat and instantly replied, “tell him it’s one of the better places to hide out”.

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I will continue to hide out, paint, walk the dogs and watch the world turn. Times are uncertain for all of us but somehow writing helps me process. I make no promises to how often or what I’ll blog about. Stay tuned.

DOS TORTAS 

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Quote

Off The Beaten Path – Ticul

19 Aug

For the next two months we will be visiting our children in Northern California, helping with the integration of two new family members.

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Our newborn twin granddaughters Analise and Sara.

Please enjoy his earlier blog post from May 2015. September begins our sixth year of retirement in Bacalar. Life is good and we are so grateful for these babies and the chance to support their parents in getting them off to a good start. What are you grateful for?

DOS TORTAS 

via Off The Beaten Path – Ticul

But That’s Not The Right Way

10 Jun

When we moved to Mexico almost five years ago, we rented the lower level of a house from a US/Mexican couple. They lived upstairs. Joe, the owner of the house, used to complain loudly that the housekeeper swept the floor “wrong”. 

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This week the Tortas travelled to California and Disneyland to hang with our son and his family.

In this part of the world, people sweep by pushing a broom away from them. Joe insisted that it destroyed the broom which he had to replace frequently and no matter how many times he explained the “right” way, the housekeeper did it HER way.

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Grandma and Sophia.

So if you are considering a move to Mexico, remember that your way just may not be the right way to other people. I have found this to be true for my children, friends and neighbors as well. For some unknown reason they rarely see the practicality of doing things MY way.

 

And yet I persist. The last time I saw my oldest son, against my better judgment, I made a suggestion.  Nope, it has never improved our relationship in the past and I’m not sure why I thought it would this time.

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Birthday dinner with Cullen.

Accepting people exactly as they are, wherever they live, however they sweep or do anything, goes a long way to producing harmony, both theirs and mine. Actually, this revolutionary practice just might change the world.

DOS TORTAS

Please add my daughter’s family to your prayers. She is in the hospital with preeclampsia. We need to keep the babies in for a few more weeks. Think four more weeks!

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Rethinking Adventure

3 Jun

Life rarely turns out the way one expects. Lately, The ADVENTURES of Dos Tortas have consisted of walking the dogs, taking Lisa’s mom to physical therapy and recuperating from la gripa. 

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Alice has her cast off and is working to regain use of her hand and arm.

Our recent travels have been to visit family and the VA Clinic in Austin.

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Our youngest son showing off his new glasses.

Next week we go to Disneyland for a week with the grandchildren and in August our daughter in Northern California is expecting twins, a different kind of adventure.
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One of the first rules of blogging is to narrow your subject and STICK TO IT.  Life in Mexico is looking more like life in the airport.
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No complaining, we feel extraordinarily blessed. This week I made the mistake of noticing that the blog post Held Hostage In Mexico has had 938 views. People are suckers for sensationalism. My boring blogs have far fewer hits. So a note to you faithful readers, life is taking some twists and turns. I hope you’ll hang with me. Perhaps adventure is a bit overrated.
DOS TORTAS 
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