Trains, planes, cars and boats

Time flies, doesn’t it? I’ve been on the move and I’m ready to slow right down any day now. First it was to the Toronto area – out east of there to visit family in Newcastle, then a fast stop in Pickering, and onto Wasaga Beach to visit the folks. Then Hamilton to visit C’s mother, then out to Vancouver Island to visit friends and stop in on the tenants. Who are exemplary, by the way, and keeping the house in lovely condition. Then back here to Vancouver to work for a couple of days, visit the kids and we are on our way back to Mexico Monday. All in all, I’ve been gone three weeks (C less, as he joined me enroute to his mom’s) and I’m ready to go home. It’s great to see everyone but I feel like I’ve been gone a very long time.

10thteeThere were a lot of things that I thought about writing during the past three weeks and I probably should have written them down because I’m bound to leave something out. I went out to the 10th tee, where my cousin died of a bee sting last summer and had a Heineken with him. His kids built a beautiful patio and stone bench for people to rest at the tee and reflect. So I sat there in the fading autumn Ontario sun and reflected. And I got to spend some quality time with my sister/cousin – his wife (not really my sister, that would be illegal). She has really excelled (if you will) in accepting his death and I’m sure she still misses him every single day. But back to reflecting on the 10th tee – if you have to go, drinking beer and playing golf  on a summer’s day (assuming you *like* playing golf) is not a bad way to die. I still wish he hadn’t, but if wishes were horses – beggars would ride.

rosashouse2And the world doesn’t stop just because you’re traveling. We found a house in Mexico City to rent and there’s lots of outdoor space. Delighted. Same rent as the Cuernavaca house – it belongs to a friend so she gave us a real deal. And now, we can move without any increase to the budget. Which is good, because we are freelance and things come and go. Mostly go lately. We have to finish our lease (March) but then we’re going to live in the city, and we’re both thrilled. I realize it’s still five months away, but I like knowing where I’m going. It’s the south end of the city, near Xochimilco. We’re going to love it.

I have been chasing down more freelance work while on the road at various writing websites, who knows, something may come of it. And C’s had lots of meetings, I have had one, with one more to come before I blow town. You just never know where something will come from.

The stocks have been volatile. We are still up some but not as much as before two weeks ago when the markets tanked thanks to China’s precarious economy. And that’s up ‘overall’ – the solar stocks really tanked, I don’t know why. They *will* come back up, but they perhaps should have been in the RSPs (like 401Ks) as they are a longer term hold. Only now, I can’t sell them til they do come back up, so they’ll just have to sit there. I’m not sure if I should borrow some more to cover the amount that has to sit, I’m still considering that. Still, the trend has been in the right direction since and I’ve made a few adjustments and we’ll see. I may have to play them a little more aggressively. I think by the end of the year I should cash in our TFSAs (if I do it in December, I can put the money back anytime after January 1).

So, we got home. Dogs were fine – the new dog sitter worked out very well. A lot easier than dragging our friend down from San Miguel – the local sitter also speaks Spanish and knows the city. Her vet is our vet (who only speaks Spanish.) And she knows the real estate agent who rented us the house (in case anything went wrong). And the dogs really like her. San Miguel is a long way from Cuernavaca, in distance and in environment. It’s so obvious now that I’m away from it. In any event, it would be difficult to dog sit in Cuernavaca if you don’t know the city, don’t have a car and aren’t fully functional in Spanish. Especially the vet part. Life here is quite different.

I’m still exploring the idea of a business on Vancouver Island, but a business I wouldn’t have to be there for. Except the start up. And be there for financially. My enthusiasm comes and goes. For various reasons. I also have another few lines in the water – some with nibbles. This mixed farming sure requires a lot of seed planting, I’ll tell you. One day, maybe we can take it easy but idle hands and all that. We’re just glad to be home and now we have to put our heads down and work pretty hard for the next few months. I figure if we can work really hard from now until Christmas, and not take any trips or need any major purchases (this can’t always be controlled for, given computers, phones, dogs, vans, etc) — we can get ahead of the game again. I’m afraid we spent most of September deleting cash flow – time to square our shoulders for a few months.

chinelos2We’ve been quite social since we got back, but all of it in private homes (behind those walls, oh my). A dinner, a lunch, a dinner, a cocktail party before the fireworks. And fair. Which was incredible – for St. Michael’s Day (the archangel). There was a huge firework castillo, all kinds of rides and fair food. Chinelos in the street. Two blocks from fairfood1our house, across from the 1500s church and beside the former love nest of Maximilian and Carlotta. I need a rest. And I’m almost ready to start packing – I know it’s five months away but it’s never too early. We have tubs full of stuff. I have a lot of clothes. I think I’ll give some away rather than move them. Although I will want warmer sweaters again, we are going up in altitude. Up down, up down. Life.

We scoped out the exit from the toll road on our way to Mexico City this week to vote in the Canadian federal election (at the embassy). It looks like an easy drive from here, an hour maximum. And we’re looking forward to exploring Tlalpan Centro – which is supposed to be quite village like and is very close. Costco is very close also, and you know how happy that makes me. And Xochimilco. And downtown (Roma/Condesa) is a cab. Enough said.

It’s different this time. I was thinking about it all recently – the whole (coming up to) three years of Mexico. Minus four months of dealing with the Vancouver Island house. I was so excited leading up to December 2012 – so sure that San Miguel was “it” and we were about to get to that place where we really want to go and we’d walk in the sun. So enthusiastic, so positive, so deluded. I wanted to believe, so badly.

drunkartIf I want to believe, then why do I let things like reality and truth interfere? Why won’t I let myself be deluded and live in San Miguel and just go along with the game and help perpetuate the myth? I could imagine myself an artist of unparalleled proportions, following my calling, feeling angst, tripping on the cobblestones, drinking mescal, cutting off my ear. The true artist is always forgiven, no? As being somehow tortured inside their own minds. Maybe only excused in their own minds. But I guess time will tell. We miss our San Miguel friends. And SMA is so far away from everywhere that it’s a major deal for them to come visit. Most only get to DF twice a year (if). And until March, we’re another hour or more beyond that. Over the mountain and down the other side.

San Miguel looks different now that I’ve been away – I was back up there to visit Alex for a bit very briefly in July (or was it June?), and to look at a couple of houses. I saw one that was a good candidate – it’s still the place to buy if you want a somewhat liquid market or have that fix and flip gene in your blood – the gringos just keep buying and selling. Elsewhere in Mexico, buying a house is a longer hold (other gringo towns are good but not Mexican towns – it seems to be gringos coming and going who drive the markets). Anyway, it looks much smaller to me now, and much more Disney than it ever looked. It’s a good place to open a retail business though, or fix and flip a house. It would be so hard to live there now, though. Through the years, just about everyone we care about has visited us in San Miguel – and no one wants to come back a second time. They all say, “Been there, done that”.  It doesn’t take long to ‘do’ San Miguel, I can see why they have no interest in doing it twice.  It *is* a lovely place to visit. Say no more.

dinneroutOn the other hand, I could live there once we retire (if our friends are still there, or still alive). Outside of town behind walls. But sheesh, I just got an app that lets me order groceries in Mexico City (for delivery) from Superama and City Market (and others, all aggregated). That’s the kind of stuff we have to give up if we eventually retire to San Miguel. And those dogs – those sad, sad street dogs and how nobody can seem to do anything about it. It’s so sorrowful and it’s extremely uncomfortable to witness, day in and day out. And to know that it will never change. There’s a clear sociology thesis for the picking in that town. And another thing – the weather here hasn’t seemed as cold – I know it’s only a matter of 10 degrees F or so most mornings – but they’re already below 50 at night and we’re just hitting 60 (and it better not get any colder!) Well, it’s kinda moot, we won’t be retiring for a while, yet.

dayofthedeadgingerbreadSo, life in Cuernavaca goes on. We survived three weeks in Canada. We voted in the federal election (by special ballot because we won’t be there on election day, October 19). That will be a big day for Canada, you can bet we’ll be glued to the internet that evening. If my boy doesn’t win, I’ll be devastated. We don’t have many more chances to save ourselves. But I digress again.

Forgive me, this blog post is really boring, I know. But I had to do something, it’s been so long. Who knows, there may be huge changes soon. The last time I said that someone died. Those aren’t the kind of changes I mean. Although, Day of the Dead – Dia de los Muertos – is coming up and we live across from the cemetery. A nice, small family place. And the area is reputed to have very authentic and moving celebrations. So you’ll be hearing lots about that.

I was browsing for a closing Youtube and fell upon this one. What the heck. Let’s hope we don’t have to sing this song anytime soon. Hasta luego and remember: Canta, no llores.

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