Grateful to Mexico

Bet that’s a headline you never thought you’d see. I’m not going to publish this until Tuesday, April 13, or later. (Update: As it turns out, much later.)

We will have our vaccines by then, we hope. All the pieces are in place for us to line up early Monday morning, April 12. So, as they say down here, Ojala. By Monday afternoon, we may be vaccinated.

It’s already Thursday, April 8 and I haven’t written a word here. It’s been a very disjointed week. Lots going on and nothing going on. Now that we have been given a date for vaccinations (by the newspaper, heaven forbid anyone call us), we are calmer. I think it may have come just in time. These upticks in hospitalizations and deaths are not calming and the media, I don’t believe, is being as responsible as it should. At least, many of them are not.

Ontario has gone back into lockdown, and BC should (Alberta, too, and what the hell, throw in Quebec). We have been mostly inside the house for 391 days. We’re sick of it too but stay home! Ok, that’s it for Covid this week, we all know how bad it is. Be really careful, much more careful than you have been. This is a real turning point, or not. And the ‘not’ is not pleasant.

I am not doing much. Always Captivatist. I had to move a bunch of money around and I’m sick of doing that in two languages. Took a day to initiate, now 2-3 days to wait. But now I have two transfer services so it should get easier. I’m supposed to have the luck of a leprechaun a week from today, on Thursday, April 15 and 16. Both great days to sign things, and am closing the condo on the 16th. I guess that was lucky, I prefer to think it was skill, haha.

I can see getting home, suddenly. I think early June. The vaccine date makes all the difference. I’ve spent two years, pushing the idea of going home out three more months … time after time after time. I actually think this one will happen 🙂

Rosie’s acting differently. Older than she was already acting. CW has noticed it – I think she may leave us soon (she is 13.5). That still leaves us with the dog with the bad heart – but we’ll figure it out. We’re resigned to keeping this house for the rest of the year, I think.  Unless things change. We’re on a 60-day notice basis. And I can come back to pick up PJ (the trainer will move in here when we go home). But still not planning to winter up north so we probably come back for a few months, maybe even until Feb. 2022. I guess time will tell.

Now it’s Friday. Day 392. I almost panicked when they told me we have to sign for the sale of the condo in front of a notary at the Canadian Embassy in Mexico which is closed for notario services due to Covid, plus it costs $150 (CAD) to get there and back an takes a day. And Covid. Anyway, thankfully, there IS a video/virtual service available through a notary in Nanaimo and they are trying to set that up for us. And I found a few in Vancouver without much effort so it will happen. But that is *new* a year ago because of Covid. This has really thrown a wrench in a lot of things.

We bought this offer to purchase a year before Covid when I was flying up every two months anyway. There are no flights now from Mexico to Canada. Not one. Not until at least May 1 and we don’t know. And they won’t reinstate the Mexico City – Vancouver flight, I don’t believe. I haven’t flown to Vancouver since November 2019. Hopefully, after May I can fly through Toronto. Or Paris. Haha. Just kidding about Paris. Maybe I have to fly that horrible AeroMexico. If they have a direct flight, I will. And hold my nose the entire way.

There has been a lot of stuff flying back and forth with taxes and signatures (company books just filed, personal tax almost ready to file and waiting for assessment). But all of this stuff is not easy from another country. Life will be so easy in Canada. Good heavens, I had no idea. But I’ve learned a lot.

Saturday. Anxiety mounts. Lord knows why. I mean, yeah, there are things to get anxious about – the condo sale, the house purchase, PJ, Rosie, vaccinations/Covid, direct flights returning, getting home, quarantining, coming back for PJ, tons more actually. But I must … breathe. I have my SAD light on. It’s dark though. The light always makes it better. It will be light in maybe 40 minutes. We did get our income tax back for our approval, signed and gone. I’ll pay our taxes online today. We are so broke now. Time to pull in our horns for a while (we’re not too broke to survive, just too broke to spend needlessly or for fun) and save some more.

I’m very happy to pay income tax. It means we’re making money. Plus, I’m very grateful to Canada for the programs and services it provides to Canadians. Living in Mexico has made me a better Canadian and certainly a more grateful one. There is such common cruelty here. And such disparity. That’s what I’m fleeing, I realize. And in a year, life will look different. Yes, there are cruel people in Canada and there are poor. But there is nothing like the disregard for life here, be it a person or an animal. But I guess many don’t have much of a life in this country, so how can they value the concept as much as some other places?

Here is a story that surprisingly discusses the disparity here — it’s not common. Most of the stories are by supposed journalists and influences whose expenses are paid by Mexican tourism boards. This story is not as strong as I will be, but it’s the first one I have seen that addresses this: The High Cost of a Cheap Break in the Sun. We certainly saw it in San Miguel. Some, like my SMA neighbour, felt they contributed so much to the economy that they became a net plus. They are probably right. But the gentrification drives the workers out of town. Happens in the US and Canada, too. I think that gentrification, in general, is a good thing. But in the case of the immigrants with money coming into Mexico (Canadian, American, European) and buying up property – it doesn’t raise the locals’ standard of living per se. Except perhaps in a few individual cases. In any event, it’s no longer my circus or my monkey. Except for the book.

Sunday, April 11 – new moon in Aries. Should open doors. We’ll see. Vaccine tomorrow if they don’t run out before our turn. If they do run out, we would probably get a number to come back the next day. So, that’s what it is. More tomorrow, or Tuesday on that front. I’m fairly confident we will get it. But how cruel to make people line up like this, especially the elderly. There are seven distribution points in a city of a million people (although this is only for 60+) and two of those are vehicular only (get your jab when you roll down the window, not including the driver). So five of the locations will be older people lining up, some quite fragile and frail. On the sidewalk possibly overnight but minimally from 2 or 3 am. It’s sad. Everyone has a phone. Make appointments. Maybe this is quicker (the assembly line jab). Who knows. I just know my anxiety would be gone if I had an appointment. Although it should be fine and I’ll do whatever they make us do.

A friend who has been in Mexico for 30 years admitted that until they stood in that vaccination line (with the unwashed masses – my words there), they hadn’t realized what a third-world country Mexico is. Most of the better off Mexicans went to America for their shot. Don’t ask me how that worked. But they often flew up, got it the same day, and flew back. No idea how that worked but it did.

Monday, April 12. First shot jabbed today. And thankful to Mexico for that. No effects at all yet.

Ok. The condo is all settled. We close on the 23rd. Everyone is in agremeent. They can take possession (with insurance in place) as originally agreed on the 16th. Problem averted. I guess it’s always something. Still pretty happy about this deal, though. I just wonder how much higher it can go. But we said that about Vancouver and it’s still going, LOL. As long as we’re willing to live in whatever we buy, should we need to – then I think we’re pretty safe to do most anything. Well, maybe not most. But we know what we’re doing 🙂

Tuesday, April 13. Supermarket delivery today. Also, the housekeeper, as she had to postpone yesterday because we were out (dogs are pests). Saw a post of a photo of a deceased person from here I did not know, a gringo, on a friend’s FaceBook page. He looks very kind. But it always reminds me, people in this town have been dying, regularly, since we’ve arrived. Three, four, or more a year. I guess they skew old. But I’m 66. Most of my peers aren’t dying yet. I have had a lot of death in my life (starting with friends while in my early teens, not to count grandfather when much younger, not that he’s not worth counting but you know what I mean). But never as constant as it’s been for the past five years. And they’ve all been here, in Cuernavaca. My US friends aren’t dying, nor are my San Miguel friends (except Covid deaths), or my Canadian friends (although my uncle died in Ontario just before Covid from an emergency situation).

This was a poor location choice other than the people we’ve met who we really like. And a couple of them are even still alive 🙂 The weather is great. I can never deny that. But I don’t even care that much about City Market anymore. Big deal if they have a $12,000 bottle of Russian vodka in a Faberge egg for sale. That doesn’t make them Whole Foods. It’s getting there, and we can get lots of stuff but it’s still primarily a grocery store in a different culture. And they still put cream cheese in their sushi.

It was once a game to run around to 12 stores and order online to fill in the gaps. Now, I’m tired of it. I spend too much time trying to find things I need in order to do the things I want to do – ingredients (both cooking and craft), or dog dental stix, and many other things. White sneakers with velcro straps, for instance. No designer name, just a generic pair of white sneakers. A two-day online search, ship to Texas, wait and bundle shipments to Mexico. You’d better anticipate your needs a month in advance. And while I do find them – why do I want to spend my life doing this? I have bigger fish to fry.

What bigger fish? Good question. Helps me focus. The Move to Canada Bible (book). The Cry of a Hawk (MOW). Why I Left Mexico (book but I think I may call it There’s Cream Cheese in my Sushi and subtitle it), getting back to Vancouver (with the Air Canada bailout, I am hopeful they will reinstate the direct Mexico City – Vancouver flights, even just one a week – prior to mid-June), figuring out when the house will close (if we can’t be there, that’s fine, we will have to borrow privately with a bridge loan to make up the difference and then we’ll finance it when we do get there), and once the flight is figured out, it triggers firmer dog arrangements but they are all tentatively set up. Fingers crossed for the Air Canada thing (update in case I forgot later – May – June 15 there will be one flight a week, one way only – no passengers on returning flights which will be used for cargo).

We’re just accepting that until dogs get settled (either one dead – bad heart, remember) that we need to keep international health insurance and maybe a house here (we know we’ll keep the house until the end of the year, maybe into early spring). That’s just how it goes. We made money on the condo, we can do that without hardship this year and we’re lucky. And I guess that’s what money is for. Dogs. Not even going to talk about how much that bad heart of PJ’s costs in prescription meds every month 🙂 I do plan to get PJ home by next spring at the latest. Maybe the fall. And we deal with Rosie on a day-to-day basis now.

Do I sound calmer, I wonder? I feel calmer, I think. Because I think we were quite concerned about how difficult it had been for some to get the vaccine – and thought it would be much more difficult than it was. I do applaud Mexico, it was organized like I’ve never seen. It was the city and the health brigade, with the marines for security. Could not have asked for better organization (shocked me, obviously). The marines are the least corrupt military/police in all of Mexico, they are very respected (and a force for good). I know many of you have had the first dose of your vaccine already. If you’re reading this and haven’t, I hope it will be soon for you.

It made me very anxious when everyone around us was running to small towns to get their vaccine and of course, that led me to believe that others would cut in line when it was my legitimate turn and I wouldn’t get one. It’s how they *all* behave in Mexico, even the gringos. And that is what leads to sending a driver at 5pm the night before to line up for a start time 15 hours later. And it illustrates what is wrong with this country. Every man for himself and f-ck the other guy, That’s what a lot of America believes, too. It’s a zero-sum game, you may have to take someone else’s vaccine in order to ensure you get one yourself. Am I going to have to see a therapist about this? Let it go, dear. I still will not watch the rest of The Last Man on Earth. Because this is what it will be like. Everyone for themselves. But that’s the way it’s done here. Case closed (for moving). LOL. I’m just too Canadian. The only three people I know of in the gringo community here who waited for their legitimate turn to be vaccinated are Canadians, all three.

Are there nice Mexicans? Of course, there are. There are nice Americans, too. We have many American friends and relatives. But certainly, in Mexico, we are – and always will be – gringos. You can break through the cultural differences with some of them in a small way, usually the more Americanized. In the end, bottom line stuff, we are the prime cattle with endless funds in our wallets and we need to be kept fat and happy in our pastures. And every once in a while, one of us slaughtered, to keep us in line. That’s CW’s take, originally about SMA. But I think it’s a good analogy for all of Mexico. Maybe if you marry one it’s different. In fact, probably.

Thursday. The 15th. I’m supposed to have the luck of a leprechaun today and tomorrow, btw. I’ll let you know how that works out.

And just when you thought the news couldn’t get any bigger (vaccinations), here comes more. WestJet and Air Canada have suspended all flights to Mexico for another month, at least until the end of May (April 30 was the original end of the suspension of flights). It seems the odd flight on Air Canada will be available for booking by Canadians repatriating to Canada (update: one a week). But none the other way, from Canada back to Mexico. So if we bail, we need to have both dogs with us because we may not get back. No guarantees. It may be like vacating Saigon (I’m being dramatic).

But hey, it may all shake out as planned and they make reinstate flights in June. I’m not holding my breath, however. It just puts things on hold, which is not a problem (more news) because the house that was scheduled to close May 31 (the new build) will now not be ready until the end of September, they tell us. You know, LOL, the one we were going to live in. Sigh. All this news yesterday evening. And I’m not phased at all. Must be good pot.

It just pushes things back a bit. We couldn’t leave until sometime in June anyway, waiting for the second shot plus two weeks. But the pressure to be there asap is off, with the closing date being pushed back four months. It allows us to choose the most opportune time to make our move. And not have to back time as close to the kicking in of the second dose as previously. Limbo. But with the possibility, I think, of getting home in the summer at least for a few months, then close the house and have PJ shipped to us. Maybe. Depends on the pandemic. As it should. And how many dogs we have by then. So back to WTF knows. The first W = Who, in this case.

I guess time to get back to work, I have enough time and calmness to complete a major project, well, maybe not complete but at least start and it’s between the script and the Move to Canada Bible. I’m kind of unmotivated at this time – I think I want my next big project to be white chocolate cream cheese raspberry mousse.

The white dog needs work. He’s crying beside me right now, because he wants another treat. I put on the headphones and ignore him and he goes away – more quickly each time. He needs so much attention and mental activity. I don’t know if I have it in me. He’s almost four, he should have calmed down a bit by now. Trainer says he’s smart and that’s a curse.

I was thinking about not drinking for a while, except a couple of beer on Wednesday when I zoom. But screw that. All I ever drink is 1-2 beer and not every day by any means. I was thinking about trying to get healthier. I do drink a lot of juice (100% juice, no added sugar), mixed with water (we drink about 5L of water a day, each. I can tell because I have to pour it from a 20L jug into the water container in the fridge). No purified water of course. It’s not often done here but we add purified water to every house we own. It’s a gringo thing but otherwise, it’s not fun. These water jugs are a real pain. We 1L of juice every 3 days. So we each drink 1/6 of a liter of juice a day (and that is just 5.5 ounces) but not straight (that matters to the glycemic hit) – diluted in 1.5 liters (50+ ounces) of water per person. That is really healthy for both hydration and vitamin C. We also eat fruit but I mostly eat berries, then the odd orange. Lots of berries though. And lots of homemade coleslaw (cabbage is a great vegetable) and I love asparagus and eat a lot. Sometimes peas, corn. And salads. Especially the ones you can make with that shredded cauliflower and broccoli. I guess we have a lot of broccoli too. I must really be running out of things to talk about. But I do try to be healthy.

I was thinking about publishing today, but if I am supposed to have the luck of a leprauchan today and tomorrow, maybe I’d better see if I can wait to confirm or deny that report before I publish. I’m sure you’re curious 🤣 I did peek (just now) at who has been looking at the Christmas script online (a service online that screens producers). One real biggie looked at the logline. I can only hope. Another literary agency out of LA came back a second time to have a peek. Lots of lookers. No takers. But maybe that’s still a sign to do the script instead of the book. Hmmm. The next one isn’t Christmas but is a family (Hallmark, Lifetime style) movie for sure.

I keep thinking about opening a really good resale shop in Nanaimo (consignment based but also buying estates outright). But I don’t want to be IN the shop. Never behind the counter, anyway. Of course, I want to do the placement and display. And pricing. I should do a budget.

Friday, April 16. Early AM. Reading about blockchain technology (which makes total sense to me as a platform) and SDR (Special Drawing Rights) – which I am embarrassed to say I don’t think I had ever heard of, even though it was established in the late 60s by the IMF as a successor to the US dollar but it never really took off. But it may be about to. Here’s the story which really is written in layman’s terms, easy to digest: Behind Closed Doors the US is Quietly Backing a Replacement Currency. There’s actually quite a bit about it if you google 🙂

We have to replace this capitalist system. But today’s financial systems are complicit with – and dependent on – capitalism. I really have none of the answers. I just know we have to change our evil ways. And holding all your assets in cash is not ideal any time, in any currency. If you’re going to do that, you’d be better off buying gold and burying it in the backyard and then be prepared to dig it up as you need it. We do have some cash (not a lot) in our TFSAs because I don’t like the market much right now. Some TFSA funds are still in the market. Up down. Up down. It’s like riding a carousel. Like that old Hollies song. I will find something to do with it.

Remember the townhouse on Long Lake? Sold in days. But the price was reasonable, fully renovated. Tells me we can grab one that is unrenovated and do it exactly as we want it. We will keep our eyes open.

Saturday. Day 400. But there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

Hah. Sunday. Didn’t write much yesterday. I read half of American Dirt. It’s inspiring me. She has taken a lot of care in her writing and she is hitting some key chords I want to hit (perhaps not as dramatically, however) with There’s Cream Cheese in my Sushi. Such as the juxtaposition of such stunningly beautiful flora and fauna and dead bodies. The kindness of strangers who pass the travelers chocolate (migrants on the Bestia train) – and those who cut off dog limbs to practice working for the cartels.

The conditioning and indoctrination that has Mexicans shrugging their shoulders at things that happen and their conviction that they cannot change a damn thing and it’s every man for himself. I haven’t hit the American part yet but I’m sure it will be poignant. And have something to do with guns and imperialism. She’s still in Mexico, running for her life with her eight-year-old son at the moment (in the book). But I digress.

Mexico has had too many decades of corruption and cartels. Mexicans have been beaten back for centuries and believe it’s every man for himself because it is. It’s like this in Iraq and Afghanistan – for the same reasons. This society has been at war forever (against the Spaniards, against the caste system, against the governments, against the cartels) and it’s tragic. Especially given the resources and potential within her borders. Anyway, I do hope to capture some of her subtlety. It’s a very good book. Next up: The Invention of China. So I can discuss China intelligently.

I’ll wrap it up now, haha. It’s been a busy week.

  • The condo sale closes Friday, it’s all in motion and set up, should not be a problem. Famous last words 🙂
  • The house is delayed until at least the end of September (the contract on the new build).
  • We got our first vaccines six days ago.
  • So far, those who went out to small towns ahead of us are, indeed, getting timely second shots so fingers crossed for Cuernavaca.
  • Things are slowly coalescing with getting home, a few more hurdles to jump over. But now we have a few months’ leeway with the new house. Dogs are still the same issue as before. Big surprise. I do have a trainer lined up in Nanaimo, forgot to mention that.
  • I am making some creative progress on some things but still between projects and letting three or four ideas play out in the back of my head.
  • The leprechaun was a no-show.

So now, I must find a song to close with. Something that reflects my mood. We are probably more trapped by Covid, but less by other exterior factors. So not that song (Bruce). I don’t feel trapped. I do feel like we are in a place we need to stay but it’s okay. It’s very interesting as I have pulled this tarot card as my direct course of action twice.

Seven of Pentacles

The Seven of Pentacles is like the Four of Swords and more importantly, The Hanged Man – in that it emphasises patience and a stationary period. While showing many other things, such as tending a garden while you are waiting, and creating something that you can harvest (metaphoric, folks although I do have basil and dill planted). It also bodes well for creativity and won’t be wasted time but it is a period where one waits. Seeds have been planted. They need to be tended. And all is good.

Oh, I have the song. It’s what we all have to do. Written by Bill Staines and sung here by the late JJW.

Stay safe, stay informed, stay kind. And stay home, just for a little while longer.

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