We are enjoying very warm weather these days, the hottest of the year, as we wait for the rain to arrive in June. Temperatures are probably in the high 60's F in the early morning, but by noon, the temperature is in the 80's. By mid-afternoon, it's usually in the low 90's. Although the humidity is low, the sun is very intense since we are closer to the equator. We stay inside in the middle of the day with the ceiling fans going, sipping iced tea and lemonade. We enjoy our terrace mostly in the morning and evening. We are hearing the "rain birds" screeching which indicate that the rains are getting close. They are actually a type of cicada, not really a bird. Everyone's favorite topic is the heat right now. When we ask our Mexican friends, "como esta?" They reply, "Ahhh mucho calor! Necesitamos lluvia!" (Ah, very hot. We need the rain!)
Every month we save some of our pension check to buy things for the house. We saved for two months recently and took a trip to Tonala in Guadalajara. Pixie was on a mission to find some new dinnerware. When we arrived in 2007, we quickly bought some brightly-colored mismatched Talavera pottery, which we have been using every day. But Pixie really wanted some more muted Mexican stoneware for our "good" dishes. We were able to find a beautiful service for eight for about $250US in Tonala. They only had a service for four on hand, so they will make more and deliver the entire set next week to Chapala for free. Here are photos of the set I took in the store.
While we were there, we also picked up a small fountain for the terrace, and two outdoor equipal chairs. The chairs were about $30 apiece, and the fountain was $20, both USD equivalent.
Here are some other photos of Tonala:
This week we have to start the process of renewing our immigration visas again. We have a temporary, renewable visa which enables us to stay in Mexico and use some services, including the IMSS medical insurance. We don't use this service, but the fact that we are allowed to purchase into the plan for a mere $300 a year, which covers all medical services, including drugs, reminds me of the people in the US who complain about Mexican immigrants in the US getting food stamps and Medicaid. Of course, we are legal immigrants, but Mexico is very generous to us, for which we are grateful. (When we were in the US for an extended period last summer, our IMSS membership expired because we were not here to renew it. We haven't renewed it because we have health coverage, my BCBS in the US and Pixie's private AXA insurance policy here. IMSS is a worthy service but underfunded with overcrowded medical facilities.) At any rate, we pay about $400 per year for the immigration visas. We have to provide bank statements to prove that we have a sufficient income to live here (I think for homeowners it's about $1000 a month, double that if you don't own a home, approximately). We have to prove we live here (a copy of our electric bill will do the trick). This year they are moving from a passport style book to a color photo ID card. I'm not sure how that will work. We pay a local immigration attorney to do the paper work for us. We will start now, because our visas expire about June 27, and we are leaving on June 24 for our annual trip to Maine.
The big news for Chuy this week is that he goes under the knife to be neutered tomorrow. As he is sleeping on the floor next to me as I type this, he, of course, has no idea what awaits him. Poor little guy, he trusts us.
We recently had friends over for a trivial pursuit game and dinner. Here are Pixie, Sharon, and Kenya whooping it up in the kitchen:
And finally, here is one of my Mexican students, Francisco, who is an accomplished weaver, posing with one of his masterpieces in his studio. He is a sweetheart who is working hard on his English skills, speaks more English daily, attends our UU Fellowship regularly, and recently joined our newly-formed choir (along with Pixie).