Friday, June 18, 2010

Getting ready to Head to Maine

The hibiscus is blooming, the rain has arrived, and we are getting ready to fly to Maine on Thursday. We are preparing for our annual pilgrimage back to the mother country to see our family and friends. The rainy season has arrived, and with it we are glad to see the cooler temperatures and greening of the mountains.

I wanted to share some special photos of friends and activities here the last several weeks. Below is a photo of my poet friend, Jim Tipton, left, with Tom Ramsey, center, also a writer from our writers' group who is leaving the Lake Chapala area to return to his native Mississippi. This has been a bittersweet goodbye because Tom has had to say goodbye to his sweetheart and wife of seven years, Marianna, who has returned to her native Switzerland, suffering from Alzheimer's and cancer, to live her final days, while Tom, because of his health problems, is moving to an assisted living facility in Madison, Mississippi. We will miss Tom here in Mexico!

Jim Rambo, another writer friend of mine, and his wife, Linda, are also attached to Shi Tzu's as Pixie and I are. They recently brought their girl, ironically named Maggie, over to have a play date with Chuy. The play date was only a moderate success, but we enjoyed watching them together and caught a few photos for posterity. Jim with Maggie, and below, Chuy's on the left.

They look alike, don't they??!!

Well, another phenomenon which occurs when living outside the United States is the World Cup. Mexico, like the rest of the world outside the US, is consumed with the World Cup football tournament. Mexico upset France yesterday; the streets were empty as all televisions in Mexico were turned to "the game!" When the game ended, everything came alive with cohetes (bottle rockets) exploding everywhere. Now the big game is on Tuesday against Uruguay to see if Mexico advances to the next round. I have become a fan, and have watched England and the US play two games (one against each other) to a draw, surprising everyone. Spain even lost to lowly Switzerland, imagine? Anyway, Lew Crippen, a friend from our unitarian fellowship invited all the men over for dinner the other night. On the right, I am posing with Lew in my Mexican football jersey.

We enjoyed a visit this week from some friends of one of my good Brown U friends, Dennis Sykes. Sue and Tom were here from Ohio to check out the area and we connected for dinner last week.

And, of course, we had a few "challenges" this week as well. Last Saturday night, our front wall was hit by grafitti, a regular occurrence around here, but a bit dispiriting nonetheless. We quickly painted it over, of course, but here is a photo of the damage:

We also experienced a sudden leak in the pipe leading into our underground water tank, or ajibe (a hee' bey) which led to a potential mess. As the water came in from the city into the ajibe, with the pipe broken, the water would keep running and overflow the ajibe, flooding our entire garage area. We found a cut off valve, pictured below, and dug it up, but found it was not connected. Luckily, Jose, our stellar plumber, was able to install another shut off valve (with the water running!!) and save the day.

Good news, we finally got our visa renewals processed today. We spent the better part of the day in a hot office in Guadalajara waiting, but we finally were successful. So now we're free to leave the country and know we can get back in legally!

So, lots of surprises living in Mexico every day, just about. But now we are preparing to leave on Thursday to fly to Boston and drive to Waldoboro, Maine to visit my dad and step mom. My dad is celebrating his 90th birthday on Saturday, June 26! After a week there, we are heading down to Kennebunk on July 1 to our rented condo for four weeks. We'll be returning to Mexico on July 31. I will not be posting much on the trip, but will return to my regular posts from Mexico in August.

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