Sunday, November 25, 2007


Our big news is not from Mexico but from Indiana: Eric and Crystal's baby girl, Isabelle, will arrive in early April. I will officially be an abuelo and Pixie will be an abuela. I have to say, the prospect of having a granddaughter lends some legitimacy to our early retirement. Baby and the happy parents are all doing fine. In fact they are getting ready to head down here on December 14. We have bought our tickets for Pixie to travel to Muncie on April 8, followed by me on April 22. Grand news! We will be sure to post photos once Isabelle makes her appearance.

We have also bought tickets to fly to Philadelphia on April 29, then to Providence to visit the New England contingent on May 6, returning to Mexico on May 20, in time to renew our visas in June and move to a new rental house.

We are beginning to notice signs of an upcoming Mexican winter. The evenings and mornings are a bit chilly, although hardly by Maine standards. The temperatures are probably in the high 50's or low 60's overnight, but since we are right on the lake, the wind makes it seem colder. Because the houses here are so leaky, and because our house does not have a lot of light coming in, inside the house is often cooler than outside. Pixie and I often think it is cool and dress accordingly. Once we get into town, it is considerably warmer. The Mexicans, of course, think it's frigid. I might wear a flannel shirt in the evening, but I routinely see Mexicans wearing winter coats in the middle of the day. I guess it's all relative. Even in Maine, 40 degrees would seem frigid if it came in early September, but absolutely balmy in February. It seems to me like we should be bringing our beautiful potted plants inside. Old habits die hard.

We haven't made it into town for the big fiesta as of yet. Pixie has to keep her cast on for another week, and it's hard for her to walk long distances or stand for any length of time. Going to the fiesta at the plaza means parking a distance away and standing around unless we're lucky enough to find a bench. We'll try one of these nights before it's over. We are hearing LOTS of fireworks in the morning, in the evening, and in between. Mexicans appear to love noise.

We also went to the parade to celebrate Revolution Day, to commemorate the 1910 revolution which deposed the long-time dictator, Porfirio Diaz, and established the legends of leaders like Benito Juarez, Poncho Villa, and Emiliano Zapata. The parade was mostly schoolchildren marching with thier schools. Some of the smaller kids were dressed up as Mexican ladies in rebozos and bandidos. It would have been considered terribly politically incorrect in the US, but it was very cute, I have to say.

We have been checking out some different venues to hear some music. Mostly what we've been finding is gringo dance music..ugh. We've seen mariachis at public events, but not in night spots. I know there is some traditional Mexican guitar music, but you have to look for it. There is usually some fairly good jazz, but trying to find out who's playing on a particular night around town is not easy. We're working on that. Last night we went to the "Old" Posada. This is an historic hotel in Ajijic where Tennessee Williams and Somerset Maugham stayed years ago. I hear that both Elizabeth Taylor and Erroll Flynn also stayed there. It's a terrific old building, although the music, billed as "Ricardo," (I, of course imagined a guy on a stool playing acoustic Mexican traditional music) turned out to be a loud band playing old gringo tunes by the Everley Brothers and the Lettermen. We had fun with our friends Jean and Paul anyway. We will continue with our search for the perfect nightspot.

We celebrated Thanksgiving with about 30 other UU's at Lew and Trudy's beautiful house on their terrace overlooking the village and the lake. They cooked two turkeys, and the rest was more or less pot luck. We had lots of great food, although no squash or turnip...difficult to find here. Pixie's cranberry sauce was a big hit, though.

As I mentioned before, I have been doing some writing since I've been here and am having some poetry published in the local magazines. I submitted a column on at topic near and dear to my heart: how to become a better thinker, to the editor of one of the magazines, El Ojo del Lago, The Eye of the Lake. He has asked me to submit a monthly column entitled Uncommon Common Sense. That will be an interesting challenge: having to come up with a monthly column. I am looking forward to that.

Pixie and I had an interesting experience yesterday. We volunteered to lead a conversation group for a group of Mexicans studying English who want to improve their speaking skills in English. It meets every Saturday with different discussion leaders. Most of the participants are hoping to improve their careers with a better mastery of English. Yesterday, we had a homeopath, an architect, a clothing manufacturer and shop owner, a computer technician, a furniture salesperson, and a political activist. We had a great time discussing the difference between the Mexican and US culture in a number of ways: gender, family, drug use, and working life. They were very anxious to learn to speak English well and had a lot of interesting things to say. I must say, their English is more advanced than my Spanish. Although I continue to pick up new vocabulary and participate in my Spanish lessons, any real fluency is still a ways away. I am able to communicate well enough, but I can see it will be a long process, and I admire the progress these students have made.

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