Monday, June 13, 2011

Thirty Seven Years and Finally Raining!

Well, the title is kind of a joke.  The thirty-seven years refers to our anniversary on June 9, and, coincidentally, the rains have arrived.  This photo was taken on our anniversary.  We went to our favorite Argentine restaurant with Fred and Mardele (left), who celebrated their 47th anniversary last week, and Jeanne and Paul (right), who came to help us all celebrate.  

And, of course, the rain.  The rainy season began in earnest last week with a large storm during the evening hours.  It was so windy and so much water, that we found several leaks around the doorways in our new house.  Fortunately, as renters, we had only to report it and Mingo, the handyman, came and sealed the doors.  It's kind of a joke around here; after the first rain of the season, everyone can tell who has to have their roofs resealed or leaks fixed.  Since we had not had any rain since last October, no one knows how water tight they actually are!  The best part of the rainy season, in addition to having everything turn green and eliminating the dust, is that the temperatures are comfortably cool again, or fresco, as they say here.  And it really does rain almost exclusively at night.  The days are sunny and pleasant.  

I gave the presentation at our UU fellowship yesterday on the topic of "A Simple Life."  Of course, being retired makes it easier to keep one's life simple.  But it also takes some intentional decision-making.  It's easy, even here, to get very busy doing things, some of which you might not really enjoy. Most of us have simplified our material possessions when we decided to move down here, and that itself is liberating.  We had to do it again this year because our new house was so well furnished that we literally didn't have much room for much of the "stuff" we accumulated when we owned our house in Riberas.  I have been interested in this topic for many years; I think it goes along with my interest in Buddhist thought and living mindfully.  

Our friend, Kelley, took a great photo of Pixie a couple of weeks ago, so I thought I'd share it so you can all see how beautiful she is these days: 

We had the opportunity to meet an interesting couple last week.  Fred and Mardele have gone north to visit their children and grandchildren, and they have used the same organization we do ( to find a couple to house sit while they are gone and care for their dog, Rudy.  Matty and Fiona are from Australia and are spending about a year and a half traveling throughout North and South America.  They will be staying on the Mexican coast starting in July, in a village called Zijuatinejo, where Fiona has found a teaching job.  Matty is a marine surveyor, and may travel to do some jobs while they are there.  They will be using this as a home base to visit other parts of the hemisphere.  She is a vegetarian and we hope to get some ideas from her while she is here.  

In the newspaper this week, there was an article about the Mexican national medical program, IMSS.  Expats living here can sign up for IMSS for about $300/ year.  It supposedly covers all medical care, including drugs.  As I have mentioned before, Pixie and I have opted to not participate in the program, which has some funding issues, long waiting times for medical procedures, and, we think, some quality issues.  But many expats here rely on IMSS to cover their medical needs. A couple of dozen expats have recently encountered problems receiving medical care at the Chapala IMSS office. Several have actually been dropped from the program after paying into the system for several years.  They are in the process of filing formal complaints, suggesting that the Chapala office is applying different standards than the national system.  My sense is that they are encountering many older people with pre-existing conditions who are straining the system.  It would not surprise me if the Mexican government, at some point, decided that it could not afford to provide such cheap, comprehensive coverage, to temporary immigrants.  We'll have to see how it plays out.  

We have a couple of weeks before our annual sojourn north to Maine.  

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