Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sad News

I lost my Dad this week.  He was 91 and a wonderful father and a kind and compassionate ophthalmologist.  

He had been failing for the last year and a half.  I went to spend some time with him last March and again in July.  We will be gathering in Philadelphia this week for his memorial service and celebrate the life of a man who brought so much love and happiness to so many people. 

On a personal note, he, more than any other person, shaped my life and helped me to become the husband, father, grandfather, and teacher that I have been.  I remember our great discussions about politics, life philosophy, and other engaging subjects around the dinner table when I was young.  Because of him, I received a fine education and was able to experience many interesting things.  I once asked him how I could ever pay him back, he told me that in life, we just pass it on, to our children.  Good advice, as usual.  

There is now a big hole in our family which he filled so well for many years.  We will all miss him and treasure our memories of his humor, his interest in clear thinking, and in his love for his family.  

Below he is pictured with his two sisters, Alice, now 93, and Mary, now 95.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Starting Our Preparations to Head North

It is with mixed feelings that, after almost five years living in this very special expatriate community in central Mexico, that we start to make preparations, once again, to pack everything into our trusty RAV 4, and reverse our 2007 trip and head north to Maine.  Now that we are down to our last six weeks or so, the reality of having to leave this splendid climate, the warm people, and numerous new friends is beginning to sink in.  The thought of returning to Maine with, again, only what we carry in our car, is daunting in itself.  

Because of the problem I had last time with a blood clot forming in my leg when we drove to Maine in 2009 (when I was not yet taking a blood-thinning medication), I will need to monitor my Coumadin levels frequently along the way and limit our driving to about 4-5 hours a day.  

We plan to visit friends and family along the way, stopping in Muncie for a week or so for Isabelle's 4th birthday and in Philadelophia for some time as well.  We most likely won't actually arrive in Maine until April.  Fortunately for us, my Dad and stepmother, Joy, have a home in Waldoboro, Maine which they spent summers in for many years.  The house is now unoccupied, and we will stay there until we locate an apartment in Portland.  

Dad and Joy sent us some money for birthday and Christmas gifts which enabled us to buy a beautiful hand woven Oaxacan wool rug. We bought the 9x 12 foot rug from a vendor here named Francisco. His family lives in Oaxaca and makes the dyes for the wool from local plants.  He brings them here to sell because there is a big market with so many gringos living here.  We look forward to having the rug in our Portland apartment to remind us of our connection to Mexico.  Here is a photo of Ron helping us display the rug: 

We have a long list of things to accomplish before we leave.  We had to re-register our car in South Dakota.  (We, as many others here, register our vehicle in South Dakota since one county there allows us to register by mail without setting foot in South Dakota at all.  This is helpful because if we want to drive over the border, we have a legal registration.  Newcomers here are surprised at how many South Dakotans have emigrated here!).  Our Mexican drivers licenses are expiring before we leave, so we need to got to Guadalajara to renew them.  We need to get Chuy's immunizations up to date so we can get the paperwork to cross into the US with him. We need to buy US auto insurance and a major medical policy for Pixie until she's eligible for Medicare.  We need have some tune up work done on the car before the trip, and perhaps some body work, which is so much cheaper here.  And, of course, we need to decide what we really want to bring north and what we can part with.  Not always an easy decision.  

So, we're busy and feeling kind of sad to be leaving, but excited to be finding a new home in the great city of Portland, Maine. 

I'll leave you with some assorted Ajijic photos, including Javier standing next to our car.  He earns his money by washing cars outside of the Super Lake, our grocery store.  

...some random scenes from this little village we've been calling home since 2007.  We will miss it and look forward to returning every snow season!