I can’t believe I’m already at the two-week mark of being on my own here and the three-week mark of having landed! While I’m disappointed that there’s really nothing for me to walk to, I have plenty at home to keep me busy between long bouts of typing.
My chore list is nowhere near as overwhelming as I thought it might be and I’m having no trouble keeping up with it. I keep a calendar so that I know when I’m due to do things (because the days tend to run together) and I schedule work around the things that can’t be postponed (like watering the garden) and the things that can (like vacuuming the pool).
I’m really happy to have Puppy for company. I was apprehensive at first about minding him, but he’s proving to be a delight and really no work at all, not like my last two dog sits. Several play sessions a day get my heart pumping and give him sufficient exercise, but I’m otherwise not a “slave” to him since he’s an outdoor dog, meaning that he doesn’t have to be let out constantly and I can go out all day if I want. He follows me around the minute I step outside and he’s not shy about literally knocking on my patio door while holding his favourite toy in his mouth so that I’ll go play with him!
Work continues to be unrelenting, but I’ll have managed to make this month, even with being off a full week and only working half-days the second week to make, what I make in an average month! I know I can’t keep up this pace, but right now I’m spending money as fast as I’m making it so with some big expenses coming up, I really need to rebuild my savings. On top of house hunting, I’ve got Moya now making some alarming noises, so I’m trying to avoid going out with her unless I absolutely have to. Some trips, she runs absolutely normally and others she doesn’t, so it’s hard to pinpoint what’s wrong and how serious the issue might be. I thought at first that she needs new brake pads already, but it’s really too soon. It could be a bad bearing, rust, a steering component… I know that it won’t cost me much to have her looked at and repaired here compared to Canada, but it’s an expense I wish wasn’t on my list.
So that was one of the reasons I decided that I would walk into Chelem today to pick up some produce. It’s only 5KM round trip, so I thought it would be a quick trip and that I’d soon be home in the pool and then back to work…
Here’s that sand trap I got caught in three weeks ago:
Here’s Called 17, the “beach road,” looking towards Chelem…
And towards Chuburná
It was a very long and rather boring walk, although I did enjoy looking at the variety of houses. I was certain I’d come across a small shop along the way, but no! I finally made it into town and went to Willy’s for a few groceries, including flour, since I want to treat myself to banana pancakes this weekend! I also picked up a box of this:
You’d think that with the word puré in the name that it would be a super thick tomato concentrate, but it’s actually a very thin and well seasoned tomato sauce. It became such a staple my first winter in Mazatlán that I brought some back to Haven for the 2015 summer! I picked up some tricolour noodles on offer at Bodega Aurregá on a recent trip and thought that pasta might be nice for dinner tonight.
I also picked up two Montejo beers, a brand I discovered when I came to Mérida last year, and a few other sundries, including cinnamon-flavoured graham crackers that were quite the surprise when I opened the package while I was making tea a few hours later at home. Well, I was expecting the cinnamon part, but not the graham flour base, and I love graham crackers. I’ll have to remember those!
I also wanted some tostadas, but didn’t find any. Tostadas were quite the discovery my first year in Mexico. They look like a tortilla-sized yellow tortilla chip, but they are baked rather than fried and are not salty. I get all the flavour I like from a tostada and none of the guilt! I have some black beans, onion, lime, and salsa verde here at home and figured that I could pick up an avocado and some tomatoes to make tostadas de frijoles for one of my lunches this weekend. When I got to the till, I was asked if I’d found all I was looking for before and the gal laughed and pointed to a stand behind me. Ah, there they were with the baby food. Because why not?
Next stop was a produce stand. The first one I went to didn’t have anything nice, but the second did. My assessment last February that produce was going to be a disappointment here was correct. 🙁 Yucatán isn’t an agricultural state and it imports everything. So far, only Bodega Aurregá and Costco have had nice looking produce while the other supermarkets carry only very sad looking fare. It’s rather disappointing, but I imagine I’l find my sources for fresh things as I settle in. I did well for onions, lime, and jicama at Super Aki the other day and the stand today had tomatoes, potatoes, and an avocado that looked good. I also picked up what I thought might be the light green zucchini, but when I asked their name was told they are “pepino blanco,” or white cucumber. I bought two. I haven’t been able to find much info about them, but I’m sure I’ll come up with a use for them!
I headed home then and made the mistake of taking a different road, thinking that I could just meander my way back… Well, I found myself in a literal maze where I would reach a dead end and have to double back sometimes up to four blocks to be able to move forward any further. I’d forgotten how hard sand is on the feet and had nasty blisters forming, so the extra effort to get home was not appreciated. I was happy when I finally made my way back to the beach road and was able to make real progress towards home. I was incredibly footsore and exhausted by that point and am fairly certain that I won’t be doing that walk again. I’d really be better off taking the highway so that I can wear proper shoes and walk on pavement! At any rate, I jumped in the pool, then had a cold shower (the pool was too warm to be refreshing!), had a late lunch, played with Puppy, and went back to work.
It was almost seven when I stopped to make dinner. Instead of just the tomato sauce, I added a bit of crema, grated cheese, and a generous handful of dried basil to my noodles. The basil is from my neighbour Caroline’s garden back home. She sent me off with heaps of it, savoury, and oregano, and it is proving to be such a treat! It made my simple meal really something special. I then went back to work for a bit before going back to the kitchen to clean up and take out the trash.
Rediscovering my cooking equipment has been a real joy. I’ve missed it all, from my heavy bottom pots to my cast iron pans and especially my… rice cooker. I still haven’t done much real cooking yet, but I’m still building up my pantry. It’s lovely to be able to buy things with no concern about having to use them within a certain timeframe, plus I have a good sized fridge here so I can get the big jars of things like jam and peanut butter that I eat in large quantities.
I guess one could say that I’m in nesting mode. I had a Skype meeting with a client the other day and he commented on how different I sounded from when we spoke in March when I was still in Quebec. “I can hear in your voice that you’re home,” he said. “I’ve talked to you when you’ve been in half a dozen countries and you always sound different in Mexico, more peaceful.” Isn’t that something?!
I wonder how long this honeymoon period is going to last… However, looking at the stages of immigration, I think I may have very well jumped from honeymoon to ease-at-last. 😀
Well, I suppose it’s bedtime already. I’m going to have a very full weekend, but I’m really going to make an effort to treat myself to a day in Mérida centro next week. Just don’t hold your breath because it’s clear my clients have no intention of punishing me for the time off I just took!