Spontaneity for Sanity

There’s a gringa on the garage sale site who lives on the beach who always has great stuff for sale. The few times I’ve posted a wanted ad and gotten a response, it was from her. Sadly, I rarely have time to drive to the beach to buy things she sells. But as I’ve made more purchases, she’s begun to trust that I will buy the item even if it’s only the next time she comes into town. Last week, I saw two things that have been on my kitchen want list for a while and she said she’d be in touch this week as she was coming to MĂ©rida.

Monday, she messaged me to say she was “in town” for a few days. I made tentative plans to go meet her in Centro at about 7PM, but her assurance that there was no rush and that she was even willing to drop off the items made me cancel so I could work an extra couple of hours. Good thing I did because Tuesday wound up being hell and I would not have made my deadlines had I not worked the extra time on Monday.

Today, the mad rush finished around 3:00 and I was done. I’d scheduled tomorrow off so I don’t have to rush home from immigration and I decided to give myself Saturday too. I am exhausted! But I also had ants in my skirt, so I contacted the seller to see if she’d be home this evening. I was told to drop by any time.

The water guys were here early, so at 4:00PM, I realised I was freeeeeee! I dressed for town, hopped on a bus and got off at 55 and 62 to walk the block and a half to Pita for linner. It had poured as I got ready for town, during my bus ride, and it started again as I got into the restaurant. So I hoped it would ease off once I was ready to walk to my meeting!

I ordered a beer to go with my falafel sandwich (but of course) and texted the seller to let her know I was near and giving the rain time to let up a bit. She said that if it didn’t, she’d come meet me.

Even though I really was in no rush, I was having a hard time relaxing. That’s how it is when you’ve been going at it hard. As I finished my meal, the rain continued to beat down so I did something I haven’t done in so long I can’t remember the last time I did it: I ordered another beer.

By the time I’d enjoyed it, it was just shy of 6:00 and the rain had stopped! I headed off into an improbably beautiful evening with a sun shining so brightly that my sunglasses weren’t enough to spare me from the intense glare. I love tropical storms!

I vaguely remembered that if I took Calle 59, I’d pass an HSBC so I took that route rather than what Google suggests.

I wasn’t hard up for cash, but figured it’d be nice to make a withdrawal before I am for one rare time! There was indeed a HSBC, so that worked out quite nicely. 🙂

This sign I passed on the way made me laugh:

Never trust a skinny cook!!!

I made it to my destination and got the pizza stone I’ve wanted for years. Of course, now that I have one I have access to amazing restaurant pizza and little desire to make my own!

And I also got a grater for hard cheese! These are great for, well, grating Parmesan! I’ve been buying decent pre-grated Parmesan at Costco, but now I can get likely more affordable chunks and grate it myself. This style does a much better job on hard cheese than does a traditional hand shredder.

I had thought to Uber home, but the pizza stone wasn’t nearly as heavy as expected, so I schlepped all the way to Parque Santa Ana to grab a bus. Buses weren’t eager to stop tonight and I was getting rather frustrated when one finally stopped for me. It was then a quick trip north to a dog who was very happy to see me. 🙂

So tomorrow, fingerprints at last! Who knows how much longer it will take after that to get my new card, but it’ll be some more movement towards a resolution. I have so much left to deal with after this — a final trip to aduana, a trip to SAT to beg for some progress on my refund, a jaunt to CancĂșn to deal with my passport… But once all of this is settled, I promised to myself that starting in the fall, I’m going to start saying no to work a bit more often now that I’ll be able to afford it so that I can truly start enjoying my life here. And as a reminder, I was supposed to arrive in MĂ©rida this fall, so I’m still way ahead of where I expected to be at this time.

I leave you with a translation of a poem by Mario Benedetti that was shared on the MĂ©rida es cultura page this morning. You can read the original here. Translate did a decent job, but I’ve cleaned it up slightly. Some lines just do not translate well into English even though they do in French.

Do not give up, you’re still on time

to reach and start again,

accept your shadows,

bury your fears,

release the ballast,

resume the flight.

do not give up that life is that,

continue the trip,

follow your dreams,

unlock time,

run the debris,

and uncover the sky.

Do not give up, please do not give up,

although the cold burns,

Although fear bites,

Even if the sun is hiding,

and the wind is silent,

There is still fire in your soul

There is still life in your dreams.

Because life is yours and yours also desire

because you’ve wanted it and because I love you

Because there is wine and love, it is true.

Because there are not wounds that time cannot heal.

Open doors,

remove the bolts,

abandon the walls that protected you,

Live life and accept the challenge,

recover the laugh,

rehearse a song,

lower your guard and extend your hands

unfold the wings

and try again,

Celebrate life and take back the heavens.

Do not give up, please do not give up,

although the cold burns,

Although fear bites,

Even if the sun goes down and the wind is silent,

There is still fire in your soul,

There is still life in your dreams

Because every day is a new beginning,

Because this is the time and the best time.

Because you are not alone, because I love you.

Sunday Surprises

Yesterday, an ad on the local garage sale site caught my eye. As an avid walker, I have strong opinions on footwear and one of the best types of sandals out there are made by Teva, which are not readily available in MĂ©rida. A gal I’d bought from before had a brand new pair in my size for sale! I contacted her to ask where I could meet her to pick them up. She said she was downtown but would be at the ChuburnĂĄ de Hidalgo market most of Sunday. So if I couldn’t meet her there, then I’d have to go downtown on Monday. I don’t know who was more surprised, me that she was going to be at the market I was planning to go today, or her that an expat lives close enough to that market to go there weekly!

We met up at 9:00 and I tried the sandals on to make sure they fit. Yup!

They’re definitely not a model that I’m keen on for daily wearing (much too casual), but I’ll be so glad to have them if I’m only running errands.

As the seller and I had met up a few times before, she kind of knew me and said that she also had a skirt for me to look that she was sure I’d love and that she wanted $150 for. She was so right that I’d love it! I am going to live in that skirt from now on — it’s so pretty! 🙂 And only $150! Similar styles of skirts go for $600-$700 in the shops! That was so nice of her!

Sunday at the ChuburnĂĄ market gets better and better. When I went last week, I was sad that there were no taco stands open. Well, today they were back, but in a really nice food court area. Of course, I didn’t have my phone, so I’ll have to remember to snap a pic next week!

I got in and placed my Mother’s Day call. I’d barely hung up when the doorbell rang. Who could that be? Oh, the courier company that is not FedEx delivers on Sunday???!!! Last I checked tracking on that package, it was still in Texas and I didn’t expect it until the end of the week!

The item was something I’ve wanted since I moved in, a spray mop, which makes so much sense in Mexico due to the vast expanses of tile floors, but which is absurdly hard to find here unless you want to pay very big bucks to import from the U.S.

Amazon finally had a cheap one with reasonable shipping to Mexico so I decided it was worth taking a chance on. I’m pleased with the quality even though I know that the name brand my hosts at the beach had is better. This will make it so much easier to clean my showers and do a daily pass on the kitchen floors, although the mop and bucket will be best for the rest of the house.

Eep, it’s 1PM and I haven’t even started on my very full day of work. It’s going to be a late night again!

The Wrong Bus Is the Right Bus

My day started with a surprise visit from an unnamed courier company that delivers Amazon’s packages. My last order was sent in two shipments and I was expecting one item this past Wednesday and one this coming Sunday. This courier company not being FedEx, the Wednesday order arrived Monday and the Sunday order Friday.

I worked a full day and then headed to Gran Plaza in late afternoon to hopefully buy (as in I hoped it would still be there) something I’d been saving up for (as in I took extra jobs at the end of already full days to pay for the item).

I went to the bus stop in front of the college and got on the bus there, for the Francisco de Montejo neighbourhood route. Two blocks in, I realised I’d taken the wrong bus — there are two “Fco. de Montejo” routes, one which goes by Gran Plaza and one that doesn’t. I quickly pulled up the MĂ©rida bus routes site on my phone to get a sense of the route to see if I should cut my losses and get off or if I might get close enough to Gran Plaza to be worth staying on. Absolutely the latter!

To my delight, this bus dropped mye off right by the Chedraui in Xcumpich — I’ve lived here all this time and had no idea I had such a direct bus to that store! And the bus continues on to the Bodega Aurrera in Xcumpich and goes by the DHL office! I can’t believe I only figured this out tonight because I have looked those stores up to see what buses might go near them, but the site search is a bit rough. So this was a great discovery and I got dropped close-ish to Gran Plaza in a pedestrian-friendly area to cross a mess of traffic. What a great mistake!

My destination was Sears to pick up a purse. After being here a few months, I knew what I was looking for in a purse for my MĂ©rida lifestyle. I’d been alternating between my leather tote for when I set off on long walking adventures and the striped purse I picked up last summer. The tote isn’t dressy enough for city life and doesn’t have a closure so I don’t like to go to centro with it. The purse can’t hold much despite its large size and is uncomfortable to carry on long walks. What I needed was a less rugged looking tote bag in a lightweight fabric and a zip top that would look polished enough for trips to government offices while being comfortable to carry on those long walks I enjoy.

I didn’t look hard for such a purse, but when I found it, I knew it was The One. And it wasn’t even that expensive as far as purses go, $900, but I didn’t need-need a new purse, so I decided to save up for it.

In the meantime, when I went to pay my water bill last month, I went to a discount store next door to see what they had for clothes (found a pretty blouse!). They also had purses, but nothing that came close to what I was looking for. As I headed to the checkout, a clerk told me there were more purses on another rack and when I saw this one, I gasped:

It was way too heavy to be my daily bag for long walks, but what a pretty thing to use on trips that I do with public transportation. Of course, the price tag was tears-worthy at $1,200. I put it down and the clerk came to point out an orange tag. “Final price, no returns,” he said. It was only $200!! I pretty much ran to the cash register!

So that’s the purse I’ve been using for a few weeks and it really is pretty, but much, much too heavy and cumbersome for long walks and I can’t really throw small bits of shopping into it the way I can my leather tote.

So $900 saved up, it was time to return to Sears and see if the bag was still there.

It was. And it was 20% off.

So I ended up with both bags for the full price of the tote!

I like that this tote has both the shoulder strap for wearing it cross-body and straps to carry it in my hands. The pink is a bit dark and more reddish than I like (the other purse is my favourite shade of pink), but I love the silver closures and all the pockets. I think I’m going to transfer all my “stuff” into it and use it for a trip to a sushi restaurant for dinner. 😉

(Oh, and the bus trip home was eventful as I learned that I’ve reached the age where teenagers will offer me their seat on the bus!)


A Pause

Holy moly I have been running at about 180% since… well, for so long I can’t remember the last time I had a day off.

Yesterday I said enough. I was supposed to have a big project the week before that got bumped to this week, completely upsetting my schedule. And then, the client kept changing her schedule and sending me different file lengths than she’d said, with absolutely no regard for the fact that I was having to rearrange my entire schedule around her and work very long days to fit in all my commitments. This culminated yesterday in my having to work straight from 7AM to almost 1PM to finish the last job in the file — which I was supposed to get early enough on Thursday to start on — and then work a further two hours for another client. At 3:30, both projects were done and I knew I had to be off today even if it meant a longer work day Sunday.

Knowing that I was going to pass out on the couch with Bonita way too early, I dressed in going out clothes and hopped on a bus make a bank withdrawal and get a late lunch at Gran Plaza. I then walked just north of the shopping centre to the the Siglo XXI (21st Century) convention centre to check out a craft and hobby fair.

The fair wound up not really being my thing — it was more for crafters than for people wanting to buy crafts. There were booths set up to try different hobbies and selling specialised tools and supplies. I have several crafty friends and they would have been in heaven! There were some wares for sale, but most of those were just mass produced things I could buy anywhere.

I did regret having lunch before arriving when I saw all the food booths, but I still had space for what turned out to be an enormous Oaxacan-style ice cream. The lady was generous with the samples, so I was able to try a few flavours I’ve been curious about, including mamey (can’t find a translation), which was a very pretty coral colour, but bland, and piñon, pine nut, which was surprisingly flavourful and was one of my choices. I topped it with a scoop mango topped with chamoy, tajĂ­n, and TapatĂ­o sauce (picture posted yesterday!).

It was at one of the last booths I visited that I made purchase of something that I put to use the second I stepped out of the convention centre, one of those things you don’t realise you need until you get one:

Can you see what it is? It’s a padded case for eyeglasses. I find it such a pain to fumble with my big plastic cases when I want to switch between sunglasses and indoor glasses — it is so much easier to slip them in and out of a soft-sided case like this! Notice the interior has a smooth material to prevent scratching. I love the orange flowers against the blue. A very useful buy for only $50!

As I studied the case, trying to understand what it was, I finally blurted out, “Ah, para las gafas!” and earned a bemused smile. Which is when something finally hit me after nearly four years  of first coming to Mexico — they don’t use gafas here but instead say lentes. What I said to the lady was akin to a Brit saying, “Oh, for spectacles!” We know they mean glasses, but the word sounds quaint to our colonial ears. Glasses in Spanish have been gafas to me for 25 years, so wish me luck making the conversion!

I was home and passed out on the couch with Bonita by about 5:30. At 8:00, I called in a taco order for delivery because I didn’t have the strength to go pick it up. I was in bed and passed out by 11:00 and slept straight through to 9:00! Bonita was so happy to see me and howled more loudly than I thought she could!

I’ve got nothing much on the to-do list today. The only chore I’m a bit behind on is laundry, which I enjoy doing, so I’ve got a load on and the whites soaking and almost ready to go. I’m so grateful the landlady took seriously my complaint about the abnormally low water pressure here and had a guy check it out. He got rid of a huge clump of mineral deposits that were blocking the pipes. The water pressure still isn’t amazing, and I wouldn’t expect it to be, but at least it no longer takes hours for my washing machine to fill and I can do several loads in a day!

Hope you all have a lovely Saturday. I’m off to make more coffee and reheat last night’s leftovers. 🙂