Monday, July 30, 2012

Portland, OR and Guadalajara MX, Sister Cities

 Portland and Guadalajara are sister cities. The cities of Roses. In 2008,  the mayor of Portland was in Guadalajara and brought down several special rose bushes for Mexico. Guadalajara built a park in the heart of town based on Portland's Green philosophy. If you are interested in it, check it out online:  I haven't been to it yet. I just found out about it. Since I rarely venture as far as Guadalajara, I miss some very interesting things. I am going to try to be more adventurous when I return to Mexico this time. I always say that and rarely do it.

I am going back to Ajijic tomorrow. Of course I am not sleeping well and when I do get to sleep I have anxiety dreams. I am a TERRIBLE traveler.  I hate leaving my family but I am looking forward to being back to Ajijic. Split feelings.

Some information on the park:
In February of 2008, the first period of Jardin construction was completed with the planting of the Phase One Rose Garden. During this Portland delegation visit to Guadalajara – which included Mayor Tom Potter and more than 50 other representatives from Portland's public and private sector - the group also gained approval of the Jardin's overall master plan.
The "Living Phase" of the Jardin, began construction in 2009, will include an amphitheater to accommodate concerts and events and a beautiful water feature, both modeled after some of the Portland region's most cherished outdoor spaces. The final "Learning Phase" will boast the Verde (Green) Learning Center. One of the world's most unique, hands-on environmental and sustainability learning facilities, the Center will be open to all of the Bosque's one million annual visitors.
The Jardin is slated for completion in 2011, concurrent with the Pan American Games. The project is made possible through the support of both cities' governments, the Universidad Aut–noma de Guadalajara, Portland State University, Portland and Guadalajara-based designers, architects and engineers, and a large group of caring business sponsors and individual supporters.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Packing for My Trip Back to Mexico

It is almost time for me to return to my home in Mexico. These days have flown by. I have met many people and heard some wonderful and some awful stories. Yesterday in the pool I talked with a man who said his brother had been kidnapped in Mexico City and the family paid ten thousand dollars to get him back. Fortunately, he was returned alive. I had just told this man that most of the violence in Mexico wasn't against the American tourists. His brother was an American tourist. No one was ever caught for this crime.  They were told to just pay the ransom and forget about it. How can an experience like that be forgotten?  Bad things happen everywhere as we all know, even just sitting in a movie theater. Safety is an illusion.  We do the best we can to feel safe and then we have to leave things up to a higher power.

My son and daughter-in-law are driving to the beach for a couple of days. I opted out. I think they need to have some time alone for a few days. I hate car trips. And why would I want to go to a cold beach? The weather is going to be twenty degrees colder there than in Portland. I will spend this time swimming at the gym and obsessing over my suitcases.

What to take back to Mexico? Before I came here, I obsessed about what to pack. I wanted to take everything, all of Mexico for my family to see and enjoy. And now, on my way home, I want to do the same thing. I want to pack all of Portland into my suitcases to have with me in Mexico. I want all the advantages of both countries.

There is so much wealth here. The yard sales are gold mines for me. Unfortunately, I am also taking back stuff for many of my friends. Small things mushroomed into larger things and now my suitcases are already almost full. I even considered paying for a third suitcase. On U.S. Airways, the first suitcase is 25 dollars, the second is 35 and the third is 135 dollars. They really don't want you taking a third suitcase. So these next few days will be focused on what I have to leave here. I certainly can't dump things I have promised to take back for my friends. Next trip......I will sneak out of Mexico so I can have all this suitcase space to myself....... (I always say this and never do it.)  

All this thought on THINGS is just a way for me to try to manage my anxieties. I won't be seeing my son and daughter-in-law probably for another year. (No more trips to Portland in the winter time for me.) It is easier to focus on not being able to take back that extra pair of shoes than it is to think about not seeing my loved ones for a year. This is the hardest part for me of living in a foreign country. No physical contact with my family. Sure, skype is a blessing but that can't replace actually being with loved ones. 

When I get to feeling teary eyed about leaving them, I project myself into living here so I can be near them. I realize then that it would never work. There is no way I can afford the quality of life here that I have in Mexico. I think I suffer from seasonal affective disorder. I get terribly depressed when the sun doesn't come out. So, that isn't an option for me. I will just have to continue going through these separation anxieties and enjoy these last few days as much as I can. But at least after writing all this out, I maybe can remember WHY I get so obsessed about this suitcase packing and laugh at myself instead of taking it so seriously.  I think the key here is FAITH. Faith that there is a power greater than myself, call that power whatever you like, but there is help. I am not traveling alone.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Jazz Concert at Cathedral Park in Portland, OR

He is rocking out with the music
Friends of Friends
Dancers near the stage
My son played in the afternoon and again in the evening at the jazz concert in Cathedral park in Portland. I stayed all day. It was great fun. I loved being around do many young people.  Of course listening to my son's music is always a treat for me.  My son is like me, he doesn't like to have his picture taken so I couldn't put the one I took of the stage on this post.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Thoughts on My Life, Past and Present

I am in Portland, OR. now and having a wonderful time with my son and daughter-in-law. Their energy levels are much higher than mine. Maybe it is the twenty year age difference.

I am not used to being around so many young people. In Ajijic, when I go to a restaurant I don't see many expats younger than I am. It is great being one of the youngest in a crowd. Here, I am one of the oldest.

Today I went through things I had left last year; clothing and sentimental objects. Looking through these things is like stepping back in time, remembering who I was last year and the years before that. Life goes on. I get older and those things that I once valued are now stuffed into bags for the Goodwill Store.

It is hard to see the changes on a day to day basis. It is only apparent in larger chunks, like a year,  two years or more.  I look at things that once were part of my identity and I just sigh in amazement that I had thought they were ME.  They are not. I am a constantly changing, shedding things along the way.  What is not shed is my love for my family and friends. No matter how much trouble I may have with them or they have with me, the love survives and adds meaning to our lives.

I want to try to remember this insight the next time I put too much emphasis on my THINGS.  I am realizing that NO thing is as important as my relationships; my family and friends and even casual acquaintances. That is my wealth. Everything radiates out from relationships, not from the material world.

Last night I met up with a couple at the restaurant where my son was playing. The man, Jack, has been reading my blog for quite awhile.  It was strange for me because he knows so much about me while I know practically nothing about him and his wife, Virginia. We had a delicious meal and listened to my son play and talked about what it is like to live in Ajijic. They want to eventually retire there. It was fun for me to learn about their lives and hopes and dreams. Maybe we will meet up again in Ajijic. I hope so.  If you are reading this today, Jack, thank you and Virginia for the meal and the evening. I won't forget our time together.

When I first started this blog I asked my son why I should bother with it. He said, You will make new friends. So? I thought. I have three friends. I don't need any more. But I do. I love meeting people from my blog and learning about them. These relationships lift me up from my mundane world of dealing with taking care of my things.

 I am glad to box up those old dreams and take them off to the Goodwill store. It is time for new dreams and I hope I can keep my focus on what is really important and not get sidetracked with the desire for material things again. Security is in the love shared, not in the things around us.   Poor people often know this better than we do because they have so little as far as material wealth. We can learn much from the way they live.

Friday, July 13, 2012


93,000 miles on it. We've kept it extremely well-maintained over the years and replaced things like the a/c. The body is lovely - emerald green and very good condition. Cruise Control, 6 CD player, sunroof. You cannot believe how much stuff you can fit in this van. Rides very well. Has South Dakota license plates, which you can renew every year through the mail for $25. Insurance cost is only $238 a year and that covers absolutely everything. We just re-insured it. Please reply to this post if you or someone you know is interested and we can arrange an appointment. We're in Ajijic.

I don't usually put things for sale on my blog but I am doing this as a favor for two very dear friends. I had even considered buying this car myself. I decided not to start driving again. My American driver's license expired a couple of years ago and at the time I thought, Good riddance.... I know if I bought a car, I wouldn't walk as much. I would get too lazy to walk. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Time to Go to the States

Today is the day. I am nervous about the trip. Just my anxieties acting up. I am not a good traveler. But I am looking forward to seeing my family again. The weather should be very nice in Portland now. This is my favorite time of year up there. No more winter visits to my family.

Of course, I am taking too much stuff. George Carlin was right in his skit on stuff on you tube. We all have too much stuff and it ties us down. I have never been able to travel without taking a huge suitcase. This time it is filled with gifts for my family and friends.

Several people in Portland have contacted me about us meeting up when I got up there. I have misplaced those e mails. Please e mail me if you are one of those misplaced contacts.  I thank everyone who comments on my blog. Comments are always a blessing to me....... That is why I keep on writing and taking photos.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Market Photos Part 2

My Last Market Photos before going to the States

I am going to the States tomorrow evening. I made four trips to the market today, looking for gifts for my family and friends. Finally I realized that I can't take all of Mexico back to them in my suitcase.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sunday Afternoon at the Movies

Yesterday afternoon I went to the show and saw The Amazing Story of Mr. Dobbs. Great movie. I really enjoyed it. Then I had an enormous chicken taco salad, enough for three meals. I spent less than five dollars for both. I am going to go through a real shock when I get up to Portland and have to start spending big bucks for everything. Last time I went there, I took out three hundred dollars, thinking it would last me three weeks. My daughter-in-law said, that will last a week. I was surprised and thought she was wrong but she was right. I had to return to the machine a couple of more times before returning to Mexico.

Chico is impatiently waiting for my friend to come by for a morning walk with all the dogs. She has an extra one, Twiggy. She is hoping to find a home for him soon. If you need a dog, Twiggy is available. Check it out on the other post on my blog.

I leave for the States on Thursday and already I am getting anxious. I am not a good traveler. I have traveled enough that a lot of difficult things have happened. I anticipate bad things.... I know, I shouldn't worry so much but it is in my nature.   I hate to leave here although I am looking forward to being with my family again. Many of my friends have already left for the States. Seems like July is a big month for visiting family up north. It is the rainy season here. I enjoy the night rains. It cools the mornings down and is very pleasant. The town is quiet. I like this season. July is also the nicest month of the year in Portland, OR. At least to me it is because it is summer. I don't like winters in Portland.

Lunch at San Pedro Restaurant in West Ajijic

Delicious food, beautiful environment. And it was inexpensive. Can't beat that.