Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Morning Thoughts

My son and daughter-in-law left early this morning for their trip to England. They will be gone for ten days. I am taking care of the two dogs and the house. Cloudy today and cloudy yesterday. Clouds are predicted for tomorrow. And the day after that. I love it here when the sun comes out. Not so much when it is cloudy.

I am going on Saturday to another neighborhood yard sale with some friends. I have already bought enough to fill up two suitcases, possibly three. I haven't had the courage to find out. I just enjoy the yards sales so much that I buy and buy. No thought to how I am going to be able to get all this stuff back to Mexico. Most of it will probably end up in the garage here.

Today a friend is taking me out to lunch. I met her in Ajijic.  Ajijic is a popular destination for Portland people. I can understand why, after experiencing several days of clouds and cold weather here.

There are several other friends I am hopefully going to meet up with while I am in Portland. That will make life interesting for me. I am already feeling lonely with my family gone. But they have two handsome young men housemates.  If I am lucky, I will see them in passing in the kitchen or other areas of the house. This is an enormous house. At least by my two room casita eyes..... (If they lived with me in my casita I would have no worries of running into them. One advantage of living in small places. People see each other more often. Okay, that could also be a disadvantage.)

They have a washer and dryer and a dishwasher and hot water for washing dishes in the kitchen sink. A kitchen sink! What a pleasure. At home, I wash my dishes in the bathroom sink by hand in cold water. Americans have so much. It was clear to me last week end at the yard sales. They can afford to get rid of things at low prices. In Mexico, nothing is cheap. Except labor.

Another major difference is the isolation.  Americans spend a lot of time in their cars. In the neighborhoods, rarely I see people out in their yards. No one is around. I guess they are all working so they can afford those beautiful homes.

Pressure. I feel pressure here. In stores, people are hurrying around. No one says hello when they do happen to be walking on the sidewalks. The hellos by shopkeepers are just said out of necessity. No warmth behind them. No recognition in people's eyes. In Mexico, I say hello to everyone I pass on the street and they answer me with smiles and hellos. Here, I have given up because people look at me strangely when I acknowledge them. It is a different world.  I miss the warmth of Mexico. The warmth of the environment and the warmth of the people.


  1. I so so so agree with you about smiling and saying "Hola, Buenos dias" everyone everywhere in Mexico is very courteous. They all greet each other and spend a few minutes to talk. I do want to ask, please give me examples of things you can't buy there that you will take back..or things that you ordered. I plan to spend the winter in Mexico so I am interested in what you can't find/afford there. Thank you...always looking forward to your blog
    Linda in Indiana

    1. Hi Linda, Thanks for writing. Well, I bought a bunch of swimming suits. The only places in Mexico I know to buy clothing are in the outdoor markets or Wal mart and they are very poor quality and not cheap. I bought a blender for two bucks at a yard sale. I bought other clothes. Just about anything manufactured is cheaper up here and of course in yard sales it is very cheap. P

  2. I agree..never find shoes or clothes down there. I take good cotton flat sheet and dove soap! All of Mexico seems to use polyester sheets- Yuck! Have a good stateside visit. When you return I hope all of your casita issues have been resolved.

    1. Hi Linda, Thanks for commenting. Yes, the sheets down there are like sleeping on sandpaper and the towels aren't much better.... P

  3. Hi Patricia,
    For about 2 months now I have been reading your blog and others, about Ajijic and Lake Chapala. Many of your observations about life and getting older resonate with me. Today I realized that you are connected to Portland. I also have two grown children and grandchildren living there. Two years ago I moved there to be near them, but it didn't work out for many reasons that you observe about the area too. Then I moved to Florida where my other daughter lives - that was less than a year ago. It is warm and more laid back here in a small gulf coast town, but an empty hole still exists in my world.
    One of the things about me is that I was already an expat and lived and worked in the Dominican Republic for 20 years. I speak Spanish as a second language. I left partially because I was worried about the healthcare system and also because of the expense in always buying air tickets in and out. (no overland routes!)
    I keep scouring the internet to find out for sure if I would like Chapala. I even had a casita lined up for a month, to go down there in October, but the timing was off. So now I want to visit in November, but curiously I have resistance, cold feet, I am holding back.
    I think that I need a friend there or the feeling that I am going to a friendly hostel, b and b, or family rental. I am on a very low budget to make this trip so fancy accommodations are out. Can you give me any advice about where to look stay to start my journey there? And where could I go after the first few hours in order to "feel the vibe". Also I am an artist and want to meet other artists, but I do not see any active organizations posted.
    I have always been adventuresome and find this timidity from me, new and unexplained. I guess that I am looking for reassurance that Mexico will be a relief from life in Portland or Florida, and add the dimension of friendly people and community. I know exactly what you mean about wanting it all (in one spot) instead of having it fragmented across borders. Are there any "group" houses, where older Americans are sharing a larger home and thus able to maintain it through longer trips and out of country time? This seems like a good idea too. Thanks for reading this. Tanga

    1. Hi Tanga, Thank you for reading my blog and writing to me. I believe you will find everything you are looking for in Ajijic. It is such a friendly place. When you get there, hang out at the Ajijic plaza. Have breakfast or coffee there. You will meet people. You are planning on coming during the high season so housing may be difficult, especially inexpensive housing. People don't like to rent places just for a month in the high season. There is a hotel in Chapala just up from the plaza but it is usually full during the high season. Contact me when you get there and we can meet and talk. I will welcome you there. P

    2. To Tanga,
      I can understand your reluctance to come alone, but whatever month you choose, you should give it a try. The Lake Chapala Society (LCS) is full of friendly people, ready to share what they know about the area. This last Wednesday, we went to a happy hour/weekly meeting of the "Amigos" at the Neuva Posada Hotel. It is advertised in one of the gringo magazines. Everyone who is interest in meeting new friends is invited. There were probably 40 people there, all sitting around three big tables. My husband & I did not know anyone, but sat down with a table of 12 and talked for 3 hours. Our table had outgoing people from the U.S.,
      England, and New Zealand. You will not be disappointed if you give yourself a month to check it all out. Look at the Roma Management site for a rental. ( We are renting with them for a month this summer and they are very helpful. Also, I recently met an artist here (American woman in her 70s), just walked by her studio, went in and had a fascinating conversation. I think you will find it an easy place to meet people.
      Pat Y.

    3. Thank you Patricia, for your answer and reassurance. I read your blog from June 14 and how you spent your day yesterday, alone, in Portland, and how dreary it is to go out sometimes. Try some vitamin D2 and vit D3 tablets and take lots of them - it fights off SAD (seasonal affect disorder - it's real and sounds like you have it). A blue light helps too!. I finally had to leave. I hope that your children are home soon and you get busier.
      About my trip to Ajijic. Would it be better to just explore in the off season? Is November too impacted with people? What about Chapal for a short trip and lower cost ? Does that mean I should wait until April or May next year so I can find housing inexpensively?

    4. Thank you for that advice. I appreciate it. I don't want to be the one to throw cold water on your travel plans. Yes, It would be easier to find inexpensive housing in the low season. But you might find something in the high season too. It is just more difficult. P