Olive always likes to sit near me when I am on my I pad. I decided to try to get her to look at what was on the screen so I put on some u tube videos of cats and kittens. She seemed to be very interested in this video of a cat boxing with a dog. Maybe it was giving her ideas about what to do to Chico in the future.
I am going to a series of lectures on Saturday mornings about health care and other issues dealing with living and dying here. On my way home I was sitting near this Mexican woman and her children. They were so beautiful and inspiring that I asked if I could take their pictures. They agreed, and the kids loved seeing themselves in the photos. I have been reacting very negatively to Trump becoming president, as have millions of others all around the world and this family cheered me up.
There was a rally here and a march to support the women's march in Washington but by the time I got home from the lecture I didn't have enough energy to walk down there. This morning I woke up wishing I had gone. Maybe it would have helped with the depression and fear I have about what is going to be happening to the United States and the rest of the world because of Trump being president. So here are the photos of the bus family. Chldren, they are so precious. They are our future. We must do everything we can to protect them. I hope my fears about Trump are unfounded.
There were so many children sitting with their mother that this little girl was sitting next to me. It cheers me up just to look at these photos. I hope they make you smile too. I love living here and riding the local buses and meeting the Mexican people. I feel very blessed. One more comment about this family. I don't know what their financial situation is or anything else about them except the love I see between them all. To me, THIS is what Quality of Life is all about.
It has been a long time since I have put on the cost of my groceries. I like to shop at my local grocery store. It is open every day of the week. So here is a photo of what I just bought.
I hate to have to admit to some of the junk that I eat. But here goes. Half a gallon of milk, ( I am still feeding the little kefir grains and they like a lot of milk,). Two large beautiful apples that I take to the spa when I swim. Two bananas, three tomatoes, one cube of butter, six fresh eggs, one dark chocolate dove bar, one bolillo bread in case I want to make a sandwich, in the two plastic bags on the right are bacon on the lower right and above it is a slice of ham. I also have some fresh homemade string cheese which is in a plastic bag just below the milk. And two instant lunches that I have been eating a lot of lately. I like to mix the string cheese in with it and maybe some veggies. I have been too lazy to cook much lately and this works great. And then four large black plastic garbage bags. The price of all of this? 170 pesos. Which in American money this morning is 7.91535 dollars. So almost eight dollars total. Not bad. Not bad at all.
So why does the local store give credit to so many of the people who shop there? I just looked at the minimum wage here. It went up on January 1st of this year from 73.04 pesos a day to 80.04 pesos a day.. Now that is about half of what I paid for my groceries this morning. I know many Mexicans make more than this minimum wage. But still, this local store caters to a lot of Mexicans who cannot afford to get through until their payday without credit for their groceries. After reading this, I don't feel quite so happy. I feel sad for my neighbors who are struggling and especially now that the price of gas has just gone up twenty percent. I wonder, how do they make it financially??? And then my second question is this: How would I make it financially in the United States these days with the prices of everything so high?
I have been very interested in Health Care here since I have had a lot of health issues. I have had four surgeries since I moved here ten years ago. I almost died before I got to the hospital for the last one which was just a few months ago. I am writing an article, maybe two articles about what is available here and the differences between IMSS and Seguro Popular. I have had IMSS every since I came here and I have written extensively about all the problems I have had with it. The only time I used it was to try to see a doctor at the clinic to get a referral to see a specialist about a bad knee. After four months of trying to see a specialist, I finally gave up. They gave me such a run around that I couldn't and wouldn't do it any longer. But I have not yet decided to give up IMSS and not pay the yearly fee which is due in March for me. Because I believe they are the best for major emergencies. They have a great heart speciality center in one of their hospitals in Guadalajara. Seguro Popular does not do heart surgeries. Anyway, there is a lot of information and I am still compiling it.
It will be put on Accesslakechapala.com when I am finished. I still have more information to gather for it.
In the meantime, my knee finally healed after a year of swimming and exercising it in the hot pools in San Juan Cosala.
It is getting warmer outside and Sundays are always nice at the Ajijic plaza. I will take a walk down there with Chico. I believe the best health care is exercising and eating good fresh foods. But things happen. When I first came here I had a torn and twisted meniscus.That was operation number one. Then I fell in the lake and broke my ankle.Operation number two. Then I had to have my thyroid removed because the doctors thought I had thyroid cancer. Operation number three. And last but most expensive and life threatening was my gall bladder removal after getting blood poisoning and sepsis. I paid for all of these operations, even though I had IMSS.... The total cost was around 18,000 maybe 20,000 dollars. So you see, health care is a very important issue for me. I just can't afford to keep paying out of my own pocket for all the operations. So far, IMSS hasn't been any help to me at all. But a major heart surgery would be beyond my means to pay for personally. So I will once again pay for IMSS.....
If you are at all interested in health care here, you may want to read my article or articles when they are published on Accesslakechapala.com. I will let you know when they are finished. And I am still looking for helpers to go to the hospitals and stay with expats. They have to speak both Spanish and English and have the time to stay in the hospital to help. Let me know if you have someone in mind or have that person go to the Access Lake Chapala office on Colon and put in his or her name and phone number for the list we are compiling. Thanks... And have a happy Sunday.
I have been thinking about the quality of life survey that I mentioned yesterday in my blog. I wish I had written down the resource but I forgot where I found it. I looked again this morning on google. I found the same results on a site: internations.org. There are other sites that have different countries listed as the best in the world. So who is right? What is the best quality of life place to live?
I have been watching Hobotraveler on you tube. He has been traveling all over the world for over sixteen years. He has some good insights into this question. He says that you shouldn't judge an entire country. Instead, you should judge the quality of life in a CITY. Because cities inside of countries are different from each other. Just think about it. New York City is far different from Santa Cruz, Calif. So you can't judge a good place to live just by the country.
Of course living in a war zone is going to be poorer quality of life than living in a place that is not at war. Living in warm weather is more comfortable than living in a snowed in place, at least for most people. There are a lot of objective things that these surveys measure; the quality of health care and how affordable it is for people, the weather, the political situation, the cost of living, crime, and many other things. But these are all external. How about the quality of life from an internal point of view? One thing that often takes expats, especially the women, back to their own countries is the fact that they miss their grandchildren. That is a big quality of life value that can't be measured and is never considered in these surveys. Maybe they will consider how difficult it is to get to an international airport. But they cannot measure the heart and it's longings. For that, the number one country with the best quality of life for many people is where the family lives..... So far, we have no way to measure love.
This morning I had a dream about my parents. As usual in my dreams these days I was a different age than I am now. I am never old in my dreams. In this one I was a teenager. I had come home for lunch. My mother made me a delicious sandwich. I was appreciating how nice it was to be taken care of and to be loved by my parents. I looked out the window and my mom and dad were in the car, backing out of the driveway. It was raining hard and I wanted a ride back to school. I was motioning to them to stop but they just thought I was waving and they waved back and left. I stood there alone and felt so sad. Then I woke up. Alone, sad and a bit disoriented like in the dream.
Then my current reality came back to me. My parents are dead. My son and daughter-in-law live a long ways from me. I will never in my life have the kind of love and caring that my parents gave to me. And I thought about my resentments from traumatic things that happened as I was growing up. They were few compared to the day to day care that my parents did for me. And the love that I always knew was there for me. (Maybe this is the only thing most parents wish from their grown children. An appreciation of all their efforts and the day to day loving and caring they did for them and forgiveness for their mistakes.)
I am writing about this dream because I have been thinking all morning about the Quality of Life surveys...... What is my quality of life? What is yours?
Mostly when we talk to people about our lives we don't talk about the external things. We don't dream about what country we live in or what city we live in. We talk and dream about where we live in our hearts, about our loved ones. About how much they mean to us. About how much we miss people who have died. That is the real quality of life measurement. Not the measurement of a country or of a city but of what is in our hearts.
Maybe the only criteria for having the best quality of life is to FOLLOW OUR HEARTS......
I have been looking at the weather up north of the border and feeling grateful for living here in all this sunshine. Finally it has gone back to the normal amount of noise in my neighborhood, which means that I have had well over a week of sleeping through the nights. And the children are back in school, which means that I am swimming again. No sleep and no real exercise did a number on me.
A friend wrote to me that it seemed like I have been depressed lately from her reading of my blog. YES, I have been depressed. It was a hard year for me.... especially with being on the brink of death. I learned a valuable lesson from that experience. Not to be afraid of dying. It was so peaceful. I don't think that kind of peace is possible while living in this world. Living means dealing with problems. There seems to be no getting away from that. So if we choose to live, we choose to deal with all the problems that come up.
I remember my friend Dale, years ago he said to me that all his friends in the United States thought he was having parties down here all the time. They did not realize that he was just living a normal life, dealing with all the issues that come up anywhere you live in the world. Poor people might think that having money would be the solution. Sick people might think having good health would make them happy. But wealthy people and healthy people all have problems, just a different set of them..... That is life. (And if you don't have any personal problems at the moment, read the news.)
I guess I could pretend that all is rosy in my life and that I have NO problems but I am not a real estate agent. I am not trying to sell this area to readers. I only want to show you an honest view of my life here. I try not to be negative because negativity always comes back to haunt me. But sometimes I have to say my truth.
For me, last year was very hard. I argued with two of my dearest long term friends and we went our separate ways. I almost died. My last lover and one of my best friends died without my knowledge. I found out from a phone call. My son and daughter-in-law were going through hell, trying to sell their house, hemorrhaging money after each inspection. And I lost my hair after all these experiences.
It is difficult for me to hide the affects of these experiences. They all happened within a few months of each other. In my life, that always seems to be the case. Bad things happen in clusters and good things happen in clusters. This was a huge cluster of bad things. I didn't even write much on this blog during that time and a minor problem was that my camera broke. At least That was something that could easily be replaced, in time.
Old friends cannot be replaced. Old lovers cannot be replaced. They carry with them our pasts which are our wealth. Sometimes our memories are all we have left and to have them shared with others who have also experienced them is a real gift.
I will leave all that behind for now. I have spent a lot of time and energy researching about the health care system here and choices you can make regarding your own health care. I have also written up a small list of helpers. People who will take you to the hospitals and doctors and interpret for you and some will even stay in the hospital with you. This article is going to be published on Accesslakechapala.com . I will let you know when it is published. Then if you are interested, you can go to that site and press blogs. And they have a list of the helpers at the Access office on Colon. If you know anyone else who would be a good helper please have that person contact the office.
I am going to close this post with the recovery groups' Serenity prayer because it seems appropriate to the feelings I have just expressed.
God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change.....
Courage to change the things I can and Wisdom to know the difference.....
This was us ( Me and Brian) before all hell broke loose..... I miss you Brian and your little dog Lucky.....
You can see that Chico and Olive love to sit in the sunshine, even though it is so bright that they have to keep their eyes closed.
Extreme close up of hairless me. The other day my friend Don told me that when I was at the Lake Chapala Society, a woman mentioned something to him about my cute pixie haircut. She was wondering where I got it. Don said to her, "You wouldn't want to get one the way she got hers." And he told her the story of me almost dying and three months later losing my hair and it coming in grey and very very short. I am starting to get used to it. It is great for swimming. It dries almost immediately. I must look at the bright side.....
Chico got a haircut a few days ago. Now I don't have so much hair to sweep up around my house.
I got an e mail finally from the real estate agent in Aguascalientes about that beautiful house that I liked. I put two houses on my blog. It was the white one that I liked because it had a swimming pool and was only 67,000 dollars. She said it has already been sold. So sad. I had been imagining me living there in that huge house out in the country with my own pool and lots of room for Chico and Olive. The other house is also beautiful but has no pool and is almost twice the price. So that one is out. Maybe I am just restless here from three weeks of not being able to go to the spa. It has been far too crowded to try to swim laps. And also from all the noise here. So the combination of very little sleep and no swimming has made me want to escape.
But Aquascalientes isn't the answer. It is a very large city. I like small towns. I also don't want to have to have a car. Plus, all my friends are here. What was I thinking???? Oh well, it kept me occupied for a few days with the fantasy of a brand new life. I have a great life now that Christmas is over and I will be able to start swimming again tomorrow. I must remember to practice more patience when things look bad. One thing about Mexico and maybe it is true for a lot of other places, IF YOU DON'T LIKE THE WAY THINGS ARE, WAIT. THEY WILL CHANGE..... Sometimes they change for the worst instead of the better but they WILL change....
The only thing that I miss at my house is the lack of a view. I had such beautiful views from my other two places. But today I went to my friend's house and sat on her deck. I got to see the lake again. What a gift.