Months have passed since the last entry, I am beginning to think I should rename this my quarterly blog site.
The events since October have been continuous. We have had a steady stream of visitors; my kids, my coworkers and my friends have all made the trip down with Lisa’s niece (and her family), mother/step father, sister (and her family) One of our most memorable guests was my best friend who came down (with her family) and her husband in mid October to celebrate their 25 year wedding anniversary. Lisa performed the ceremony and we honored the local culture with offerings and Copal, it was magical. Lisa’s dad and step mom are coming next week though they are treating themselves to a week at an all inclusive resort in Playacar before they stay with us for a few nights. My youngest son came down in November and we flew back to Washington with him in December due to a sudden tragic loss of my other best friend’s daughter.
We completed our first Home Exchange in NYC over the holidays, which was really living out a life dream of mine. Despite the absolutely awful, freezing cold wind directed directly into our eyes, we managed to make it to the Christmas Eve showing of The Rockettes, “Christmas Spectacular” and spectacular it was! It felt surreal and dreamlike, as if we were in a movie. We also went out to Coney Island on New Years day to grab a hot dog and people watch those who were crazy enough to participate in the polar bear plunge. We dined at several places but our favorite had to be Pig Heaven, where we had Christmas Dinner. Their ribs…no words to do them justice. They were so tender, flavorful, finger licking sticky, pieces of deliciousness. We were lucky enough to be within a few blocks of everything, including the subway. We were just a block down from an actual speakeasy, the concoctions were impressive! We spent a fair amount of time in the apartment, enjoying the breathtaking view from the corner apartment, snacking on charcutier trays, and delighting in foods we cannot get here. After meandering through numerous parks, ferry landings, subways, burrows, etc. we wrapped up our trip by visiting Summit One Vanderbilt. If you go, you should book well in advance if you are aiming for sunset or a night time visit.
I have spent endless hours planning ,messaging, and prepping for our next big adventure. The ADVENURE OF A LIFETIME! Really, it is. I have planned this for months and I know the odds of ever being able to do it again are slim. When we retired, our goal was to travel. The big question became how to do that on a sustainable level where we were not just blowing through our savings. Through Home Exchange, we have found many others, like ourselves, who want to reasonably travel. Our first exchange in NY was perfect. It was beyond perfect really, we have friends in NY now and we plan on exchange with them again in the future. I don’t expect all of our exchanges to go that well but being able to text, call or video chat with our incoming guests have made this a much more comfortable experience for all. We have 87 days of travel ahead of us. 15 of those days will be on a cruise across the Atlantic. From there, we have reciprocal exchanges lined up for Montpellier, Marseille and Florence. We are allowing other Home Exchangers to use our home for guest points, which act as currency. In return, we had enough guest points to cover our stays in Barcelona ,Paris, Rome and Santorini. We are planning a minimum of a week per city and almost 2 weeks in Rome as we want to use it as a base to explore Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento, etc. We are only paying for accommodations for 6 out of those 87 days. A highlight of Home Exchange is being able to “live like a local.” Hosts are happy to provide information on where to eat, visit, etc. that can’t be found in a travel guide 😉
As for life in Mexico, it is still just as great and full of surprises and adventures as it has ever been. Lisa had to see a dermatologist for a suspicious mole. She was able to be seen in 3 days, it cost 1300 pesos (65 dollars) and the doctor was fantastic. She took Lisa’s medical history herself and spent about 45 minutes with us discussing concerns and what to look out for. She even had me look through her dermascope so I could see for myself what she was seeing. We also had to go through a process of changing out our license plates and registering the car for this year. It was not hard to do but one does question the logic behind making everyone change their plates every 3 years, at the same time. The lines in some places were hours long, I lucked out on a rainy day at a satellite office where it only took me 20 minutes.
When we returned from NYC, we did talk about possibly buying another home back in the States but then we were reminded of all the reasons we left. Sometimes it feels like we are on perpetual vacation and coming back from NY felt like we were coming back to a vacation house and not a home but that is exactly what we need it to be for the next few years. Who knows what the future will bring. Especially in regards to taking care of parents, helping out with grandkids (one day, I hope!!) or other unknowns but until then, we are going to travel travel travel and continue living our best lives!