Time flies……

I can’t believe we have been here 5 months. I also can’t believe that I haven’t managed a blog post since June, but….. here we are.

Our first month or two just felt like we were on an extended vacation and month 3 started to feel like groundhogs day. I decided to pick up some piece work to give me more to do while Lisa is contently working on her puzzle or living her best life in the Ocean. We did not start having guests until August so we had plenty of time to settle in. Since then, we have had either friends or family down on a pretty regular basis. First my my 3rd oldest son and his friend, then Lisa’s niece and her family came, then my second youngest and his girlfriend, then my best friend and her children (though they stayed at a resort up the road) but Lisa and I happily hosted their 25th wedding vow renewal at our house, at sunset, under the palapa-it was magical! I have my friends and work colleagues coming in tomorrow for a week, I am sure there will be work done, for tax purposes 😉 next up is my sister in law and her son, then my youngest will arrive the last week of November. Tired yet? My oldest son will make the trip at some point. We are going back to Washington to spend a month next summer so it may be until then that I see him but he calls me frequently so I am not complaining.

So what’s it been like? It has been great! I feel like I know the Cancun airport, Playa del Carmen and all the local cenotes like the back of my hand. It took me FOR EVER to get an RFC (tax ID) number to open a checking account but I finally got that done last month. It was a challenging experience since I have limited Spanish reading skills but the employees at the SAT office were helpful and patient. There was a local man there who could not read sitting next to me while we were filling out forms and he asked me what his paper said, I can’t describe the feeling that left me with. There is very much a class system in place here and dare I say that the original settlers of this land are treated the worst. You could draw parallels from the Mayans to the Native Americans except that here, the Mayans don’t have much protection from exploitations. Work environments, tools, etc. are very archaic and that is the typical job for a Mayan, a laborer. Watching a man at work with a pix axe-going at limestone- in 90 degree weather makes my work ethic look questionable, if not almost embarrassing. When we hired a local contractor to install a pergola for our car, this is exactly what I witnessed as well as several workers, sitting on the supporting beams of the pergola, nailing in sticks of wood by hand in the middle of a thunderstorm. A power tool was used once… Even for workers who are paid legally, the Mexican minimum wage is 172 pesos per day (about 8 usd) and I can tell you that the cost of food and gas down here is only slightly less expensive than in the States because we live in a tourist state but that doesn’t mean they get paid more. One more before I get off my soapbox, in Mexico, it is very common to have a housekeeper and for her to come several times a week (Once is good for us). The pay is more than the minimum wage (usually) but not by much. My neighbors maid offered to clean our house when our housekeeper was away once and we took her up on it. She showed up with her 12 year old daughter as she was her apprentice, she was teaching her how to correctly clean houses, make the beds, etc.. I know not all kids go to high school here (and by here, I mean Mexico, not this privileged little community that I live in), some stop at 6th grade so they can work and help support their families but to see what that looks like left me extremely humbled and full of guilt. It is, after all, only a fluke that I was born in the States and yes, white privilege is real, even here.

If you look closely, you can see two extension cords strung together behind the man

Going to the store, out to eat, driving, shopping etc. has all become very normal. When we first moved down, I was hypervigilant about everything, now I am only hypervigilant about some things. We have the water delivery schedule down as well as the Gas guy (Propane home) and it feels….like home!

We went to Oaxaca in July for my birthday, it was truly a unique experience. We were lucky enough to go during Guelaguetza! This is a celebration of traditions and culture from the surrounding communities. Let me tell you, Oaxacans are some amazing and proud people and they now how to party! The food, the historical tours, the food, the mezcal, the food, the cooking class, the food, the ruins of Monte Alban, the food…Yes, it was amazing! We had no idea the parade route would turn right in front of our hotel, Casa de Siete Balcones. The hotel purveyors set up the rooftop for us so we could watch. It was a once in a lifetime experience.

The prices of food and items in Oaxaca were close to half of what they are in Quintana Roo. We are very much looking forward to traveling throughout Mexico and hope to do so next year. As for now, we have set up our home here on a few different home exchange sites and have several upcoming trips. We are exchanging homes over Christmas/New Years with a couple from Manhattan and next spring, we have exchanges set up in Spain, France and Italy! So far this, BBYODO thing is really panning out 🙂

TTFN!

Life in Mexico

What an adventure these last several weeks have been! We left Washington state on May 7th and spent a few weeks traveling to see friends and family. We arrived in Mexico on May 23rd with 6 checked bags, 2 carry-ons and 2 backpacks! Everything else was gifted or sold. We each stored a small box of keepsakes back in the States but that is it. Lisa insisted her Ninja Blender make the trip, I can’t fault her there, my Le Crueset french oven also made the trip. While you can buy just about anything you need here, electronics are a premium. Amazon. Mx does not disappoint!

**Tip, if you have a Delta credit card, you get your first bag free for you and your companions, if you fly first, the allowance increases by 2 bags each. The flight cost between economy and first were minimal and more than paid for the cost of luggage had we had to pay for it. Also the weight allowance increases from 50 to 70 lbs 😉

We picked up our new Honda the day after we arrived. I had pre ordered and paid for it back in January due to the chip shortage. The process was less painful than any car buying experience in the States. Prices for new cars are static here, there is no negotiating and it includes tax. I did pay am extra $1500 pesos for them to register and plate my car for me so I wouldn’t have to deal with that as soon as we landed. We got our Mexican drivers licenses a few weeks later, it was a piece of cake. The State of Quintana Roo was running a discount through the month of June for half of the cost of a license. This blew me away! It was advertised on Facebook and the department of transportation was even responding to questions about it. Juxtaposition to Washington and California DOL/DMV is striking.

During our road trip, Lisa ended up with bronchitis. Even though it mostly cleared before our flight down, she never really fully recovered. Last week we finally decided to seek medical attention. Our community doctor came to our house the morning after I contacted her through Whatsapp at 7pm the night before (if you travel and don’t know what this is, look into it! ) the housecall was 1,000 pesos (50 usd) she ordered several tests to check her blood, thyroid, Immunoglobulins and a throat culture. Total bill for the labs was $1100 pesos. We have insurance, the deductible is 31,000 pesos so like most people, we just pay cash and hang on to the factuta (receipt). Interesting side note about deductibles here-it is a one time charge per incident or illness that is never paid again regardless of how much time has passed. For example, you have lukemia, you pay your deductible once, even if you are treated for it over several years. I digress, the entire cost of Lisa’s visit, labs, etc was roughly $120 usd! We were emailed her test results later the same day.

I am still trying to figure out my role here. I’m not working as much as I thought I would be and now that we are all settled, I’m becoming a little restless. I am going to the special needs school across the highway tomorrow to see how I can help over there. Next month we had to Oaxaca, I can’t wait to explore the smaller villages, ruins and of course, the food!

A life of travel and beaches is certainly something to be grateful for but I will always need purpose 😊

And… We’re off!

So much has happened in the last two months and I don’t have time to do a break down but I will when we settle. Unfortunately, right after my last post my wife and I came down with COVID that knocked us down for several weeks. Triple vaxxed and still, but I digress..

I have often looked to the universe for signs. Good, bad, indifferent, I have come to rely on signs to point me in the right direction. If it is meant to be, it will. If it isn’t, stop fighting and listen. We have gone from a dream, to a plan, to an action. We sold our home to friends during this crazy market. It has reaffirmed our decision and it felt so right. We have sold our cars without issue, donated, gifted or sold the rest of our belongings and the path has remained clear. We will be leaving Washington state later this week for a, ” farewell tour” to California to see my family before boarding a plane on a one way ticket to Mexico later this month.

I will update next month after we settle in. Until then-Saludos!