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Sometimes I Need a Border Collie
Oct 29th, 2012 by Les

“What a wonderful life I’ve had!  I only wish I’d realized it sooner.”  Sidonie Gabrielle

“You must learn from the mistakes of others.  You can’t possibly live long enough to make them all yourself.”  Sam Levenson

……. to keep my mind on track.  Where has the time gone?  Lately, oh for heaven sakes most all of the time my brain is like a sieve.  Whatever I pour in seeps out.

The trip from Mexico to Newberry South Carolina was interesting.  The first leg of the journey and ultimately the worst leg started out in a precarious manner.  We had all of our belongings we wished to take back with us packed and loaded the day before we left.  Strom White did a great job of squeezing everything we owned into one lift van and a palette.

Squeeze was the key word here….and squeeze we did…everything else went into our car.  Have you ever been so distracted by life’s minutiae, you simply can’t, well function?!  David, being the wise man that he is, stayed out of my way as the day we were set to leave I turned into Attila the Hun.  Not a pretty sight.  Instead of being considered the Scourge of God… I became the Scourge of the Moment in all its ugliness. 

I’m not kidding folks…door to car slightly open…arm within…pushing, shoving, closing slowly then ultimately slamming shut before everything burst free.  That was me. And being me….of course…I had to reopen the door many times before the process was over.

In the end…off we went…pulling the car slowly out of the gate…waving to our neighbors and bottoming out on the cobblestones…off we set not in the least prepared for the adventure ahead.

I thought we had planned this trip to the nth degree.  Au contraire, my friends.  No amount of prep would have made it any easier.  Apparently, when my ship came in I was in the bathroom with my pants down..because the ship sailed into unchartered waters.  For some reason our GPS…though we had it set up for Mexico…didn’t seem to know where we were (like me…I never know where I am and find that oddly comforting…but, again I digress) going any more then we did.  It, like us, plummeted straight ahead caution to the wind and little on the brain.

We made it to our final destination, Matehuala, eventually.  I will not bore you with the crazy details except to say no banditos were encountered.  Simply wrong turns, potholes bigger then our car and a sense that our GPS lady had a diabolical side we weren’t aware of prior to this particular time.  There were a few stops by local polica and federales …check points if you will.  All were traversed without incident.  You merely had to put up with all traffic including many 18 wheelers pushed into one lane so they could drive through portable detectors.

The next day dawned bright and, though we felt like we were the only people traveling on the toll road to the border, time went by quickly…even if we crossed at a different international bridge then the one we had mapped and we ended up on Laredo Texas in such a way we felt we’d been transported there without knowing exactly how it happened…we were home!

The rest of the trip was uneventful, for the most part. We are now in our lovely home in Newberry. The furniture arrived a week ago.  We are settling in…getting to know the neighborhood and taking a deep breath.  It seemed like we had held our collective breaths for a long time before leaving!

Mexico is a beautiful country.  Its people are its biggest treasure.  The landscape is amazing and the weather even better.  It is, however, a developing country fraught with growing pains.  There is much to do.  There is much to see.  The cost of living, something that is upper most on a lot of people’s minds at this time, is less then in the US for the most part.  Here’s what I believe to be true, the more people from North of the Border and Europe that move to Mexico…the more the prices for things will continue to rise.

If you are thinking of moving to Mexico…by all means go there and spend as much time visiting as you can before you make the move.  Whatever area you may think you want to live in will have its pros and cons.  Visit first and make an informed decision … before committing.

Below are photographs David took just before we left and also photographs taken in our new home.  We are not Carolinians yet…far from it…and there are stories to tell already.  If you wish to hear them…to see David’s wonderful photography of the area…stay tuned to this blog.  If not, just reply to our notice of a posting and I will remove you from our list.  If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask by writing leslielynnelawrence@yahoo.co.uk any time and I will try to answer them as best I can.  Hopefully our book will be published as an ebook in the near future…if I can just pull my thoughts together enough to finish it!!  There is logic, reason, science and there is thought verified by experience and then there is me…everything I say should be suspect…funny perhaps, but suspect.  Just wanted to warn you.  Cést la vie…it goes to show you never can tell what might next pop out of this over fertilized brain.

Church in Tlaquepaque Mexico

 

Tlaquepaque

Ixtlahuacan Mexico

 

Newberry – House off Main Street

 

 

Fruit on the Vine – Enoree River Winery

 

Enoree River Winery

Up the Road from our House

 

Up that Same Road….Barn in the Sunlight…Newberry South Carolina

You Guessed It…Up That Same Road

Yes…the Same Road

Our Friends House Looking Beautiful in the Fog

 

In the Book of Life, The Answers Aren’t In the Back
Sep 2nd, 2012 by Les

“You get a strange feeling when you are about to leave a place, I told him, like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you will miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way ever again.”  Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran

“We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go we take a little of each other everywhere.”  Tim McGraw

Oh darn, I had so hoped they were in the back of the book!  Sometimes I find keeping my brain focused on a specific subject harder than putting socks on an octopus.  As Tuesday, the day of our leave taking looms my brain functions have become similar to that of the many dancing brooms let loose by the tiny sorcerer’s apprentice.  A lot of activity…most of it too curious to mention.

There is no putting into words how one feels as one nears the day of departure from their home of three years.  It is sort of like sitting in a dark room watching old home movies….a walk down memory lane.

For instance, the word “shit” muttered in disbelief, frustration, etc is an acronym for “ship high in transit” and was once used to mark crates of manure being transported aboard … well…ships.  Might be an urban legend or not..who knows.  Who even knows why I brought this up except I find the word, which I rarely use filtering through my mind often lately.

With my aforementioned mind on…okay I should take this with us….this should go in the lift van….no maybe not…where did I put the…what was it….over here….why did I come into this room….why in the heck did I even bring this here….goodness gracious I’ve turned into a Fruit Loop!

One thing is for sure Mexico is beautiful…the land…the mountains…the desserts…the lush foliage and absolutely beautiful flowers, birds etc.  And the weather…the best I’ve ever experienced anywhere…even during the rainy season.  However, if pushed to say what is Mexico’s biggest draw..charm if you will?  Certainly and without a doubt it’s people.  At least in my experience living in … as I’ve said so often before …a tiny former fishing village of Ajijic on the shores of Lake Chapala.

The people one meets every morning while sweeping the walk in front of our home, for example.  The “hola”, “Buenos Dias” that slip easily, now, from my lips and the lips of people I’ve come to know.  The mother’s holding tightly to their children’s hands.  The children dressed in the school clothes, shiny faces, big smiles and even bigger backpacks.  The daily life…shop keepers opening their doors, preparing their wares for sale and, of course, many observing the customs of closing between the hours of 2 and 4 to relax and have a meal with their families or friends.  Something I’m now so used to but was so surprised at when I first arrived.

The above is just a simple glimpse into the morning lives of my Mexican neighbors.  David and I wanted to live in the village because we wanted to experience Mexican life first hand and we have never regretted it.

The treasure of Mexico is it’s people….in my mind.  They touch your heart with their smiles, their laughter, their sense of family.  They are working hard for the very same thing family’s work hard for in the US, Canada, the UK and on and on…a chance for their children to have the education and opportunities that education can afford in their future.  Their joy of life which is never more apparent then the laughter, music and excitement that accompanies planned and unplanned parades that happen often in our little village.  Proud papas and mama’s marching beside their ninos smiling up a storm.

Life is what you make it.  Everything is within walking distance if you have time.  We did.  We walked, we learned, we experienced and we will never forget.

Vaya con Dios to all of our friends…we shall hold you in our hearts forever….may blessings surround you…happiness be in your hearts…may your homes be full of joy…and may you know that you are loved.

The kitten has found a home two doors down from us…just past the baker’s shop…and it is good!

 

A Garden Next Door

 

Beautiful

 

Vibrant Color

The Path Home

 

Of All The Yards In All The World
Aug 30th, 2012 by Les

So Sweet

Of all the yards in all the world, why did you have to walk into mine?  Our tiny ebony kitten still needs a home.  We are desperate.  We cannot take him with us, though we would surely like to.  The house we leased will accept 2 cats and we already have three.  This little guy turned up here unexpectedly a month ago and has stolen our hearts.  We could not ignore him.  He is playful, funny, sweet and cuddly and would truly be a great addition to anyone’s home.  Won’t you please consider adopting him or taking him and continuing the search for just the right home.  He comes with a carrier, kitty litter box and starter food.  Please email me at leslielynnelawrence@yahoo.co.uk or call us at 33.3484.9554 if you can help.  Thank you.

You never really leave a place you love, you take part of that place with you leaving part of you behind.  Much to our surprise we are, in fact, leaving something behind, the ability to party hardy.  We had lunch with some friends today and they mentioned that our good friends Lana and Steve Coffman have instituted a monthly …remembering David and Les party….with the first get together scheduled for their place next month.  I would venture to say Lana is as far of center as I am and I love her to death for it.  Getting the two of us together makes the absurd sound reasonable and, dear reader, if you are planning on visiting Ajijic you can spend time at Steve and Lana’s wonderful Lolita’s Inn www.LolitasInn.Ajijic.com and, well, continue the fun.  We plan on staying there when we return to visit!

Also, if you are in the mood for pizza “your way” you simply have to visit the Junky Monkey found on the carretera (mountain side) just past the Waffle House…the pizza is fabulous dahling  And, of course David and I want to thank all of those who put our Adios Party together….Ron and Bobbi, Ed and Betty, Michael and Shannon, Brent and Dale and Joe and Jan…what a memory to take with us and cherish for always.  The Junky Monkey is open Sunday through Saturday…from 1:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. (closed Thursdays) and their number is 045.33.1038.4129.

Here are some additional tidbits on our journey NOB…we decided to get our car checked out for the journey.  We have found, since moving here…at least for us…the most economical and best service has been rendered by Carlos at Escalera.  They can be found on the lake side of the carretera at Av. Hidalgo No. 448-B Riberas del Pilar….just past the Seven Eleven (yes they have those here).  Two shocks and 3 tires later…all bolts tightened and service completed…we are ready to hit the road.

As we were driving to Escalera the other day and I casually asked David…do we have to take the airport way to Guadalajara?  You see I am going to drive to South Carolina and David is going to navigate.  His response made me laugh out loud, “it’s the only way out of here”.  Now, please don’t take us wrong…its not that we are anxious to get out of here…its just that I’m driving enough said….not by a long shot…you know me better than that!  Let me explain.  We had our cats vaccinated for the trip as required and bought them comfy carriers.  I also asked our vet if he could provide tranquilizers in case they become agitated.  He did.  Why do I mention this, you ask.  Okay, so you didn’t ask … no luck… I’m going to tell you anyway.

I consider myself a rather calm person who has driven in many countries however, for some reason the drive into and out of Guad sets me back a bit (read makes her crazy as a loon).  David has been with me when I’ve been “set back a bit”.  So, dear reader…the comment “it’s the only way out of here” was more for my benefit then his.  Of course, there’s always the tranq alternative for David…I’m sure the cats will share!  But…if he tranqs himself…heaven only knows where we might end up!

Below is a chart David put together of the miles and towns we shall stop in as we travel toward Newberry South Carolina.  He has already booked us in hotels that accept pets and we will be staying in the Dallas area for one night so that David can visit his daughters and I can visit my brother and his family as well as stop and visit David’s sister before we head out in the morning.  We did the same thing coming down and ran into no problems.

Driving

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day

Date

From/To

Miles

Hours

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday

09.04.12

Ajijic-Matahuala MX

350

7

Wednesday

09.05.12

Matahuala MX -LaredoTX

333

6.5

Thursday

09.06.12

Laredo–DallasTX

432

7.5

Friday

09.07.12

DallasTX–MeridianMS

492

7.5

Saturday

09.08.12

MeridianMS–NewberrySC

500

8

 

 

 

 

 

Our dear friend Emmie, who is waiting for us at the end of our journey, has gone above and beyond to show us what Southern Hospitality is all about and we are and will remain eternally grateful for all of her help.  She is a special lady.

David has secured our state side car insurance and we have been told, though our license plates are not current (lets talk 3 years behind) we have 45 days in which to get the car registered in South Carolina.  If stopped, we have been told to show the officers our passports which will be dated and stamped upon crossing the border and explain our destination and plans to renew in SC.  It pays to have law enforcement in the family when confronted with these types of questions.

Jim Morrison once said: “I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moment.”

I know…no surprise…I can really, really relate to that quote…in fact I’ve used it before.  Life was so much easier when your clothes didn’t have to match and boys simply were too weird to even think about.  Now there is so much twirling around in my less then adequate head … preparation for the move …. hope that our little kitten will find a safe and loving home …. people who we are leaving….so many….so wonderful….so interesting…so…well, often…unusual….so talented…. that we will miss….beauty…of surroundings, culture, people and the list goes on and on and on…my brain…such as it is seems to be turning to mush.  Lots I’d like to say….little I can pinpoint before the thought simply drifts or propels itself out of my range of thought.  I mean folks, moving is kind of like stylized performance art, not unlike Kabuki…you just have to take a look at our house now!  I’ve got rhythm but David is finding my methods challenging…I venture to guess.  The idea is to be there (duh), to act as though you know what you are doing (well we all know that ain’t going to happen) while at the same time not yanking strands of hair out of your already thinning scalp.   By the time this is all over I’ll need to find a good wig maker!!

One more post before we hit the road….just a little warning so you might be prepared!!

 

Beautiful

 

Close Up

 

 

 

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