Friday, October 31, 2008

Dia De La Super Suck

As most of you may know but some maybe not Halloween isn't the fall focus holiday here in Mexico, it is Dia De Los Muertos (DDLM) which is celebrated on Nov 2nd. Its not anything like an American Halloween but people lump them together because they happen around the same time of year and actually maybe have the same in roots but totally hold different tradition. I really don't know. From a distance both holidays share a similarity. Especially in that skeletons are focal point of both holidays. For Halloween they used to scare and join with the ghosts, goblins whipping up a witches brew to scary soundtracks in peoples front entry ways. In Mexico the skeleton in celebratory often dressed up in human clothes, doing everyday things such as playing the piano or eating cookies and usually smiling. When portrayed as such they call them Calaveritas. I love the idea of day of the dead. The Holiday celebrates those who have passed on this day, Nov 2nd, when it is believed that the vail between the living and the dead is the thinnest. Alters are built with the passed loved ones favorite things and many families head out to the grave yards to spend the night partying with the ones they've lost. Betty has informed me that this is a Catholic holiday and not a Mexican holiday, since she's not Catholic so she doesn't celebrate. I'm not Catholic either but I've always pieced together portions of different religions that I admire and make them my own. I like tradition and rituals (though I am so not ritualistic). I am neither Mexican nor Catholic but I shall celebrate anyway.

Halloween is also a great holiday we don't really honor anything. We just dress up, get drunk, make bad decisions and blame it on the fact that we were dressed up and it doesn't matter because it's Halloween. Not that I've done that... my mom reads this. But we do have a rule that is not just mine, "Do not go on a date with anyone you met on Halloween (or met while in costume, does not apply to just Halloween". Since most people subscribe to the mode of operendei above it is generally accepted that one you meet in costume is one to be left alone post celebration. I have broken this rule twice. Twice I have regretted it. But I digress.

Now-a-days Halloween is about the kids well at least for me it is (I'm sure there is still a handful messing about in the previous). I was so excited to actually have a kid that I could do Halloween stuff with. Her first Halloween she was 2 months old. I had a party for new parents who couldn't take their kids trick 'er treating but still wanted to be involved. The next year I have no idea what happened to be honest. So lets skip it. The year after that we came to Cabo on Halloween. We dressed O up like a princess and brought her on the plane, but that was about it. This year. Well This year I had no idea what was going to happen. Do we do Halloween or do we do 'er DDLM. Well I knew I wanted to do DDLM aa set up and alter for Mike that is for sure, even if it's just a picture a candle, a golf ball and a cookie. I know he would love that. I wanted to get him a steak from Ruth Christs but I don't have any money and I don't think he would approve of the frivolity. Plus I'm sure if he wants a steak he's figured out how to get one. This is a thought that counts kind of thing. I've been planning DDLM ever since last year when my cousin Ian called and told us what it is all about. Last year when were here we were clueless. It wasn't until after DDLM that we figured out what the alters were actually for, not just 'neat' they had a purpose. I actually remember last year when we found a pretty grand alter in San Jose with a Calaverita in a chair and an empty chair next to it. My mom sat in the chair and I took a picture. Later on it dawned on us that chair was probably left empty of the one who had passed. Oops another miss step in a list of many. But we're trying, we're learning, we're growing and sometimes we look like assholes while doing it. (It's becoming my personal pass time despite myself).

But this year? What were we going to do about Halloween. I brought her princess dress and princess shoes and crown all to be reused from the Princessa going away party. So who was she going to be was not the question. The question was, where are we going to go? Do they trick 'er treat here? This was our first holiday to tackle all by or lonesome. So when I found out there was going to be a big "Felize de Artistas" on Oct 31 for both Halloween/DDLM (they do that, bilingual/ bi cultural thing), you would think I would be relieved. And at first I think I was, or at least I was too consumed processing that she was going to be off last Friday of each month plus three weeks at Christmas and three weeks at Easter (holy shit that's a lot of time off, anybody wanna come hang out with my baby over the holidays?). Halloween just kind of snuck in there. And then I got a note. A four page note in Spanish (always I don't know why I keep reiterating that fact) with obvious specific instructions and a Calaverita cut out. Oh man, here it comes my first ever SCHOOL FUNCTION. Ok here is the truth, I am absolutely scared to death of parents. Its a phobia, an inexplicable fear. I also have a horrid fear of leeches but I once stepped into a nest of them when I was a kid and got like 25 baby bloodsuckers stuck to my foot, the thought still makes me shiver. That fear is totally valid. But the parent fear? Maybe it's the punk rock girl in me, down with the American machine!!!! Which I'm totally apart of and benefit daily from so whatever. I don't know. But what I do know is that from the moment O appeared on this earth and it became evident to me that I would have to educate her, and since I have no interest in homeschooling her it would most likely be at some sort of SCHOOL, and most likely that school would have FUNCTIONS. School Functions(SF's). The thought just makes my palms sweat. And here we are in Mexico and I've got to go the first one alone, which presents more than just the average American SF challenge. All of my SF instructions come in Spanish. By this time I am sort of getting the hang of how to handle the school note either ask Betty to translate, grab the ole Span/Eng dictionary and have a go, or hand the note over to the lady at the Papelaria (school stuff store) and have her walk me through it. These instructions however were special. They involved a costume. Oh shit. I'm going to have to make a costume aren't I? (I think I predicted this in an earlier blog). Ok we need to get something straight. I don't sew. Nor do I take pleasure in art projects. I am not crafty nor do I aspire to be. I don't want to buy a house and fix 'er up and I don't want to fashion a nifty outfit out of needle and thread. I make sauce, write stories and play in the water. The other stuff is not my jam. So when I see, or it is translated to me that Ophelia is to be a skeleton all dressed in black and "bones" may be sewn or glued to the black wear to make her look like a skeleton, I run right out and buy the first Skeleton costume I see. She is also supposed to have her face painted white and eyes black. Which for some reason I kept confusing white face, black eyes or black face white eyes? Never mind. It was upon purchasing the face paint that Ophelia announced that for Halloween she would like to be Ariel(the mermaid) and I need to buy her red hair and a tail. Oh no. This no good. Skeletons have neither tail nor red hair. They are not even pink which I think I could have spun into acceptability. But this? There is no way I'm getting this Skeleton dealie on her without a fight, no way. But there is no way I'm not doing it either. We are facing this function head on.

Costume is not the only element of the b-dreaded school function to contend with. Timing is also a factor. We are to arrive at the school at 6:30, judge all of the rooms and alters, which the parents have earlier in the day gotten together to build and decorate. I skipped that all together. I really did kind of want to do that so as to meet some of the parents that O goes to school with so that at the end of this debacle I feel like less of a lepper. But there was no way. I had actually come across some parents all convening after school. I knew they were talking about a plan for decoration. Normally in the states I would enter trepidatiously and ask "Are you guys talking about decorating the alters for DDML"? But not this time. This time I just walked by. Defeated by my own fear and lack of confidence in my Spanish. Which by the I am speaking rather well Ophelia's teacher told me so. It's the understanding I'm having trouble with. So I feigned ignorance and skipped it. Forgive me but I'm pretty sure at least 90% would do the same. Call me chicken. Bock. I was still planning on attending the event just that was a feat in and of its self.

O and I were truly having one of her worst days since we'd been here and really in the past year I could say. I'm sure my anxiety was rubbing off on her. From first bat of an eyelash we were off. She was up at the weirdo time of 4 am. And even when I brought her into bed with me the sun was rising at 5. We just switched to daylight savings time last Sunday but it's not even December and 5 just seems excessive to come up so early. Garumph. I'm tired and the vision of this day is long. Since I had decided not to go to the pre DDLM set up I was hell bent on getting O to sleep as much as she could so the night would go smoothly. Yep Nope. Not happening. The girl new it was Halloween and she was so excited to dress as Ariel. I did not ever tell her she was going to do this, I was skeleton all the way. We even decorated the Calaverita that was sent home like Ariel in hopes that I could show her how fun skeletons can be and squeezing her into that black and white doodad (no seashells. no tail. no red hair. I'm fucked) would be not horrible (fucked, I tell you). And I was. I don't know how we pissed away the longest day on the planet but we did, without a nap. Then somehow suddenly, I step out of the shower it's 5pm, black as night outside and O is sitting in a dark house in her princessa Pull Ups (in anticipation of the costume application). Ok I get why we change the clocks back to give us an extra hour of sun in the morning for all the farmers or something right? But this is too much really. Not even a hint of sun at 5. Stupid, but accepted. I apply the costume with a major fight and lots of bribing and pleading on my part. What the hell am I supposed to do in this situation. I straight up suck at this stuff. If only I can get her there and she can see all of her friends are skeletons she'll accept it. (Which goes against my very nature anyway. I'd rather she go against the grain, but question authority, all that crap, but not tonight, just not tonight). I'll get there a little early slap some face paint on her and all will be jolly. She'll see that it was all worth it and actually have some fun on Halloween. Then something happened and I truly cannot say what. But, it occurred to me that perhaps my cell phone did not have the right time on it. I don't really have another clock that I use but something triggered me to think that perhaps my phone does not have the correct time. I went to my computer and googled "Cabo Time" (I've actually used this multiple times just to check the time). It says 6:10. Oh no. Still in denial, they must have it wrong. I call Betty.
"Betty? Um hi it's Anni. I uhhh well um I think my clocks are messed up. Do you know what time it is?". She has held my hand through out this entire move and now I am calling to ask her what time it is??!! Pathetic.
"Yes Amiga of course. It's 6:10. I'm dropping Beto off right now. Are you on you your way??"
Panic. "YUP"
I run upstairs, put on mascara (I don't want to look like a total mess at my first SF, grab my keys, bag, face paint and kid, who is screaming that she doesn't want to go. Screaming. I get her in the car and realize, I didn't feed her. I turn the car on so she doesn't suffocate from heat, run back in the house, grab two granola bars and a mildly crusty tortilla from left over from lunch and hoof it back to the Suburban (which I'm driving cuz mine's in the shop, again), and proceed to drive responsibly into Cabo San Lucas (everybody catch that?). Ophelia is still crying and now yelling that she's got boogers that I cannot wipe because it's dark back there and she is too faraway to reach without turning around. So it had to wait until we got to the Pemex stoplight that seems to only work every now and again. It's been out 3 times since I've been here. This time it was working and I caught the red. Thank goodness I could wipe and give her a granola bar. We continue on to CSL usually my drive from home to school takes about 20mins max. But 6ish is quittin' time and I'm headed towards the barrio's and I am S.T.U.C.K. in Cabo traffic. Thankfully the crying has stopped and somehow the crazy, whiny awful kid is replaced with my lovely Ophelia. I think the granola bar must've helped. I gave her the tortilla to ensure her happy place. Now she's singing and talking to herself. Good. All I have to do is move this damned car. "Argggggggg". I say out loud as the guy in the white pick up next to me makes googly eyes at me and wants to be my car time lover. Arggggg. And then from the back I hear.
"Mommy??? Mommy?? Why did you just growl like a jaguar?"
OMG honey that is just what I needed. I mirror onto myself of what I must look like and sound like. Tension release. We'll get there when we do. Who cares if her face isn't painted. Shit I forgot she needed cascabels (bells for her wrists), calmite, calmite. You're not even that late just get there don't worry about the bells. And we did and as I roll in another car is right in front of me a full 15 minutes late. Duh. These things are programed for late parents (right? aren't they?), I mean it's not like a wedding which is the only non work related thing that I can think of that if you are not there by the time on the invite you are mud. We got there it was fine. All the kids in her class were skeletons two had their face painted and two didn't. So even that wasn't a big deal. I didn't even see if they had on their cascabels. We found her teacher, she has two O is attached to the English speaking one. I can't remember her name. I suck. She's great though. She takes really good care of O. I hand the babes off and go find a place amongst the parents. Who seem only a little scary. I search for Betty but she's no where to be found. Turns out Beto doesn't want her to go. He's 14. You know how it it is. I'm on my own. I find a place in the front row and not 4 seconds later the show starts with the, "prescholar" O's class. All four of them and O's teacher. Dressed in skelton costumes two with face painted and two without. Music starts and not one kid does anything. Nothing they all just stand on stage. O won't even drop the teachers hand. I guess they must've predicted this performance because the music lasted less 45 seconds and their portion of the show was over. I don't know what to think. I mean all of that fretting and freaking for a mere 45 seconds? But at least our part was done. I gathered up O and sat back to watch the show. It took a really long time for me to ease up and find some enjoyment out of the whole thing. I had known in the back of my head that once we got there and were settled I might actually enjoy myself. The truth is it took a really long time to get there. At one point we'd gone up to the top cafe area to get water. I set O at the table to drink hers and turn to watch the performance and she falls off her seat onto her head is is crying again and I'm feeling horrible. Still. Again. When is this experience not going to suck? Luckily at these functions they sell food. Ahhhh food. Healer of all things. We go get a donut and a piece of pizza. Better. O actually starts to catch a second wind with a little sugar and fat in her tummy. I'm even getting smiles out of her.

After the performances we go to check out her class room. This was when I actually found the event worth attending. I got to see all of the Calaveritas that were decorated. We actually found another Ariel Calaverita and this one was wayyyy better than ours. O even claimed it her own rejected ours. Really I don't blame her. This one was pretty darn cool. She had me take pictures of all of the Calaveritas that she liked. Now she was really getting into it and so was I. I got to see her class room. Meet her classmates and parents. It was nice to put the names with the face. Right away we saw Stebastian who always says goodbye to Ophelia and she usually ignores him. I have to say that this is the most beautiful boy I think that I have ever seen. And I love him because he is so nice to Ophelia. We also met Ricardo who Ophelia refers to as goggle. When we came to say hi he turned away and hid he face. The teacher informed me that they fight a lot. Ahhhhh, this must be the naughty brown boy "Goggle". Then Hannia who is the only other girl in the class. I don't know much about her yet.

We somehow got all the kids together and their teachers for a picture which I was so happy about. In the picture that I am posting here O is yelling at me not to take the picture. For some reason she hates it. Its ok if everyone else does it just not me. She can be such an ornery little bugger. And I took out the red eye for everyone but Ricardo, with is painted face and costume, I thought it had a stronger effect. That is my passive aggressive action against the boy who's not nice to my kid. Ha take that you naughty little brown boy who's not nice to my kid.

Finally I'd had my fill of parents and decorations and all and found an acceptable time to make our departure. I left a little sad, a little let down, mourning my beloved Halloween holiday in which at home I know how it works. My kid gets to dress up in the costume of her choice. She trick er treats in a perfect little neighborhood and then we go home and had out candy ourselves and see all of the other cutie patuties that come around. Butcha know what? We had an experience and isn't that what this is all about. I knew there would be some growing pains in moving to Cabo. This was just the first of many. That is the point we're growing. And next year when we do this I will know how it works and my Spanish will be better and I will have had more time with the ferocious parents and they won't seem so scary and Ophelia and Ricardo might not even hate each other and even if so there is still Stabatsian the most beautiful boy on the planet. We'll get it we really will. I cannot expect perfection on the first round especially with something so big. This will not be my last post in which you find me down, but everyday is a new day and we get to try again. And that my friends is just what we'll do.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A day in the life of a Choyera

A lot of people have been asking what my average day is like in Cabo. I gave my friend Emma the low down here is a copy. Because I am too lazy to write it twice, I copied it with a few additions.

As for my days well. this is a question everyone has been asking so I should blog it but I am pretty sure nobody wants to hear it. But it kinda goes like this.
O crawls into bed with me around 5ish, if I'm lucky. Sometimes earlier, she's all messed up on her timing. Just getting used to the change from Minnesota time and then we just went to day light savings. We Get up around 6 that is if I convince her to just lay and not bounce around, that usually involves rubbing her belly. I get O to school by 7:30 - 7:45. Then a lot of times we've been meeting at the car place, or as we call it Cristobal's (that's the mechanic) because we've all been having car trouble my mom, betty and I. We've been the car shop like 20 times. In fact I was just there today. This is a routine I am ready to be done with for the sake of my morning and for my budget. I discovered yesterday that if I bring my suit with me to drop off O I can stop off at the beach on my way home and go for a swim. I've got the whole beach to myself. I figure I can do this, get my excersize in and still be anywhere by 9 (which is going to be my office hours when we get that up and running 9-2). Then sometimes, actually a whole lot like 3 times a week I have breakfast with Betty and Victor. This is fun, I try to practice Spanish, learn all my slang and submerge myself. They are starting to have most of the breakfast in Spanish now and not translating as much and I'm doing my best to keep up. Until I get started on my Spanish lessons this is really helping me along. I am becoming more and more confident and try to hold whole conversations in Espangol and not just talk about stuff that pertains to me. We're getting there. Betty and I do some work like look at all the homes she manages so that I can write them up or she has to translate stuff for me or I go home and do stuff or go back to swim and the beach like I did today because there wasn't enough time in between things to make it worth coming home so I swam and hung out at Santa Maria again, came home changed picked up O now she's sleeping. She is soooo exhausted after school. Lots to take in. The picture is of when I asked O if she wanted to go to bed and she said no. So I put her down so she could go play and when I came back from emptying the car there she was passed out on the floor. When she gets up we go swimming in our pool, have some dinner, do her homework (which tonight is decorating a skeleton for Dia de los Muertos - we're going to decorate it Ariel the mermaid style. Then bed for her. I write something either my blog or the house write-ups and then go to bed myself. I don't have a TV so it's a lot of writing and Facebooking, man is that a time sucker. Usually I'm in bed by 9:30 or 10:00 I too am exhausted by the end of the day. Sooo much to take in our little brains are tired by the end. And that's sort of how the average day goes. So far for this week anyway. Tuesday we have our weekly business meeting... I almost consider this going out social time. It's the only time I do something in the evening. I haven't gone out, out yet, I am really focusing on stabilizing and really being there for O. School's hard enough she needs her momma around. So there ya go.

I had heard that someone had asked if I was trying to make people jealous. And the answer is oh hell yes. But, its all true and your all welcome to visit, and I want to make you jealous because I miss you and didn't even know it was time of year to carve a pumpkin until I saw Nicole's pictures on Facebook. So I guess we've all got our things. You get fall. I get to go swimming in the ocean everyday. The thing is fall turns into winter and I still get to go swimming in the ocean everyday. :o) Besos a todos!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Santa Maria Morning

This morning before I dropped O off at school, I decided to pack up a swim suit and towel so I could have a swim before I got home and started my day. After I dropped off O I drove to Santa Maria Beach which is on my way home. At 8 am I had the entire beach to my self. The water was calm and perfect the beach not too hot and the water refreshing but not cold. I had a most glorious swim then layed on the beach to dry off. Was home by 9. I think I can make this a morning tradition.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Every New Years my friends and I get together and do a high and low for the year. It gives us each a chance to reflect on the past year and give our friends insights as to how we felt. Even though I may have spent the entire year with someone and think I know their high or low. I am often surprised. Even if I had their position pegged I'm always it intrigued to hear why. This is pretty much my favorite game (except for the one where you put the stickies on your head with a name on it and have to guess who it is, that's good too but in a different, make an ass out of yourself kind of way). I love the High/ Low game so much I make people do it just about anytime they are at my cabin, it seems like it's always appropriate because it's my house and we're gonna do what I wanna do. Oh no, what I mean to say is that we are all gathered and able to listen for a very short period of our lives and most of my friends like the game as much as I do. I also like play the game after trips or events like Valley Fair. I will use Gretchen's Birthday party at Valley Fair as an example of how to play. My high at Valley Fair was spending time with all of my friends (that's actually kind of lame and boring but we're going to use it). My low was riding the "Wild Thing" as my very first ride. My especially low was when I was having grand ole time chatting in line with all of my friends and gleefully stepped into the roller coaster car, it wasn't until halfway up the "up" part and my body was nearly horizantal to the growd and I realize "WHAT THE FUCK AM I DOING HERE" and go into a panic and put my head between my knees and start panting OMG, OMG, OMG. (I'm sort of afraid that this will be a metaphor for my move to Mexico, but I think I came into this eyes wide open so I should be ok). Upon survival my super duper low is realizing that I am too old and traumatized for any other rides and only stick to the ones I know. But my other high was Quam's picture posted after the "Wild Thing" which was so hilarious I almost bought it and depicts that she HATED the "Wild Thing" as much as I did, so we stuck together. Oh and Funnel Cake. Funnel Cake was a high. Ok so now that you understand the rules we are going to play that game with my most recent week here in Cabo.
Ok So my high was setting up the initial corporation papers with Betty and Baruch on Wednesday, in which I became Treasurer of Villa's in Baja, the name of our vacation rental business that we starting together. Betty is Secretary and Baruch is Prez but we all own an equal share and the title is just a formality. Much like and I bet most of you are unaware of my other title V.P. of M&K Los Cabos (my mom's biz in cabo) in that it is a necessary formality but in my V.P. status I have no clout nor can I do anything. But as treasurer I am in equal standing with my cohorts. That is a definate High! I hope to keep getting higher. My other high was that I celebrated with Veuve Cliquot that day at lunch. But an even better high was that I had been thinking earlier that I really wanted my signature (because it my head I made it so when we drank like a gallon of it in Eze, a blog I wrote about but never posted) champagne the Tattinger Brut Rose (rowerrr yum). When we went out to my mom's last dinner out (and my last fancy dinner out until she comes back) at the Pamillia they had it! Tattinger Brut Rose. Isn't that exciting that I thought about it and then I got it! Always "High" material!
But my looww was that was my mom's last night out with me and that I'm not going to see her until late Jan. But we'll have lots of stories to tell so it's ok. But my super duper low was when I was driving on the corridor and mom told me I was going wayyyy too fast and told me slow down and go the speed limit. To which I sort of freaked out and said "You want me to go the speed limit Here!" and went the 70 km's which is actually like only 40 miles and hour but it drove me so nuts to go that slow that I couldn't even slow down that far and for fear of being run over by a truck because nobody drives that slow except for people who's cars are duct taped and chicken wired together and have no tail lights. Those are the people who have the accidents not ME! Gawhh. Mphh. I don't know that I actually awknowledged that I was driving to fast (and I'm not now) but we did kiss and make up before lunch. I think we'd just been together a little tooo much. Definately a low point but we're laughing about it now.

My other high was my house warming party in which everyone that I know in Cabo was there. Which is awesome the all agreed to be in my picture so that I could show it to you! But before I took it I made them all say "We Love Anni" and they did! Here they all are starting at the top of the stairs and working its way around I'll name them. Paola, Baruch's girlfriend. Mom. Betty. Anna (Victor's wife) Marta (Romero's wife and of one of the original families of Cabo the Chong family which was waylaid on their way to San Fransiciso from China and stayed. Just interesting that one of the original families in Cabo is Chinese), Victor and his two kids Daniella and Fabrizio. Behind him is Grant and Baruch and then Romero our chef friend. The other high of the night is that this party was a Felize Traje (I'm sure I totally botched that up), basically it's Spanish for potluck. Everybody brought something. I was most excited for was that Betty said she was going to bring "Sopa Verde" or cold green soup. Does not sound appealing at all but everybody said it was good so I was excited to try it. However, when she arrived she came with pasta. I asked here where's the cold green soup? "This is it", she says.
"Thats not soup" says I.
"Pasta is soup" she says oh so matter of factly...duh. And here comes my next low. I was just not going to get it. And even the next day at breakfast (we have a lot of breakfast Betty,Victor and I, thats a high, I love Mexican breakfast) I brought it up. Betty tries to explain and it is not computing. Finally after way to long Victor prompts Betty to tell me that Sopa Seca is pasta (dry soup) and Sopa Con Agua (is soup,soup) and then they inform me that anything with cream in it is Crema, like Elote Crema (Creamy corn soup) which was finally when I got it cuz Katie and I had Elote Crema on the trip and were expecting creamed corn and got soup and it was good. But still soup is soup not pasta, mostly I'm just concerned for ordering purposes I don't want to be in the mood for soup and accidentally order pasta or vice versa. You can understand my low.

And then my other high was releasing the baby turtles, Oliver Ridley's I think is their official name, up in Cabo Pulmo, well actually out at Las Barraka's beach. We had done this once at the hotel and it was kind of neat but mostly boring. At the hotel the turtles had already climbed out of their hole and were being stored in a large Tupperware bin with sand in it and then released in a contained area in which no one could touch them which I totally understood for the safety of the turtles (the people at the hotel were idiots, seriously dumb, I have stories that I will no doubt refer to at some point). But at Cabo Pulmo it was much more of a community thing. People just show up to the beach to help the little guys and gals out of their holes. They all climb out then lay in a pile after they get out of the egg and up out of the whole (which by the way Katie I was right the white things on the beach were turtle eggs, cool huh). We decided it's kind of Indiana Jones looking. There are so many and they crawl on top of each other if you just happened upon them you might be freaked out. Once they are ready the start making their way towards the ocean. The lady on the beach explained in Spanish and I think I got it but I could so be wrong, is that they follow the vibration of the waves. They also follow the moon but since tonight was no moon the ones who weren't moving by dusk were covered back up and would try again in the morning. The ones who did make the long trek to the sea were sooooo cute! They are so little and get stuck in foot prints and get tossed by even the tiniest of waves. I think it won't be long before people start placing bets and racing baby turtles. Its rather exciting in a very slow environmentally chic sort of way.
My low was that Ophelia has had major snot ever since she got off the plane. No big deal she had major snot the last time she was here. I think it's all the swimming. But while we were releasing the turtles she started getting this horrible cough. Like deep chesty and phlegmy and she'd catch in her throat and it sucked. I knew we were out in the middle of God Loves Nowhere gorgeousness not a doctor in sight, the sun is going down and I have to drive home in the darkness...ness. And even when we got home the next morning where were we going to find a doctor on a Sunday? Grant had drawn me a map in the dust of the window of my car to point me in the direction of a good doctor he uses in San Jose but I would have to wait until Monday to meet him. Luckily I stumbled upon a doctor while trying to rent some movies at a resort. A sign said doctor 24 hours. Saved. Got a prescription and a discount because I live here. The doctor gave me his card, said he'd even do house calls and now I've even got my doctor. Even if he doesn't work out I still have the dust map that Grant drew for his doctor on the window of my car. So even that is a high. And my other one last low is that I didn't get one picture of the turtles. I forgot my camera. Dumb. Grant got some and I'll try to get them from him and post them cuz they are real cute. Or I'll just go back, the hatch almost everyday it Oct and Nov.

So wasn't that fun? I'd love to hear your highs and lows for the week/ month. Feel free to comment with news

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mi Casa y Escuela de O

Ok, I am skipping ahead a bit. I plan to tell the the whole story of the trip down Baja which was totally crazy and one event after another. But now it's a memory a story to tell the grand kids...or well you know what I mean. A story to be told but that can wait. It's time to focus on the present and get you all up to date on whats been happening down here.

I have only been gone a month and 1 week of that was traveling the Baja. The other three weeks have been surreal. Surreal in the fact that this "moving to Cabo" thing is actually falling into place seemingly effortlessly. Everything that could go right has. How often does a person get to say that. I was expecting some rough patches and I am sure they are to come but for now all the hard work of preparation for this move is paying off big time.

As most of you know I was planning on living with my good friend Betty. She offered us a room in her home free of charge all I had to do was buy a refrigerator and I assume split the bills. I so excited to live with Betty because I love her family and have a real cultural experience, stay in a Spanish speaking home, eat the main meal at 2:00pm (an idea I love but have a hard time adjusting too) and live in the barrio. All things that I was really physicked for while searching for my own pad. The ONLY thing that I really was not excited about was sharing a bedroom with my daughter. My darling daughter who apparently moonlights as an aerialist in her sleep. The girl can pull a triple sou cow while flying through the air and yet still remains asleep. It is a wonder she stays on the bed. I found this out while sharing a room and for the first few days a bed with her in which I had to sleep stiff as a board on one eighth of the bed. The rest of the time after Katie went home (who by the way can fall asleep with in 2 seconds of her head hitting the pillow and never wake again till dawn, we sort of think she may have fathered my child they have the same narcoleptic tendencies) I slept on the other bed and still remained sleepless. Ophelia also speaks in tongues during REM as well as sucks on Gigi so loudly it could wake just about anybody but Katie out of a solid slumber. Needless to say I was starting to get tired. After a week of this I knew that perhaps I should start researching places sooner than later knowing that something in my price range might not come up for months. The next morning I find a forwarded email from my mom who is a part of a social network down here that posts long term rentals. There was a furnished home for rent in my price range. Just for fun we decided to check it out. I really had my mind set on Betty's but then something else came along. Casa Button Bottom, that is what O wanted to name the house. I couldn't talk her out of it. And with the little sickness we had going around for a bit there... well it seemed appropriate. The moment we walked in the door I knew it. I loved the sweet older couple who told me how they met and fell in love in East Africa while he (Tony) an American was teaching a math class to her (Anna) who is from India, who are my now landlords. I loved my pool and outdoor kitchen that I share with this couple. I have a washer but I have to hang my clothes to dry them. I love that. The view is spectacular. I am just across the highway which is just across from the path to the beach. It gets a little loud but I'm pretty used to that. The house has a great lay out very open and the kitchen is awesome. I can look out at the pool while I do dishes and O eats her bagel and jam (she prefers the word jam over jelly) or does her home work. Even though the home came furnished it was sparse and since my mom has everything from Villa Miguel in storage we took a few things to spruce up the place. I got a bunch of the art from Villa Miguel. I got the "Dos Gorda's" And the Cuban ladies. And the big bellied man sleeping. My faves. Like old friends who live with me now. And the best, and I told my mom and Betty this and they made fun of me for saying it, but I have really great stars at my house (apparently they do too or something). And the moon shines into my bedroom along with it's reflection on the waves. Sometimes so brightly I want to turn it off and then remember its the moon in bask in the light. From my patio I can see the sun rise over the Sea of Cortez. Or at least in theory, I haven't had a chance to bring in the morning for my upper patio yet. Usually I see the pink sun rise above the horizon out of my rear view mirror as I race down the corridor to get O to school on time.

Which is another piece of the moving to Cabo thing that has been seamless. When I came to visit in April I found a great little bilingual school that could take Ophelia. It was the same school that Beto, Betty's son, goes to. I loved it when I visited. The week that I was there was the "Week of the Child" or "Semana de los Ninos" and I loved it. After driving down a somewhat sketchy looking dirt road just outside of Cabo, only to come upon a dusty nondescript wall of a compound I was uncertain as to what Betty was to show me. We had to wait to be let in, security is high, for the same reason it is in the states, just an added precaution. But when the opened the door we entered a wonderland. The whole school was decorated in Snow White theme as the children were going to be putting on a production for their parents in celebration of their special week. I was sold. I met with the principal and some teachers and was very impressed. But that was April and as time passes you can't help but wonder if you have over glorified things just because you want it so bad. And just because you like the school doesn't mean that Ophelia will. What if she HATES it. What if no one can understand her. What if she cries everyday before and after school. This would be terrible. But she was excited on her first day. She went with her teachers strait away. We had visited the school a few days prior to give her a tour and get her curriculum and uniform, and introduce her to some of the staff. I'm not going to say that this was completely smooth but most of the issues lie with me and still do. Whats the problem you may ask? Well it's going to be the same thing. I don't speak Spanish and though it's a bilingual school it is geared towards Spanish speaking parents. O's days are 1/2 in Spanish and 1/2 in English, but ALL of my info comes in Spanish. I really just am confused and feel as if I am always missing something, like there is going to be a big concert or something and I am going to miss it just because I don't know that the schedule reads "Big Concert on Friday. Dress your child in green and white and practice this song" If someone sent such a notice home my Spanish would understand the message to say "Big Friday Child Green and White Song". That is just not enough information to get it right. So right now I'm having Betty help translate and some of the English teachers are giving me a heads up which I cannot appreciate enough. In fact I just got a notice today about the festivities for Halloween and Dia de los Muertos. Two pages of instructions and a cut out of and skeliton which I haven't a clue what to do with. After a 20 minute conference with the head of the English program there I come to understand that on Oct 31st there will be a performance and beforehand all of the kids will decorate the rooms and then we will vote on the best room (duh I'm totally voting on O's room). We will be given instructions on what to bring (remember instructions are not my strong suit at this moment). But here's the kicker people after that and a some point which I'm not totally sure when that is all of the parents of your childs grade is supposed to get together and plan to decorate and alter for "Dia de los Muertos". ummmmm I really don't even know where to begin with that. How far am I putting my self on a limb. First of all I am so new to the whole kid at school your a parent so you gotta do "kid at school parent stuff. I am dreading the day have to sew my kid a costume, which could potentially be next week I don't know. But on top of that I am going to have to PLAN with other parents and alter. I can tell you right now my strategy with be the good ole "Smile and nod" tactic. As much as I am scared to death about this situation I am equally as thankful. If O weren't in school I would not get to have any of these experiences. I am more than excited to see my kid singing in her Mexican school amongs the mixing cultures of Halloween and Dia de los Muertos, (a holiday that I am so looking forward too, I'm already planning Mikes alter).

With these events in mind and all that are to come I have been diligently doing my part to learn Spanish as fast as I can, but now I know lessons are a priority. Its not horrible, I have learned the words for paste, draw and trace which help me, help O with her homework. Yup that's right O has home work. It is simple things like trace the word "one" and draw the number "1" we do it both in Spanish and English. Really it's fun and I'm learning too. And despite the fact that O is going to school with kids who primarily speak Spanish she leaves school happy as can be. Though she did tell me about the "Naughty brown kid who won't listen to me and wears a pony tail" but another day she pointed to two shelves and about the upper she said "arriba" and the lower "abajo" and she was right. It's going to be just like this I think, our ups and our downs. The "brown ones" who "won't" listen and the ones who offer their home and translate for us. Isn't that what we came here for? The learning here does not just come from school it is every part of our daily life. It's exhilarating. Its exhausting. Its all that I could have hoped for.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Princessa/Going Away Party

Hi Everybody. If you are reading this it means you've made it to the new site! Congrats. The other blog site blocked me out so I had to start again. I hope you enjoy this one as much as the other one. I'll try to keep it interesting, which I don't think will be too hard now that I'm living in Cabo and here there is one story after another. We are in the middle of one big adventure. And to kick off this adventure we threw a Princessa birthday/going away party. We invited all of the princessas and pirates we knew, and even some we didn't know but wanted to meet before we left. It was a wild time with most kids dressed up, Nana's garage doused in as much pink as we could stand, and at the princessa her self's most special request chocolate cupcakes with pink frosting. The princess party kicked off the night but as the sugar crash set in most of the kids went home. As the kiddo's were gearing down the adults were just getting started on the peach sangria I'd made. Wasn't that good? I'll totally toot my own horn on that one. It was the only thing that was completely drained by the end of the evening. Nice work guys. It was a great night. Pretty crazy and hectic for me as I was playing hostess and caterer. Not the smartest choice even though I had great help I was still doing more running and less conversing. Next time I will have to stick to just hosting. Though I got to talk to many of you there were so many people that I missed. I saw you come in and I saw you leave and that was it. For those of you who I did not get to spend some q.t. with I am so glad you came and I hope that you were well fed and maybe we can catch up on that q.t. here in Cabo. For those of you who were able to stay it was well worth it. It got just a weee bit crazy in the end.

We had bought some face paint for a kid party activity. Surprisingly the kids didn't really get into it. A few of the kids got a heart or a flower on their face but most chose a temporary tattoo. However, even more surprisingly, my mother's friends somehow found the paints and REALLY got into it. We're talking, full facial. A tribal chief, Pocahontas, a tiger and a fairy. My mother insists that there really wasn't that much alcohol involved. But according to the pictures I'm not so sure. Either way they were one fun group to have at the party. Those who survived the face painting escapade were able to catch a rare performance of Anni and Katie's original synchronized swim routine of Cher's "Do you believe in life after love" now carefully adapted into a land based format. Face paint and dance both high lights of the evening.

I was glad so many of you were able to come, and came bearing gifts. Though I had thought I had said no gifts necessary, more than one person said they neither heard nor saw such thing on my invites. Perhaps a subconscious thing. I love presents. And even though I really didn't know how much we could bring to your gifts were perfect. O received quite a few travel toys and books which I know made the plane ride for my mom and O a breeze. They had one thing after another to keep that girl busy. We are still using the water color books and princess sticker books on a daily basis here at the time share. We've been practicing our Spanish with the bilingual and vocab books and just really enjoying all the books in general at bed and nap time. Though I have to be admit something and I wanted this to wait until another post in which I tell our Baja travel stories, but this seems as good of time as any to admit to one of my many idiotic moments. Mine as well just get this one out of the way.

I had been reading in all of the Baja travel books that one should bring extra gas for the long
drive down Mexico HWY 1 in which gas stations may be few and far between. So I packed a little two gallon can that I had found in my garage and brought it along. When we neared the border in Yuma I decided to find the gas can and fill it. I was so proud of myself for remembering it, and feeling pretty awesome that we were about to embark upon something that could very possibly involve us needing spare gas. That is cool. I was going to be prepared. The only thing was, upon closer inspection I realized that the little tank needed two covers, one for the spout and one for the air hole so the gas might flow faster. I was missing the cover to the air hole. Ummm.... I went into the gas station to find a solution. There it was right next to the really big gas tanks, which by the way did not seem to have air holes nor the need for a cap for one. To me the air hole was beginning to seem like more of a pain than a necessity. But as I looked further in the gas can section of the gas station, I found my solution. Electrical tape. Duct tape is used to fix just about any problem under the sun. I can't imagine electrical tape being any different. The only reason we use duct tape more often is because it's that pretty silvery color. I bought the boring black electrical tape, filled the gas can wrapped up the air hole good and tight ( even made sure the tape was sticking to the inside part of the grooves) and put it in the car top carrier so we wouldn't have to live with the smell of gas, (just because I had over filled the can a little and the outside was soaked, not because I didn't have faith in the tape in the hottest muggiest weather I'd ever seen). I nestled the can right between my tent, camping chairs and O' toy and book bag. Perfect. We might just need that and if we do I, ME, will have thought to be prepared. I got back in the car, Katie was on the phone with her mom, I told her we had spare gas if we needed it. Focused on the border, we were off. Well a few days into our voyage we find a place for our first camp. I open the car top carrier to get our amping gear that I was so excited to use for our first beach camp, only to be SHOCKED at what I found. The electrical tape had come off and soaked everything in two gallons of gasoline. Did anyone see this coming? All of my camping gear was soaked ( I will tell you how we dealt with this later) and most of O's books. So when we finally arrived to the time share I aired out all of her books and even used a match test on the stinkiest of them ( had a gallon of water right by me just in case, I learned that lesson, which I'll tell you about later). Anyway the books past the test. At least none of them ignited, but some were so stinky we could not keep them around. We kept most of them and even though some still have a hint of gas we enjoy them just the same. Ha. Good one huh. My mom thought I should be too embarrassed to share but you all know me so just shake your heads and move on. You gotta take the good with the bad.

We had many adventures and stories on our journey but this post's focus is on the party and express our gratitude to you all for coming, the other stories will come. I really did want to use this opportunity as a mass thank you card as I wasn't able to write one to everyone before we left. We really got some awesome well thought out things. Princess gifts, travel activities, Spanish games and books even a magic princess necklace from Karen. I also got a few going away presents for me and the trip. My gramma gave us and angel to hang in the car to keep us safe (she earned her wings on this trip) some travel treats that lasted way longer than you would expect. We were eating chocolate rice krispy bars well into Mexico. Her chocolate chip oatmeal cookies made fast friends with our fishing, snorkeling guide in Mulige. We dug into Dick Field's pretzels even before we left MPLS but they lasted well into Yuma. We savored each treat and thought of home. Sue Fahey made O some PJ's and for me a quilt, which meant so much I brought it along. The time that must've gone into those projects is really special. The biggest shout out to Gertie and Katie who came over to decorate and party prep. You know how much I love you. I'm really going to miss friends like you. Thanks to Deb for putting out the food and keepin' it comin'. You are awesome. Thanks to everybody. It was a great party and a great send off with things to remember you by. I will be keeping track of our lives on here so come on by anytime, leave us a note or just read about our adventures. We'll love hearing from you.