Tuesday, December 20, 2005


I think I'm finally starting to think in Spanish. I have to think now about works in English. Well, OK, only one really. Tubos. Concrete pipe. I look at concrete pipe now and think tubos. Which when you are talking to someone who speaks English - the word comes across as being kind of funny.

I also had my first serious misunderstanding in Spanish. I was totally confused about some measurements, and I was trying to explain what I thought, and Jorge was trying to explain how it actually was. It should have been about a two minute conversation, but it took us about 30 minutes to drudge through. I kind of felt like an idiot, because it was just a confusion about the metric system (mm, cm and m). It was so incredibly hard to try to explain and point out things that you are absolutely SURE of when you don't know the words and you can't be understood exactly. I was SUPER frustrated, but I handled it well. Instead of clamming up I continued to try to explain myself in different ways, and I actually was laughing, although I wanted to cry.

Turned out we were both right - he just used a different way to notate things in his log book. But now, at least he doesn't think I'm an idiot (at the end of the conversation I said "I promise, I am very intellegent!". He seemed to believe me.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

oh what a weekend

The weekend passed well, with mucho mucho action! We went shopping on Saturday, and then attended our holiday party. I didn't win a TV, but I did score a new Sony DVD player, so that worked out OK. Keith managed to make out by scoring a new God Father, and he also learned the term "Tequila por favor. Derecho." which means straight in a little brandy glass with no chaser. He should have learned his lesson when we were out in Mexico City - but alas, no, he did not, and suffered horribly as I heard him hurling through my thick concrete walls.

This morning, he didn't get up with me to go to visit the family of our friend Veronica, and her friend (now ours too) Consuelo. They are two very fun women! I had a great time today, because I love meeting new people, espeically if they like me and want to adopt me as a surrogate child, and esecially if free food and beer is involved. Thats not my problem at all. I have come to find that I am a true American, and I only like to visit people for a couple hours. Mexicans like to visit for HOURS AND HOURS ON END! We got to her brothers house for the little fiesta at eleven, and finally left at 7!!! It would have been more enjoyable had I not had a tiny "cruda" or hangover from the night before. I managed to put down three beers with lunch (Carnitas, mole, arroz, y consumme) but Vero and Chelo put down five more aftelr I was done. I was so ready to leave by 3pm.

On a side note I had no idea there were a million different "breeds" of fighting roosters. Vero's brother Roberto was big into them! He had about 30 of them at his shop (he's in the truck transportation business, the party was at his shop - it was ginormous!). They were each in individual, very spacious corrals, and apparantly they are entitled to congugal visits because they had a few girl chickens in thier own spaces too. Naturally the boys were all separated. Now, I have never been a big fan of animal fighting (racing, yes, fighting, no), but apparantly its quite a site to be seen. So, Keith and I are officially invited to the biggest cock fighting event of the year in March to watch his birds have it out. I will say this, these animals are INCREDIBLE looking! Colorful, grandious, amazing birds! I will post some pics when I get a chance.

Anyway, it was 8:30pm by time I got home, and I was relieved to see that Keith was still alive, watching the bonus features of the Cinderella DVD Pat O'Brien bought me :) I'm ready to hit the sack. Its hard work being around all those people for so long....all I really wanted to do was go home and cuddle up with my cats and read a book. I cherish my alone time. Although part of the experience of being an expatriate is trying to adapt to different cultures, so I will try my best to not be a loner. Its going to be a consentrated effort, though.

Friday, December 16, 2005

A post about nothing

I really dont have a lot to write about today, but I figured I would anyway. Oh, I could write about how Keith was an hour and a half late from picking me up from work yesterday, and that I will never leave him the car during the day again EVER - but I decided against dwelling on the past and will not be discussing that.

What I will discuss is our adventure for tonight - our first Posada. They start from now until Christmas. Here is a description of what it is:

"La Posadas," the remarkable buildup to Christmas Eve, is perhaps the most delightful and unique Mexican tradition. Beginning December 16th, it commemorates the events in the journey of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem.

After dark, each night of the "Posada," a procession begins led by two children. The children carry a small pine-decorated platform bearing replicas of Joseph and Mary riding a burro. Other members of the company, all with lighted long slender candles, sing the "Litany of the Virgin" as they approach the door of the house assigned to the first "Posada." Together they chant an old traditional song and awaken the mast of the house to ask lodging for Mary. Those within the house threaten the company with beatings unless they move on. Again, the company pleads for admittance. When the owner of the house finally learns who his guests are, he jubilantly throws open the doors and bids them welcome. All kneel around the manger scene or "Nacimiento" and offer songs of welcome, Ave Marias and a prayer.

Now it's time of the "Pinata," refreshments and dancing. The "Pinata" is a pottery (or paper) container, brightly decorated and filled with candy and toys. It is hung from he ceiling or a tree. One by one, the children are blindfolded, turned around and instructed to strike the Pinata with a stick. Usually several attempts are made before the container is broken. Of course, when that happens, there is an explosion of goodies and a scattering of children.

We're going with Marta, Fernando and the kids to Alex's school for this posada. We were also invited to one on Saturday night, but we have my work party :) They have lots of raffle prizes like TV's and cameras, so hopefully I will luck out and get something cool! But, if I get a blender, thats awesome too because I lost that in the divorce and need one anyway. How else am I goign to make margaritas! Aside from the prizes, there will also be Mariachis, other music, lots of food, and Tequila! It should be a good time. I'll make sure to post pics.

Another note - my countdown to home begins! T - 1 week! yay!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Beautiful time, beautiful city!

The drive to Querétero was less than exciting, and since I was hopped up on cold meds I slept most of the way....but the city itself was beautiful!!!!! We were in the central area, and there were fountains and little squares around each corner. Many of the streets were pedestrian only, and there was no graffitti and tons of color and colonial architecture, little cafes, bars and restaurants, and stores to shop at. And, even though our cell phones didn't work and I forgot to bring Lisa's number, we managed to meet up around 7PM and have a great dinner. It really was fantastic to see her, it feels so good to be reminded of home :) Here's a pic of us, and of the city:

We left at about 10:30pm, and ended up getting home at 1:30AM. Keith shirked his Red Bull allegence and decided to try some of the other energy drinks here, most of which are carbonated. It tasted nasty, kind of like medicine we had as kids (but not the yummy pink bubble gum kind). It apparently did the trick because we got home safe and sound!

I also picked up the letters from México City for my landlord - I hope its what they are looking for. As I thought - they wouldn´t pay for any bills I don't pay, which makes total sense, but just vouched for mycharacter and my salary and said they would notify them in the event that my work was terminated before the contract was up. I am not exactly sure what kind of assurance this gives people, but hopefully its enough so that we can stay in our house!

OH YAY! Today is Jueves - cleaning day! When I get home my house will be nice and sparkley because Matilde came today! Whooo HOooOOooO!

ALso, the first game of the soccer finals is today - Los Diablos de Toluca vs Monterrey........so far we're down 3 - 2, but its not over yet. I have discovered that I can't understand a word of play by play, but I really really like it when they sing, and when they say GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!

And now, your moment of Zen

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Visitors and being Ticked off

I have more visitors coming to México today! My friend Lisa is in Querétaro for work, so Keith and I will be traversing to go have dinner tonight. It’s a bit like driving to Grand Rapids from Ann Arbor for the evening, but the distance doesn’t bother me at all – especially since Keith will be driving home. I’m super excited to see some more familiar faces!


So my company is supposed to write a letter to my landlord as well as my new car people to essentially vouch for me, and say that if I don’t pay that Apasco will. I can't believe that any company would do that, but whatever. Well, I needed these letters like two weeks ago, and I’m still waiting. I’m starting to get a bit PO’d, especially since the real estate lady called me last night and said that she was going to have to take the house away from us if we don’t get that letter. I really hate being threatened, even more so when it involves being HOMELESS!!!! I do understand her frustration, but geez – telling us she’s going to kick us out? That’s a bit harsh, isn’t it?

I’m going to start being “That Person” and call HR every two hours on the hour until its done if I don’t get it soon. I also have had my boss and my bosses boss team up too, so I’m hoping I will get some results……soon!

Poop – Beware TMI ahead

OK, so I’ve lived here officially one month, and I don’t think I’ve had a solid bowel movement in about that time. Yes, gross, I know, but oh so true. I couldn’t tell you if its because of the food, the water, or just plain old stress. I even have medicine that I’m supposed to take if I have diarrhea, but I can’t remember to take it three times a day – I HATE medicine that I have to take twenty times a day. I never remember. Anyway, its not like its explosive diarrhea like Finch in American Pie or that I have severe cramps or anything, its just stinky and loose. They say to keep hydrated, get potassium and sodium in your system and eat bland foods. I can handle the first two, but how the heck am I supposed to eat bland foods in Mexico where everything is chile coated?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Ah. Some days are better than others. Today is not a good day. I’m not sure why, I’m just kind of tired and crabby. I don’t want to speak Spanish at all, and I’m ready to shoot myself because I’m SICK and TIRED of not having INTERNET SERVICE!!!!!!!!! I can’t do any flipping work because I have to patiently wait to bother other people and use their computers when they are off doing other things. I have a shit pile of things to do, and I can’t do any of them. It makes me want to SCREAM!!!!!! And, I can’t set up my stupid online banking account because the instructions are all in flipping Spanish – and I don’t understand A GODDAMN THING!!!! So that means I have to spend most of my lunch hour waiting in line with the rest of the stupid drones in order to pay my flipping bills. AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!

I’m trying so hard to be patient, but I’m failing miserably. All I want is my own computer; with internet access so I can pay my stupid bills in the US, occupy myself and communicate with the rest of the world until I learn how to do stuff and can participate as a real human being not just a space taker-upper. Shit. Is it time to go home yet?

On days like this, only Calvin can help.....

Monday, December 12, 2005


Oh man, it’s my birthday. One step closer to 30. Oh well, I’m not really that concerned over it. The main thing is that TODAY, in honor of my birthday; I get a half day off. Well, not really just because its my birthday. Its el día de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, which is a pretty important holiday here, so there is a half day. There is also a shit pile of fireworks going off, which started about two days ago, and culminated last night exactly at Midnight. Which was a real nice wake up call!

Something really cool happened to me at work :) There was all sorts of commotion going on out in the hallway, so I peeked out to see what was up, and everyone was standing around. So I mosey down and see a big yummy cake and some pop…..for me! Everyone sang the Mañanitas song and took pictures and gave me a trick candle, and it was completely super nice! It made me feel pretty much at home! And the cake, oh sweet mother was it ever yummy. Chocolate and almonds with fudge frosting….super rich, but very good.

Anywho, back to la Virgen. The main celebration takes place in Mexico City, at the Basilica de Guadalupe. Beginning at midnight (last night) people gather and circle around this tiny church to see the cloak in which la Virgen appeared to the poor Aztec farmer Juan Diego. That little apparition is marked as the entire reason why the country of Mexico is devout Catholic, as well as so dearly tied to la Virgen. Keith and I went to our church today at the 6PM mass, and it was pretty packed. The weirdest thing was that everyone brought in their statues and images of la Virgen to be blessed by the priest. I was unaware of this custom, or I would have brought my own! It was pretty impressive to see all the various images big and small crowding the altar. I didn’t quite understand all the mass; it appeared that the readings weren’t from the bible, but were historical readings of the story. I thought it was pretty cool.

After church we met up with Fer and Marta and family at our house (which is now sans boxes and bags! YAY!) to have a little birthday celebration – with a Tres Leches cake with strawberries (YUMMY!). They sang the Mañanitas song as well as happy birthday. We also had some habenero chips – I think I am developing a taste for hot chips now…..they made me want to barf about a month ago. Apparantly I’m becoming more Mexican!

Sunday, December 11, 2005


HAPPY BIRTHAY LORI!!!!! It’s an honor to share sequential days with you! I super hope New Years works out :)

Oh boy today was action packed! We went to Xochimilco and Cohuacan which are suburbs of Mexico City in the South, and we also car toured Mexico City Central – at the Zócalo. It was way way super awesome. We went with Fernando (Keith’s friend he met at church) his wife Marta, their two kids Alejandro and Fernando (who really couldn’t be any more adorable) and Fernando’s brother Erik. Fernando and Erik both learned to speak English in school, and Marta learned when she studied abroad in Taiwan and Japan for a year and a half (apparently English is easier to learn than Asian languages, and just as easy to communicate because many people speak English there). Fer doesn’t talk much because he’s one…..he says important words like “Piñata” and “Leche” and “Jugo”. Alex is about four years old, and was cracking me up all day! I don’t know what it is that makes kids speaking in a different language so cool but I could have listened to him all day. He is learning English and French in school, but retains more English because his parents speak. He saw a King Kong billboard and pointed and said “Mira Mama – King Kong is muy BIG!”. I was laughing forever. Then he started the game with us “Como se dice in Ingles……”. That lasted for a while. He really was hilarious!

It was cool to tour the area with people who spoke English, but also spoke in Spanish too….it was a day of very little miscommunication! And, the sites were awesome! The thing that was most interesting was riding around in a Ford Ka. Think about the old Ford Escorts, but cut in half (see photo below). We had 7 people in it. Yeah, we felt like real Mexicans! Granted, two of the people were kids, but still, 5 adults in this little tiny car is a push – but it was a great time!

Ford KA

For reference, the roomy Ford Fiesta

Xochimilco is hard to explain, but I will try. You ride around in these gondolas, but they are super colorful, and you have a picnic with your friends and family. You can hear different kinds of music and buy food or crafts from other people floating around. It really was a trip! Then, there is a cool Mercado in the surrounding areas, in addition to an incredible flower market (I’ve never seen so many poinsettias, or Noche Buenas as they are called). It’s called the Venice of Mexico! Here is a pic.....I couldn’t find a boat with my name, so I had to buy one - but we did see one called Camilla!

OK - here is an official description from a website www.oldandsold.com:

Xochimilco is generally called "The Floating Gardens," although a more accurate translation is "The Place of the Flowers.". Many years ago, it is said, the Indians made a floating garden by floating large mats, covered with thin layers of earth, on the water of the great lake, of which Xochimilco is today the only remaining section. But, in the course of the centuries, trees grew on these floating islands, the roots anchored them to the bottom of the lake, and now it is a district of islands among canals. It is about as lovely as anything you will ever see. Xochimilco was formerly a playground of the Aztec nobles, and even today the Indian boatmen and gardeners the Aztec language and preserve to some extent the Aztec culture......

......you will be literally bombarded by musicians rowing up beside your canoe and wanting to play to you, photographers insisting on taking your picture, and flower vendors trying to sell you posies. Once you have managed to get past them, you can go on to one of the most delightful excursions you have probably ever taken anywhere. Your boatman will pole your canoe slowly through the canals at an average rate of speed of about two miles an hour, or less, under bridges reminiscent of Venice, and through backyards!

....As a special treat, I suggest that you hire a large canoe with a table in the center. You can either bring your own box lunch or buy hot foods and cold drinks from one of the floating lunch carts in canoes that ply the canals. If you like, for a few pesos, a marimba orchestra or mariachi band, also in canoes, will follow alongside your canoe and play to you while you are having lunch.

The whole setting is exquisitely romantic-the fresh flowers, the fragrant odors, the sentimental Mexican airs. Except for the occasional music, the place is delightfully quiet. (No motorboats are permitted on the waters.)

Cohuacan was where we saw more Mercado’s, a super hippie village area, and ate some damn good tacos y quesadillas (con queso…..you have to order it that way in Central Mexico to get cheese on them, don’t ask me why, I still don’t get it). Then we made our way back to the highway via downtown Mexico City. The zócalo is incredible – positively the largest cathedral I’ve ever seen. Apparently the architecture of the cathedral in Guadalajara is exactly the same as the one in D.F., but it’s a bit smaller. We didn’t stop because it was getting dark, but the whole square was decorated with huge scenes of lights, and there were a billion people around because of the holiday tomorrow. We also saw el Angel de Independencia, and el Monumento de Revolucion, both very impressive monoliths.

By the end of the day, I was wiped (Keith was too). Now I am totally ready for bed!

Friday, December 09, 2005


A little word about the cold. Yeah, blah blah blah, I know you got 500 inches of snow in Michigan. Bo flippity hoo. At least you all have HEATERS!!!! That’s right, I’m living in the coldest city in Mexico, sans any central heating. In order to maintain any heat we pretty much have to sit with three blankets on us and take turns holding a space heater by the coils. The whole place is tiled, so if you forget to put your slippers on and accidentally step on a freezing cold tile, your feet automatically turn into 2’ cube ice chunks. Its so cold, that I was contemplating, seriously contemplating, buying my cats a sweater. Have you ever showered in the morning when its 0 degrees outside and you have no heat??? Scalding hot water does nothing to warm up the tiles.

At work, inside the buildings, everyone wears their coats all day long because THERE IS NO HEATING!!!! People hover in the lab in the morning because it’s the only place that’s temperature and humidity controlled (73 degrees, always!). Sunny Warm Mexico my ass. If one more person emails me and says “Hey, I bet your enjoying that warm sunshine” because they think I’m testing concrete on the beach while drinking a margarita, I’m going to kindly remind them I’m three hours away from a beach at 8-freaking-thousand feet above sea level and THAT ITS NOT WARM! I’ve never been so cold in my life. Sheesh.

Well, I might be exaggerating a little, and really, I can’t complain too much – its only rained a couple of days, and there hasn’t been any snow except on top the Volcano for the past 20 years. And, it warms up to about 60 during the day……but as soon as the sun goes down, bust out the down jackets!

GaDEV & B-Day #2

Gracias a Dios esta Viernes! Just doesn’t have the same ring, does it? Ah yes, another week gone by, another million headaches past. I have to admit, though, my resolve and attitude are improving, and I think it is in direct relation to the amount of communication I have going on – the more I understand and talk, the better I feel. Its pretty cool. I’m beginning to get to the point where I really don’t care what I sound like, I just get it out and be corrected. It’s a huge step for me – its hard for me to sound dumb….it makes me feel, so, well, stupid! The other half of the story is that things are beginning to fall into place, and before I know it I won’t be scrounging around for internet access anymore, and maybe we’ll have some TV. I don’t know how many more times we can watch my pathetic DVD collection. At least Keith is keeping busy during the day– he found my CD player, put together my desk and hooked up the home computer - I came home and country was blaring and he was paying games. I am pretty sure he is a minesweeper master. He said during the day he was utilizing my “learn Spanish your way” CD’s. I’m not sure how much I believe him. Come on – we’ve all wasted entire days before palying computer games…….haven’t we?

Anyway, keep your fingers crossed for next week! I have a feeling the rest of it will fall into place.

Before I forget:


Make your cute little brown babies give you a hug and a kiss for me on your birthday

Car situation update – I’m going to go on Sunday to buy it – keep your fingers crossed that everything works out. I don’t have original copies of pay stubs, or my original FM3 so lets hope they accept copies! Basically what I’m going to do is buy it here with the up the arse high interest rate, and then just get a different, normal, car loan when I get back to the states. I get screwed now because I have to pay the down payment and all, but luckily I’ve got a lot of people willing to help me out so I’m not out in the cold. Here's a pic of the one I'm going to get....its sooooo cute!

Also this weekend, we’re going out with some peoples from work, and I am really looking forward to it. I can’t wait, actually. Hopefully I don’t overdo it and end up butt ass hungover……..

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Happy Birthday DAD!

Congratulations – you’re officially almost 50! Love you tons!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A new dawn......

I apologize for no making an effort to update this while Pat O’Brien was here….it wasn’t just that I was busy canoodling with him, it was the fact that my home was stacked to the brim with boxes and we spent the entire weekend unpacking and rearranging and hanging out in a house with no phone and no cable. I will say though, it was fantastic having him there to help out. I left all the heavy lifting to the two big strong men J I’m pretty proud of myself, too. I didn’t even cry myself to sleep last night. I think it just felt good to be in my own room with my own stuff, it was very comforting. Don’t get me wrong, I was missing him something fierce as I used a T shirt of his for a pillowcase, but, I also knew that really, we’re going to be OK and everything is going to work out better than I expected. The first few weeks flew by, and I was miserable – so I figure the time has to fly faster as I get settled and have more fun and more experiences!

I never did get a response from my doctor, so I am sans anti-depressants right now, since Thursday. I actually felt pretty good over the weekend, but I had a heck of a time getting out of bed this morning. I think that’s more of a function of me not going to bed until 1:00AM! And no, I wasn’t engrossed in unpacking, either. It was Keith and I staying up to watch the rest of the 3rd season of Sopranos (or as Keith says, the Sopornos). That damn show is so addicting. I really don’t know why I care. But, I know that we will be engrossed in seasons 4 & 5 as soon as I can get them from Pat O’Brien J

What else has happened?

Bought a fridge and cute itty bitty microwave from Wal-Mart yesterday. It was supposed to be delivered to us yesterday, but I guess they decided it would be better manana.

We met with our landlords last night at their coffee shop to go over some more details and to get an extra key and such. I really like them. The official owners are an older couple, but they are expatriating to Costa Rica, so the daughter (Claudia) and her fiancé (Emannuel) are going to take over, and they also run the coffee shop – which consequently has a really fantastic chai latte. They are about my age, and speak very good English. It was also promising because Manos (Emannuel) is from Greece, and has only been here 8 months and is pretty damn fluent in Spanish already. Yay! There is hope for us!

Oh yeah, we’re still non-rental-car-less and I have less than a week to figure it all out. My ideas keep on ending up in the toilet, but thankfully my ever-thinking Dad is still on the ball. He suggested I check on car loans originating in the US, but for cars overseas…I thought I remembered already checking into that, and that it was a No Go, but since I had to call National City anyway, I figured it wouldn’t be a bad idea to double check. Turns out, it might not be a bad idea! If Dad gets a loan and has it wire transferred to the Mexican Dealership, it can all work out. AND, let me tell you, a 7% interest rate car loan sure the heck looks a lot better than a 19% one!!!! I’m hoping I can take care of everything this week. The thing about this whole situation that made me a bit proud of myself – instead of crying my eyeballs out I decided to make a chart on potential solutions to the problems, and the feasibility of each. I must say, it was much more effective!

So, ta ta for now – more adventures to come (and they will come more frequently when I get high speed internet or until we find an internet café – whichever comes first!)

Monday, December 05, 2005

sorry - long time!

no post :) just a quick update - we're in our new joint, and things are going well. We won't have internet for a long time, so i probably won't be updating on a regular basis until about a week or so. Pat's visit was amazing, eventhough he was fighting off a cold the whole time :) We didn't do a whole lot exept unpack, but it was great just to have him close. it was tough to see him go this morning.

OK, thats all for now - this week of transition will be tough, but we'll be back in contact with the world soon. We might have to find a local internet cafe to visit.....


Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Hip Hip Hooray! One more sleep for me and then Pat O'Brien will be here :) The people at the lab are cracking up at me because apparently I've been very chipper today.....skipping around, grinning like an idiot and the like. Its funny how they can make fun of me without speaking English :) All in good fun though.

Today has been a pretty good day - I spent the morning doing tests for the heat of hydration for dry and partially hydrated cement. Sounds not fun, but actually is. It involves putting on a semi-space / tin foil suit and taking stuff out of an 950°C oven, and even besides that, its a pretty cool test. All the technicians from each of our cement plants' laboratories are here learning how to do more stuff. One guy said he's in love with me, even though I'm from the US don't speakSpanishh, and knew him for about two minutes. You know, I don't understand everything in Spanish, but it was very easy to see how he felt about our president, and Americans in general. Pretty interesting. Alas, his adoration was not reciprocated, although it did get me a seat in the lab during the testing.

Also weird today - I had sushi for an appetizer for lunch. Really,that'ss the last thing I expected to see in México. Apparently everyone else was just as astounded, judging by all the comments and faces (think four year olds and brussel sprouts). It was followed by spicy ass soup, and some pollo mole verde which was stupendous. I didn't have dessert because it was jiggly, but at least I gave it a try before I started making faces myself.

Hmmm....its 5:00pm.....maybe I will go home and take some sleeping pills, to then I can wake up and it will be tomorrow :) OK, OK, I'll knock off the cheesiness.......give me a break, eh???

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


So, its official! Friday is the day that we will move into our apartment, and its also the day my new bed and the rest of my goods will arrive. I can’t tell you how excited this makes me. I’ve officially been a vagabond since near the end of October! Its really frustrating living out of a suitcase. And I’m really sick of the six sets of work outfits I have. You know, the women who work here have uniforms – and the actually are pretty darn hot! Like, 3 piece suits tailored for chicks, a different one for each day of the week. Veronica, our ever knowing ever helpful assistant, is going to order a couple for me. They are too cute! Anyway, Vero is cool – she’s going to take us out Friday night to go see some bands play. I’m excited!

Oh yeah, and we got back the family pictures we took at Thanksgiving when we thought we weren’t coming home until January. Check them out, they came out very well. It cracks me up every time I look at Austin – he is so hilarious. He’s such a mini-Kyle its about ridiculous. I also super like the pics of me and Pat O’Brien. He’s such a Hottie McHotavich! I really dig his fuzzy face, and his cute scar on his eyebrow where it doesn’t grow. *sigh* How dreamy!

SNAP – back to reality. Good news is we’re coming home for Christmas, which really lifted my spirits because I was really dreading not being able to spend it with my family. They are way too cool. And, I will still get to experience the posadas here, and el dia de los Tres Reyes after I get back – so I get triple the parties!……The bad news is it cost a butt load. So, to all those who were expecting Christmas presents – SURPRISE! Its me! I hope everyone understands! Maybe I’ll be able to afford to bring some chicle back J Or maybe even the chicle kids!


I can hardly stand it. Pat will be here in two more sleeps. You know, I’m not exactly sure when I started counting things by sleeps, but it has been a while. I’m not even sure you can pluralize “sleep”. It seems to be just a bit more exciting knowing that when you wake up after that last sleep, what you were awaiting for will be there!

Anyway, in the meantime there is more, more, and more frustration for me. I really have to try hard to not bust out crying when something goes awry. I often wish I could be more like my brothers and my dad, who often don’t worry much about anything. Ever. Not me. I’m like a perpetual time bomb, just waiting to go off. Ask Keith – he pretty much laughs at me every day because I’m wound so tight. It’s not like I yell and scream or anything, I usually just cry; which has been happening at least once a day. And I’m not talking cute little tears down my cheek. I’m talking close the door so I can bawl and then fix my mascara after I’m done crying.

So, the frustration of the day? I have medication that I take daily for anxiety and depression - one that after much searching and trial and error that I really like. And, turns out, they don’t have it in Mexico. And, I’m out of refills so I can’t depend on Pat O’Brien to get it for me and bring it down when he arrives Thursday. AND, I don’t really have the time to search out for a doctor here and go and visit. So, I called my doctor practically begging him to send in a prescription to the pharmacy for one more month to buy me some more time, and he said no, because I haven’t been in for a few months. HELLLLLOOOOOOOOOO! I’m in Mexico! Its not like I can drop by! True, I should have thought about that before I left, but I was sort of preoccupied with uprooting my whole life. Anyway, I faxed him a letter practically begging him to give it to me, and we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

Turns out they also don’t have the birth control that I really super duper love either (http://www.nuvaring.com/ It ROCKS). So I’m going to have to figure out a plan B for that as well. On the flip side, my allergy medication is shit-piles cheaper because it’s Over The Counter – so instead of paying $60 a month, I will only pay $30. That is pretty dam awesome! Actually, most medications you can get at the Farmacias here without a prescription. You tell the pharmacist what’s wrong, and they hook you up. Apparently, you only need to go to the doctor if a limb is unattached or your gushing blood. Hey, whatever works.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Improving my Spanish Skillz

Yesterday was a pretty eventful day. We went to a car dealership to see if we could talk to someone about purchasing a car, and it ended up in frustration. They want 3 months worth of pay stubs from Apasco BEFORE I can buy a car. How the heck am I supposed to wait 3 months without a car????? Ugh. Sheer frustration. But, at least I did communicate what I was looking for, and the good news is that they do have a cute little car with every thing that I want for the price I would like to pay. Now, I just have to figure out financing.....

After that, I bought my new bed, and we ate lunch at a pretty cool restaurant called California Restaurant. It was a buffet. The food was OK, and it was about $12 a person all you can eat, and all you can drink. And yes, damas y caballeros, that does include beer. See for yourself!!! The beer is right next to the pop! I think when Pat O'Brien gets here on this week we might stop here and load up before we go out to the bar :)

We decided after that to venture out to the city center, and we saw some pimp cathedrals and lots of goods for sale, though we mostly just looked. Also, thank goodness you can always count on McDonalds for clean, available bathrooms. I was about ready to poop my pants (damn food doesnt always agree) when we came across a McD's. I will forever be a loyal customer!

We also saw the Museo de Bella Artes and a incredible botanic gardens with Vitrales, or stained glass as a centerpiece. Check out the pics!

To top the night off we went to a club called L'aqua and drank and danced the night away. I did manage to make some friends (a kindergarten teacher, her boyfriend and her sister) but I didn't get any numbers. How do you go about that anyway without them thinking that you are hitting on them? I don't think there is protocal out there for trying to pick up friends......oh well, you never find good ones at the bars anyway :)

Friday, November 25, 2005

Funny Story....

Back tracking here a bit - Keith and I went grocery shopping earlier this week because I was getting sick of the ham and cheese bit and wanted to throw a little PB&J in there just to mix it up a bit. Well, graceful me drops the jelly when we get home and shatters the bottom. I carefully picked out the glass and put the remainder of the jelly in a ziploc container. I proceeded to eat some PB with bananas, then went out to check my email.

When I came back, Keith asked me "Did that peanut butter taste a little sandy to you?". Um. No. But, if he had jelly with that sandwich I'm pretty sure it wasn't sand that he was crunching on......although glass is also silacious! He wouldnt let me throw it out (Mom - Does that remind you of anyone????) but luckily we haven't run into any sandy patches since :)

OK, good news, finally! We got the apartment we wanted and will be moving in next Friday. Fortunately, my hunny buns is also coming to visit this weekend, so I will have an extra set of hands to help out (I'm sure thats exactly what he was counting on doing!). Hopefully we will be doing some fun things this weekend so I have good things to report. I swear if I spend the whole time in the apartment I am doomed to go mad!!!

Caravan de Coca Cola

I finally decided to venture out a little bit – because as I said before if I stay in this apartment all weekend watching TV I’m going to go crazy. Both Keith and I have kind of been in this stage where we actually avoid talking to people. Its really hard not being able to communicate and to feel like an idiot, so its easier to not talk at all. Anyway, Friday night I forced Keith to go talk to the front desk (I can do that, because I’m the big sister) while I checked my email. I wanted to find out what was going on in the world of Toluca at night, that was relatively safe. We got some names of a couple bars and some pool halls and such. Although I didn’t feel much like going out at that point (it was 9:00PM) we both thought it might be a good idea to go scope out the places that we didn’t know.

So, we took a trip into downtown Toluca. About halfway to our destination we stumbled upont TONS (and I mean Thousands!!) of people sitting on the sides of the streets, apparently waiting for something. We drove a bit more, and when we couldn’t drive down the street that we wanted to bevause it was blocked with families and people selling chicaronnes, nachos, cotton candy and light up antlers, we decided finally to suck it up, find an illegal parking space and see what was up.

We got out, I purchased a cheesy Feliz Navidad light up reindeer/mickey mouse hand hat, and we waited. After asking some people, it turns out it was the Caravan. The Caravan of Coca-Cola. Of Course! Why didn’t I know that? What I wanted to know was WHAT THE HECK IS THE CARAVAN OF COCA-COLA??? Seeing as how I normally decorate the day after Thanksgiving, and everyone was wearing some type of Christmas gear, I figured that maybe this would be just what I needed to cheer myself up and get myself in the Christmas mood. And maybe I’d get a free coke out of it.

Well, there was no free coke, but there a was pretty big parade with impressive floats and big trucks all decked out in Coke gear (Tia Mo would have loved it!) all lit up, singing and dancing and all the world loves Coke. It was actually pretty fun! And, a local asked me a question J I couldn’t really anwer it, but it felt good to be approached. At the end of the evening, we found our way back home, and I for once actually felt like this was a good decision. That was exactly what I signed up for – experiencing something completely strange and new and exhilarating, something that was purely Mexico!

Now I feel ready to conquer a few small things. After I shower (we have hot water now, thank the sweet Lord) we’re going to head out to some dealerships and I’m going to try my hand at communicating in Spanish again. I’m going to be here for a while, I might as well start now!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Feliz El Dia de Accion de Gracias!

Happy Turkey Day everyone! Just so you all know, the Lion's terrible beating even made the local news down here. Good to know the whole world can appreciate their mad skillz.

Here's a quick link to brighten your day http://www.hallmark.com/ECardWeb/ECV.jsp?a=0170861583579M000000N . Enjoy!

Adios! Keith and I are off to the traditional Mayer Family Thanksgiving Day move....Harry Potter y el Caliz de Fuego!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Another crappy day

I'm so completely unmotiviated and depressed right now I'm not exactly sure where to start. You know, I'm not sure that I signed up for the ridiculous ups and downs of emotions that come with this whole international relocation business. Its really starting to get on my nerves.

It probably doesn't help much that I'm hung over. I really didn't drink that much last night (seriuosly mom, I didn't!) but I think the altitude along with the fact that its been a while since I have imbibed were working against me. In any case, it was a bad lapse in judgement that caused me to miss work for the first time.....I blamed it on the food or water and irritable bowels. hey, might as well take advantage of it while you can!

So why was I out you may ask? My friend Maria Yanez came to Mexico City for work (she's a Holcim chick too). Her brother works in Mexico City as well, so we met up at her hotel and went out to a pretty cool restaurant called La Valentina. Mariachi's and all. Her brother David is somewhat of a high roller, so he ordered two bottles of really expensive Tequila and we drank most of it. Not shots mind, you. No, that is not how they roll here. It was like in a teeny tiny brandy snifter, followed by a sip of sangrita (think mega heavy bloody mary in a little shot glass). I admit, it was good, although it didn't taste good coming up this morning. We stayed in her hotel room to sleep for a bit because she didn't want me driving in Mexico City at night (for good reason, I suppose). So I woke up at 5:30 and Keith and I drove back. It was really good seeing a familiar face.......and being able to talk in Spanish and English at will (she's from Ecuador). Also, she's on her way back to Ecuador for three months to take care of her ailing mother, so any prayers for her and her family would be appreciated!

OK, so, despite a fun night here are other reasons why I'm crabby/sad/depressed:

  • Thanksgiving is tomorrow. And I have to work. I didn't think it would really bother me, but it just reinforces how much I miss my family and back home. The more spam I get in my inbox about after-thanksgiving day sales makes me think about it more, and the more sad I get.
  • I don't think that I am going to get the homes that I would like. The girl emailed me today and said someone else has an offer in for $500 more a month, and I just don't think its in my budget to match it. I knew I shouldn't have gotten my hopes up!!!
  • I can't figure out how to work my damn phone voicemail. Its really starting to miff me off.
  • I don't have any friends here.
  • I want my OWN stuff in a apartment that I can call my OWN in a place where I can have my OWN wireless internet service!!!!!!!! This temporary living nonsense is Crap.

OK, I promised myself that I wouldn't cry in the stupid business center, so I guess that will be all for now.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving Day everyone! And please be sure to be super Thankful that you have your family close to hold in your arms!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Top 10 lists

Figuring I really need to embrace my new found surroundings, here is a list of things I love most (so far) about Mexico

  1. Fruit, oh so fresh and succulent fruit!
  2. Homemade tortillas (corn or flour!) at tortillerias around every corner
  3. The smell of barbacoa wafting through the air
  4. COLOR!! (Biege? Whats beige?)
  5. Working for a company that people have actually heard of
  6. 2 hour lunches (and yes, I did take a siesta today)
  7. People enjoying their family
  8. Beautiful sunshine and mild weather
  9. Daily maid service
  10. Mexican music on the radio

And, on the flip side, here are 10 very important things I miss most about home

  1. My Family & Friends
  2. Pat O’Brien
  3. Chips without Chile flavor (i.e. Doritos and Tostidos)
  4. Potable water
  5. Being able to communicate well
  6. Pat O’Brien
  7. Being able to eat produce without wondering about amoebas and human excrement in fertilizers.
  8. Bright lamps and lights
  9. Being able to drive and breathe at the same time
  10. and last but not least……..Pat O’Brien

Monday, November 21, 2005

Mercados and Deportes

What a difference a couple of days makes. I’m still a bit on the lonely side, but I suppose it would be pretty difficult to round up a network of life long friends in one week. *sigh* I often have too high of expectations for myself. One of the many things I need to continue to gain patience with……

Today wasn’t very exciting at work. I had to read through and prepare a bunch of standards for testing, and also go buy some steel toed boots. On the way to the zapateria was our little pueblito in Metepec. It was hoppin because apparently Monday is the day of the Mercado. There were people and goods everywhere! I really wanted to stop, but we had to drop off some aggregate samples, so it wasn’t going to happen. The fresh fruit everywhere is enough to make your mouth water!!!!!

I also finally got up the guts to give my little souvenir gifts to my new co-workers. It was actually pretty hard, because you never know what they are thinking (like, what the heck is this crazy American giving me this dumb little thing for?!?!). I figured you really can’t go wrong with things from the homeland. I stuck with sports teams, and brought a plethora of Michigan, Pistons, Redwings, Lions and Tigers stuff…..keychains, shotglasses and cozies and the like. I am not even sure if they know what cozies are, since most beverages are served luke warm at best because even they don’t want the ice in their drinks. Its amazing how a country so big can have high speed internet access and not have potable water. I just don’t get it.

The gift giving seemed to go pretty well. Especially since they have no idea how badly the Lions and Tigers stink! Although, now they might now. The Lion’s game was broadcast here Sunday on Fox Deportes. It was exciting to get to watch the game – terrible that they lost. Also exciting (mostly for Keith) is the Thanksgiving Day game is on here too. Bummer for me, it will be one of the only times in my life that I have not watched that game. Alas, I will be working because Mexicans have no inkling of Pilgrims, Indians and cranberry goo shaped like a can.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Lonely Planet

I’m not even sure if I’m going to post this on the blog, even though I know I should. My expatriate experience would not be complete if I didn’t convey the wild range of emotions that I go through at any given time. So, if you’re reading this – welcome to my real world :) Its not like I’m a wild and crazy psycho or some super duper freak or something, but these emotions may contradict the image that some people may have of me…….

Here it goes. I’m completely co-dependant. I pretend to be this self sufficient independent take over the world person, and I really am not. At all. Case in point – I have not NOT had a boyfriend/male companion for more than a month since I was 14 years old. I’m not sure if its because I need to be needed, or if I just need to have someone there for me. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of friends and family who are there for me at any time, but for some reason I have always needed and had a man in my life. Which is also strange because 3 out of the 4 serious relationships I have had in my life have been long distance ones. I suppose I feel like I need the security while having the freedom as well.

The difference now being that I had an established life before I met any of these men, and had plenty of friends and activities to occupy my time while we were apart. Now, its quite different. Right now, because I don’t know the city and don’t have the energy to go out and explore I have a lot of free time at night. So, what do I do? Pine. Yearn and pine. Cry, yearn and pine. Most nights are not that bad to handle, but occasionally, there is the anomaly. Such is tonight. I’m lonely, sad, and in desperate need of comfort, and there is no one here to do so. Tonight, Chicago feels like a million miles away. I know I can’t have a hug or a gentle kiss, but sometimes, like now, even a phone call isn’t feasible. And it really sucks. And, of course, it feels like the end of the world.

I talked to my ever wise mother, and she gently reminded me that I need to learn to stand on my own two feet – even if it stinks. And she’s right, because I have never been able to do that on my own; there has always been a crutch. I shouldn’t have to rely on any one person to lift my spirits, or make my day. I need to make my own sunshine. Not that doing so makes me love Pat O’Brien any less or need him any less. It just will make me more self reliant, hopefully a better person, and maybe able to maybe fix the things about myself that are less than stellar and that have contributed to things going awry in previous relationships. Or, if nothing else, it will help me cry less….because I think I’m running out of tears!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

First days are sucessful!

Thursday was my first day of work. It went pretty well. Friday I had to go to Ciudad de México to get some immigration information taken care of at the government and our corporate offices. My first experience driving during rush hour of México City went well! No accidents, and no careening of cliffs. Keith came with me though, just to keep my sanity. Driving in México City is kind of like driving in Toluca.....times 23 (Toluca has a population of 1,000,000. México City is ~23,000,000). Anyway, it was rather uneventful, we didn't get lost and we didn't get kidnapped, so I guess we are off to a great start!!!

Driving and other such dangers

Let me say that first off, I am well aware that people in México drive crazy. I learned that lesson the first time I took a ride in a Bochito (little VW bug) taxi many moons ago. Or when we took that bus ride from Puerto Vallerta to Guadalajara and the driver almost plunged off a cliff twice while drinking his jug of tequila hidden ever so discreetly behind his seat. But it really does take on a whole new meaning when you are doing it yourself.

First off, driving here has been refered to as "anarchy", which is an appropriate description. Anyone who has ever driving in Boston might have an inkling of what I am talking about. People have a complete disregard for any traffic signals or signs. They apparantly are merely a guideline.....only if you feel like listening to them. They cut you off, merge when they shouldn't, blatently run red lights and the buses - oh don't even get me started on the buses!!

Keith put it quite eloquently as we were driving home from the mall last night.....and I quote "For being such nice people, they sure are cock suckers!"

Really though, the worst part isn't fearing for your life. Seriously, its not! As long as traffic is moving its not so bad, you get used to it and become accustomed to being an aggressive and offensive driver. The worst part is being stuck in traffic. Its not like any other traffic jam. Its like the worst traffic jam you can imagine, with people weaving in and out of traffic trying to sell you bananas or dolls or wash your windshield, all while sucking on a tailpipe. Thats what it felt like. I swear I could feel capallaries in my lungs collapsing from the polluted air. It was so bad that I could taste it. I was nauseous for three hours after I got home.

The buses and trucks are by far, the worst. They pull up next to you, or stop right in front of you and say "Hey, Hola! Hows it going? Open up - I'm going to stick this ginormous tail pipe in your mouth and suck all of the available oxygen from your area and replace it with fossil fuel dirtied carbon dioxide. I hope you like tar flavor!"

Lucky for me, Keith enjoys driving. I think its the guy-video game connection. Now, if I can only find an oxygen tank to keep handy........

Thursday, November 17, 2005

All Caught up

OK, now that everyone is up to speed......we have narrowed it down to a few places to live. Here are a couple pics.....we found plenty of places that were beige and lacking character, but these two places topped our list because they had a bit more.....um.....Mexican Flair :)

Here are pics of Las Palomas

And, of Vitrales....

Un Buen Dia

I arose this morning fresh and awake and with a completely new (and much better) attitude. As you can imagine, I was in a pretty crapola mood yesterday, and was contemplating, although not seriously, bailing ship and coming back home. Alas, a new day, a new outlook. Thankfully, the shower has great water pressure and my morning as off to a great start.

We met with Claudia, our Latin American Relocation Management consultant (hereby referred to as LARM) and were off to view some potential habitations. She’s very cool, and young like me, so will prove to be a very good resource. Oh, and Claudia’s mom joined us, as she had not seen her daughter in a while (she recently returned from a trip to Russia). We saw some pretty incredible homes, a couple of which I of course, fell in love with. And, of course, they were the more expensive ones. One of the homes was on a old plantation type place, which was unbelievably beautiful, with a lake and many many old Cyprus trees and its own on site chapel (think of the Three Amigos chapel in Santa Poco…….soo cute!). But, it is farther away from the city, and mostly families and very quiet. Another place had a ton of incredible tile work, and the most fabulous garden I have ever seen. So, who knows. I or should I say ¿Quién sabe? We see more homes tomorrow.

In the meantime, we’ve figured out how to use our calling cards, our apartment phones still don’t work, and I still don’t have internet access. Keith finally figured out how to start the oven, so we had some awesome pizzas for dinner. I have had an incredible headache since lunch time (which is way later here), but thankfully I purchased an industrial size bottle of Excedrin (which by the way they don’t sell here). The caffeine makes me jittery – and a little anxious. I guess this whole situation in general is bound to wind me up, but I would rather not revert back to my old panic attack ways. I have meds for it and everything, but I’d rather not take them…….understandably.

Viva México

13 Nov 05
We have officially and safely arrived in Mexico, albeit not without incident. There are many stories to tell about this one-day-but-felt-like-ten journey, so I will try to break it down as best I can.

The Day Before
Let me preface this section by stating that I have been in incredibly good spirits, especially after talking to my cousin Will and realizing (again) the amazing opportunity that lies ahead of me, instead of focusing on all the crappy bad stuff that I’m feeling.

So, the day before our departure, Saturday Nov 12, we had a family dinner at my Aunt Joni and Uncle Jerry’s house in Detroit. It ended up being a fantastic idea, and we even took cheesy family pictures with all of us matching. I was too busy visiting to be sad, and it wasn’t until the end that I even got a bit teary eyed. I was very proud!

The Morning Of
Mom, Dad, Keith, Kyle, Karli, Austin and Pat and I all stayed at the Airport Westin for the night seeing as how we had to get up at the ass crack of dawn. Keith and Kyle decided that it would be a good idea to go out in Royal Oak for one last hurrah. Yeah, good idea, until they woke me up at 3:30am asking for directions to the hotel and then again at 4:30am when they finally arrived. Did I mention that I had a 5:30am wake up call? And that I didn’t go to bed until 1:00AM because I was bawling in Pat O’Brien’s arms?

Anyway, everyone came to the terminal to make sure we got all the bags checked – and we ate a quick breakfast. I felt good because everything was checked and went well, and the only thing I had to worry about (which I mentioned to Pat O’Brien) was if the cats would fit under the seat. Wink Wink.

Then, it was time to say goodbye. I was doing great until I got to Karli, and she started crying, then mom started crying, then Keith, then me, then dad, and of course, Pat. It was kind of like the Stand By Me blueberry barf incident, minus the barfing. OK, so it’s really not anything like that. Anyway, of course, as I hugged and kissed Pat O’Brien and said goodbye I was a wreck; which is ironic because I’m going to see him again soon (He’s flying down to see us on December 1).

Cats Galore
So we get to the gate, and an airport chick said “Um, I really don’t think those are going to fit – there is only 9” of space”………and she was correct. So, she said I had to check them in cargo, of which I adamantly rejected. I ended up spending an extra $100 to buy different carriers which luckily American Airlines sold. Those of you who have met my furry feline companions know that Milo, our orange cat, isn’t of small girth. I really felt like I was shoving him into a teeny tiny Chinese food container. He did have enough room though, and I did get to take them on board. The best though, was yet to come.

Barf, Poop, Pee
Keeping with the theme of really bright ideas I decided to not sedate Milo even though I know he doesn’t travel well. Thalia is a dream. All she does is squeak and you can’t even really hear it over the engines. Milo – even though he doesn’t make much noise – tends to make up for it in other regards. So, after our first leg to Chicago, I peeked down to see how he was doing, and sure enough, my nose caught wind of an awful smell. I took him out to see how he was doing, and saw barf. Then a nice little dump pile of poop. Then all the other pee. Then, I saw my pathetic orange cat completely filthy in his own excrement because he has all of two inches to move around. Keith and I managed to get him out, Keith scored a bag and some paper towels, and I went to work to clean Milo and the cage as quickly as I could so we could make our connection. I also popped him a quick tranq.

Really it’s mostly my fault because I put the absorbent “Wee Wee Pads” on upside down. Yeah, really, it’s funny. You’d think the absorbent side would be the soft, cottony side, but apparently I thought putting the plastic side up would be a much much better idea. The mess would have been much easier to clean up if I would have thought about it for more than two seconds.

Immigration, agriculture, customs, my Spanish.
We made it through all of the above with little incident, thanks to my new found Spanish skills. I was very impressed with myself, as was Keith. It’s still pretty broken, but more than functional. And, I was able to complete each step without as much as a hiccup.

Rental car and driving in Mexico City
Until we get to the budget rent-a-car counter. With no one there. For hours. We finally managed to make it to the rental area and get a car, and follow our hosts to our hotel area. I could get into the depths of the frighteningness of driving in Mexico City, but I won’t just yet. Let’s just say, it was a tranquil Sunday afternoon, and I was still pretty white knuckled in a little ford focus.

Apartment, Telephones, Wal-Mart and internet withdrawal
Our apartment wasn’t ready, our phones don’t work, and we don’t have internet service in the apartment. Which meant I couldn’t skype my family and Pat to let them know we were OK. Which, you know, having a laptop it makes me soooooo frustrated to not have wireless or any kind of internet service!!! Anyway, I couldn’t call anyone to tell them we were alive until about 9PM today, central time. Before we got the calling card we managed to navigate in the dark to Wal Mart and find a McDonald’s for some dinner. It was quite an adventure.

But now, we’re settling in. I’ve had a good 30 minute fetal positioned cry on my new bed, the cats are done being pissed at me, and have joined me on the bed instead of under, and, I’m listening to some Jack Johnson. Rest assured in my heart - tomorrow will be a better day.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Quick update - not much time!!!

Hello Everyone!

I just wanted to send a quick note to everyone to let you all know that Keith and I (and my two cats) arrived safely in Mexico on Sunday night. Yesterday, today and tomorrow are devoted to househunting (and we have seen some MAGNIFICANT haciendas/casas!!) and I start work on Thursday. We're right now working on getting Keith some contacts so he can either take classes to learn spanish, or begin teaching English at some schools here. Keep your fingers crossed!!!

The weather here is beautiful! Sunny and 70 all day, low 40s at night! But so far, in our temporary apartment, the best part has been the daily maid service :) I'm definitely going to get used to that!!! All the homes we've looked at have a maid's quarters included!!

OK, off to drink Manzanitas and some Sol.......y mi casa esta siempre abierrto!!!!!After I get work internet access I{ll post the real details, but you will have to patiently wait! :)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The countdown begins.....

First, I shall apologize for not updating much during my two week learning rampage. Seriously, its been WAY tough. I get home and I'm incredibly exhausted. The first day I came home and just layed down in bed and zoned out for a while. My brain was fried. And, even though I was bummed out about my placement, turns out they knew what they were doing :) go figure! It was a great place for me to start, and I've progressed very quickly and very well. Those of you who know me, however, will also know that I don't think I ever progress quickly or well enough!

So, my spanish is coming along. Rather functional, I would say, although it still does take me some time to think about what I'm saying. Thats the problem with engineers! They always take too daggone long to think! It will give me a good foundation for which to learn. I'll be fluent in three months. Anyone want to bet???

Important other goings on - I got a STUPENDOUS going away present from Pat O'Brien - my very own super new fabulous iPod video. Way cool. I also bought a new computer so I won't be computerless my first few months in Mexico.

I can't believe its actuallly happening!!!!!! I got a presentation of pics from my relo company of potential living places......they look pretty darn awesome, and they ALL come with maid service!!!

Monday, October 31, 2005

My Kind of Town - CHICAGO!

I took my first trip solo on the Subway this morning, and managed to get to my destination without turning around one time! Its a record! Pat O'Brien was kind enough to print out a map showing the place I needed to go, and also marked on the map where the train stations were. It worked out pretty well. And, the more important thing, no one manged to grope me on the subway like they did in New York. Hooray!

I'm waiting right now for my spanish class to begin. I'm pretty bummed out. I really thought I had a pretty good head start on the language, and that I would test as an intermediate level. But, to no avail. I tested into the level 2 class, whcih means I'm just a 2nd level beginner. Its a pretty big blow to my ego since I thought I was at like a 4. (Berlitz puts you into levels - 1 - 10) Bummer. Well, at least I know that the class will be benificial, even though I can see myself resisting only talking in Spanish. I just hate doing things that I'm not good at, which also means Pat O'Brien is going to find a very crabby girl at his apartment this afternoon!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Obsessive Compuslive Procrastinating Fatalist

I've determined thats what I am. An obsessive compulsive procrastinating fatalist. I have merely two working days left in Ann Arbor, and I'm convinced that I'm not going to get anything I need done. So, I'm obsessive compulsive thinking about everything that needs to get done, but I'm a procrastinator so nothing ever really gets done, and I'm a fatalist because I'm SURE none of it will ever get done.

So, I procrastinate more and enter posts into my blog.

Today I got my Hepatitus A, Tetanus, and Typhoid vaccinations, along with a lecture about Malaria and Dengae Fever. Really, its enough to make you not want to go to Mexico. But I suppose its better to be safe than sorry. The nurse was rather thourough in her descriptions of things I need to be on the watch for to stay healthy. I also got a perscription for some drugs incase I get a mean bout of Montezuma's Revenge. Its good to be always thinking ahead.

Monday, October 24, 2005


Its wierd being back in Ann Arbor when I really don't have a place to call home. I did check into a really snazzy Residence Inn for the week - and could really get used to this place. They have breakfast and dinner prepared everyday by local restaurants, and cleaning service to boot. The room I have is a little studio, maybe 400 sq feet. But its cozy - and I could totally live in a place like this. My plan in life is to not live in a 2500+ sq ft house again......unless I have eight kids :)

The weekend was fun - Pat O'Brien and I had a wedding to go to in Chi-town and we also saw the Bears play the Ravens on Sunday. Soldier Field....way cool. Sitting outside in the rain when its 40 degrees out.....not so cool. Freezing. Really freezing.

The wedding was also very cool. Reception had top shelf liquor and the DJ played pretty good music, despite looking like a complete dork-o. And, I had a great dancing partner all night. Yes, despite my first outing in heels (3 inch heels, mind you) I managed to bust out some little moves Pat O'Brien likes to call "The White Man Dance". Hey man, can you blame me? I'm working not biting the big one while I try to walk in heels here, and he won't let me sit down for more than a minute because "Let Me Clear My Throat" is blaring. Overall though, worth the pain the following morning :) Yes sir, Pat O'Brien is the life of the party :)

Friday, October 21, 2005

Empty House, Full of Memories

It is done. The movers left my home last night about 8:30PM with my life packed away in brown boxes. To be honest, it was a lot tougher than I expected it to be. I think I've been so busy with details, cleaning and getting ready that I had not had any real time to think about what that house meant to me.

(insert sad music here.....think Fix You by Coldplay)

This house was my first real home since I graduated from high school. Sure, I lived in a lot of places, but never for more than a few months or a year at best. I lived in this house for over three years. I poured my heart into painting, fixing, digging, laying sod, decorating. It was a place of some really great memories. As I wandered through room to room, making sure the movers didn't miss anything, a flood of great times came flashing back. Like, the dining/living room filled to the brim with boxes shoved in the middle so Troy and I could paint around them, or when our house was filled with friends trying to be adult and drinking wine before the Mad Dog was busted out, or my Grandma coming to visit and telling me what a beautiful home I had, and that I could fit at least three kids in each of the rooms upstairs. Or, having the entire Mayer family over for Christmas sitting around a tree that took up half the room.

Yes, it was my home. A new chapter of my life is officially beginning, and I'm honestly petrified, but in a really good way. I just have to remember that the house doesn't hold the memories, but rather my heart. Where they will be safe for a long, long time.

As the last box left and I got ready to leave my home for the last time, I wondered if I should leave a light on so it would look like someone was home, as I often did in the past. But I realized it was kind of silly. There was nothing to steal - and nobody was home.

Good bye house! Thanks for the memories :)

Monday, October 17, 2005

My Family!

Here's a great photo taken by Pat O'Brien featuring the whole Mayer Clan, plus Grandma Medel.....it really came out well! I love my family, and I will miss them terribly while I'm gone in Mexico!

¡Amo a mi familia!

Racing Mind.....

Ugh. Its finally catching up with me. I'm doing my best not to stress out completely, but I'm not sure how good of a job I'm doing! There are a trillion things that need to be done, and although I'm chugging through them, I always feel like I'm missing something. My mind is continually racing. In order to cope a bit, I have a pad of paper with me at all times so I can write things down as they pop in my brain. At least that way I won't feel like I'm forgetting anything! *whew* Its intense! Quite frankly, I'm beginning to feel a little crazy.
On a happier, less stressful note - we had a great time Halloween camping! Gumby was a big hit, and our Mad Scientist Lab won the Staff Prize for most creative site! It adds hardware to the awards last year which were Best Decorated and Spookiest site. I think the coolest part this year was the cow tongue we had out on the lab bench that people could actually touch. I just hope that we didn't give anyone mad cow disease or TB.
The funniest part of the whole weekend was listening intently to the end of the Michigan / Penn State game, which apparently half the campground was listening to as well. After that last 1 second play, it felt like the whole campground erupted in hoorays! It was pretty exhilarating! The other hilarious part was the amount kids dressed up as Napoleon Dynamite. There were at least five or six, most did a pretty good job with I Heart Beat Tots and Pedro for president Tshirts along with really high pants and a fuzzy wig. Pretty ingenious.
Alas, now I'm back to the real world and feverishly scrambling to get my life in order before I leave.....say some prayers that I don't loose my mind in the process!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Crutches be gone!

I've officially been authorized to ditch my crutches - although I've been not using them around the house for about a week or so now. It feels liberating! I will still need them for longer distances, but as long as I can walk controlled without a limp, I can not use them! Hip Hip Hooray! I'm well on my way to recovery!

This weekend is our annual halloween camping gig. I'm totally stoked to be able to participate another year - I really thought I'd be gone by now and not able to take part. We're re-using our theme from last year, which is "Dr. Moco's Mad Laboratory". I'll make sure to post pics on Monday. A new addition - our growth experiment will now include a life size Gumby, courtesy of Pat O'Brien! Spooky!
Mummy Frankensmiley
I think the wierdest thing about this weekend is it will be the last time my family will be together before the big move. I'm excited to see my nephew, Austin, and hopefully meet my brother's new girlfriend. A good time to be sure; pending that it doesn't rain all weekend!
Moving is approaching fast - its a harsh reality! Especially when it just dawned on me that they are packing my stuff ONE WEEK FROM TODAY! That means with my trip to Caseville, I only have five more nights in my house. Which also means I have even less time to pack the items I will need for the next 60 days. Whoa, at least 60 days without a real home. Thats going to be crazy! To tell you the truth though, even though I cry a bit when I think about leaving, I know its going to be one of the best decisions I've made in my life. Seriously. I can't wait for this new chapter of discovery and learning to begin!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I'm a Divorcee

Its done. We had our conference with the judge today and everything went well - the judge and clerk were really nice; which helped because we really didn't know what we were doing. The judge was so adorable! Bald old wrinkley head with a big ol' bow tie. He asked us a couple questions about alimony and pensions and such, but nothing earth shattering. No lawyers and all saved us about $5000, but it makes for a little more leg work. All and all, worth it though.

There were a couple cases before us with kids and lots of splitting up and lawyers and stuff - it was super messy and ugly at times. I think there was actually an Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore reference by a lawyer at one point. Funny.

So, the judgement was entered and I am now officially a divorced person. With an ex-husband. It feels pretty wierd. I did cry a little bit on the elevator on the way down, but other than that, it was pretty much relief. One more thing that is closed, one step closer to waiting for my new life to begin.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Coming together....FINALLY!

With my return to work comes, well, work. I've been putting in some killer hours (killer for marketing folk anyway) and its really been draining. Especially since my knee is still bum. I've been engaging in physical labor, and secretly walking without my crutches at home. Lets face it folks, crutches are not on my top ten list of things I love; I'm anxious to ditch them so you can't really blame me. Its been three weeks.

I was chastized by my physical therapist for being up on it too much, and not icing and elevating enough. So, I shall abide by his words of 5 times of icing a day, and 10 minutes each hour of elevating, and see if the swelling and fluid retention improve. I hope so. I hate feeling scar tissue and other crap floating around in my knee. it doesn't hurt, but it feels really wierd.

Anywho, in addition to how productive at work I've been, I've also been very much working at aligning my move. things really are starting to come together. Here's what I have lined up (tenatively) so far:

  • Divorce hearing - October 5 (tomorrow!).
  • Movers arrive to pack up the house - October 19 & 20
  • Closing on the sale of the house - October 24
  • Training the new guy - October 24 - 28
  • Last meeting with surgeon - October 27
  • Last day o' work - October 28
  • Intensive language training - October 29 - November 11 in Chicago
  • Leave for Mexico - November 12 or 13
  • Start working for Holcim Apasco - November 15
  • Return to U.S. to bring cats and brother to the motherland - November 23

I'm pretty stoked about having my language training in Chi-Town. That means I get two whole weeks with Pat O'Brien before I leave! And, after 8 hours a day (for 14 days) of speaking/thinking/listening in Spanish, I will be ready for a good shoulder rub, which I'm sure he'll gladly oblige! The place where I'll be taking the immersion training is about a mile and a half from his apartment, so it will be an easy walk if my wheel is running well then. Otherwise, I'll be all about taking the train. This also works out well because Holcim only pays for one week of temporary housing in the U.S.;so I'll use up that one week after the house is sold and mooch off the Irish/Polish man for my remainder of time in the states.

Its all happening pretty quickly. The big ones are getting divorced and selling the house. As soon as the house is sold, I can pay off all my bills and loans, and travel south of the border DEBT FREE!!!!! Can you believe it? I am totally excited for that. The divorce thing should go well. We have a conference with the judge tomorrow - I'm not really sure what that means. I'm figuring they have some question about our paperwork, since it was done by me and all and not by a lawyer. Troy and I will both be there so any questions that do arise should be taken care of right away. If the judge doesn't finalize the divorce then, we'll schedule another date to take care of it. Hopefully if we do have to reschedule, they will be sympathetic to my leaving the country and take care of it pronto!

By the way, I bought a new outfit for the occasion - including really cute suede boots, with heels. I'm going to wear them tomorrow; sometimes fashion has to take priority over pain. If only for a couple hours.

OK - time to gather paperwork for the Wayne County Circuit Court.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Back 2 Life, Back 2 Reality

Boy, being on medical leave for two weeks really spoiled me. Today is my first real day back at work. I kinda sorta worked yesterday, but not really. The U of M engineering career fair is more fun than work, and I was only there for a couple hours because of my bum knee. Its hard work standing up all the time; especially since most of the past two weeks was spent on my arse!

Anyway, returning to work is a drag. There is a pile of messages and bills and paperwork a mile high that is just calling my name. I think I actually might stay until 7 or 8 pm tonight to try to get a handle on things. At least that will give me a couple hours where my phone won't ring! Its driving me nuts!

I got my stitches out yesterday, and the scar isn't all that bad. Its about four inches long, but really thin. Not that I'm all that concerned about it - I already had a plethora of scars on my knees from being a graceful kid. Hey, and I didn't even pass out when they took them out!

Monday, September 19, 2005

no pain, no gain

I had my first physical therapy session on Thursday, my second today. Both sessions involved cursing the physical therapist and swearing, and also crying. I realize that it is all helping my knee, but it still really bites my ass.

The past week has been trying - and my back hurts even with the new couch. Pat O'Brien says its too soft; but really, if you sit on your arse for 7 days straight I think that any couch is going to hurt your back.

Anyway, back to my trying week. OK - honestly, how trying can it be with a really hunky man with a stubble beard waiting on you hand and foot? Its not that bad at all :) Even if it is just for the eye candy! Really, its sooo nice having someone to help me out, but at the same time I get really frustrated depending on someone.

The week was spent watching a ton of movies, playing XBOX, reading smut magazines and general lounging around. Oh, and we did get a chance to get in two spankings (get your mind out of the gutter)- U of M shaming EMU and the Bears trouncing the Lions. I also managed to get hooked on the Sopranos. I watched the first season and part of the second. This is troublesome seeing as how I tend to resist seeing things that are super popular. Its also troublesome because I don't cable let alone HBO. Oh well, I still have a while - three and a half more seasons :)

BTW. Today is National Talk Like a Pirate Day. Arrrrr.

Please enjoy quite possibly my favorite joke, but by far my favorite pirate joke. Courtesy of Pat O'Brien.
A pirate walks into a bar with a steering wheel attached to his crotch. Bartender says "Hey, matey, whats with the steering wheel?"
Pirate replies, "Arrrrrrr. It's drivin' me nuts!"

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Oh the PAIN!!!!

OK, I'm back. Yesterday was a heck of a day. Pat O'Brien took me to the hospital about 5:45AM or so, and I was processed right away. I was actually quite impressed with the efficiency of the hospital. I was back in Pre-op by 6:30, and in the operating room by 7:30 - right on schedule. I was first for the day, so my surgeon showed up in jeans, a big belt buckle holding an apple. It was good to say hi right before though. Seemed like a nice enough guy.

The person we spent the most time with was the anesthesiologist (sp?) resident who took care of me. He was a big dude, which looked hilarious since he was wearing a colorful surgical hat with monkeys all over. The big dude (Jason was his name, I think) talked me into having an epidural instead of a general anesthesia - even though I was pretty much dead set against it before I arrived. Turned out to be a great idea - I thought if I chose the epidural I would be awake and freaking out, but I ended up being sedated and put to sleep, I just woke up and didn't have any nausea or anthing. It was a wise decision, I highly reccomend it.

I really didn't get a chance to freak out - I was pretty darn proud of myself. Pat O'Brien got to stay with me through Pre-op, and by time I left to go to the operating room I was feeling pretty happy with some relaxing drugs, so it was easy to leave :)

After the surgery was all done, there really wasn't any pain because everything was still asleep. Although, it was weird waiting for my butt and legs to "come to". My butt was the last to get feeling. I guess usually your toes get awake first, and then works its way up, but I was opposite - it went thighs, hips, calves, toes then butt. I guess I've never been one to be conventional.

And, I almost passed out like three times during recovery. Don't really know why - I guess I'm just a sissy. My blood pressure at the lowest was 70/40; freaked the nurse and Pat out a little bit, but I fought the urge and didn't lose conciousness.

OK - time to take more drugs and sleep. Thanks to all who have sent well wishes - it means a lot to have people thinking of me :)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Twas the night before surgery.....

Sheesh. I figured I would be freaking out by now. I'm really not. Its officially midnight, which means its past my "Do not eat after this time" time. I can't have water after 4AM. I'm debating wether or not I should even go to bed! I have to be at U of M by 6AM - the surgery is scheduled at 7:30AM. So, when you wake up, say a quick prayer for me :)

For those that don't know the procedure, the surgeon is taking a tendon from my patella (knee cap) and making a fake ACL to attach to my femur and fibula so my leg bones stay together and I can eventually have some turning action in my leg. Right now, forward and backward is OK, its the side to side or turning motions that kill me!

Anywho - back to why I'm not freaking out. I think part of the reason why I'm so calm about everything is Pat O'Brien's influence. He's got a laid back calming vibe about him. Earlier today, I started freaking out a bit - so I told him I'm really nervous about tomorrow......so, he said, "well, worry about it tomorrow :)" and then gave me a big bear hug. Funny how something so simple can make me really forget my fear, if only for a moment, and be able to laugh and smile!

I'm so very fortunate that he was able to come take care of me for the week. I can think of better ways to spend my vacation than to take care of an invalid! So, not only is he using vacation time to take care of me; there's more! Here's the kicker.......he gave up his Bears vs. Lions tickets for this Sunday's game at Soldier Field. I told him he's crazy - and I also said that he's a better person than me because I don't know if I'd be able to do the same! I have to admit though - it made me feel pretty good.

Speaking of feeling good....I'm pretty sure I'll have vicodin when I come home, but last time I had that (when my wisdom teeth were pulled) I really didn't like it too much. Sure, it makes the pain go away, or makes you not mind the pain, rather. But I really don't like that loopy feeling that makes me out of control. I suppose I'm too much of a control freak - suprise suprise! This is also the reason why I'll never become and alcoholic/drug abuser - I can't give up that much control!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Oh my aching back!

Well, I made a big decision. It only took me two days and three stores! Its a world record! And really, it may not seem like a big deal, but about two weeks ago I had a mental break down because I couldn't decide which pots and pans set to purchase. Its hard to do after having someone to corroborate with for such a long time!

Let me explain - Troy got most of the big goods, since I was going to store most of my stuff anyway and get a furnished apartment. What he didn't take with him, we sold this summer. Turns out, furnished apartments aren't as readily available in Mexico as I thought, and Holcim doesn't store stuff anymore. For the sake of keeping my parent's garage clear, I figured I should get some stuff to furnish my place.

I currently have a couch and chair that is really quite adorable - its a bamboo Florida set circa 1960 or so (original orange and brown flower print - way cool). Its in great shape, and is functional, and I recovered it to match the decor. As I spend more time sitting on the couch (since I now have wireless at the house and its hard to pry myself from the internet....I mean, work), I've been realizing that my back is seriously killing me before I go to bed. It just dawned on me that it was the couches! I knew they were uncomfortable, but I didn't really think they were causing me pain!

So, I figured since I'm going to be spending a significant amount of time lounging on the couch watching TV after my surgery, I really should have something more comfortable, and something that I can take to Mexico that will last a few years. Nothing too fancy or expensive. After much searching - I found the number above at Value City! And, its microfiber so the cat hair won't stick as much! AND - ITS RED! They had a few different colors, including the nice beige above - but I'm coming to realize I'm really not that much of a beige girl. I'm vibrant :) So my couch obviously should match! Unfortunately, the ottoman wasn't in stock, so I'll have to wait to get that, but its sooo cute! I'll get it on Wednesday - the day after the surgery. I'll probably be drugged up on Vicodin, but I'll be super duper comfey!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Update on knee, Mexico, etc.

My desire to keep this blog updated has dwindled, it seems. But, I've been under a lot of stress moving back into my house, so now that I'm settled, I think it will be easier to update on a regular basis again......so, lets begin:

I met with the surgeon a week after the MRI and they confirmed that I tore my ACL. Crap. Bad news. So much for holding out hope. The good news is that the other ligaments are all in good shape. I reiterated my situation regarding Mexico, and he strongly suggested that I stay for two months post op instead of one......crap again. If I'm super diligent with my rehab, maybe I'll be good to go in 6 weeks instead of 8!

More good news - there was a cancellation and my surgery is scheduled for TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 13. Yup, next Tuesday! Its outpatient, but I'm still going to go under. The thought of having an epidural and hearing the drills and jackhammers and burning flesh makes me want to pass out and barf, not neccessarily in that order.

Now that surgery is set, I've set my start date for November 15th! Whoooo Hoooo - PROGRESS! Now I have to just get all the crappy paperwork in order (it never eeeeeennnnnndddddddssssss!!!!!)

Troy found an apartment and moved out a week or so ago (mostly) - so I moved back into the house. It was wierd at first, but I've settled back in. Just me and the kitties now! The house is officially listed, and since the implemenation of the virtual tour there has been a showing or two. No real big bites. Not suprising, though. There are about 10 other homes for sale in the neighborhood, and not a whole heck of alot of good economy. So, keep your fingers crossed.....and, if your interested:

Link to Karin's House

Thats about it for now *sigh* lots of stuff!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

MRI a-go-go

I had my MRI on my knee last night. It was pretty cool, and actually kind of relaxing. I got to sit in a place for 30 minutes and not worry about work calling on my cell phone :) Seriously though, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. I was only stuck in up to my neck, so I didn't get freaked out, and the earplugs helped drone the noise.

The noises were actually kind of hilarious! I thought they were going to give me a migrane, but really, they just reminded me of something out of a bad sci-fi movie. You know, like alien photon blasters and such. Or, you could compare it to the horrible sound of all horns on the rides at Cedar Point's Kiddie Kingdom back in the day. I could have used some earplugs back then.

The preparation was fun too - they really freak you out when they ask if you have ever had metal shards in your eyes, metal pins in your body or shrapnel or if you've ever stood too close to anything metal or if you've ever swallowed a penny in your life. It makes you think if you do, then the MRI magnetic field and radio waves are going to get ahold of it, rip it through your body and make the metal part careen toward the machine where it will spontaneously combust upon impact and destroy the northern hemisphere. Geez people - I'm trying to relax! Quit freaking me out!

Then they remind you to remove all jewelry and body piercing (with which I happily complied). But, part way through the test, I realized I still had my bra on. My very large bra. My very large bra with very large METAL underwire pieces in it. So, I squeezed my panic button and the MRI tech comes rushing in to see if I'm ok. And I say - "uh, my bra has metal in it" - and she just laughs and says I'll be ok.

Really, I was more concerned with interference of the pictures of my knees, but I swear I could feel my bra getting hot.