Sunday, January 30, 2005

Extra Prayers Anyone?

Yesterday morning, at 9:30am, my grandfather passed away during his morning nap. This comes after battling a long war with emphesyma and recurrent staph infections, which left him in a hospital the last month of his life.

He was a great man, strong and silent type. Born in Standish in 1920ish - He did what most small town boys did. Grew up on a farm, moved to the Big City of Detroit to find work in a factory. Served his country in the Army during WWII, came back, found a girl, got married and had a family. He loved hunting, euchre and beer like any god fearing Michigan man should :)

He was a great grandpa. Funny, yet firm - loving and proud. Piercing blue eyes. He didn't talk a whole lot, but when he did he had the potential to be hilarious. Reminds me a lot of my dad.....when he was joking around he had a way of making everything believable.

He will be greatly missed.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

No News is Good News?

For all you bloodthirsty crazies out there just fiending for more info on my pending trip like a new episode of the apprentice, you're appatite will just have to crave a bit longer.

There really is no update - other than "there still working on it" and "we have calls into people". I would love to take matters into my own hands and talk to people who know some people, but my work schedule has been so hectic lately I'm lucky if I even get to see my husband.


SO, we wait..........

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Tomorrow is a new day

So, after my terrible day yesterday, today is looking much better! Not so much the situation, but the perspective has improved. I suppose my emotions go up and down more than the roller coasters at Cedar Point - but such is my life. Thank you all who took the time to tell me to Cheer Up :) The thoughts are much appreciated.

I think its even more appreciated that people actually read this blog. It makes me feel, well, Loved !

Heart Shell

And frankly, thats a nice feeling to have (from someone other than Troy anyway - he makes me feel loved all the time!)

Anywho - I suppose I should get back to work - I've got piles (literally) of stuff on my desk just calling my name.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Crushed Hopes

Maybe I'm being a bit dramatic, but up until now there has not been any talk of this deal potentially not going through. I've thought of it as an "when" deal more at this point as opposed to an "if".

Turns out not so. There apparently is some resistance from Apasco to burden some of the payroll (i.e. my salary) which they normally do in instances of manufacturing transfers. If they do not want to pay their half of the salary, Holcim (US) doesn't want to pay the full amount to cover the cost. Which means I won't go.

Jessica (Holcim US HR) remains optimistic.....But guarded......That they will be able to come to an agreement. Hopefully they will know either way in the next couple of weeks.

Its funny how I'm so nervous to take on the risks and adventure of moving to a completely different country. So nervous in fact, that at times I feel terrified! Its very difficult to think of leaving my language, families, friends, jobs and life, everything that is comfortable and known. But when the realistic possibility arises that I might not go to Mexico - my heart hurts. Crushed actually. In fact, I'm fighting back tears as I type.

What's also funny is that I always thought if it didn't work out I would be OK with it. That at least I tried to work out something that I've wanted a very long time. Truth be told I'm not used to NOT getting what I work for. *sigh* I suppose I should spare the heartbreak until I find out for sure, but it really STINKS thinking that it might not happen.

Thursday, January 13, 2005


Troy and I both have workbooks called "Learn to speak Spanish in 10 minutes a day". They have everything laid out phonetically, which you would think would be easy. However, Troy said he never learned his phonics, so he doesn't get it. So I guess we have to buy Hooked On Phonics so he can learn English first, then we'll move on to Spanish. Or maybe I'll just start him off on Dora the Explorer.......His head does look kind of like Boots.....

I have a slight advantage over my DH when it comes to the language department. Although 2 years of Spanish in high school isn't really that all helpful, I've actually picked up a lot more over the years than I thought. And I can roll my R's. It makes it sound much more authentic - even if I am only saying Burrito.

My Latina magazine is helping too - especially since they have every article in both English and Spanish, and many of the articles have a lot of Spanglish thrown in for good measure. Although, according to them I'm supposed to always wear make up and never let Troy see me go to the bathroom or burp or fart. Yeah, that's definitely NOT going to happen anytime soon. Some say it doesn't leave any mystery or that its just plain disgusting.

I say its just me :)



Sometimes I wish things would happen sooner than later.


Tuesday, January 11, 2005


I had a brief but good meeting this morning with the HR Coordinator of Apasco. Claudio Alcayaga traveled from Mexico City to meet with many people in a jam packed two day schedule. Of course, it snows this morning, and my 20 minute commute turned into an hour commute. Although I was planning on getting into the office early, I ended up right on time.

Our HR person Jessica said it was an informal meeting, but I was still a bit nervous. OK, a LOT of bit nervous.

Its 8:30 and I'm waiting. Then its 8:45 and I'm waiting. I'm thinking - OK - this is a classic display of Mexican culture (come on, we all know the concept of Mexican Time), and my meeting will continue for a full half hour, no matter when it starts. So I don't worry about letting them know that I'm waiting. Finally, at 8:47, his previous meeting ends and I get to meet him. We start talking and I talk about things running a bit late.......And he says - "That primarily applies to social events.....The business culture is changing. At Holcim Apasco we try to adhere to more a Swiss way of business".


Needless to say because he was traveling down to Dundee for more meetings, ours was cut a bit short. Not to say that it wasn't a positive meeting. In fact, in that short 15 minutes it made my travel to Mexico seem more and more like a sure thing. And, now I know my HR contact for the duration of my assignment. A face to put to the name.....And lets just say he's easy on the eyes ;)
I asked if he had any specifics worked out with the lab, and they didn't. But he said he did talk to the Lab coordinator (Ricardo) and they are definitely exited about having me and could definitely utilize my qualifications.

I asked if he had any questions about my qualifications. He said no, because I was highly recommended by Vicente Galdeano (VP of Manufacturing, Central Division) he has no doubts of my abilities, and he's sure it would be a great experience for me. I guess Vicente turned out to be a good man to know!

Next steps: arranging the details of the assignment - i.e. who pays for what part of the relocation, my salary, living expenses, etc. All that is pretty much up to Jessica and Claudio. Then planning a visit for Troy and I......It looks like that could take place sometime in the Spring - I'm thinking March or April.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Attack of the killer clownfish

My arm is temporarily disabled because I was cleaning my tank. Usually, cleaning the tanks do not cause agony or pain. Now, however, my fish are becoming sexually mature.

Why does that matter, you ask?

The female clownfish becomes very defensive of her "house" - which in this case is an anemone. Species from the tomato and maroon complexes are particularly ferocious (this particular species, Amphiprion Melanopus, is from the tomato complex). Yeah a clownfish. She may be only two inches long, but she's got the teeth of a pirahna! Remember, clownfish do NOT equal funny!

Anyway, so she defends the anemone ferociously and apparantly she thought I was getting to close. She bit my hand, scared the crap out of me, which made me jerk my arm back and burn my elbow on the lightbulb and scrape my arm all on the side.

*sigh* On a serious note.....

I'm just talked a bit more with Eric Lopezmalo - he's a logistics guy who is from Apasco doing an assignment here. I'm trying to get more insight into living / working in Mexico.......its such an advantage to have many Mexican employees! They are so willing to share their experiences with me!

We talked about the major cement suppliers in Mexico, marketshare, specifications, etc. Its always very helpful to talk to him! He assured me wherever we end up, there will always be a network of people available to help us settle in, as long as we work on developing the network. He also said maid service is aproximately $5 a day. Yeah, I could get used to that!

Friday, January 07, 2005

Science note o' the day

I'm fascinated with the whole Tsunami story. (of which I get regular emails from......Mainly for Trading Spaces updates) sent an email today with this link. Its computer generated animation - but the images were captured by earth orbiting radars.

It makes me Shiver. It also makes me very happy to live in Michigan. Where the most we have to deal with is a lot of rain and snow.

Come to think of it, Toluca is at the base of a volcano - close to a very active seismic zone. A friend who lived in Toluca most her life said the earthquakes don't do damage there because the soil is volcanic rock - very solid - As opposed to the spongy earth below Mexico City. I'm not sure if that is comforting or not.........


Here we go a pondering.....

I just got back from the Dentist! Celebrating 27 years and one month of Cavity Free Living BABY!Brushing

I have a meeting with the HR person of Holcim (Apasco) next week. It makes me nervous - yet excited at the same time. Its a short, informal meeting, but exposure just the same. He's actually here for a whole bunch of meetings - it just worked out for me that there was a half hour to squeeze me in!

One exciting thing about Holcim (Apasco) - their logo. Its a really cute angular bulldog face. I'm pretty sure they're not going for cute, but I like it just the same.

The whole thing that bothers me about the international assignment process is W-A-I-T-I-N-G.......I'm so very impatient. At the same time though, I realize that the main purpose of people in the world is not neccessarily to satisfy my every need and question immediately when I get one. If it were all up to me, I'd already have visa's in hand, house picked out and the maid paid. All the other details can be figured out later.....

I asked Troy if he thought this sounded like I talk. He said no - that it reads more like he thinks I think. I'm assuming that means chaotic and bouncing from here to there. I'm not sure how I feel about that - but I guess its true.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

OK, so I lied again

So, I'm not an expat yet. But hopefully I will be if all goes as planned in the next six months. Until then, this site will be an update on current goings on with the planning and relocation. After the relo, then this site will become a way for me to tell wild crazy tales of my experiences in Mexico.

Of course, I'm not poetic or born with a gift of writing (although I wish I was that my friend Beth...... check her out at again at (side note - Sorry B, you're just going to have to deal with the fact that you're my inspiration for writing. AND you're my only friend that has officially published a book. )Everything that comes out of her mouth, or rather her head, sounds sooooo good!) so this will NOT be an experience for the literary mind. What it will be is a journey into my head and my life.

I will make plenty of mistakes. Hopefully you will have fun laughing at them. Just don't correct me - or else the comments section could get pretty long very quickly!

OK, so I lied

Ok, I admit it. I lied.

I said I wasn't a writer, and I'm not, really.....but I do think this would be a good venue to discuss important things in my life. Things like, oh, I don't know, Expatriation (is that even a word?)

So, I will write.

Hence forth, the title of this column shall be


Creative, no, but very true.