Saturday, October 7, 2017

Home Alone

For the first time I had to stay at the house alone. It was a little daunting at first, but once I drove home after taking Herman to the bus stop in Mérida and successfully avoiding a collision, I was good to go. Of course I have to start my new job as a virtual assistant in the same week as when I have to take care of the garbage, cleaning the pool, making door snakes, wall decorations and paying several bills (in person). These may sound mundane, and in Canada it would have been, but here each of these is a special event that takes meticulous planning to get the timing just right. For instance when you burn your garbage, you have to make sure that the wind is not crazy or you might set fire to everyone's properties around you, cleaning the pool too early may be a bit chilly (now that it is Autumn) and who likes being cold? Making decorations for the concrete wall that surrounds the property and feeding humming birds are essentials in trying to stay centred (with this vocab I can move to California). And then there are paying the bills...

Paying the electrical bill can only take place on Fridays after 3pm in person at the local internet café. Did I mention that you can only pay it in a period of 10 days. So that is: Only Friday’s after 3pm between the 1st and the 10th of the month. If you miss the deadline, getting your power turned back on takes several trips to the head office in Mérida. We have a new meter, which works in a card system. You have a credit card type of card that is placed on top of the meter. It "gets" your reading, turns off the power and then after you paid, you return to the meter and place the card on top of it to record the payment and reactivate your system. So while you are away paying the electricity is off. No WiFi, no fridge. In case you don't know, it’s really hot in Mexico, especially at 3 in the afternoon. Of course I can pay it at night, duh. And of course there is online payment options, but that doesn't work with the card system, or so I read. Anyway, until the house is in our name, the electricity is not, and when the house is in our name it takes about 2 months to switch the electrical to our name and has to be done by the agent. Or that's what I have been informed. This may of course all change by the time we actually do own the house...

Yes, I am still happy here and not bitter and not upset. Because being here beats going to an office any day of the week! And I have all day, well I used to have all day.

Also the internet bill has to be paid in person at the same cyber café, but not on the same day. And they open anytime between 9 and 10 in the morning, but they are open until 11pm and every day, so not too bad. Just make sure you have cash. No debit and no credit, but sometimes a personal cheque is ok...but those cost money every time you write one and who has personal cheques anymore. Guess: Us.

Door snakes...if you don’t know what it is, it is a long cylinder usually made from fabric stuffed with sand or rice. You place it at the bottom of an outside door to prevent a draft, or in this case, to prevent large hunter spiders from running into your living room at night and charging you as if you are their next lekker jerky. It works! Oh yes, no jerky here, and definitely no biltong. Herman will have to start getting creative this winter.

Door snake
Of course when I moved to Mexico one of my main goals was to make stuff, to re-use and to be creative. All those things you think you would do when you're at work and dreaming of being at home...So I made curtains for the bedroom. Then used the batik art Dominique brought from South Africa to make a no-sew curtain for the kitchen. I made a hummingbird feeder from an old Sprite bottle and a soap container I no longer need. I coloured a few rocks for my kitchen windowsill. And made the first of many future wall decorations for our huge concrete property enclosure; instead of the tin man I made a tin chica, jewellery and all.

No-sew kitchen curtain
Tin Chica

Hummingbird feeder
Bedroom curtains
Last night I took a taxi downtown to meet up with Vianney and Santiago. They had invited me to join them for ice cream. I had a nunce ice cream which is made from a local fruit. It was delicious. I also had a taste of a sugared tamarindo, another fruit that is found locally. Apparently these fruits are naturally very sour, but to me it tasted like a sugared dried apricot. Vianney's sister Andrea arrived shortly thereafter. She was teaching me slang for things in the Yucatan. Unfortunately my brain does not recall much this morning.

They also introduced me to a local photography student, whose  name now escapes me. He had two gold front teeth and when I told him that's a grill, they all laughed because I knew 50cent lyrics. The cyber café guy Jesus (pronounced Heysoos), his girlfriend Ilze and their friend Gormando (??) also joined our group. I was lucky to meet so many nice young adults. They talked about the social struggles of young Mexicans who still get married at 15 and have babies as young as 14 and learning English in their schools. Mostly it was a lot of laughing at how I pronounce words and Vianney and Santiago spent a lot of time translating. At 11:30 they helped me find one of the three wheel taxis to take me home. The driver was super chatty until he realized I was not getting much of what he was saying.

3-wheel taxi
When I arrived at home, Xena went ballistic and I had to hold her to calm her down. I think she must have thought that she had been abandoned. I was a little too wired from my excursion to sleep, so I read until I felt sleepy. Luckily the tropical depression Nate, did not swing this far inland, and the night went by without any incidents.