February brings around our renewal date for our residency and we are looking forward to get that done for the next three years.
Herman received the quote for the additions to the house and once the house is in our name, we can start construction. That is so exciting. After several reiterations, I think we have a final picture in our minds of what we'd like to see. The casita is no longer part of the plan for the addition, as we realized that we do not need that just in case someone visits us one week in a year. Excess does not fit in with living simply.
I am over the moon about the engagements and future weddings, and I am planning on buying the "mother of the bride" (I love saying that!) -dress in Mérida and am looking forward to going shopping for it. I will also spend some time in Canada this year, to be close to Dominique and the excitement of planning for her big day. It is one of the reasons we decided to live in Mexico - so that we are close enough to go home when we need to.
We had a lovely dinner at Santiago's house last week and his mom made panuchos, which is a dish consisting of refried beans, chicken, tomato, onion and egg on small fried tortillas. It is a Yucatecan traditional meal. It was so good that I made it again for us on the weekend. With all the food I have been learning to make here, I have decided that I will start writing down the recipes and posting them on my blog. Santiago's dad gave me a flower from one of the trees in his garden, called the false bird of paradise. I wanted to find this flower since we came here, so it was a lovely surprise. He also gave me a book about Mérida, which will be the first Spanish book I am reading, and Herman was the lucky recipient of a beautiful hand made clay coffee mug. Such lovely people!
We went to Mérida last week to check out a large craft store in Centro, called Fantasia Miguel, where a friend of ours, Nikki joined us. Dominique and Natara would have loved all the supplies for dream catchers you can get there, especially the many colours of thin and soft leather strips. It has the most amazing glass beads and a lot of other natural materials for crafts. Afterwards we went to some textile stores and then on to Lucas de Galvez market for some fresh veggies. It was a very enjoyable morning.
I bought a few small clay pots that I decided to decorate and use to plant some succulents in. I am testing the local paint to see if they will be durable in the sun, before I do some larger projects. I hope to start doing some paintings again soon too and am thoroughly enjoying the creativity.
One of the neighbour's dogs, who we call Bella, has literally moved in here and we have a hard time getting her to leave. We don't want to be accused of stealing some kid's pet, so I think it will be necessary for us to temporarily close off the front wall to stop her from coming over the fence, until the construction of that part of the property can be completed. She is the sweetest dog and reminds me of Konstanz's Belle in South Africa. Xena likes her, but dominates the poor creature and looks at her as if she is not worthy of her attention. Dogs are super entertaining sometimes.
Herman and I are enjoying the cooler weather, but it is also really cold some nights, and we decide on a nightly basis whether we are making up the sleeper couch or if we are sleeping in the hammocks. It makes for an interesting non-routine-routine. Today was hammock wash day and with the breeze and the sunshine they were dry in about three hours. It still warms up nicely during the day.
So far 2018 promises to be full of new adventures with the planned wedding, visits to Canada, and upcoming construction. (I'm sure there will be some interesting construction tales to tell.) So far, what we have noticed is that the biggest challenge will probably be the quantities of some of the supplies. As an example, when I decided to make a blanket, it was almost impossible to get the quantity of the yarn in the colours I originally wanted, so I just ended up making a multi-coloured blanket instead. It is not life altering, but when you're talking floor tiles, it could get interesting. From what we have read, patience solves all problems, and as long as you don't mind waiting, you can get it done.
Mexico is a place of contrasts and a country that at first may be overwhelmingly different, but it grows on you (like a fungus haha). Now that I have been here for almost a year, I truly love the country and the people. I am no longer intimidated by the traffic and have no problem driving here, which gave me back some freedom and a lot of confidence. It is becoming a part of me in a way that I would not have thought possible a few months ago and even though I still miss Canada and my friends and family, I am starting to feel more like I belong here. My Spanish is improving - not as fast as I'd like - so we are talking to people whenever we can. We should make more of an effort to mingle! I know that Herman and I have made a good decision to retire here, and it is no longer just because it is affordable.