Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's Pinata Time!

Last week at 4:00 all the mommy's and 2 daddys got together to make pinata's. Lots of laughing (at us from the moms) as Rick and I cut, wrapped, glued and fringed our first pinata.

We used glue but many moms brought the traditional paste made from flour and water.

There is also a trick to cutting and crepe paper, luckily we had a lesson on the art of cutting from one of the moms, or we could have ended up with a, "feo pinata."

The moms were talking, (very fast), laughing and "complaining" about making the pinatas but they seemed to really enjoy themselves. Start to finish it took Rick and I nearly 2 hours to finish!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Colima for the weekend- some culture -oh my!

We went to Colima for the weekend. Wow, I was so excited to find bookstores, library and museums! We’ve lived in La Manzanilla for 2 months and it was such a treat to have all these “city” benefits.

Each night Thursday-Sunday there is free music or dance in the main plaza so we enjoyed a classical music concert and a performance by the local dance folkloric dance troop.

With a 5 year old you never really know how the day is going to go, but we did manage to visit one museum and as luck would have it- luck is on the side of the best prepared – my husband always says- there was a preschool group visiting the museum and they were getting a hands on demo of the art of clay figure making. Lyle spent 30 mins with the class making clay figures and left with a clay whale and snake. It was the highlight of his weekend. When the demo was done he asked the teacher- A donde van, puedo ir con ustedes? “Where are you going, can I go with you?” Part of me thinks he needs a sibling- but that’s another post!

Highly recommend Colima, it's beautiful!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Vive La Revolution- and Papa's too!

Thursday Nov 22 we celebrated Revolution Day here in La Manzanilla. All the school kids participated in a parade and ended up in the central square (jardín), where they did various dances ranging from waltzing to hip hop.

As part of my PTA duties I got up at 6:30 am that day and walked over to Lupita's restaurant and started making taco's with 3 other moms to sell at the festival. All the money raised from the sale of tacos went to the kinderschool.

Bottom line is I need to get a Spanish tutor! One of varieties of tacos we were assembling was a mixture of chorizo and potatoes. So, potato in Spanish is papa and daddy is Spanish is papá. Imagine the laugh the other mothers hand when I asked how much we sell the chorizo and papá (chorizo and daddy) tacos for.

Here are some pictures of the kids on parade.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hey, I'm not on vacation!

My great friend of nearly 20 years just came to visit my here in lovely La Manzanilla.

Guess what? This is my life and I’m not on vacation. She asked me how much money she should bring. I told her she couldn’t possibly spend more then $25 a day. I buy a ¼ kilo of tortillas every other day, a few eggs, some cheese, fruits, and vegetables every day, eat out at the taco stands a couple nights a week, drink a beer or two every night, no more than $25 a day.

WRONG! When you’re on vacation you drink margaritas at the beach, snack on shrimp ceviche, and have eggs Benedict at Café Risa. - $25 a day ain’t gonna cut it. Who knew?

And, we have school, homework, oh and did I mention I work! It was a great visit but I have a lot of catching up to do.

Duh, when people come to visit they are coming for a vacation. Not sure why I didn’t get that…but now I do.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Presidential election from 2200 miles away

This is like an out of body experience.

I've been through enough elections in my life to understand what is happening on the US airways at this moment. The talking heads of CNN and Fox news are like rabid dogs in frenzy over exit and early return polling, commercials are full of negative ads and the candidates are running to every state with any electoral vote that might be sitting on the fence.

But I’m in La Manzanilla….and we don’t have a TV. It is so strange, it’s so quiet here.

I’ve already cast my vote, thanks to the mail in ballot and a husband who had to return to Denver for a few weeks.

I guess on Wednesday I’ll just fire up my computer and google the election results. Until then…did I mention it’s quiet here?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Saturdays La Manzanilla Style

We were walking home along the beach yesterday in the late afternoon and the fishermen were out in force. Some leaving by boat and some walking along the shore with net in hand.

North along the La Manzanilla is still undeveloped, there are a couple of campgrounds and some beautiful beside lots for sale. We have some friends who have a trailer under a palapa on the north end of the beach. It's very basic but lovely. We've gotten into the habit of hanging out with them every Saturday.

It's great because they have a son Lyle's age, so they spend the day eating coconuts, climbing trees and playing in the ocean.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

PTA meeting in La Manzanilla

It's the same everywhere. I went to my first PTA today. Last year it was a playset for the Kinder, this year it's a sun shade because the dang playset gets so hot the kids are burning themselves when they try to play on it.

We need $4000 pesos for the materials and then the parents need to build it. $4000 pesos, approximately $400 USD. Last year for the Denver International School it was $30,000 USD for a bus.

Sunshade or bus, doesn't matter it all equals fundraising. So, the parents have donated items for a yard sale, there is a movie planned and we all have to sell 3 tickets and donate food or drink to sell at the movie, there is halloween party, a dance in the jardin and few other activities planned to raise money.

After the meeting, conducted under a palapa in the sweltering heat, I approached the "PTA President" you can always tell which mom is the head mom even if you only understand 60% of what was said. So, I approach her, say in my broken Spanish that I know we need money and I know there is work to do so please just tell me what to do!

Come see me Tuesday, in front of the Kinder, where I will be setting up and selling other peoples junk trying to raise money.

I've been on a nonprofit board and headed the pr and marketing committees for various Denver nonprofits, and I have a handful of nonprofit clients, I'm not stranger to fundraising. $30,000 or $400, in the big picture funds is funds!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Mom, this is harder than I thought it would be...

Words from a 5 year old who Monday came home from the Kinderschool with a fat lip and yesterday came home with a small, but still bloody, cut on his head due to a rock throwing incident.

Prior to our move here, Lyle was at The Denver International School in the Spanish program. Full immersion, led teacher from Spain and only spoke Spanish and French, assistant from Mexico, 14 kids in the class, all the kids native English speakers.

The kinderschool here in La Manzanilla has 3 classes of 30 kids each, one teacher per classroom and no one speaks English.

When I asked the teacher about Lyle's fat lip she remarked that it was probably an insect bite. Lyle later told me it was from getting punched in the mouth.

When I asked Lyle about the rock incident he said after the boy hit him with the rock one of his friends went and told the teacher about it. I asked Lyle, "what did the teacher do?" - it's hard to get exact details from a 5-year-old- but my conclusion is the teacher did nothing.

Poor kid says to me, "Mom, this is harder than I thought it would be." I just burshed it off and told him, not to worry and to just ignore those mean boys, but inside my heart is breaking for him.

I'm sure in a month or so he'll have the lay of land and a better command of the language.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

La Vena- Playa Los Angeles Locos

This Sunday our landlord, at the lovely Jardines Tropicales, invited Lyle and I to go with he and his partner to La Vena. La Vena is a beach about 25 mins of La Manzanilla. You take the exit for Los Angeles Locos and follow it to the end of the road.

The beach here is gorgeous! The water is crystal clear, a river meets the ocean in this lovely spot. You’ll find lots of small shells on the beach and a small outcrop of rocks provides some interest if snorkeling is on your agenda.

Lots of locals in the water but I wouldn't go too far up the river, it quickly turns to mangrove and that means you could, theoretically, meet a cocodrillo. The water is moving pretty fast, not a favorite of cocodiles, but something to ponder.

The locals say two more weeks of heat in La Manzanilla!

So, I wouldn’t call it “sweltering”, well ok maybe today I’d call it “sweltering
I checked the weather and it reported 94 degrees, feels like 101, that was at about 3:00.

I’ve been working in my landlord’s outdoor kitchen so I can be as close as possible to the wireless router. It’s a pretty great “office”, nice concrete breakfast table to work at, on the second level so it’s breezy and I can reach out and grab a mango off the tree if I want. But alas, I had the ceiling fan and a standing fan both going and I was still sweating.

The locals say only 2 more weeks of heat!

Our routine is to hit the beach everyday around 6:00 for the cool breeze and sunset. It’s a nice routine, the water is very warm but cooler then the air, the rocks washed up during the rainy season are settling back into the ocean and the long flat, clean beach is on it’s way back.

At sundown- around 8:30 we make our back to the apartment, have a shower, snack and then off to bed. It’s now 10:00 PM- I have a fan about 3 ft from me, my hair in a pony tail, a beer on my desk….and I’m sweating. Oh well, what’s a couple more weeks!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tipping the police in Mexico

After 5 days in the car we are here in La Manzanilla. Crossing the border was easy, took about 40 mins and the border patrol guy insisted on filling out the paperwork. We crossed the border and made it Navajoa the first day.

We were feeling so smug that we decided to start out very early in the next morning (just before daylight), get a head start and all.

We completely forgot that we are driving a white subaru with a thule on top that just scream's, "tourist". Not 5 mins out of the hotel parking lot and the lights of a police car are behind us, we pull over, cop walks up and say's "hola", shakes my husband's hand, smiling and tells us we ran a light, and then says, "un ticket you pay $300 dollar and bye, bye." We start protesting that we don't have $300 dollars, he comes back with "$200 dollar and bye, bye", we continue the protest and finally he agrees to "$100 and bye, bye."

So we pay the "ladron" and are on our way, upset and $100 poorer...here's the kicker, 5 mins later we get pulled over by another one!

At this point I'm mad, the cop walks over, friendly, hola, handshake, starts down the "too fast" line of bullshit and I start yelling that we just got pulled over and the other guy took ALL our money. The cop is looking at me like I'm crazy and my poor husband is now offically upset. The cop waves me off and walks back to his car and other cop gets out. I tell him the same story, "we were JUST pulled over and the other guy took ALL our money." He smiles and say's no problem, steps away and waves us off. Rick and I wondered if maybe they share the take?

The lesson here, no need to get upset. Be friendly, negoicate down as much as you can, keep smiling, pay the ticket and move along.

The next day we felt better about it all, enjoyed the last day's drive and arrived saftely in La Manzanilla to a beautiful day, sunny, not too hot, nice breeze.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I have a Facebook page-who has time?

Ok- so due to a work thing my research lead me to a facebook page I wanted to view, only catch was I had to sign-up, become a member, whatever it is. So I fill out the information and low and behold there are several people from my high school who are facebook members. So of course I invite them to "become my friends", then they respond inviting me into their inner circle so I view their pages, send comments, update my page....good god, who has time to blog, facebook, move to La Manzanilla, work, call your mom because she thinks moving to Mexico is like moving to the darkside of the moon, and all those other things that make up a life!

BTW- I have a meeting with a client tomorrow at 10 and then we are packing up the subuaru and driving out of town.

Two more night in the US and the Mexico all the way baby!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Hang time

Well everything is a blur. I had to fly to Seattle due to a death in the family. I left Friday night and Rick had to meet with the renters on Saturday morning to turn over our house. Unfortunately they did not arrive together so Rick had to go over everything twice. Then he had to move into short-term housing.

I just got back to Denver last night. It's Tuesday and we are trying to work in what is basically a glorified hotel room. With only 4 more days until take off it's drag to be in this limbo.

We plan to pack-up on Friday- need to go back to the house and get everything out of the garage. I kept adding things to "go to Mexico" pile and I'm not exactly sure what will and won't fit into the Subaru and Thule. We are trying to concentrate on our office equipement, books and supplies for Lyle, medication we might have trouble finding, a few clothes, not like you can't buy most things in Mexico.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Book Club in La Manzanilla!

I'm so happy to report that there are plans for a book club in La Manzanilla! I've been lamenting the lose of my book clubbers here in Denver, although I think I've convinced them to come down to La Manzanilla for a visit. Seven days and counting until the 5 day drive south. It's cold and raining here in Denver, and hot and muggy in La Manzanill.

Looking forward to seeing the new road into town.

Monday, August 25, 2008

3 weeks until the La Manzanilla move

Wow, I've been thinking a lot about writing but alas I've been too busy! Only 3 weeks and we will be leaving Denver for La Manzanilla. We've taken our house off the market and have found renters. Not the ideal situation as the money from the house sale was supposed to be what we were going to use to build the La Manzanilla house. Guess we will just rent for awhile and see how things go.

Lyle is all set for school thanks to my friend Maggie from the Alegria Language Institute, she sent me all the paperwork and thanks to email we were able to get all the necessary documentation to the school.

We've decided to take the tried and true Nogales route along the coast to La Manzanilla. El Paso seemed just a little too adventurous i.e. dangerous of a crossing.

Still trying to get the php side of the VisitlaManzanilla.com website up and running so that the site has some additional functionality.

Denver is hosting the Democratic National convention this week. We are going to try to go and see Obama's acceptance speech on one of the many giant screens around town on Thursday.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Streets Paved in La Manzanilla

Wow, I just received an email from Paul Zúñiga with the attached photos! I can't believe it, the roads are actually being paved. I recall in 2007 when we were in La Manzanilla there was talk of paving and from what I gather the talk had been going on for some time. So let's see Paul identified this area as by the crocs, so that means they would turn south and have about 5 or 6 "blocks" to get to the jardin (garden) and that would get the main part of town.

Wonder what the plan is and how far they are thinking of going. This is all very exciting.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Book Club in La Manzanilla

Last night I went to my monthly book club meeting. I love my book club, I've been with this group for nearly 7 years now. The members are great and interesting people, working, raising kids, married, divorced, retired.

We have a few rules:

Anyone who suggests a book must have already read it. We had a couple of disasters early on with reading a book based on a book review and the entire group hated it.

We talk about life and catch-up with each other for the first half hour and then we talk about the book. Sometimes get back to the catching up pretty quickly. But not always. The Book Thief was a long and interesting discussion as was Infidel.

We have lots of wine.

We've tried downloading discussion questions to facilitate the discussion, that rarely works for us.

Most of the members HATE to read non-fiction, this causes a little bit of strife but we work through it.

Did I mention the wine?

I'm really going to miss these monthly meetings!

I'll have to get a book club going in La Manzanilla

Ah, but it won't be the same....

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Why leave the US for La Manzanilla- Living abroad is not for everyone.

Why, why, why? My parents think it's because we hate the US. My husband and I have traveled enough to understand the blessing of being born in the US. My hope is that the US reaches its full potential, I believe we have a long way to go but I also believe we have the ability to get there.

A few weeks ago I was reading my favorite column from the Sunday Wall Street Journal- For Love or Money. If you are not familiar with it I recommend it, he writes about family money issues such as, Should you give your kids money for good grades, The importance of understanding your future partner's spending habits.

Anyways the author had just been giving the chance to move to Hong Kong and work as a foreign correspondent. You can see the full article here

He talks about giving his kids the chance to view the world as more then just vacation destinations. The chance for his wife to spend more time with the kids and just a different life then the one they have in the US- and their in the US is great as you know if you've ever read his column. It really resonated with me, so I sent it to all my friends and family.

The next week, after returning from an apartment hunting trip, they had a change of heart. No move.

Leaving the US- especially as a working family with school aged kids is not for the faint of heart!

I'm glad our process to move to La Manzanilla was nearly two years in the works and that we've spent enough time there to understand what it is we are getting into....to a degree! More on that later.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Only 3 more months until the move to La Manzanilla

Ok- now I'm starting to get freaked out. Only 3 more months until the move to La Manzanilla and we still are working on our bathroom remodel, I've just taken on a new client (what am I thinking?) and we have just now started going through our "stuff" to decide what gets sold, stored, tossed or makes the trip south.

Wow- we have a lot of stuff. I'm amazed, 5 years ago we moved into this house after spending a year traveling around the world with nothing but a couple of backpacks. We sure managed to accumulate a lot "stuff" in 5 years. Of course having a 5 year-old son increases your collection of things!

I think to myself- well if I don't want to take it to La Manzanilla then is there really any need to keep it? Certainly photo albums and meaningful mementos of our travels and family we will store, but do I really need 5 serving dishing, 3 sets of dinner plates, 7 sets of sheets, a litany of wine glasses- for both red and white, 5 different fry pans....you get the idea.

Part of the reason to move to Mexico is to reduce and use less.

Ok- back to sorting through all the stuff.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Something New in La Manzanilla

Ok- This is my first attempt at blogging. Just giving it at test. Thinking about adding it to my website www.VisitLaManzanilla.com.

We are getting ready for a big life change, moving to La Manzanilla Mexico. Along with my husband and 4 year-old son we are heading south, we'll be building a house, Lyle will be starting school, we'll all be working on our Spanish.

Biggest question we get is, "why." My answer, "why not."