First of all- I cannot say thank you enough for all of the support that I have gotten here. Thank you to every one who commented as well as those who support me just by reading. I have been very busy lately and things are looking up.
The ups and downs here in Mexico have been very extreme for me. The years in my youth were adventurous and full of activity and intrigue and drama and everything. But the life here in Mexico has thrown me every direction I could imagine. When I have gone through challenging parts in my marriage I have had to do some really hard thinking. What am I going to do? or what would I do? move to the states? stay in Mexico? Move to another part of Mexico? What would I do for work in the USA? Will my business work here in Mexico? etc. etc.
I was very happy and a real sense of peace came over me when I really decided that I like living in Tulum. This is a town of easy going people- fisherman, healers, craftsman and service workers mixed with the beautiful culture of the Maya. It is wonderful here. The beaches are literally the most beautiful coastal site I have ever seen and the water is clear, warm and full of beautiful fish.
Things are going well and I look forward to even better things. I have made a commitment to myself. Now yes... this is pretty much EXACTLY my new year's resolution plan- But oh well.
I need to recommit to taking care of myself. I need to put the sunscreen on my face- especially now that I live sub tropic. I need to put lotion on my tired legs and feet, paint my toe nails - esp now that we are ALWAYS in flip flops, hand the kids to Ruben and walk away- and not feel guilty about it, ... I just need to take more personal time. It is so amazing how fast your time gets sucked from you. And guys I know that it happens to you too but unless you are a FULL-TIME single father- you have no idea what we mom's go through.
So that is my big goal for myself this next decade. I had a friend send me this breakdown of women recently. I really liked it.
GEOGRAPHY OF A WOMAN
Between 18 and 29, a woman is like Africa . Half discovered, half wild, fertile and naturally beautiful!
Between 30 and 40, a woman is like Europe. Well developed and open to trade, especially for someone of real value.
Between 41 and 49, a woman is like Spain , very hot, relaxed and convinced of her own beauty.
Between 50 and 54, a woman is like Greece , gently aging but still a warm and desirable place to visit.
Between 55 and 59, a woman is like Great Britain, with a glorious and all conquering past.
Between 60 and 70, a woman is like Israel, has been through war, doesn't make the same mistakes twice, takes care of business.
After 70, she becomes Tibet .. Wildly beautiful, with a mysterious past and the wisdom of the ages.....
An adventurous spirit and a thirst for spiritual knowledge.
And I start this month and this new decade of my life with my first 2 clients for Tulum Living. I am so proud that I have a product and service worth selling and I am really excited for www.TulumLiving.com to take off. I really think that it can.
On another great note- I spent yesterday afternoon with 4 of the greatest kids ever. We walked around Villas Tulum (our neighborhood) and picked up trash. We had 2 or 3 bags of trash trash and then the rest was all recyclables. It was great. The kids learned a lot. Did you know that it takes a plastic bottle 450-1000 years to decompose! That is just crazy.
Well, my 30th birthday is coming up and marks a big point of change for me. I have been looking forward to turning 30 for a long while now. I am ready for my 30s to be my selfish decade. I gave my teens to my education and I gave my 20s to my kids and my husbands will and needs -- well in that time there are a lot of things that I have lost about me along the way. And even more, I feel like I have not had the chance to learn myself as this new woman because I have not had the time or the energy. Well, my body is giving up on me faster then I can heal it so if I am ever going to try to focus on myself and be around to enjoy it- i have to start doing it.
There are a number of other changes right now that have been going on - most of which I am just not ready to talk about - especially here. That is one thing that has been hard. When I started this blog I never thought that anyone would read it. I did not understand the blogging world and the community that forms among people who have never met. But it does and it has. So many of my experiences can be and are so similar to the ones that many people living in Mexico and all over the world experience and it is nice to have people that understand the, in my case, rare situation that lead to living in a small town in the Mayan Rivera.
Right now things are so --- I do not know the word--- stagnate- There are things that need to happen and they are not happening and I am just sitting here waiting. And the reason-- as always here in Mexico is that there is no money.
I know that it is always true that you never have enough money but here it is so true. There is simply no money left. We all need desperately to go to the dentist-- there is no money for that. I need to buy Akilean's school uniform- there is no money for that.
On the other side, Akilean had a little school performance the other day to celebrate the Independence of Mexico from Spain. It was a really cute day and a lot of the kids got all dressed u according to their teachers requests. For Akilean, he had to dress up as Father Hidalgo, the father of Independence in Mexico. All of the other little boys had on little stocking caps with white cotton balls to look like white hair- I obviously having NO idea what I am doing- did not do that... luckily for Akilean - the tips of his hair are already white.
Akilean and Lena both have been learning the state anthem for Quintana Roo and the National Anthem of Mexico. Both are very pretty and fun to listen to. I know it will not take long for them to have it totally down. They are both doing really well on their Spanish. But now I have to catch up.
Lena looks so cute in her little uniform. I have gotten very luck that a good friend of ours takes her son to school in the same class as Lena so she has been giving her a ride to school which is so wonderful. Lena still has to get up at 6:00 but she has the time to wake up, eat while I do her hair, get her stuff ready and brush her teeth. Before I was literally shoving a toothbrush into a sleeping kid and it was getting old.
I took some good friends of ours to the fair the other day. It was really cute. These 4 kids get along so well. Akashana is the littlest at 3. She is a bit of a hitter - she is young still- but she is getting better. Akilean and Lena can each play with either of my friends kids in any combination and they have a great time. It is really nice to have friends like this. The kids also speak English as well as Spanish so that is really nice too.
Other then that... not much to report.
Remember when you were in college and your parents would come and visit and take you to the store and buy groceries? The feeling of having the things that you need on hand and available to you.... ahhhh that would be nice.
I need so many little things. Hair ties, cat sand, coffee, cleaning supplies and toilet paper. Enough cereal that our family of 5 does not go through in 2 days. And I have 2 Mexican men and 1 growing boy who eat soooooooo much! I always plan to have a little extra of what ever I make for lunches the next day. It never happens. I keep being told that it is my fault... that the food is too good to stop eating. Well thank you... but I can change that.
I first wish that I had a car. If I had a car everything would be different. But since I do not I just sit here and dream of a Costco trip!
Posted at 9/22/2009 07:54:00 AM | | 4 Comments
"I'm gonna love myself
More than anyone else
Believe in me
Even if someone can't see
The stronger woman in me
I'm gonna be my own best friend
Stick with me till the end
Won't lose myself again
Cause theres a stronger woman
a stronger woman in me"
Posted at 9/20/2009 06:03:00 PM | | 1 Comments
Any one who knows me since college knows my first baby.... Calvin. Calvin is a tabby mix that was found in a barn in Spokane, Washington. She was only 2 weeks old when I met her. Driving out a long long long road to a farm in the middle of the country we met a very nice woman who had discovered the litter in her barn. The mother had been taken away by the neighboring family when they moved and the kittens were left. I am not sure if on purpose.
.Anyway. When I first met her I was told that she was a boy which I believed without questioning. My boyfriend was not the biggest animal fan but was willing to go along. As soon as we got home the kitty started to explore and did not take long to climb into the dishwasher and get her face stuck. Although I was scared my boyfriend thought it was really funny. After he got her out she was quickly named Calvin after Calvin and Hobbs. Remember... I thought that she was a he at this point
It was not for another year when she went into heat that we finally figured it out. over the past several years she has grown and changed and now she is the biggest cat most people have ever seen and she has retired to Mexico. She is 12 years old and not one to be messed with.
Lately, ever since we were adopted by 2 kittens on the first day of school Calvin has been spending more and more time away from the house. She still comes in a few times a day but will go away for hours at a time. It is not like she is a young and agile creature anymore. She is a 20lb 12 year old cat. She is more that grandma that sits in the corner and critiques everyone.
I know that there is a gang of cats around here. It is really creepy to walk by the park and see this whole gang of cats just sitting in the park. And these are not street cats, at least not some of them. Some of them are my friends cats and like Calvin are well fed and well treated. I guess we all need our friends.
Posted at 9/19/2009 07:52:00 PM | | 1 Comments
As every single person in the country knows... yesterday (Sept. 16th) was Independence Day in Mexico! The whole country, the entire state and everyone in Tulum was all set for the festivities.
First a bit of history. El Grito! On September 16th Mexicans everywhere take the time to celebrate Mexico's liberation from Spanish control. The Spanish who had came to the shores of Mexico in 1521 began their rule over Mexico and the indigenous Mayan and Aztec civilizations that lived here. Jump ahead to 1810- after much of the native population had been devastated from illness, heavy work load and mistreatment by those that ruled- the seed of revolt began to flourish.
As Spain was taken by Napoleon in 1808, the people within Mexico began to see the opportunity to sever from Spain and gain their independence. In the morning hours of September 16th father Hidalgo and others first rang the bells at a small church at Dolores Guanajuato. The chime of these bells, that night began the Independence War that lasted for over 10 years.
As my husband is from Guanajuato, he loves to always point out to me that Guanajuato is where the Independence started. After the bells rang out, Hidalgo gave orders to his followers to retaliate against every native Spaniard in Dolores.
The same "Cry of Dolores" that was heard that first night can still be heard in every small town at midnight on September 15th. A reminder and an homage to the impulsive yet critical actions of Father Hidalgo and his parishioners that fateful night.
El Grito de Dolores, "Mexicanos, viva Mexico,"
Now that the stage is set... Here in Tulum the festivities were just as they are in every other town. centro was all set with lights that shine in the expected red, white and green. Stages were ready for the wonderful bands that would be going on in the early hours on the morning.
Armed with the kids and an expectation of a patriotic evening, we set out to centro. the kids in their traditional wear all set out to make themselves sick on rides and dulces and agua frescas.
In addition to the festivities in centro there were many wonderful parties all over town. From Ocho Tulum and Om with their VIVA MEXICO parties to Ultra lounge in pueblo. Everyone offering great specials on traditional drinks and food.
We began our night watching the wonderful performances from the classes at "la casa de cultura." I was very impressed with the young ladies and they did a wonderful job. I was very impressed by the traditional bottle dance during which the young lady must dance in a very long dress with a glass bottle on her head.
Although there continued to be wonderful performances on the stage, we strolled over towards the rides and food!!! The kids went immediately to the bounce house. This is a clever contraption basically of 4 large trampolines connected by little slide and a passage way. Well worth the 40 pesos per kid for 10 minutes and I must say a smart business idea. Other then traditional inflatable bounce houses that we are used to that use a ton of energy to operate.
The kids went on a few rides and I watched in horror wondering if they were going to make it off. My son, the crazy one, full of the spirit of Achilles himself, jumped onto the moving carousel ride and then as I ran after him frightened out of my mind--- he dove off!! AHHHH! Ninos!!! But all was well and we had a great time.
The men pretty quickly ran over to find the drinks and in 1 of the largest cups I have ever seen was my margarita on the rocks. Many other options were also available. I do not quiet understand some of the glassware choices and I am not sure what I would do if I saw someone licking the chili and salt from this glass but I am sure it was happening with out my paying attention.
The kids did their best to make themselves sick on rides that went around and around - on cars that went up and down and stuffing themselves with carnival treats.
The festivities in the central park got more and more active as the 11:00 hour approached. The music from the marching band sang out as the marines stepped forward on stage and waved the Mexican flag. The state song of Quinatna Roo rang out among the crowd and was followed by the exhilarating Mexican National Anthem.
The Presidente then stepped forward to recite El Grito. The crowd did as it was supposed to and responded with an animated and lively VIVA!!! After each name was called of the heros who first began the Independence from Spain the crowd grew louder and louder.
After all the "VIVA MEXICO"s were shouted the traditional fireworks began. It was a beautiful site that made the first Independence Day celebration from the newly created municipality of Tulum of total success.
As the mother of 2 young children that were at this point only being held awake by the loud blast of the fireworks above I was the honorary person who got to go home while all the boys continued their adventure.
The next day there was not shortage of celebration. Although the crowds around town and on the beaches were more tranquil from the success of the night before, Dia de la Independencia is in Mexico much the same as in the USA... the perfect opportunity to take the day, celebrate with friends and family that you are in your country... that it is YOUR country... and that you get to be part of such a special place.
We spent our morning at the beach party at Ocho Tulum. The music could be be heard pumping prideful music as we sipped our margaritas and snacked on Ocho's amazing food.
The rest of the day was spent swimming, bbqing, eating, drinking, laughing and just enjoying being Mexican. just as Father Hidalgo would have wanted it I am sure! The pride that has been felt through out Tulum, Quintana Roo and the whole great country of Mexico can be felt everywhere you go.
Well, the whole world is very different now. The kids have started school. Poor Lena has to get up at 6:00 am and catch her bus at 6:30. That just seems so early. And that means that I have to be up at 5 so that I can get the lunches, get the breakfasts, start the coffee, feed that cats and all that jazz.
School is defiantly a lot of money. There are just so many things to get in the beginning. We have to get the uniforms, the shoes, the bag, the well... all of it.
One thing that I am loving about the whole school thing is the schedule. The kids are showered and in their bed at 8:00 and are usually asleep by 8:30. I have been having a hard time keeping my eyes open past 9:00. I guess that is a good thing.
The weekends have brought new life. We really enjoy the weekends now and so do the kids. I mean, they only go to school until 11:30 so it is not a long day for them but at least the weekends provide a lot of fun.
This past weekend was no exception. We have met some people that I really feel have blessed our lives. This whole family is amazing. Grandma and Grandpa live right near me and are amazing people. Their son, Olmo, is a great guy and him and Ruben really get a long. Their brothers, wives and friends all have kids around the same ages as our and all combination of kids gets along.
I think that it is a pretty rare thing when you have a group of people that you could literally put together in absolutely any combination and every one would have a great time.
They live out in the jungle and we had such a great Saturday. Everyone was swimming, laughing, playing, cooking, eating and drinking. It was a really magical night. I had a blast. It is really nice to hang out with a family like that. It really makes me miss both my own family as well as Ruben's family. We always had such great times together. Although I will say that the coolest thing about this group of people is how similar they are to us.
We all had a really good time. I am really looking forward to spending more time with them.
** I have a lot more pictures coming!***
It is not very often that you hear about something that someone is doing and it just makes you smile from the inside. Well, the project of Dutzi Designs Inc. is one such story.
The project is that of Ariane Dutzi. Ariane lives here in the Yucatan and has started a line, Dutzi Designs Inc., to help the communities of the Yucatan. As a former fashion editor from New York and Paris, she moved to Mexico and where she is making an impact in the beautiful community that she is now a part of. I just got to meet her and she is ever so as amazing as this project and I cannot wait to do an interview with her.
When the Swine Flu scare erupted in Mexico last April it created a mass exodus of tourists in the Yucatan and the communities of the area really suffered. As the “infodemic” spun out of control, a whole bunch of totally healthy people sat in the deserted towns of the Yucatan and the found themselves without people to sell their handiwork to. Ariane has since developed the Dutzi Design Rescue Bag.
Complete with a label befitting of the project, a small outlined face of a pig, these bags are as eco-friendly green as they are well made and beautiful.
The whole project really is something special. As a way of helping the Mayan community that lives in the areas around Valladolid, about 70 women as well as some men make each and every bag. The project is not only a means for so many women to help provide for their families, but also helps preserve the beautiful culture of the indigenous Maya. With all of the proceeds from the sales of the bag going directly into the project, this community of women continues to be able to help sustain themselves especially in a time where so many of us here in the Yucatan are feeling the devastating consequences of the hype of the swine flu.
I have not even started to tell you about the amazing bags themselves… these bags, made of vintage burlap or 100% recycled white raffia. They are absolutely beautiful and are not only made by hand with love and care but, probably because of that fact, are incredibly well made.
These bags are being sold in stores and boutiques all over New York as well as in Paris, Santa Fe, Malibu, CA, Mexico and over the Internet. One of the best ways to get your own Rescue Bag is to drive over and see the project for yourself. Valladolid is a beautiful town about an hour from Tulum and wonderfully worth a visit. What a fantastic souvenir of a trip to the Yucatan. Luckily you can also buy one online and have it sent to you. Check out the website with information about how to purchase your very own bag.
These bags are perfect for both men and women. I especially love the bike messenger bag for men. These bags reflect both a consciousness for the earth and an effort to protect and cherish it, but also for the wonderful communities of Mayan women in the Yucatan.
I am trying to get the word out as far and as wide as I can. I simple love this project and i know that there are so many others out there that will too. Please pass this information along. If you own or manage a shop-- These would be a GREAT thing to carry. You can get more information from their website. Or feel free to contact me and I can pass you along. Here are some great links for Dutzi Designs. I will also be featuring them on www.TulumLiving.com very soon.
Ever since my grandma died this past Spring I have been going back and forth with my feelings about it. I mean, I guess that it is your normal grieving process but I flip all over the emotional spectrum like a bi-polar spaz. My religious and spiritual views tend much more to the Buddhist way of thinking which has always given me a greater sense of peace when death comes knocking. I do not fear death, I do not think it is by any means the end but I do feel a very selfish loss.
I am not sad for my grandmother's death. I know that the body she was in was no longer comfortable for her and was not allowing my INCREDABLY head strong and independent grandmother to be and do the things that she loved.
On one of my later trips - either right before I moved to Mexico or one of my trip back she was working on this beading project from this strange looking necklace she found at one of her favorite little cheap spots. (she had a small collection of stores she always found deals at!) Anyway... I digress...
When I was up at the service my sister-in-law Amme saw the bag of beading that my grandmother had been working on. - Sitting by her chair in the den (a room she had not been in a very long time because of the step that goes into it.) Amme thought of the idea of making a simple beaded bracelet for the great grand kids. I thought that it was a really beautiful idea. My kids love wearing their little wooden bead bracelets. They love knowing that it was grandma greats.
When I left my grandmothers house after the service I noticed that there was my grandmothers robe that she had bought a few months before from her (and mine) favorite consignment shop. When I visited her from Mexico I drove her all over to find new buttons to put on it. We finally found these beautiful star shaped turquoise jeweled start shaped buttons. The robe was hanging on the back of the door - buttons on and pinned waiting to be hemmed.
I asked if it would bother anyone if I took the robe because it made me think of grandma. As the only grand daughter I was sure it would not and I was able to take the robe home.
Well, yesterday the feeling of loss and missing my grandmother completely engulfed me. We have had some strong storms here lately and when I wake up in the morning --VERY VERY early-- it was actually a little cold. I put on my grandmas robe and could feel her eyes when she saw it for the first time. I can almost hear what she would have said about the color, the cute sleeves and the horrible buttons that she would have to change. I just got goose bumps. I used to have a friend that believed goose bumps were the spirits of those that you were thinking about at that moment. I could see it. But for me, I can feel my grandma when sudden wind blows in to the house, especially when I am baking.
I have my grandmother's very old hand mixer and every time I use it I picture her and her perfectly soft and delicate hands. I miss her a lot and I am so glad that there are things around me that I can feel my grandmother on. I can feel her wrapped around me.
Even wearing it now I can hear my grandma telling me that the sleeves are too long and that I need to hem them. She would then tell me that her when she was given her first sewing machine by her mother -in-law that if she only hemmed pants, that the machine would pay for itself. I heard that a lot from my grandma.
I miss her. But I am lucky that I can feel her.
Well, We got adopted. This is sort of common around here. You have to be careful because you could end up with so many more animals then you intended.
On the first day of school, just outside the front door was the cutest little grey kitten. He was clearly scared so we brought him into the house and even though he the tiniest kitty I have ever seen (especially after being so used to Calvin) but he just devoured the cat food.
While the kids were in the bedroom with the little kitty my neighbor asked me if this was my kitten that she was holding in her hands. I was a little confused because I thought he was in the room with the kids. Well, I was right. This was an entirely different kitten. She too was tiny and scared.
After getting all of the tiny kittens into the house and fed and given water. The kids immediately called out which cat was theirs and started to pick names.
They wanted to name them both Hobbs but since he died we thought that it might be better to give them their own names. Lena named her kitten Princess and Akilean named his Lightning McQueen. It was at this point that we checked to see who was a boy and a girl.
We got very lucky. Lightning McQueen is a boy and Princess is a girl. Calvin is not a huge fan. She leaves for most of the day and then comes back in at night. I think she is glad that their are 2 of them and they play with each other instead of bothering her.