Sunday, December 27, 2009

Feels pretty good to be home in Arroyo Seco

Michael and I have just spent our first Sunday back in Arroyo Seco and I have to say, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

We took our first walk down to the beach and back, running into many friends who were headed down to surf or on their way back because the waves weren't quite right.

We couldn't make it past Tia Mela's house on the corner by the jardin, the first home built in Arroyo Seco about 60 years ago. Tia Mela clapped her hands with joy and beckoned us in to talk. There was no getting by today, so we stayed for a short visit before heading home for breakfast.

I broke in the new hand juicer today, with a lovely combination of oranges and grapefruit.

Then we puttered about the property all morning. I pulled the new kitchen together, which we moved on to one-third of the palapa. The Pink Flamingo bar is in place, the blender is in fine working order, the new leather bar stools set to arrive on Friday.

And the new pink flamingos are resting peacefully in the yard, our Christmas present from Dustin and Camelia.

Michael continued to empty the bodega (garage/storage building), also putting more shade up around the property.

We met for lunch in the palapa and started to make a list of projects we might accomplish this year until I saw him clutching his sore shoulder and neck and decided he couldn't take the stress yet. We'll go back to the list another day.

In the meantime, we're fresh from siestas, showers and now headed down to the jardin where there's supposed to be a fiesta grande, complete with a spectacular presentation by Chena and family. We'll post video soon, but we've heard it's not to be missed.

As in love with this little rancho as I am, I assure you it's not for everyone. I'm fighting the dust because the streets aren't paved. This afternoon I showered with a spider the size of my fist. Eventually I'll find a local to ask whether this is one of the good guys or the bad guys. If so, squish.

But for now, I'm exactly where I want to be, doing exactly what I want to be doing. And that's good enough for today.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Admiral joins the posada processional

We're back in Arroyo Seco, Mexico, pulling the compound together for another six months of life here in this little rancho in Costalegre.

It's a different type of quiet for us. A non-mechanized quiet. Not many cars, airplanes, machines that hum. But loads of noises from roosters and chickens, flapping and cackling around our yard in the morning. A lot of children's voices as they play in the street late into the night. An occasional dog, donkey, bird, horse. And a lot of really loud music during the day.

Tonight we heard children singing as part of a nightly posada processional, part of the Christmas celebration. Soon they were in front of our home, then shouting out our names for us to join in the rest of the processional around the village. While I used to be hesitant about such events --- my limited language, my lack of understanding of the culture or what would be expected of me -- now I just launch myself out the door. Even without my trusty translator, Miguel.

What the heck. In for a dime, in for a dollar. Or in for a centavo, in for a peso.

I've learned that they're delighted to have our participation, to have us be interested in their lives and their celebrations.

Tonight when I joined the processional I learned how to be more prepared for next year --- have a small bag of candies or treats ready each night to give to the child dressed as Mary. And if we want to really delight them, have a pinata ready too.

After the last house, children dashed off in all directions. But a contigent of about 15 of them ended up in front of our neighbor Chena's house, painting ceramics at a table set up in the street. Hours later, we can still hear them.

I live here for a lot of reasons --- I want to force myself to learn the language, I love the climate, I like living in the country. But tonight I'm reminded that I get to learn about their culture, and that all I have to do is be brave enough to walk out the door.

Another act of bravery is driving back and forth to Puerto Vallarta. We have two big motivators --- granddaughter Sasha and Michael's doctor of osteopathy, Dr. Antonio, who is working miracles on his shoulder pain.

Yesterday we came across some cattle crossing the highway but we were able to stop our big Toyota Tundra in time. Unfortunately, the van in back of us didn't. After a spectacular spinout, he and his passenger ended up wedged in an arroyo. No injuries, but without AAA to call, it was probably going to be quite a while before their car was yanked out of that ditch.

We're heading back up to Vallarta tomorrow to celebrate Christmas with Sasha and her parents. And we're going to be driving very, very carefully.

Feliz Navidad!