#TBT CANCUN

by admin on May 29, 2014 · 0 comments

#tbt

We are enjoying a little family time to catch our breath in a fav location.

Cancun

Here are some memories of one of our earlier visits to this resort when our littles were a lot littler.

 

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Day-To-Day Life- SHIPPING

by admin on May 11, 2014 · 1 comment

Recently, I read a book called, “There’s A Word For It In Mexico

Here is a line I liked…

“Mexican life is a combination of ritual and disorder.”

 

There are parts of our day-to-day life that could be fall into a couple different categories.  (A) Adversity -causing you anger, frustration, searching for vindication.  (B) Adventure -giving the opportunity for some tales with friends that we all find ourselves nodding our heads and even laughing at the ridiculous-ness.  (like the new word I just made up?)

Back in the ‘fancy country’ we have been raised with a sense of entitlement.  When something seems a little unjust we find the nearest person in charge to air our grievance to and await the outcome.  We are used to “the customer is always right” philosophy and that someone needs to step up to the plate and accept responsibility when necessary.

That does not exist in the culture here.  We may find it hard to understand, but if you have a problem -whether it’s your fault or not- you gotta learn to just let it go.

(Side note:  compare the stress and heart attack rates of people who work in management in the US and the complete lack of work related stress here in Latin America.  Maybe they are on to something.)

For example, I recently ordered a new school year for the ‘middle schooler’ and the ‘little schooler.’  The education company we use usually ships via UPS and amazingly it arrives at our door within 4 days!  This time they used DHL to ship and I paid nearly $250 just for shipping.

The tracking information showed the packages were being held up in Cancun for some reason.  I call DHL to inquire about this and they tell me it’s necessary to call Mexico DHL.  After being disconnected several times I finally get to speak with someone that tells me the packages are not in Cancun but in Playa del Carmen (me, getting excited and hopeful that this is going to work out) and they will not be getting delivered to my home.  (me, realizing this is going to be another hassle and not to get upset)  There is really no parking in downtown Playa near the DHL office -they have 2 spots in front of their office but usually they are not available.  Mikee, who was nice enough to do the trip since I was sick this week, finally gets inside the hot building and waits 20 minutes for someone to wait on him.  As the guy brings out the boxes he (the DHL guy) drops them on the floor and kicks them.  Good thing there were just books inside.

Mikee asks real nice why the items weren’t delivered and is told it is because they have no address.  My hubby patiently points out the CLEARLY PRINTED ADDRESS right on the front of the box.  The guy just shrugs.

Just another day in Mexico.

The DHL website goes on and on about hor fantastic their customer service is so I took a shot and explained the situation.  After all, we did pay nearly $250 just for the SHIPPING TO OUR HOME of these school supplies.  (Cost of actual school books was much higher.)  What I had was a condescending, super-unhelpful series of people.  Long story short, they were useless but suggested I fill out the online form.  Which I did.  Then comes the phone call from a lady patronizing me on the phone explaining how deliveries work and I must be mistaken that it was their fault.  (people here are not held accountable for their job)  She later placed a ‘courtesy call’ to make sure I was satisfied with how everything turned out.  In my super nicest (honestly, it was very nice) voice I asked why would I be satisfied with them not completing their job.  Her response was that “the package was delivered and the case is closed so it doesn’t matter.”

I will confess to you that THIS was the point where I was angry.  Misery loves company so I aired my frustration to some friends and their responses were interesting.

People from the ‘fancy country’ commented things like…

  • I felt my bp rising just reading that Camille!!! I’m glad you got your packages and I’m glad you handled that much better than I think I might. Deep breath…
  • I think I would be calling DHL Corporate or writing a letter!!
  • AGGHHH!!!! Did you kick him like a box? Or at least have fantasies of doing that???
  • Also had one friend offer to deliver them 😉 and someone else tell me it’s a good reason to move back to the US

 

People who are used to living here in Central America had comments along the lines of…

  • Frustrating indeed! Sending a hug
  • Wow are you serious?? That’s ridiculous!!
  • I could sooo relate! When I first came to Latin a America I had many frustrating things like that happen but all the positive things about Latin America make up for all the frustration or I would have never stayed here this long (13 years). Costa Rica has taught me a lot! Things I would have never learned in the States. Besides it is a great place to raise kids without all the pressures on them in states. But it sure feels good to vent about those nightmares! Doesn’t it?
  • That sounds about right for Playa! So sorry Camille. I understand you completely for just needing to vent.

 

Notice the difference between expecting retribution and knowing it’s just part of our choice to live in a less efficient place.

There are parts of day-to-day life there that we are powerless to change.  Either people adapt and appreciate the many other benefits of living here or they leave.  There are many reasons that living in this country is beneficial for my family.

I vented and am already moving on.

While waiting for the new school year items to arrive, Ginger Kitty and I had some fun with her older science books.  We revisited one she enjoys about Fossils.  Here are some things we did…

"Excavating" for fossils in chocolate chip cookies

“Excavating” for fossils in chocolate chip cookies

Homemade fossils with clay and glue

Homemade fossils with clay and glue

 

 

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#TBT WILD ORCHIDS

by admin on May 8, 2014 · 0 comments

#tbt

We live on the Caribbean Sea now and this is far away from when we lived in the much drier climate up in the mountains on Lake Chapala.  The dry season there is D.R.Y!!!  Once the rainbirds begin their song, you know that the rains will start to soon bring green to the dry hills and fill the lake.  Some said the rainbirds started earlier this year and guess what?  The rains have started.  And they started earlier, so I guess there is truth to the folklore.  Although the rain was also accompanied by an earthquake out on the Pacific side today also.  ::shiver::  It’s being reported as a 6.4.  There was a 7.0 just a couple weeks ago.

There is much power in the earth that we see in something like an earthquake or heavy wind.  There is also so much delicate beauty.

Today’s blast from the past is remembering the wild orchids we had when we lived on Lake Chapala in the tiny village of San Juan Cosala.

There would be guys that get these in the mountains and bring them to town to sell for the equivalent of $10.

 

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#TBT PARTY

by admin on May 1, 2014 · 0 comments

#tbt

When we were brand new in Playa, we had fun the time we turned this…

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into this…

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#TBT BATS BOBOS & BUGS

by admin on April 24, 2014 · 1 comment

#tbt back to life on Lake Chapala in Jalisco, Mexico.

Most of the pictures or videos we shot when we lived here were outside on our terrace.  There were actually less bugs and creeping things out on that ‘terraza’ than in the house and we were more comfortable there than inside the casa.

We had bats (I mean LOADS of ’em) living in the tiles of our roof.  At dusk, we would start to hear their noise as they wake up and then come out of their safe ‘home’ to swarm fly our to feast on the bobos.  We would sit (we had no tv) and watch them come out of all the different houses in pretty much the same pattern.  We wondered if the different angle of the sunset on each individual house was the trigger.

 

What are bobos you ask?  They are miniscule insects that you can barely see.  They come out just before dusk and fill the air (and your mouth and nose and eyes) for about a half hour and then disappear -or get eaten by bats.  The “clicking” sound you hear are the bobos getting ZAPPED! by Austin.

 

During other parts of the day we also have a variety of insects that also liked living in our home while we were there.  One thing I do not miss about that house was that we always had to wear shoes.  You never knew what there would be waiting for you to step on them.  One morning, Austin rolled over to put his shoes on before getting out of bed and saw this…

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(Note:  The kiddos were still in a private school at this time and you can see India wearing her uniform.)

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PAAMUL BEACH

by admin on April 22, 2014 · 8 comments

Some of the most beautiful beaches in the world can be found on the Caribbean Sea from Cancun down to Belize.

The other day we tried out a new little spot.

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We drove a whole 9 minutes from our home & met up with some friends in Paamul.

Paamul is a small bay snuggled into the coastline that pretty much only locals come and enjoy.  It does not get crowded with tourists and fancy amenities.  It does have the right ingredients for pristine tropical beach hideaway feel -a natural landscape complete with white sand, coral reef, tropical fish, and turquoise water.  (As for the water, I cannot describe it just as turquoise.  There are hues of blue, turquoise, green and a dozen shades in between.)

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There is a small neighborhood where ‘snow birds’ park their trailers under palapa roofs and enjoy several months of a simpler pace of life.  There are also cabanas for rent.

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Paamul is kind of a hidden little gem in that most of the crowds of tourists do not venture outside of Playa del Carmen or off their resorts.  If you are looking for a day at the beach stripped down to the basic recipe of sun, sand, reef and palms then you will savor this spot.

 

Blue sky

Blue sky

Playing ball

Staying hydrated ;)

Staying hydrated ;)

Austin caught a ball and a Ginger Kitty

Austin caught a ball and a Ginger Kitty

Pretty girls in pretty water

Pretty girls in pretty water

Climbing for coconuts

Climbing for coconuts

Selfies on IG

Selfies on IG

Ahhh, massage

Ahhh, massage

Exploring

Exploring

Found this.  Anyone know what it is?

Found this. Anyone know what it is?

Always look up

Always look up

Reflecting

Reflecting

 

Snug little bay

Snug little bay

Sunset on a perfect day

Sunset on a perfect day

 

 

 

 

 

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BLOOD MOON

by admin on April 15, 2014 · 0 comments

http://ksj.mit.edu/sites/default/files/images/tracker/2011/yawn2.jpg

Lots of sleepy heads in the house today.

Last night we set our alarms to get up and see the ‘blood moon.’

Did you see it?

BLOOD MOONS

A spectacle in the night sky worth staying up for when the moon turns a burnt reddish orange.

In a total lunar eclipse, the full moon turns a coppery red as it passes into Earth’s shadow. During the process, the moon’s bright glow dims, taking on a red hue because of shimmers of sunlight and sunsets seeping through the Earth’s atmosphere.

What an amazing celestial show to watch.  The brilliant red was a more intense color than I had imagined we would see -thus, the ‘blood’ reference.  There was not a cloud in the sky as we stood there in the quiet darkness and watched the show.

I always get these things confused so,

Solar Eclipse = occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, and the Moon fully or partially blocks the Sun.  WARNING: Dangerous to look at.

Lunar Eclipse = occurs when the Moon passes directly behind the Earth.  No warning except it’s cool to see and feel free to gaze in wonder to your heart’s content.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth’s shadow falls on the Moon, and a solar eclipse occurs when the Moon’s shadow falls on the Earth.

There will be a total of 4 times this phenomenon happens over the next year or so.

April 15, 2014; October 8, 2014; April 4, 2015, and September 28, 2015

***Here we are at 2 something in the morning with a grainy picture from my phone

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***Photo Credit to the talented Ian & Kim Russell

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4.14.14

by admin on April 14, 2014 · 2 comments

Today is a special day to a lot of people.  It marked the 2014 anniversary of Jesus’ death.

Last year over 19 million people were present.

An global effort was made to invite people to this event.  Much attention was given to the website jw.org which is now available in 600 languages!

In addition to the 19 spanish congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses just in Playa Del Carmen (that is not counting the others in Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Cozumel, Puerto Morelos, Akumal, Puerto Aventuras & Tulum -on this 60 mile stretch of the Riviera Maya) there are also congregations or groups in English, Italian, French, Sign Language and Maya.

2014 Memorial

2014 Memorial

Flowers Wine Bread

Flowers Wine Bread
(photo credit to India)

 

The Man Team

The Man Team

The Girl Team

The Girl Team

We began our day early with some preparations we were happy to be able to help with such as making bread, cleaning the facility, picking up flowers.  Oh, and curling the girls hair.

Ginger Kitty says that next year she hopes “to get the job of scraping gum off the seats again.”

In case you are interested, the blue flower dress that Ginger Kitty is wearing was my dress when I was a little girl.

 

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I thought you might enjoy some experiences from friends we have in other places…

Akumal, Mexico (spanish) has 60-70 publishers with 180 in attendance.  They set up screen, sound, tent and chairs outside to accommodate everyone.

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Tulum, Mexico in addition to spanish has a tiny english group but had 31 attend and they were followed by the Maya congregation.

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Botswana, Africa.   Our friends here met in a newly built Kingdom Hall that has 5 publishers and an attendance of 51 for this special meeting.

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Thailand.  Our friend who actually helps out with sign language there had an attendance of 103 in her congregation of just 37 publishers.

***

Last night the kiddos were excited to keep up with family and friends from around the world.  Thanks to all of you who keep in touch!

 

 

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#TBT HIKING IN JOCO

by admin on April 10, 2014 · 1 comment

#tbt

The time all the guys in Joco hiked up to get a good view of Lake Chapala.

Captain Cody leading the way

Captain Cody leading the way

Chad almost didn't make it

Chad almost didn’t make it

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Checking for rattlesnakes

 

Catching a breath

Catching a breath

Pop moon walking on the mountain

Pop moon walking on the mountain

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Overlooking Lake Chapala and the towns of San Juan Cosala & Jocotopec

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Overlooking Lake Chapala and the town of Ajijic

 

 

 

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IT’S NICE TO BE HOME

by admin on March 31, 2014 · 2 comments

After 2 1/2 weeks up in the ‘fancy country’ it is nice to be home.

 

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Last night we came home exhausted but Mikee and Austin still managed to bring all 19 pieces of luggage up 3 flights of stairs.  Whew!

It was interesting to see what everyone started their morning with today…

One person began the grueling task of facing 2 1/2 weeks email and missed work.

Another person started to tackle the unpacking of bags and 2 weeks of laundry.  Plus, it’s always fun to see how TSA likes to rifle through our bags, leave little notices, and make sure everything is still there.  (I hear lots of people who put locks on their luggage.  When we pack, I just assume that it’s quite possible we arrive with less than 100% of what we started with.  Our bags are always gone through when we travel.)

Next, came the guy who was super excited to unpack and check out his new electronic game while one sister caught up on 2 weeks of jw.org and the other happily played with her special dollhouse.

We squeezed a couple months of activity into the 17 days back in the ‘fancy country’.  Spent time with family, reconnected with old friends, shopped for items we cannot get here in Mexico, enjoyed the sights of Boston and New York.  Now I need to get back into our groove of busy life here.  So, see you later.

 

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