Time flies

It has been a couple of weeks since an update. I could say we have been busy, and we have a little, but I have really just slacked off :)

Here are the major happenings in our corner of the world:

Immigration

Kathy’s residente temporal status has been approved.  On Monday she will go into the immigration office to sign documents and get fingerprinted and she should have her card by the end of next week.  This status is renewable after a year and is good for a maximum of four years.  After that she can apply for the residente permanente status.  Her application for temporal status was based on unidad familiar (family unity) and we had to sign a statement saying I would be responsible for her.  She now jokes that she is an officially kept woman.

Housing

We are moving to a new house at the end of the month.  The current one started out as a three month lease and the owner is willing to go on a month-by-month basis but, with the house on the market, we want something longer-term and more stable.

The new house is in the Santiago neighborhood, a couple of blocks from Parque Santiago and its market and not far from the Merida English Library.  It is a very nice three bedroom, three bath two-story home with nice garden areas and a swimming pool.  After a string of days near 100 degrees (it is the hot season here), we are glad to have decided a pool is a requirement.

Fortunately we made the decision to move before we unpacked all the boxes we had shipped down, so preparation for this move will not be a daunting task.

Car

We have put down a deposit on a Toyota Avanza, a small minivan that is not available in the USA.  Now we just have to open a bank account next week and transfer down the money to pay for it.

Kathy’s Spanish Class

Kathy did a two week Spanish immersion experience at a language school – Habla is the name of the school.  She was pleased with the experience and will be going twice a week now.  We are doing some Spanish talk at home.  Learning a new language can be a difficult task, but she is off to a good start.

That is the short update on the more significant hapenings in our lives.  We have been here for close to three months and I continue to be very pleased with our decision to move here.

 

Vacation: Valladolid, Ek Balaam, Mahahual and Tulum

Friends from the States, Mike and Bonny, flew down in mid-March and were here for 10 days.  We spent a couple of days hanging out in Mérida and then headed out for Ek Balaam and  Valladolid, staying at the Meson de Marques hotel for one night.

Here we are at the end of end of the tour

Here we are at the end of end of the tour

We left Valladolid the next morning and drove to Mahahual, a small town on the Caribbean coast that has a cruise ship pier.  We like it when there is not a ship in town.  After eating some food at Jaime’s place and buying supplies, we headed a few kilometers north on the beach road to Casa Azucar, promptly named the Sugar Shack by the misses.

P1080101View to the north

Nice :)

Nice :)

We spent three nights there – house was powered by solar and a diesel generator.  Generator gave out on the last night, but dinner was already cooked and we had a lantern and candles.

From there we headed to the Tulum beach road for two nights, getting together with additional friends from the States and from Playa del Carmen – at Ziggy’s beach.  Very nice day.  They have excellent food.  That is my partner in the black swimsuit, with Bonny in the hat and Alicia.

Ziggy BeachBocce was played, some Italian spectators assembled, including one old man who dubbed Mike the champion.  The photo below shows two beginners.  Mike was nice enough to leave a bocce set here.

P1080233That is it for the vacation.  We are back in Merida, Kathy is in a two week Spanish immersion class, after which she will be in class two days a week and I am starting to look for a car to buy.

 

San Patricio weekend music

We went to Hennessy’s Irish Pub in Mérida last night to hear some Irish musicians.  Very nice evening

 

Irish food pyramid

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The Pot of Gold

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Eyes rolling with the moon over my head

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Not only did he play the pipes, he made them.  The harpist was wonderful

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What a voice this young woman had.  When she sang Danny Boy I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place

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And, of course, Kathy, my partner in life and retirement

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Time flies

Hi everyone,

I think it has been over my target of a week for a new post.

We are settling in some more, and life is rolling pretty smoothly.  The big events since the last post were:  starting Kathy process to get her residente temporal though a process called Unidad Familar.  She will have her own card independent of mine, but I had to sign a statement saying something along the lines of taking care of her financial needs.  It will cost approximately 1,000 pesos more than the regular fee for a temporal card because there is a charge for her change of status from Visitante to Temporal. 

In the meatime we went to Mérida’s Slow Food Market a week ago, and will return today.  Cheeses,  local organically grown lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and other veggies, meat (including some delicious  rabbit sausage), eggs, cheeses, baked goods and prepared foods by a variety of vendors.  There is a coffee shop at the location where we bought some delicious Italian and Espresso roast coffee to bring home.  I think we have found our coffee supplier.  Here are some photos:

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Another big event was the arrival of our crate from the USA.  210 cubic feet of stuff:

Instead of driving around the block when they drove a block too far, the driver backed the truck up, blocking traffic, which lead to a symphony of honking horns and waving hands

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Checking off the box numbers on the inventory list

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That is it for now.  Time to cook breakfast and prepare for a return trip to the Slow Food Market

 

Immigration and Exploration

On Wednesday I had an appointment at Migracion.  I met Liz at her office and off we went, after paying for the translation work on our apostilled marriage license and the affidavit from the Consulate affirming that my wife was the same person with her married name as she was with her maiden name.

After about 10 minutes of waiting, we got called into a room that had 4-6 workstations in it.  There I was fingerprinted and signed documents.   Card should be ready sometime later this week, depending on staffing during Carnival week.  The resident temporal card, along with the CURP (unique, randomly assigned idenfication number), will enable me to open a bank account and buy a car, two big items on our to do list.

It feels it has been a fairly routine week.  A little sun and pool time in the morning.  A little hunting and gathering before or after that.  Went to Costco again yesterday and bought another pool floatie, a  couple of large, lush pool towels, some towels for the guest bedroom and a couple of pillows for the same. 

Our crate of belongings is due to arrive on March 10.  Figuring out money transfer things to pay rent on the new, longer-term house we are renting effective May 1.  Skype is proving to be a blessing for communicating with the new landlords in Florida, with Fidelity and with family and friends.  Staying in touch is a lot easier than when my Dad moved us to Brazil in the early 1960′s (ham radio or long distance calls when you waited for hours for the operator to call you back with the completed connection.)

We have friends from the US coming down for the last 10 days in March.  The day after they leave, Kathy starts a Spanish immersion class at Habla, a language school here.  I need to find out when the next Spanish for speakers of other languages class starts at UNAM, and get signed up for testing and placement into the appropriate class.

Life is going pretty well.  We both seem to be making the initial adjustment without much trauma. 

Now for some photos:

View from the back patio

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Morning sunlight on back wall glass

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Yesterday’s supper, cooking from cans seems tastier here, for now

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Living and dining room

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New bench

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More next week :)

Three weeks in

Hi everyone,

We arrived on the evening of January 30. On the 31st we got moved into our short-term rental, with a three month commitment.  Lovely old colonial home.  We will be moving into a long-term rental at the end of April, another lovely home two blocks from Parque Santiago and its market and two blocks from the Merida English Library.  It is on a nice, quiet street but not far from the action.  We might have to start going to the Tuesday night big band dances at Parque Santiago and join the old Mexican couples on the dance floor :)

We would be happy to stay in this house, but the owner is interested in short-term rentals and we want more stability than a month-to-month arrangement after the end of April.  The new house is a three bedroom, three bath with a nice garden and swimming pool.  The owners are USA citizens, who after years on the Gulf Coast nearby and in Mérida (and the Dominican Republic before that) have moved back to the states. The current tenants, who are moving to a north Mérida suburb, were full of praise for them.  We are looking forward to spending multiple years there.

The adjustment so far has been smooth.  I guess one could say we are in the honeymoon period.  My Spanish has proven adequate to what we need to do.  Some of it comes out like my childhood Portuguese, but the two languages are close.  On the 26th I go to immigration to get fingerprinted and to turn in my photos, and shortly thereafter will get my resident temporal card – good for one year with renewals taking it out to four years.

On Friday we went to the US consulate to get an affidavit affirming that the woman I am married to is the same woman with her married name as she was with her maiden name.  Our apostilled marriage license and that affidavit are being translated into Spanish.  After I get my residency permit, she will get hers, being brought into the same status I have.  Until then she is on a 180 day visitante visa.  It should all be done by the end of March or early April.

We have shopped at stores large (WalMart and Soriana) and small (the fruit and veggie stand a few blocks away) and at the mega-sized mercado Lucas Galvez.  I get cold beer at the Cervefrio in the neighborhood, run by the 68 year old Concepcion whose daughter is there with her on Saturday afternoon and Sundays.  Today I asked if it was her sister and they both laughed.  The daughter said her mother married at a very young age :).  There is an good sized store in the next block that supplies a lot of our needs, but does not have, other than cold cuts and cheese, meat, fish or fruits and veggies.  The water guy delivers on Monday, and there is a very civilized three time a week trash pick-up.

We rented a car yesterday for our trip to the consulate, Yucatán Expatriate Services, Costco (pronounced Coastco), and to Walmart, taking advantage of the wheels to stock up some.  Driving has not been difficult and we look forward to buying a car in March or April.

We have had our first company, friends from the Caribbean side of the peninsula and a couple from the US who were vacationing there.  They stayed at a hotel as we are not equipped for 4 overnight guests, but they were over for an afternoon and we went out to eat with them a couple of times.  On Sunday we took them to a state-sponsered artisan shop carrying arts, crafts, foods and clothing made in Yucatán state.  The couple from the States were very astonished and pleased at the lack of hard sell tactics they were used to in the Caribbean tourist zone.

That is about it for now.  I will end with some photos of our short-term rental and our cat, Flea, who is adjusting very well.  He is 18 and seems to think this is an all right retirement home.

One of our lime trees

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Bird of paradise

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Flea