Friday, May 25, 2012

May 25, 2012

Hola, everyone

The last month has been a peculiar mixture of hassle, readjustment, and of course pleasure.

The most important thing is that Rick and I have managed to reach what is in effect a new normal.  Our divorce will be final on June 19, but we are better together than ever.  Not being married any more, we have no expectations or requirements of each other, don't push each other's buttons any more, and are free just to enjoy each other.  Which we are doing!  We spend part of every day together in comfort and ease -- no stress at all.  We are apparently becoming best friends, and I can't tell you how much I love this and value it.  I agree with Rick that once you love someone you never stop loving them, and that is surely true in this case.  Now that the bad stuff is cleared away, we are both free to love each other much more easily than before.  What could be bad about this?

It looks like he has found his new place to live.  It's a house he's wanted for the last six weeks but needed to wait until the owner was ready to sell it -- a domino problem, until she found the house she wanted to move to.  She has now found it, so Rick is in discussions with the real estate agent about what stays in the house and what goes.  He has had a terrific stroke of luck in this house -- it's a huge amount of house for the money he has to spend.  In the same neighborhood as I am (San Antonio), about 6 or 7 blocks away, his house has three bedrooms and three baths, is light and airy, and is really charming.  The bedroom on the second floor has a separate entrance, so he'll be able to rent that out if he wants.  In theory the down payment will happen next week and the closing as soon as possible thereafter.  No pictures yet, but that will come.  Once he moves of course he'll have the key to this place and will use the pool whenever he wants.  And I'll have the key to his.

Actually, there's been a lot of housing hassle lately.  The house on Camano Island not only has not sold, but there are few people looking at it -- only 3 or 4 in nearly 3 months that it's been on the market.  When it had an open house last weekend with NO people showing up, I decided enough is enough.  I'm hemorrhaging money supporting that vacant house, so it is now up for rent.  It will be on the for-sale market until it has a renter.  Even then I'll be losing money -- I owe about $850/month on the home equity line of credit (= type of mortgage) that I used to build this house.

Rick moved out of his casita (into the guest room for the meantime) so that I could put it up for rent.  As soon as I can rent the casita (as well as the Camano Island house) I will break even in this housing mess and if I'm lucky clear a hundred dollars or so a month.  I've been advertising it and there are several live possibilities.  In the next post I'll let you know how it's going.

Enough of that.

I had a good time with my ambassador, for the international friendship program in San Miguel I told you about last time.  I was disappointed the Moroccan ambassador cancelled at the last minute -- I wanted to resurrect my French!  Instead I was assigned the ambassador from Portugal.  He came with a young woman who is an attaché at the Portuguese embassy, and although they had two rooms in the hotel they seemed like an old married couple together.   Oh well, not my business.  They both spoke English and of course Spanish.  I was astonished to hear the Portuguese sounds like Russian!  Maybe because of all the "sh" sounds.  Here they are; the photo was taken on the tour bus of town the second and last day of their visit.

The first part of the visit was of course the ceremonial part.  Held in the Angela Peralta, the main theater in town, we were subjected to innumerable speeches welcoming the guests and praising international friendship.  I learned that in these circumstances a speaker must first recognize and thank the various dignitaries seated on the stage, individually, at length, before going through the welcome rigamarole.  Surrounding the dignitaries were teenagers standing stiffly at attention as they held the flags of the nations represented.  At the end of all the speeches -- phew! -- they filed out while the dignitaries saluted the flag(s!) in a different way than we do:  the right arm is bent at a 90-degree angle and held horizontally over the chest.  To me it looked horrendously militaristic, but then maybe the US flag salute would look the same way to them.

Leaving the theater there was a dais set up for the Official Picture.  Note that the group was augmented by the local beauty queen, Señorita San Miguel, at left.

Following the Official Picture, all the ambassadors paraded through town behind a sign of their country and a flag, preceded by honored high school girls.  Catarina, the attaché, was wearing heels of suicidal height, and on the cobblestones that was more of a challenge than she had counted on.  I decided for the evening that I would be Portuguese, and walked with them.  The word for this kind of a parade in Spanish is una callejonada, a group stroll through the streets.  It's also commonly done after weddings and such, and is one of the wonderful ways in Mexico that the private is lived publicly.

At the end of the callejonada we arrived at the Church of San Francisco, to my mind the most beautiful church in San Miguel and the same one where Rick and I attended a wedding last summer.  Before arriving in the church we walked through an honor welcome guard of drummers and trumpet players.  Pretty loud!  Note the sex segregation in the roles, by the way, with the parade folks girls and the musicians boys.

In the church there was a concert performed in their honor, open to anyone who wanted to attend.

I had a good time and would do it again next year, although unlike the friends I made with the opera folks in February, these folks will not become friends.  It's okay:  the luck of the draw.

My other activities are also progressing.  At the Santa Julia orphanage, several young Mexican women have offered to talk to the girls as part of the role model program I cooked up for them.  They have been interviewed and scheduled; their presentations should start soon.

And my adult education program has just recently gone public, as I have started advertising for instructors to teach two or three courses in the pilot of the program in October.  I've had a good number of requests for information and have already received one complete application from a man who wants to teach a course on "The Conquest of Mexico [1521]: How 400 Spaniards Conquered the Aztec Empire."  Looks interesting!

However, I'm learning some disquieting things about the bureaucratic requirements for such a program.  I've learned that technically instructors, even volunteer instructors, even instructors who  teach a really short-term course, need to have official permission to work attached to their visas, which costs 2200 pesos per person, or almost $200 US dollars.  Obviously impossible.  So I'll have to spend some time finding out if a work-around is possible.  I'll ignore the requirement for the October pilot (are they going to throw me in jail?), but if I can't figure out a solution I don't see how the program will be viable in the future.  Well, one thing at a time.

Fortunately this summer has not been as hot as last summer, when it was in the mid- to high 90s every day for weeks on end.  It's been generally around 90, which is bearable, and this house has such a lovely breeze -- and of course the pool is such a blessing! -- that the heat hasn't been onerous at all.  As opposed to last summer, when I really suffered. 

Life is terrific.  I am reading, sewing, listening to music, seeing friends, attending lectures and movies -- all is good.