Friday, November 5, 2010

A Sad Anniversary....

Today I deviate and make this post very personal. It is the second anniversary of my Dad's death and my heart aches to hug him and see his beautiful smile. Death is never our friend.  I long for the day when I hope that I will be one of the ones present to welcome him back to life on a wonderful, peaceful earth.  Until then I will let the passing of time heal this tremendous void in my heart.  I have to admit that during his life I never realized what a Daddy's girl I am.  It may also have been that his death marked the end of me having any parent alive.  No one to pick up the phone and call  No one to share dumb stuff that happens in life and that no one else would be interested in knowing.  I miss them so.  So love your family while you have them.  Let them know how much they are loved and appreciated.  Tonight I will allow myself to be sad and feel the pain.... I will watch the slideshow shown after his services and I will remember the great Dad he was to me and how much he loved his family.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Did you know that Craigslist is international? I didn't until while reading about Mexico rentals the suggestion was made to keep checking with craigslist and to contact the ones who had posted even if the post is an old one because they may have other rentals and you could let them know what you looking for.  So, I checked out Mexico and what was being offered.  Very interesting.  Lots of potential.  Prices vary considerably.  Rob and I talked about keeping in mind what is included with the "rent." Some rentals include utilities others include wifi but the question is---is wifi service included or do they mean that it is available if you buy the service?... Questions that need answering. 

What is called a "kitchen" in Mexico can vary from just providing a microwave to a regular American type kitchen with the stove, refrigerator, dishwasher etc.  (A minor sidepoint is why do people living in the United States own the title to being called "Americans" when in reality shouldn't everybody living in either North, South or Central America also be "Americans?") So the type of "kitchen" that is included in the rental is important.

There seems to be more rentals available with just showers.  I lived for 5 years without a tub and I really did miss it...but it is not absolutely necessary.

Apparently electricity is a owned by one company in Mexico.  It is a certain price per kilowatt up to a certain usage level and then the price goes up.  But if you use so much over the allotted amount the kilowatt cost under the set mark also goes up.  So is having a huge kitchen with all of the bells and whistles worth it? The other important thing to find out about an area is if electricity is available 24/7.  In some areas it is not.  I actually would not mind it if for so many hours each day I knew that we would not have electricity.  I like when the power goes out and you realize how quiet the neighborhood is....

Water pressure is another consideration.  Sometimes water is available but not all of the time.  That could get tricky.  Often water tanks are on the roof so that they can be filling slowly with the lousy water pressure but when you need to use it in your house you get pressure because of would be coming down from the roof.

We want to take our dogs with us so we would like a place with an enclosed yard.  Although I would not be against apartment living close to a city hub in a smaller village, I think that having dogs will cancel that out.

The next item up on our to do list is to write the branch telling of our desire to help out in the english speaking congregations.  It will be interesting to see where they would like us to consider moving to.  We will mention in our letter that we would like to relocate to Oaxaca but will consider any other area where there is a need.

Next week I will check out Clifton for a possible interim housing while we work on our move to Mexico. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Visas, Tipping and Trash

Rob and I have been reading up on Mexico.  We need to get Visas.  It is almost like a Starbucks experience...making a choice about which one to apply for. One has to be renewed at the end of 180 days, one at year's end, one at the end of 5 years but then request for permanent status....some can be renewed more than once, others cannot...and on it goes.  Some Visas are for those who enter the country with an income from abroad...Mexico asks for $1,000 per month per person or proof of $12,000 per person in the bank.  Other Visas are for those who will work, some Visas are for those who are students, researchers or special guests of the government.  The costs of the Visa itself seems reasonable...all are less than $500 but we may find hidden costs.  I think we will first apply for the 6 month tourist Visa which will allow us to enter the country to check out the suggested areas that need help in the English speaking ministry.

We came across a section on tipping in Mexico.  Seems that there are many opportunities to tip and that because of this "tipping" should be part of your household budget.  Guidelines were given as to the appropriate amount to tip.  While traveling if someone helps with carrying your luggage tip should be $1 per item.  If a parking attendant in the free parking lot helps direct you to a parking spot the tip should be 50 cents, that also applies to the impromptu windshield cleaning at intersections and if some one juggles or otherwise entertains you at any public area.  Hotel maids can be tipped $1-$5 per day depending if it is a Motel 6 type of place or a fancy resort.  Bars/Cantinas should be about 10% tip. Have you ever been faced with that unanswered question of should you tip the grocery bagger? In Mexico the answer is always yes...and it is usually in the 50 cent group but in all of these tipping situations if there is additional services rendered then that would be reflected in the tip. Car valets are about $1 but I would imagine that it could be reflected in what kind of car you drive... Taxi charges should rounded up to the next $5 pesos or $10 pesos depending on how the ride was. Gas station attendants also are tipped depending on how much they do for you...rule of thumb is to ask for less then a rounded amount such as asking for $195 pesos worth of fuel and paying $200 pesos with the "keep the change" phrase on the end...actually we might get to liking using that phrase throughout the day!! Should you find yourself broken down on the highway--we are referring to your car...there are government helpers that come by to supply gas or the needed car part.  You must pay for the parts and gas but what you tip the helper is dependent on how helpful they were to you. On a happier note, should you find yourself at a spa the suggested tipping is 10-15% of the charge for the service. And then there is the odd person who may come to your home and collect your trash to take to a neighborhood/block collection place, or wants to sell you hot food or baked goods...and it goes on.  Right now I am thinking that those bars/rails that you see on city homes in Mexico, that stop you from entering their plazas/patios might be a very good thing on many levels.

I am actually impressed with what I have been reading about their garbage service.  Anything appliance/electronic picked up will be looked at to see if it is repairable, if it is then it will be repaired and sold but if it isn't then it will be taken apart and the different metals/parts will be sold off.  So there is little that actually makes it to a "landfill" type situation.  Very green of them!! I keep imagining those little brown hooded guys in Star Wars that came out of the mountains to check out things.....