Monday, September 29, 2008

Everyone should have...

...a crown of flowers on their birthday. Today was Mary Pat's birthday, and after cake, I made her a crown of flowers from the bougainvillea and some tiny white daisy-stars.

Mary Pat is one of the guests at the spa--I actually met her two years ago when I was here for the first time. Funny how people return again and again.

Happy birthday to Mary Pat.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

How the mall is like a Russian doll.

I am not normally a mall person. I think I was when I was younger--but back then I didn't have my own transportation, so going to the mall was a good way to get a little autonomy. But as an adult, I've developed an aversion to the mall--I would much rather go to a few cool thrift stores, or TJ Maxx, or...well pretty much anywhere.

But here in Mexico I feel like I've reverted to adolescence in some ways. For example, I don't have my own transportation. I don't speak the language. Someone else decides what I'm having for dinner, and cooks it. I'm not complaining, mind you. Life is pretty darn good.

But I do like the mall. I can get dropped off by one of the spa's vans in the morning, and they can pick me up on the way back at night. And in between, I can go anywhere I want. And I know where the bathroom is. And god bless the gracious people of Guadalajara, a lot of people speak at least a little English, so I can make myself understood.

Right now I'm sitting in the City Cafe, which is inside the Sport City Gym, which is inside the mall. It's kind of weird to have a cafe inside a gym, but there don't seem to be many people working out, and the internets are fast.

Learn something new...

Did you realize that the term for an upholstered long chair, what is commonly known as a "chaise lounge" is actually a "chaise longue"?

Seriously. Would Wikipedia lie?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sábado Encantadora

I am sitting in Lulio's cafe in downtown Guadalajara, just off of Avenida Chapultapec. It's this absolutely adorable cafe with leather-and-shim chairs and tables, a little bar, good food, and some wonderful jazz playing. The tables are filled with locals and at least one other American. Two old men behind me play chess. Some people sit alone at tables, not thumbing blackberries, not guzzling their beverages, not intensely looking like they're trying to be casual. They're just sitting, enjoying the day. People hug when they greet each other, men too. There's a table of old men at the door who leered appreciatively and harmlessly at me when I walked in.

I am wearing a yellow flower behind my ear.

I will be going back to the spa by taxi this afternoon, but for now I am enjoying the jazz and the people and too many coffees. You come to Lulio's to see and be seen after "last night." Last night we went to La Santa for martinis and Thai food (more of one than the other) and then to Barbura Negro to listen to Janice Joplin's long lost sister sing Doors covers. And we had to stop at Bar America to dance to some pounding techno before we crawled home at 4:30. Well, plenty of time to sleep at home.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

New music.

I just downloaded Jesse Cook. Pretty good. Especially this song.

Now playing: Jesse Cook - Fragile
via FoxyTunes

Monday, September 8, 2008

I meant to write tonight.

Oops. Instead I gave Biscuit a bath, listened to the Car Talk podcast, and wrote a bunch of e-mails to some old friends. I just started an enormous Jenga fire in my fireplace, which puffed out thick white smoke for a while before it finally got going. I'm not sure if that means I'm supposed to take another vote or....

Friday, September 5, 2008

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks.

Biscuit came with a trick. When I got him, he knew how to "sit, paw, other paw, lay down."

One of the ladies at the spa is an editor and she pointed out to me that there was a minor flaw in the instructions Biscuit understood.

Now he knows how to "sit, paw, other paw, lie down."

Good boy!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

What people mean.

You’re so brave!

That takes guts!

You’re fearless!

When I decided to move to Rio Caliente, I was told this by many people. My parents’ friend said I’m her hero. My direct reports at work said they admired me even more when they learned where I was going, the brave thing I was doing.

But it doesn’t seem that brave to me, or that strange. I have moved around a lot in my life, more than most people. By the time I was 12 I had lived in eight states; by the time I graduated from high school I had been to 13 schools. That’s more than one a year. Three in 4th grade alone. I did my Master’s degree in London, so this is not even the first time I have moved to a different country.

But no matter how I demurred, people said “you’re brave.” And then I realized what they were really saying: ”You’re crazy.”

I am doing the unthinkable. To leave a job in Manhattan as Associate Director of Project Management for Publicis Modem. To leave a rent-stabilized apartment in the Meatpacking District. To leave my Republican friends, the ones who live on the north shore of Long Island and have big boats. To leave the condo I own in Connecticut. You’re brave. You’re crazy.

I am not crazy—my mother is crazy, actually, so I know about crazy. The best way to answer people who tell me I’m brave/crazy is to tell them I have a backup plan.

Which I do (I’m not crazy after all). Here is my back up plan: if I want to go home after six or eight or ten months, I will go home. I am not banned from the country, I still have my US Passport (unless McCain wins, in which case I might consider voluntarily relinquishing it). I have a tenant in my condo in Connecticut, but the lease is up in March. I have a friend who runs Project Management at an agency about 10 minutes from my condo. He will give me a job any day of the week that I want to walk in the door. That’s my back up plan. I can go back to the way things were, to my last life.

But I’m not going to. When you change your life, like I have changed mine, you never need a back up plan, because something new happens. When I moved to New York in 2002, I think my back up plan was to take a job as a nanny for an American family in China. Who can remember? Instead I got a job at an agency in Connecticut and bought a condo. That wasn’t my original plan, and it wasn’t my backup plan either. It is what happened in my life.

So I’m not brave, I’m not crazy, I do have a back up plan. But more importantly, I’m going to see what will happen next in my life.
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