Sunday, December 21, 2008

the cauldron bubbles

That is how many work days I have before I retire.

Hard to believe. But now the final kick starts on my sprint to Mexico.

I was going through some of my old posts and email to put together a final checklist for the move. My decision to not sell the house has postponed a lot of decisions. However, there will be plenty of things I need to do before I show up in Mexico this Spring.

Exactly one year ago, Andee Carlsson sent me her first critique of my blog. She liked it, but she was worried that I was a bit too tied up in financial concerns (a theme Michael Dickson has echoed several times).

Rather than paraphrase, I will let Andee speak for herself.

Hi Steve,

When I wrote that, I was thinking about something along these lines.

I am not sure what is drawing you to Mexico, but if it is in hopes of
having a very different life, this was my thought.

It might be hard to balance the sort of gringo thing of wanting to make things as financially secure and as out and locked in as possible.

i think we have be brought up to try to make a safe economic nest for ourselves. And I have the impression that might me what you are trying to do. And that might not be the important thing.

Of course we all know we can't predict the ups and downs of the world economy or whatever, but we can focus on day to day contentment and friendships and satisfactions.

i guess I was reacting to what seemed like your trying to make everything as financially safe as possible. Maybe other things are more important, especially since the money thing can blow up in our faces in a second.

other thought. Don't buy a non-regularized lot. No ejido lots that haven't been regularized. Really really really.

Have you thought about buying something were you can rents a unit out?. Or live in the little place and rent the big one for the three or four months of winter. Of course you have.

And you working hard at learning Spanish????

Get your own lawyer for real estate deals. The notary is a special attorney and is not for you and probably has established relationships with the other party and your realty. Your realty is not your friend. He is making a commission. You need your own English-Spanish attorney recommended by an independent party, when you are ready to buy.

anyway. Andee

And there it is.
  • Don't worry about perfect finances
  • Relationships trump finances
  • Avoid unregularized ejido land
  • Practice your Spanish
  • Hire your own lawyer

Good advice then; good advice now.

As a result of Andee's encouragement, I decided not to buy a house in La Manzanilla (it was not regularized), and I started looking at my finance realistically. But I still need to get serious about my Spanish studies.

Andee, of course, is merely representative of the long line of advisers who have joined discussions on this page. I have learned from each of you.

But, Andee was first. And she will always have a special place in my decision to move to Mexico.

Next month, we will pause to remember her. Or we can do that right now.


Anonymous said...

hi steve,

i had a smile on my face as i read andee's comments. everything she said is so true, but i especially love the line, "but we can focus on the day to day contentment,and friendships and satisfaction." those things, along with family, are the real important things in life. and her comment about the money thing blowing up in our faces, how true is that? i was fortunatate enough to have had the opportunity to talk to andee just a few days before she passed away-it's still so hard to believe she is gone. i know her spirit lives on in chacala where she was well loved.

have a nice day steve and thank you for sharing andee's words of wisdom with us.


Steve Cotton said...

Teresa -- I was amazed at how wise her words were -- then, and, more so, now. Relationships trump all financial concerns.

Calypso said...

I think moving to Mexico can be likened to the quip, "If you wait until you can afford a child you'll never have one." or was that to get married? You haven't done those two (up to now) so relating to moving to Mexico:

Just Do It Homnbre!

Billie said...

"Maybe other things are more important, especially since the money thing can blow up in our faces in a second."

Andee was a pretty smart woman, wasn't she.

I was just thinking how very, very, fortunate we are to be here in Mexico. Our lives are so enriched by the culture around us and by the new friends we have made. And we are learning every day to live in the moment, the now. Life is good on the other side of the fence.

Steve Cotton said...

Calypso -- So true. Wait for a Klamath Falls reference later this week.

Billie -- If anyone had told me a year ago that I would look forward each day to receiving news from people I had never met in person, I would have thought them mad.

eriko said...

This was a nice reminder of her. When the anniversary comes I will post some pictures from the little memorial we had up in Spokane, WA this summer on her blog. I have been saving these for a last post.

Erik (Andee's son)

Islagringo said...

You are, what we used to call in the Army, a two digit midget!

As for Andee, I remember her every day of my life. I still don't understand how and why she so affected me with her friendship.

Larry Prater said...

I think it is great you are counting the working days you have left until your move. I have never regretted for one second my move from Oklahoma to Tepoztlán, and I don't think you will regret your move either. Of course I came with too little money and spent it way to fast, but things are still working out and I am still happy every day being here.

Steve Cotton said...

Erik -- It is great to hear from you again. Please post the photographs. Andee is still a major part of several blogger's lives. Next month is going to be a tough memory for us.

Wayne -- In calendar days, I just went below 100 today. I am a double-digit midget in so many ways. Did you see Erik's comment?

Larry -- Regret is one emotion I do not possess. I always figure if I do not like it one place, I can always move to another. On the other hand, maybe I will end up opening a spa -- like some people we know.

eriko said...

Steve Don't worry I will post them. I have been saving up for one more emotional push.

Till then:

I was thinking of her today as I marched through the 16 inches of accumulated snow we have around here. Growing up we lived in a rural part of eastern Washington. Rural enough that we did not have power or phone till I 11 or 12 so maybe '84 or '85. Even then it was just an RV hookup on a post outside with extension cords running to the house. When it snowed like this it meant that there was no way to drive to house. This meant everything had to be carried about a half mile uphill that came home with us. Groceries, Kerosene for the lamps, gas for the chainsaw, and books from the library. Lots of books from the library. We would go to Spokane every week or so and load up. There is not much to do in the winter with no power but read. We had a little 12 inch battery powered tv but that meant lugging a car battery up the hill to.

The reason I say all this is to say that Andee never really was made for this world. She was strong willed, obstinate and smart enough to bend what ever little part of the world she was in to her view of how things should work. That she wandered in to a small town in Mexico, speak very little spanish, and made herself a life there was just another case of this.

Erik (Andee's son)

Steve Cotton said...

Erik -- Sorry for not posting your comment, but I lost my power in this weekend's ice storm.

Andee's obstinateness was one of her traits that I learned to appreciate. It caused a couple of corresponce breaches now and then. During the last year of her life we started talking about fear and how it causes us to react to the world. Only someone with a good deal of self-assurance can admit the existence of fear. She was one.

She was a very complex woman. It was my pleasure to get to know her at the levels she was willing to share.

eriko said...

Steve -- No problem. We took a hit today also. Just the neighborhood for couple of hours. I'm hoping that I get some of the rain the forecast has the western washington. Melt some of the snow/ice off the streets. Not to much or we will get flooding.

Laurie said...

Practice your Spanish! As a single person, the need is more acute to speak the language of your neighbors. I am getting better everyday, but I feel that it's a big key to living, enjoying and making a difference in another culture.

Steve Cotton said...

Laurie -- I fully agree with you that Spanish is the key to knowing Mexican culture. Without it, I will be isolated. It is the one aspect of this move that I need to knuckle down on -- and stop arguing about the subtle use of the subjunctive.

Kristy said...

Wow. I loved reading all these comments to and from Andee. You know, I met her only online before I went to join Allan Hardman in Chacala last year, and she and I were emailing back and forth fast and furious, and I was so excited about getting to meet her. She had somehow discovered my good friend, Bob Freund, and his Mexican textiles, and had added him to her blog and we had to laugh at what a small world it was. Well, I never go to meet her. She was gone before I got to Chacala. I was saddened and stunned. Her memory lives on in the stories we tell. Her blog got me physically to Chacala (transportation wise), got me connected with two great rentals for my stay there, plus introduced me to a host of others. I will forever be grateful to Andee, and I am looking forward to jumping in and being in Mexico myself. It's great to see others here doing it!

Steve Cotton said...

Indeed, she was quite a woman -- and a very complex personality. That is what made her an interesting person.

Allan Hardman said...

Hello Steve and Erik. . .I just found your correspondence here on the blog. I hope you will let us all know when more Andee photos are posted. I was at a birthday party here in Chacala tonight, and was telling someone the story about how I followed Andee around on her landlady rounds last year, and what a gift it was to have her introduce me to some of the wonderful landladies and other people here that i might not have met otherwise.

I am now a house owner in Chacala, and here for my second winter (Andee helped me rent last year). I think of Andee often, and miss her.

I have a new Chacala blog, just started:

Steve, sure hope you can get it all worked out and Get Out! I am not sure how this is going to work out for me, but I SURE am happy that Life sent me here.