Playing Catch-Up

I know I’ve been way behind on getting a blog post out and it’s been bugging me now and then in the back of my mind, and even been on a list or 2.  But when I start getting spam comments on the site that say “I see you need some fresh content” offering me writing services…well, that’s a pretty big wake up call, no?

I’m not even sure where to begin at this point.  Let’s just take it one month at a time, shall we?

OCTOBER

My amazing and beautiful friend Shannon came to visit me for 5 weeks.  We had an incredible time together – filled with laughing, playing, working, napping, healing, cooking, eating, swimming, walking, biking and zumba’ing.  I also dragged her along to look at apartments, as I wanted to find a less expensive and more comfortable space for when Jonny returned.  We looked at a dozen place,  don’t know if I would’ve had to strength to go through all that by myself and was so grateful for Shannon’s support.

 

 

The way you find an apartment here is you walk around the neighborhoods looking for “Se Renta” signs, and then you call or knock on a door. Seriously. There is no Craig’s List here.
Shannon and I befriended a sweet girl in need. She was not appreciated by my landlady, so we had to bring her to the dog shelter. Just in time to be spayed, thankfully. I still miss her! She reminded me of my beloved Dublin.
Shannon and I spent an afternoon at the dog shelter, caring for dogs coming out of anesthesia after the free spay/neuter clinic.
Relaxing day at Isla Grande

Everyone at school bought someone else a sugar skull for Dia de los Muertos

NOVEMBER

Just before Shannon left, I found “the one”.  A beautiful, large apartment for about 30% less than I had been paying.  Also, it has an oven and wonderful, large kitchen.

When you begin making chocolate chip cookies in a fry pan, it becomes apparent you REALLY need an oven…

It got the Shannon stamp of approval and I put a deposit down to move in mid-Nov.  I moved all by my lonesome, which was kind of a bummer. I really am great at moving, but for some reason, this move was extremely difficult and stressful for me  – even though I have hardly any stuff and I wasn’t moving very far.   I did hire Fernando (Adriana’s handyman) and his truck to take all my stuff (which fit in one load)  the 4 blocks to my new place and help lug it up the 3 flights of stairs. It was well worth the 100 pesos and open bottle of vodka.  I had a lot to do to settle into my new place. It only had a couple minor furnishings (bed frame, dresser, night stand, built in cement couch w/ no cushions).  Not mattress, mirror, closet or curtains in the place. Seeing as I had been living in a fully furnished, fully equipped place, I had a lot of little things to replace.  Between that and school and client work, I was pretty busy.

This is what you can do when you have an oven. I had a wicked cinnamon bun craving. Sadly, I realized at a crucial moment I had no cinnamon. These are chocolate buns, a worthy substitute.

 

I awoke one morning to find painters outside my window. there is about a 3 inch ledge out there and I’m on the 3rd floor…those guys were crazy! And now the modest, pale yellow building I moved into is super loud, bright blue…

 

I got a sweet bamboo loveseat made for about $60us
The gang from school introduces me to tiritas (local favorite similar to ceviche) LOVE them!

DECEMBER

Geared up for my school’s Posada (the Christmas parties most workplaces/homes have for employees and friends).  I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew I had to dress up.  I was kind of looking forward to it, as it had been years since I got dressed up for anything.  I was hoping Jonny was going to make it here in time to go with me and meet everyone.  I was also looking forward to hanging out with all the school staff – they are always so busy I never get to just talk to them much.   Sadly, days before the party, I got horribly sick.  I haven’t been that sick in years.  Also, it didn’t look like Jonny was going to make it in time to go with me.   I rallied the night of the party and made a short appearance – I really wanted to wear my new red dress and I knew I’d probably not get the chance again until maybe the following year, if that…

Jonny stopped at Isla Grande – about 10 miles north of Zihua – just a quick bus ride for me.  Reuniting with Jonny while still feeling sick, was not at all how I pictured things.  But we forged ahead.  I went out there to meet him for the weekend. I had no idea how it was going to feel to be back aboard Summer.  I wondered if I’d become a landlubber afterall?  Not to worry, I felt instantly back at home.  It was so nice, I loved being onboard and sleeping at anchor was the best sleep I’d had in months.  My hacking cough was not super attractive, but Jonny and I were happy to be together.

That first jump felt so good!

We spent Christmas in my apartment and back on the boat for New Year’s.   I think we had Christmas shrimp, Chanukkah latkes and Thanksgiving turkey all inside one week…

Plaza Kioto was all decked out for Christmas

Looking pretty tasty…the latkes, too

We had a lovely short trip down to Barra de Postosi, which was beautiful and peaceful.  I was hoping it would become our getaway spot with Summer – away from the ‘city life’. There are no jet skis or banana boats.  It was great to sail again and hang out watching dolphins ride our bow wake.

JANUARY

Shortly after Jonny landed in Zihua it became apparent he should take care of renewing his tourist visa.  I helped him find a flight to LA for early January (it turns out there’s a nonstop from here and it is quite affordable).  He was able to turn a visa renewal trip into a visit the family trip, which was great for him.

We were able to have a fun day out on Summer with Diego (my teacher), his fiancé, Anahi and his sister, Dilian and her daughter Eva.  They are all teachers at my school, so I see them all the time and help out with their English classes, but we don’t often get to hang out socially.  It was a fun day!

One day we finally went to snorkel out at Las Gatas and  see the sunken Jesus statue there.  I made this video:

Finding Jesus

Somehow, I got horribly sick AGAIN – which was so annoying for someone who hasn’t caught anything in over 7 years (not counting chikungunya or ear infection).  I think it was all the gringo germs coming to the area, as tourist season was really picking up.  I had started noticing the place just crawling with white folk!

Before Jonny left for LA, we celebrated his 6 month anniversary of sobriety with a nice dinner out, and a bottle of wine (just kidding!!! Wanted to see who was paying attention).

Oh…but the CAKE!!!

Since I have a nice roomy apartment, Jonny wanted to invite his dear friends, Cliff and Dee down for a visit.  They jumped at the chance and arrived for a weeklong visit the day after Jonny returned from LA.  We had a busy and fun week with them. They were the perfect houseguests and so nice to be around.  We were sad to see them go.

Thursday is pozole night in Zihua! Delicious tradition.
Dee kicked butt at Zumba class with me! (they love to take pictures after classes…no idea why!)

On a very sad note, my very dear and beautiful friend Karine, passed away at the end of January.  She fought valiantly for many years against her second bout of cancer.  It was painful not to be able to talk to her as we knew the end was coming. But I know she was surrounded by family and loving friends on her final days.

I was so grateful Karine came down to visit before we left San Diego.

FEBRUARY

A very fast month.  In the beginning, we participated in the annual SailFest activities. It’s a big event that draws a lot of cruisers.  It’s a fundraising event to benefit children and schools of Zihuatanejo.  There are a number of festivities all week (auction, chili cook-off, things like that) and cruisers volunteer to take guests who purchase tickets out for a ride.  We volunteered for both sailing events – a fun race out to the rock, and a boat parade to Ixtapa to salute the Port Captain.  We had a different couple for each of the days.  Both couples were from Canada (not unusual down here, most white folk are Canadian).  We enjoyed it all far more than expected.  For the ‘race’ we were extremely surprised about how well Summer did! We were sure we’d be dead last, being one of the smallest boats.  But out of 18 or 19 boats I think we crossed the finish line 5th or 6th.  We were never able to get the final results.  I also haven’t been able to get a copy of the picture of us crossing the finish line, wing on wing.  It was very exciting though!  The parade day was a lot of fun as well.  After lapping the bay a couple times and sailing out to Ixtapa to salute the Capitania de Puerto, we took our guests on a whaling mission. We succeeded in getting some great sightings and having a wonderful sail!

We just adored Randy and Janine!  They took us out for a nice meal after our ‘race’ and Jonny and Randy went out fishing together the next day.
Jeff and Monique and Randy joined us for the ‘end of sailfest’ ceremony.  All such lovely people we hope to see again!

After we recovered from SailFest activities, February was filled with Jonny doing boat projects and surfing, and me trying to work on new business ideas and ways we could afford to stay together in Zihua for the summer.  Peugeot got a new cover – Jonny spent an entire week, all day every day, sewing this beauty up.  This should last a while!

Peugeot’s Peugeot-shaped rust spot has long since faded away, but I decided it was time to give him/her a proper emblem (and come to find out, all this time Jonny thought of Peugeot as a He and I, a She. Who knew?)

 

One day we did a fun little walkabout up into the switchback streets of the hillside neighborhoods. The higher you go, the poorer it gets…and the more amazing the views. Kids up there LOVE to fly kites! So much so they have their own sign.

The boy on the ground was holding a kite string that must have been 100s of feet long!

 

Notice all the kite strings on the power lines…

“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!”

We were also supposed to figure out where Summer would spend the summer – because it’s just too stormy and lightning-y to keep her in the bay all summer and the marina here is prohibitively expensive.   No decisions were ever really made.  Jonny never really found a groove in Zihua, he was fearful of the cartel violence that is often taking place here and never really grew an affinity for the town. He was not looking forward to living on land in extreme heat for the summertime, with no obvious opportunities for earning money.  He was far more excited about possibilities for earning money in other places.  I was not interested in leaving my stable and comfortable life here to couch surf and struggle to work in the very expensive United States.  I was also not ready to move back onto the boat again, when we hadn’t resolved a great number of issues that needed resolving.  Somehow the months just vanished behind us and we had made no progress.

Valentine’s Day passed with barely a nod, save for the cake and enchiladas.

MARCH

March brought Zihua’s 2nd “Fest”… GuitarFest.  People come from all over to play and listen to, guitars.  There were a few that caught our ear and we spent several nights sitting on the sand next to the main stage (the free seats), listening to some amazing performers.   My two favorites were Lipbone Redding (yes, he could make his mouth sound like a trombone… and he was super funny) and Jossey Gallegos (local woman) who had an incredible voice – she even did some opera.  I did also like the quartet from Argentina that played a mean acoustic cover of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters”.   The final night was a great treat as we got to see ALL the performers separately, and they called upon others to join them here and there. The finale was all of them at once performing a great montage they put together.  All the performers stay at the same hotel and get to know each other and collaborate on ideas and songs – it sounds like great fun for them!  It was certainly fun to hear them play together and see the respect and admiration  they all had for each other.  We got to hear some original music that will never be heard again by anyone else!

This one time? At Guitarfest? Bomberos came and wrestled a crocodile behind the stage and re-located him.

After that week Jonny spent a week off on Summer surfing a good break near Ixtapa. I met him out there for a weekend, just like when he arrived. But this time, we came to an impasse.  Given financial limitations, geographic challenges and personal needs we realized it just wasn’t going to work out for us.  We were both deeply disappointed, but it was clear that separating was the right thing to do.  When we embarked on the cruising life, we knew we would run out of money in a couple years and we knew we’d have to figure something out.   We just didn’t know it would be this.

The next couple weeks, Jonny prepared to leave Zihua, with plans to put Summer up someplace safe in June and seek his fortune, and I hope happiness, somewhere for the summer/fall hurricane season.  I’m not really sure what he will do, but all his energy was heading north and away from here.  I feel like I’m just starting to hit my stride here.  There’s so many great people and my Spanish is improving every day.  I’m still very taken in by the challenge of living in a different culture.  I love my apartment and how close it is to all the beaches and markets.  My virtual assistant business has picked up and I’m doing a variety of interesting work for some very nice people whom I may never meet in person.  All this means the best way for me to earn money is to stay put and work.  I’ve also started a new themed blog and affiliate marketing endeavor.  Writing about something I’m passionate about (healthy food/cooking and exercise) and providing shopping links to healthy products I approve of (and receiving commission on sales I send their way) is something I hope I can make a go of.  These things take a minimum of 6 months of hard work to make them viable, so we’ll see what happens.  It’s www.fitnessandhealth.space  if you’re interested in checking it out.

So. That’s all for now.  Another tearful good-bye and Summer sailed away. I have no idea what is going to happen next.  I’m just gearing up for surviving another sweltering summer, which I’m oddly looking forward to, as the town becomes a sleepy little place once again.

I did get Jonny to leave me with my beloved Mini-P.  I’m tricking her out for shady trips out to the bay to swim and relax when it’s too hot to do anything else here.

Next week, my first cousin and best friend (and partner in many crimes we will never confess), Becky, is coming down here to spend a week with me.  20 years ago this February, Becky and I took our first solo vacation to Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo.  It was a pretty wild trip. I doubt we will be doing tequila shots and dancing on tables at Señor Frogs (I’d probably pull a hip muscle), but it will be fun to hang out together nonetheless!!

In April, I’m looking forward to attending the wedding of Diego and Anahi.  I’m sure there will be some great cultural experiences on top of seeing these amazing people get married.

Until next time…find the beauty that is everywhere…

 

 

7 thoughts on “Playing Catch-Up”

  1. Dear Jenn,

    Love your blogs although this was not what I hoped for with you and Jonny again separating. I had hope for a permanent or semi-permanent reconciliation. The positive is that you have found a home, have work, friends, and a great apartment. I can emphasize with some sadness I read between the lines. Thinking of you and say hi to Jonny. Love, Susan and Van

  2. Well, damn. Not the ending I had hoped, but – at the risk of sounding glib with no intent to do so whatsoever: life, it is what it is. And, we experience and we grow and we love, and do it all again. Huge hugs your way.

  3. As you probably know, we came upon Summer at the quiet anchorage behind the islands near Tenacatita. What a fun surprise to see Jon again considering our circumstances held us back from sailing further to Zihua this year to visit you both. Glad you’re enjoying life there. Hopefully, we’ll see you next December/January on our way south. That is our intention anyway. Hugs from K2

  4. Hey Jen,

    Great reading your blog and knowing you’re doing otherwise well. But, like the others, so sorry things haven’t, as yet, worked out with your Beau.

    Be well.

    Shane

Comments are closed.