Settling, Stretching, Expanding

Since my last post, Drew did manage to get the kid’s visa’s renewed, they just walked across the border into Guatemala, checked out of Mexico, into Guatemala, then walked back into Mexico. Now we’re all legal for another six months… and I hope I can get the family on permanent visas in that time… with Stella’s birth in Mexico, it’s really straight forward… we all apply for family visas to live with Stella, who is, by birth, Mexican.

So that’s it. We live in Mexico now.

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We’re living in the home of a retired Chilean-American ballet dancer, who lived in this house for 20 years before moving back to the States.

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They raised their daughter here who is now in her early twenties. They left the furniture, plants and little decorations and antiques.

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It’s like moving into someone else’s life. There’s a seashell soap dish in the bathroom. A child’s etchings on the wall in the second bedroom.

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There’s overgrown (in the best way) bougainvilleas on the property wall, and from my second floor terrace I can observe the very busy lives of the neighborhood dogs, who always seem to be in a rush somewhere, often in packs, on some secret mission that involves hustling from one end of this street to the other.

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We’ve moved into a house that feels lived in, and it makes us feel at ease. We have unpacked the suitcases completely. We’re putting things away in drawers. There’s a sense of letting go, because after all, we’re going to be here for a while.

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I’m ready for the next big project… finally having a proper kitchen. Getting some good knifes. Breaking out the plancha and the tortilla press and the molcajete. I want to cook my way through Diana Kennedy’s 436-page tome Oaxaca al Gusto. Translate local cookbooks from Spanish. Become an expert in Oaxaca cuisine, it’s micro-climates, the biodiversity here. You know, for fun. Because I finally can! I won’t be leaving, I don’t have to pack everything into a backpack. I can have a garden and grow herbs and never be rushing around a market hoping they have some cilantro – somewhere. (Strangest thing… getting cilantro in Mexico is oddly difficult. Tomatoes, peppers, onions, avocados – everywhere – but the one thing that would make it awesome, so you can make salsa or guac, is missing. I just assume everyone must grow it at home.)

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It’s funny how much just having the house settled… and furnished… and outfitted… and decorated… changes things and makes room for everything else. My kids didn’t have to adjust to living here, they just arrived, put down their things and melted into the space. That’s a good thing. They aren’t even thinking about it. In fact, all Cole wants right now is to learn how to skate-board. Which is strangely suburban and perfect if you think about it.

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So this blog might go a little foodie for a while. I don’t know. There’s so much to explore… the new office downtown is being painted, we’re going to start working from there while the kids are in school… I want to eat lunch at a different restaurant or food stall every day for a year… there’s the street art, the parades, festivals, music, gallery openings. I could easily turn this into Almost Oaxaqueño. It’s going to be a good year.

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