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A Midwesterner moves to Mexico – May 22, 2015

If you put a thousand monkeys in front of a thousand typewriters, at some point they’ll write the entire works of Shakespeare. Or so goes the theory.

If you put a lone woman in front of a keyboard to write about all the interesting things she’s discovering in Mexico, a pithy little column should write itself at least once a week. Or so goes my theory.

Which is why this morning, the day of my deadline, found me sitting on my enclosed patio, lap top open, coffee close at hand, staring at a blank screen, waiting for the words to come. 

Before I had even taken that first sip of black coffee, a loud, “Hola,” greeted  me from somewhere behind the high cement walls that surround the patio. I didn’t know the origin of the greeting, but being a friendly midwesterner who sometimes misses the frequent “hellos” hailed across low fences or open back yards, I returned a friendly,”Hola,” of my own with no idea of to which neighbor I was saying hello. 

Back to my blank screen, with no words forthcoming, it wasn’t long before I heard another greeting. This one a loud wolf whistle, again coming from the direction of some back patio neighbor – a neighbor that I was now thinking was perhaps a little more friendly than I’d like.

Not that a sixty-something woman wouldn’t occasionally find a little acknowledgment somewhat flattering. It’s just that this sixty-something woman with unbrushed hair, no make-up, and wearing the sweat pants and oversized t-shirt she slept in knew that any whistle on this particular morning would be wholly undeserved.

Which is why I didn’t respond to the whistle in any way, but sat in front of my lap top with a school marm’s posture that was sure to dissuade any further disturbance of my morning and any further interaction with my neighbor, whoever and wherever he was. 

Unfortunately, the productiveness I was hoping to gain from this new seriousness was again interrupted by a very definite laugh, reminiscent of the type you sometimes get when walking past a construction site trying to ignore catcalls. A laugh that said, “we know you heard us.”

It was about this time that I started thinking that the high patio walls weren’t such a bad thing after all. I was, however, questioning the wisdom of all the second story windows overlooking the private patios and thinking that maybe we needed to get some of those shade sails to block out nosy neighbors. 

If I hoped  to make any headway on writing a column, I knew it was time for this Nancy Drew to do a little reconnaissance and find out exactly which neighbor I needed to avoid in the future.

I left the patio and walked to my own upstairs window to peek into the neighboring patios and windows to see who was breaching my morning peace and productivity. 

As I looked from house to connected house I saw nothing indicating the culprit. No shadows, no curtains quickly closing upon my appearance, no construction workers taking a break, no neighbors at all. 

Nothing but empty patios.

And one possible clue ... two big, bright green birds in a fancy cage on a nearby back patio. Both of which soon let out a friendly, “Hola,” and a hearty laugh at my expense.

Mystery solved. And theory proven.

A Midwesterner moves to Mexico – May 15, 2015

A Visitor and a Resident

It’s been a busy week. One that took me to Tlaquepaque, el Centro, a Tequila brewery, two malls, three markets and numerous cathedrals and parks; that found me venturing out to Tonala not once but twice, sitting in the second row of  my first Mexican wrestling match, stepping through the doors of at least three museums, eating out  for all but a few meals and discovering that tacos are a little bit different everywhere you go. 

Stepping Back In Time In Mexico

It’s easy to step back in time in Mexico. A walk through the Centro Historico or the Panteon de Belen cemetery in Guadalajara can take you there in minutes. So can a stroll down the cobblestone streets of Gaunajuato or crossing the threshold of  any of the colonial churches that dot the skylines.

A Midwesterner moves to Mexico – April 17, 2015

Sometimes I have little floaters in my eyes – those tiny black specks that flit around in your field of vision only to dart away when you shift your eyes to look at them. And sometimes I have little black gnats that fly in aimless circles around my head and across my line of sight. Both are irritating. But that’s not the problem. The problem is knowing which ones to swat.

A Midwesterner moves to Mexico – April 10, 2015

“When you’re dead, you turn into a snake,” my three-year-old grandson told me the other day as we walked home from school – a walk that takes us by at least one house with an “Ave Maria” plaque at its entrance, stores and restaurants that close on religious holidays, and several houses and businesses with Catholic shrines or statues out front or in yards that we catch glimpses of through gates.