Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Long awaited Return

I arrived to SMA yesterday around 3:00 PM. I was met by my landlady, Judith, who was understandably concerned about my tardiness. My flight landed early (~11:30 AM), and I expected to be here by 1:30 at the latest. But time runs differently in Mexico, and although I had a taxi service pick me up and drive me directly to her door, we it took 2.5 hours to make what is typically a one and a half hour trip.

Judith was also concerned about her house. She had never left it before, and was understandably concerned about leaving it (and her three cats) in the hands of what amounts to a total stranger. I found this house-sitting opportunity via one of SMA's on-line communities, and we both had to trust the other (her that I would show up, methe house would be everything she promised). There was also one other little problem. Before I arrived, some men were at the house wiring things up for a washing machine (yippee!) and had to turn off the electricity. No problem, except they had went to lunch and had not returned after 3 hours. Judith was afraid that I'd be upset. My response, "is there water?" For those of you who have read the blog before, you know that the only think I fear from my Mexican houses is that I'll loose water, which I have done with every house I have rented so far (for the full scoop, see my post The Trouble with Tinacos). My calm was justified. The workers returned within an hour of my arrival and got things working again.

After my house orientation, Judith departed for her vacation, and I started to unpack. I was exhausted, but I also wanted to see San Miguel, particularly to see if I would run into any of the old gang--the group of friend that adopted Ken and me last year when we were here. I had been up since 3 A.M., so I decided to take a nap, and about an hour later I was walking toward the jardín. It was just the wrong time to be out. Most of those in the jardín were Mexicans (as was the custom last year at this time of the evening). I walked around for a while, realized my energy burst from the nap was very temporary, and headed home.

Judith's house is a no further away from the center of town than was the house we rented last year. It is on the opposite side of town, and very few expats live here. That is nice, as the feel here is much more "Mexicano" that the condo on Calle Sterling Dickenson. One major disappointment, however: no taco stands. Yes, that staple of Mexican cuisine seems to be nearly extinct here in SMA. I've talked to my neighbors and my new research assistant, Jalal. It is not that I cannot find one in my neighborhood. They simply do not exist in the same magnitude as they do in other Mexican towns. Alas, I was forced to dine on hamburgers my first night in Mexico.

When I got back to the house, I let the kitties (Judith has rescued 3) in, and went to bed. One of the cats is a wanderer, Misha, so I was surprised she made it in for the night. Not only did she make it in, she has decided that she loves me, and spent the night right beside me. That would be very nice, but because she's not fully tamed, she bears the marks of a cat who likes the explore the wild areas of this neighborhood. She (like her adopted sisters) is very small, about 4-5 pounds. Her face is beautiful and fluffy, but her tail is matted and encrusted with burrs that shed all over the bed when she rubs up against my face, which she did practically all night long. I spent the morning pulling burrs off my clothes, out of my hair, and from the bedding. The kitties my have to sleep in the guest room tonight, however.

This morning I spent several hours meeting and training Jalal, my research assistant. As I blogged earlier, Caren Cross most generously sought out and then interviewed many potential candidates before she found this young woman who is practically perfect in every way. Jalal will be setting up interviews and assisting with them during my stay here. I'm extremely happy that Caren found her. She's intelligent, energetic, and very well connected here, as she's lived here most of her life. I'm looking forward to working with her.

It's just good to be back.

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