During Semana Santa - the week before Easter, all of the Mexicans flood to the beach where they camp out, up and down the Baja - even in Los Barriles people came out to set up camp. Bill really wanted to share in their experience and when our friend Darlene mentioned she was interested too we decided, on the spot, to go get our camping stuff and set up camp, right on our beach in front of our house and the tiki bar...kind of like kids camping in their backyard! I had found a pic of a great firepit online the week before and Bill decided he needed to make one and started digging. Fortunately a younger Mexican guy came and asked what he was doing, Bill showed him the pic and he asked if he could help! During the day we had a couple of others come out and help and it ended up being pretty epic! We didn't sleep in the tent but all of our waking hours for 3-4 days were spent right there on the beach. Our neighbors to the right of us made us a fabulous breakfast one morning and it was just an amazing experience!!
|Lalo - who was from San Jose del Cabo, created the beautiful driftwood fire sculpture in the middle!|
|photo thanks to Darlene!|
We've participated in a bunch of fundraisers down here...the gringos spend a lot of time and energy raising funds for the local Mexicans. From paying for scholarships for the kids to go to jr and sr high school to repairing their dorms, giving quad rides to the kids from the orphanages and just a slew of activities. Twice a year is the Baja Hahaha golf tournament - held in the arroyo, in the sand...on your quad - instead of a golf cart, what fun!
|photo thanks to Peace Blossom|
Last month we started a Spanish class twice a week with 10 others. The class was taught by an English speaking woman and a Mexican woman, who works in the town library and does not speak English. They have been teaching this class together for 13 years. It is really wonderful to be able to hear the local Mexican dialect and slang. The class was taught in a completely different manner than any other language class I have taken. The method is known as teaching the 6 Power Verbs. It's really fantastic and we've progressed rather quickly to the speaking stage. It's a very different way to learn a language. Instead of trying to translate what you want to say, you figure out what you know in Spanish and how to use those words to express what you want to say...it's a subtle difference but it really works. Our class ended last week but Bill and I are meeting with the teacher weekly for lunch and Spanish conversation to try and keep our skills up. Hope we don't lose too much when we leave.
Figuring out when to leave has been in a constant state of flux. We originally figured that our 6 month visa starting mid-October would cause us to have to leave by mid-April, but after being here awhile we noticed that people fly to the US, mid-winter to renew their visas, setting a new 6 month clock. Bill flew out to see his mom in Florida in January, so he doesn't have to be back in the states until the end of July and I flew to California to celebrate my dad's birthday the end of February, so I don't have to come back until the end of August. This gives us so much more flexibility that we decided to stay down here as long as we could handle the weather - thinking mid July. But then I heard that the Tahoe campground where we've workamped the last few years was expecting us back in a couple of weeks! Whaaaaaaaat?! Seems the manager is not quite as on top of things as he'd expected to be and is terribly short-handed, so since we were planning to visit Tahoe anyway, we thought we'd go up and help them out. We're paying rent down here at the casita during the summer, so our minimum wage job, a couple of days a week, will help out with some of our summer expenses in the U.S. Then there is the fact that we no longer have an RV to live in! We've still got to figure all of that out, but we have friends who love us and are willing to help us out for a bit...stay tuned to see how that all works out!
|Mama turtle burying her eggs.|
And now for the big news! I am going to become a grandma! Yes, my first-born, Lauryn, is pregnant and due in December. She just turned 31, May 1st, and is in love with Jon, a great guy she met in LA. I got to meet him and spend some time getting to know him when I was in southern California in February. They've just had their second ultrasound and everything seems to be going according to plan. There are some pretty serious medical issues to deal with, but the odds are in her favor for a healthy bambino. I've been in contact with Jon's mom, Theresa - they live in New York and seem like really good people. It's been quite the year for Lauryn - I'm super proud of where she is today and all she's accomplished. She'll be a wonderful mother and has always loved being around children.
Bill's mom turns 90 in August, so we have plans for a little family reunion in the Tampa area and I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone again. Madeleine, Bill's daughter who lives in London, will be there and his son, Will, who lives in Key West will be driving in too. Bill's brothers are coming and maybe some cousins as well.
I love our life here in Los Barriles and am already feeling a little sad to leave, but the gypsy in me can't wait to get on the road again to go visiting and especially get back to Tahoe, my other favorite spot in the world. Life between Baja and Tahoe ain't bad....ain't bad at all...