A Wee Bit Homesick
06 January 2014
Terri & Jay Chattaway
January 4, 2014
AOL morning headlines read something like this: MAJOR SNOWSTORM HITS NORTHEAST!
It is cold back home. THE COLDEST JANUARY 4 SINCE 1981.
We go to The Vineyard Gazette online and see photos of beautiful landscapes where the snow drifts across Tashmoo Overlook. A romantic viewpoint. True, the winds are reported to be hitting 50 mph, shutting down the ferries. It is bitter cold and now it's time to dig out the driveways from the foot of snow they have received. The tree branches, stripped of their leaves, are drooping with the weight of the storm. Most everything comes to a halt.
And here we are in 75 degree weather, under blue skies with white puffy clouds dotting the horizon. The palm trees are swaying gently with the breeze. The bushes of bougainvillea are vibrant with reds, pinks, corals and purples. An Egret catches my eye as he flies past and lands on the rock at the edge of the harbor. A fish jumps out of the water. The pool looks exceptionally inviting.
But still we are homesick.
Our caretaker, Sam, writes to say he has checked on our house and all has fared well in the storm. He sends us a picture. Later, Jay tells me that this is when the first chord of homesickness strikes. Despite the beauty that surrounds him here in La Paz, he misses his home.
That and communicating with one of our friends who is checking in on our neighbors. They are elderly and Jane recently took a fall and broke her hip. Hell of a Christmas, she tells us. We both wish we were there to help them.
Mostly we miss our children and grandchildren. Even though almost all of them live in California and we now live in Massachusetts, just being in the states makes it easier to stay in touch. In this age of mass communication, when one can talk or text or email in an instant, and not having the same advantage in Mexico, has been particularly difficult for my daughter and me. We used to talk almost once a day. Our US phone company, Sprint, doesn't have an affordable international plan, so we have not been able to connect easily. Other than the occasional Skype and/or Magic Jack. Which are sketchy, at best.
That is what took us on a search for the Mexican equivalent and a Telcel store. Needless to say we needed someone who could speak English. We had heard that there are relatively inexpensive Mexican phones with plans where we can call the US as well as local numbers. I think it was when we were at our third Telcel office that we started to crack.
The woman at the counter shakes her head no as she answers, "A little."
Jay looks at me (exasperated) as if I should be the one who can rattle off enough Spanish to make her understand what we want. I can't. I look at him and shrug my shoulders. This is when he finds he is precariously close to the end of his rope. He takes a deep breath and tries to explain what he needs.
The following is an email he wrote to a few of our friends. You will see, clearly, how we might be feeling, a wee bit homesick.
Yesterday we had reached our Mexican limit.
No more tortillas and beans, please. We decided to go into town and get a Mexican phone. Probably will put us on the FBI list, but communicating is tough down here. Everybody uses their VHF radios!
So, in we go, take the shuttle, then a cab to the big phone store. Finally got to speak to a representative who spoke "limited" English.
After a lot of time she was able to tell us that the computadores were down and that she couldn't activate our phone anyway, nor could she add minutes to our internet dongle.
OK, we thought we would see a movie. Shit, they were all in Spanish except a Santa holdover. OK, then, lets go shopping. The big market (Mega) is like a Gelsons, without much American food. Many types of mole (with flies buzzing around) and parts of animals we couldn't recognize.
And the worst white wine selection. The only US wines are Barefoot and Boone's Farm. Seriously, Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill. I bet you had some of that in your youth.
We go to check out and the computadores were down all over town. OK, we barely had enough pesos for the food and to get home. But wait, there is a caja automatico (ATM machine.) I came so close to inserting my card when a nice lady said STOP! The computadores are down at the banks too and they will keep your card. Phew!
We went back to the marina, to the beach club and drank margaritas by the pool.
No snow to shovel here.