Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Moving Day

No, I'm not leaving for Mexico just yet.  That's still about a month away.  However, yesterday, the movers came to pack up the stuff that I am taking down there.

Since the previous owners of the condo in Mexico City are leaving the place completely furnished, I do not have to move that much.  There are certain pieces of furniture, my relatively new TV, and a lot of my paintings and other decorative items that I want down there.  The moving company I have contracted is highly recommended and specializes in moving household goods from the U.S. and Canada to Mexico.

Yesterday morning the movers arrived with a U-Haul truck and packing materials.

  Within a few hours they had everything boxed and wrapped.

This morning they returned and loaded everything onto the truck.  It will go to Atlanta where they have another shipment, and then on to the Mexican border, and eventually to my place in Mexico City.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Searching for a Home

No, this post has nothing to do with real estate.  It's about finding a home for something that I do not want to just throw in the trash.

Many years ago, my high school Spanish teacher, who was like an adopted mother to me, gave me a box of antique postcards that belonged to her grandfather.

His name was John Schneider.  He was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States in the late19th century.  He became a brewmaster and eventually settled in Cleveland, Ohio, where he worked for the Schlather Brewing Company, at that time the largest brewery in Cleveland.

The owner of the brewery, Leonard Schlather, was also born in Germany and had become a very wealthy man from the success of his brewery.  He and his wife traveled extensively, and Schlather frequently sent postcards to Schneider.  The cards in the box all date from the first years of the 20th century, and many were from Schlather's trips to faraway places.  The messages on the cards were always written in German.

A few of the postcards...  (clockwise from upper left) the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, the Hofbrau House in Munich, Germany, and the Plaza Navona in Rome, Italy.

There were also several postcards sent from the St. Louis World's Fair of 1904.

I have been trying to find a home for these postcards.  I called the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, left a message.  I did not hear back from them.  I went to the Berea Historical Society, and, although the lady found them very interesting, they were not something that they would want for their collection.  (Understandable, since the connection to Berea is very tenuous... that fact that they belonged to a long-time faculty member of Berea High School.)  Then a lady from the Western Reserve Historical Society finally called me back.  Although they did not want the cards, she gave me some suggestions.  The Schlather Brewery was located on the site where the Great Lakes Brewing Company stands today.  She said that they might have an interest.  Also, Schlather built a mansion in the Cleveland suburb of Rocky River.  The Rocky River Historical Society or Rocky River Library might accept the cards.

I will give those places a call this week.  However, with my move to Mexico, I am very busy.  I don't have the time to search much more.  If those places do not want the postcards, I will, as Alejandro suggested when we Skyped last night, simply pack them in my suitcase and take them with me to Mexico.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Merry Christmas

It's only September, but my Christmas cards are all set to be mailed.  Much earlier this year I did the painting which was to be used for the card, and I went to a local printer to have them printed.  Then, a couple week ago, I printed off the address labels, and created new return-address stickers.  Those have the address in Miami that I have been assigned by the private mail service that will deliver my mail to Mexico.  (My mail will go to Florida and from there sent via UPS to an office in Mexico City.)  I also printed off a short note to enclose in the cards giving everyone my new contact information.  I was ready to make them out, something which I accomplished over the course of several evenings.

Next, I went to the post office to buy stamps.  Obviously, this year's Christmas stamps are not yet available.  However, they had something even better.  This month the U.S. Postal Service issued a new booklet of Forever Stamps featuring piñatas.  Perfect!

With the cards ready to go, I took them to my friend Gayle.  I always send out my Christmas cards the day after Thanksgiving, and mine are always the first to be received.  This year, I will have made the move to Mexico long before Thanksgiving.  But Gayle kindly offered to send them out for me at the usual time.  So, for this year at least, the Christmas card tradition will continue.  For the coming years, I will have to investigate how expensive it will be to send cards via my private mail service.

Friday, September 22, 2023

A Birthday Celebration

My schedule is very full for the coming weeks.  Not only am I busy getting ready for my move to Mexico, but I have a busy social calendar getting together with friends before I leave Ohio.

Last night a group of us met to celebrate the birthday of our friend Gayle.  Gayle and I go back all the way to kindergarten.  We really weren't close in school, but in later years, being nearly the only ones in our graduating class still living in our childhood homes, we have become good friends.  There were five of us all together...  Duffy, who was also in our class, his husband Carlos, and my friend Frank, who has come to know them all well.

We went to a nearby Italian restaurant and had a delicious supper.

We then went back to Duffy's house where we had a birthday cake.  Gayle was serenaded with "Happy Birthday", the Puerto Rican birthday song (Duffy and Carlos have a home in Puerto Rico) and "Las Mañanitas", the Mexican birthday song.

It was a great evening with good friends!

Thursday, September 21, 2023


As you know, every year a have a calendar made which features photos that I have taken.  I then give the calendars out as Christmas gifts (and, of course, keep one for myself). This year the photos were all pictures of works in the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Earlier this summer, I went on the Shutterfly website and prepared my calendar for 2024.  As soon as I returned home from my most recent trip to Mexico, I ordered the calendars so that I could give them out before I make my big move.

Earlier this month, the package from Shutterfly arrived.

I have two of the calendars already packed in my suitcase... one for my apartment in Mexico City and one for Alejandro's family.  Others have been given out to friends who usually receive the calendar at Christmas, and I sent six of them to my cousins in Switzerland, England and Norway.  

I went to the post office last Thursday to send them off to Europe.  Amazingly, on Monday I received an email from my cousin Kevin in England that his calendar had arrived.  Just four days!  And this morning I had an email from my cousin Brigitta in Switzerland that hers had arrived.  Only one week!  It seems that the international mail is moving much faster than previously.  I looked at the U.S. Postal Service website and put in the tracking numbers. All of the calendars to Switzerland were delivered today.  Only the package to Norway is still lingering at the international distribution center in Chicago. 

I won't tell you now what the theme of the 2024 calendar is, but come next year, I will show you the photos month by month.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023



After the inspection of the house last Friday, I was told that there were only a few minor issues.  Apparently, those issues were inconsequential to the buyers.  Yesterday the realtor came to the house with another document for me to sign.  (I don't remember what it's called.) It stated that I am not responsible for any repairs prior to closing.

The wheels of bureaucracy will turn for a few more weeks before the deal is officially closed.  However, my realtor said that at this point he has never seen a sale not go through.  He confidently changed the sign from "SALE PENDING" to "SOLD".

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Leftovers from the Last Trip

As I was looking through my files, I realized that there were a few pictures from my last trip to Mexico that I had not posted.  Here are a couple of photos of a meal we had toward the end of my stay.  (Alejandro took the pictures since I did not have my camera at hand.)

For dinner one day Alejandro's sister bought some "tlacoyos", a dish that I really like and have even made at home.  A "tlacoyo" is made from "masa" (corn meal dough) and filled with beans.  It is then fried and usually topped with beans, chopped onion, salsa and "crema" (similar to our sour cream).  They are so tasty!

For dessert we had something that I had never had before, even after countless trips to Mexico... "camotes" (sweet potatoes) from a street vendor.  If you have spent much time in Mexico (or at in least Mexico City) you have probably heard the unforgettable sound of the "camote" vendor passing down the street on his bicycle cart.  When steam from the steamer filled with sweet potatoes is released it produces a distinctive whistle.  It is a very eerie sound, especially when the vendor is passing down the street late at night.  Anyway, even though I had heard the whistle of the vendors countless times, I had never eaten any of their "camotes".  On this occasion, Alejandro went out to the street and bought sweet potatoes for us all.

They are covered with brown sugar, and they are quite good.

It was definitely a very, very Mexican meal.

Monday, September 18, 2023


As I mentioned the husband of the couple that bought my house is one quarter Mexican.  He said that he liked the Mexican influence of the decor, and, in particular, he mentioned the Mayan carvings in my office.

On the doors of the storage cabinets, there are woodcarvings that I bought on one of my trips to Yucatán.  I found them in the workshop of a woodcarver in the town of Izamal, about 40 miles to the east Mérida.


On the doors of the cabinets above my computer station, there are smaller carvings which I found at the Mayan archaeological site of Labná.  If I remember correctly, the father of the fellow who was the caretaker of the site was a woodcarver.  The son was selling his father's work at the entrance to the ruins.  Each carving is a Mayan glyph and means something in the ancient Mayan writing system.

My realtor later admitted to me that he had his doubts about those carvings, and even I wondered whether the new owner would take them off the doors.  But as it turned out, they were a selling point that endeared the house to the buyer.

Sunday, September 17, 2023



Before the sale of the house can go through, it has to pass an inspection.  That was really worrying me, because the house is over 70 years old.  I was imagining all sorts of scenarios in which the inspector found major problems that would hold up the sale and cost me loads of money.  Worry-wort that I am, my stomach was tied in knots fretting about the results. 

The inspector came last Friday accompanied by the buyers' realtor.  I left the house and ran a couple of errands.  Then I went over to my friend Gayle's house to kill some more time.  Shortly after I arrived, my cell phone rang.  It was my realtor.  He said that we have a "situation".  My heart sank.  "The inspector can't get the furnace to come on."  I said I was only five minutes away, and that I would come right over.  By the time I got there he had the furnace running.  I suppose it was slow to start because it had not been used all summer.  (Yesterday, we had a very chilly night, and I turned the thermostat up.  The furnace came on immediately with no problem.)

The inspector was done with his work and said that there were only a few very minor problems.  (I suppose that I will receive the list from my realtor on Monday.)  I felt as if a ton of bricks had been taken off my shoulders.

I also had the opportunity to meet the young couple that are buying my house.  They seem very nice.  They have been looking for a house for months, but every time that they put in an offer, they were outbid.  They liked my house better than any of the others that they had seen, so they are thrilled that their offer has been accepted.  The wife enjoys working in the garden.  Well, next spring she will have her work cut out for her, since this summer I have not had the time or inclination to work in the garden at all.  The husband is of one quarter Mexican ancestry, so he loved the Mexican influence in the decor of my house.  So, it really seems like it was meant to be, a "win-win" situation for us all.  I sold my house in an incredibly short time, and the buyers seem perfectly suited for the place that has been my home since I was three years old.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Independence Day

Today is Mexico's Independence Day.  (And if you have been reading this blog long enough, you already know that Independence Day is NOT "Cinco de Mayo".)

(image taken from the internet)

On this day in 1810, Miguel Hidalgo, a parish priest in the town of Dolores, began the struggle for independence from Spain.  He was the leader of a group of conspirators who were plotting to break away from Spanish colonial rule.  When the conspiracy was discovered by the authorities, Father Hidalgo, in the early hours of the morning, rang the church bell and exhorted his parishioners to rise up against the Spanish.  His speech became known as "El Grito de Dolores"... "the Cry of Dolores".  Hidalgo was to lose his life before a Spanish firing squad, and the war dragged on for eleven long years.  But in 1821 the Spanish viceroy finally signed a treaty recognizing Mexico's independence.

The big celebration actually took place last night.  Each year, as many as half a million people crowd into Mexico City's main plaza, the Zócalo.  The bell which Father Hidalgo rang now hangs over the balcony of the National Palace.  The President appears on the balcony, rings the bell and proclaims the "Grito".  In towns and cities across Mexico, mayors and governors ring replicas of Mexico's independence bell.

I have never been in Mexico on Independence Day, but by next year's holiday I will have resided there for nearly a year.  I do not, however, plan on attending the celebration on the Zócalo.  Standing for hours amidst a crowd of hundreds of thousands of people in not my idea of fun.  Nevertheless...

¡Viva México!

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Belated Birthday

On Tuesday, the second day that my home was on the market, I had a couple of requests for showings.  Of course, it is customary for the homeowner to leave while the house of being shown.  I was talking on the phone with my cousin Gail in the morning, but I had to cut the conversation short.  I told her that I had to go because someone would soon be coming to see the house.  She said to come over to her place.  I had not seen her since my return from Mexico, so that gave us a chance to visit and catch up on the latest news.  

I headed back home between showings, and while I was driving the cell phone rang.  I pulled over, and it was a request for another showing, the third for that day, later in the afternoon.  I waited at home until the realtor for the second appointment arrived, and then I took off for a lunch date.

Frank, my friend who housesits for me, was going to take me out for lunch.  I had been in Mexico on my birthday, and he wanted to treat me to a belated birthday meal at Olive Garden. I told him to meet me at the restaurant rather than coming to the house.  There we joined by two of my high school friends, Gayle (not to be confused with my cousin Gail) and Duffy.  (You have met both of them a number of times in earlier blog posts.)

Duffy, Gayle and Frank

(photo taken by Gayle)

We had a leisurely lunch and good conversation.  Afterwards, Frank went back to my house, and we visited some more until it was time for the next realtor's appointment.  Earlier, Gayle had said I should come over to her house during that showing.  So, I drove to her place which is less than ten minutes away.  As I was getting out of the car, the cell phone rang again with another request, the fourth for that day, an hour later.  I ended up hanging out at her house even longer than I planned.

Even though it was annoying to have to constantly leave the house, it was nice to spend the day visiting with friends and relatives.  And the best belated birthday present of all was to receive the news the next day that one of those showings had resulted in a sale!

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Exciting News!

My house has only been on the market for two days, but this morning I received a call from my realtor.  Four parties viewed my house yesterday, and one of them made a very good offer.  I have heard stories about homes selling quickly, but I never imagined that mine would sell so fast, especially since it only has one bathroom.

It will be more than a month before everything is taken care of, but if everything works out, I should be on a one-way flight to Mexico before the end of October!


Tuesday, September 12, 2023

For Sale

Yesterday the house went on the market.  Monday morning the real estate agent put a sign up in the front yard, and within an hour my house appeared on Zillow and other realty websites.  Before noon I had received a call from a realtor asking for showing that afternoon.  Of course, I had to leave the house.  It was a nice day, so I went out for a walk.  I went around the block, and by the time I returned to my street, I could see that the realtor and the client were already pulling out of my driveway.  They had only been there for about fifteen minutes, so obviously the potential buyer was not interested.  

Later in the afternoon, a liquidator recommended by my agent arrived to look at what has to be cleared out of the house.  (Since the condo that I am buying is already furnished, I will move only a very small number of items from my house.)  They looked at every room and did not seem fazed even by a few larger items that I worried would be difficult to remove from the house.  Once I have a buyer, we can schedule a date for them to do the liquidation.

In the evening, I received another call to schedule a showing this afternoon.  So, I will have to get out again.

I am hoping that the house sells within a short period of time.  I am pessimistic since the house has only one bathroom, a big drawback.  But everyone tells me that the house will sell quickly.  Fingers crossed that they are right.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Lunch with a Friend

One thing which I must absolutely do before I head to Mexico is to get together with all my friends.  So, in addition to having a lot to accomplish in preparation for the move, I am going to have a very busy social schedule.

Yesterday my friend and former colleague Katie invited me to her house for lunch.  So, I took a welcome break from my housecleaning chores and drove to her home.

(photo taken by Katie's son Christian)

Katie was a member of our foreign language department and taught French.  She is still teaching at another school district.  Her husband Olivier is a native of France.  I attended their wedding many years ago, and I have watched their two children grow up.  Their daughter Nina graduated from college last year and, for the time being, is living in France.  Their son Christian is a senior in high school.  So, my friendship with the family goes back many years.

Olivier's work takes him all over the world.  Unfortunately, he was not there; he was on his way to Barcelona.  But Katie, Christian and I had, as always, a delightful visit.  This was not farewell.  I will have to visit again in October after Olivier returns from his business trip, and they have assured me that they will be visiting me in Mexico after I have made the move.

Definitely one of the things that I will miss when I am living south of the border will be my many dear friends.

Katie and Christian

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Busy, Busy, Busy

I don't have time to write a lengthy entry this morning, but I wanted to write something quickly since I have not posted for the last couple of days.  The house is going up for sale tomorrow.  The "deep cleaning" of the kitchen is on pause, and today I need to do a general cleaning of the whole house.  Who knows when someone is going to want to look at the place?  In addition, I am invited for lunch today at the home of a friend and former colleague.  So, I have to have breakfast, and get to work!

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Deep Cleaning

I will soon be putting my house in Ohio up for sale.  In fact, tomorrow I have a meeting with a realtor.  Before I sell the house, I want to give the everything a "deep cleaning"... moving the furniture and appliances and cleaning all areas you don't see.

Before I left on my most recent trip to Mexico, I deep cleaned the two bedrooms and the living room.  Yesterday I began on the kitchen.  I moved the stove and cleaned behind it (what a mess!).  I started washing all the kitchen cabinets with Murphy's Oil Soap.  I cleared everything off the shelves, threw out stuff that I won't need in the (hopefully) short time that I remain here, and washed the shelves.  There is still a lot to do, and I expect to be very busy in the coming weeks. 


Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Red, White and Green

September 16th is Mexico's Independence Day.  (If you didn't already know, NO, it is not Cinco de Mayo!)  Even before I left Mexico at the end of August, stands were popping up everywhere selling flags and other patriotic decorations, trinkets, and clothing.  This stand was just outside of Chedraui, a major supermarket chain.

I actually bought a tee shirt here... at the very top of the stand you can see a shirt imprinted on the front to look like a "charro" outfit, the elaborate suit won by Mexican horsemen.  I won't be down there to wear it on Independence Day, but I will have it to wear in future years when I am living south of the border.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

The Two "Amigos"

Here are some photos that Alejandro's sister took of the two family dogs, Iztac and Pepe...


Sunday, September 3, 2023

The Face that Launched a Thousand Ships


On my flight home, I finished a book that I had been reading throughout the trip, a 600-page-plus novel about the Trojan War.  "Helen of Troy" is a retelling of the mythological story of the queen of Sparta whose abduction by Paris, a prince of Troy, leads to war between the Greeks and the Trojans. It was written by Margaret George, a writer who specializes in biographical novels.  I recently read another one of her books, "Confessions of a Young Nero".  

In this novel, the story is told by Helen herself and begins with her childhood and continues through Helen's return to Greece after the war.  In this version, Helen is not abducted by Paris.  Helen willingly, eagerly, abandons her spouse and runs off to Troy with her lover.  Her husband Menelaus is an honorable and kind man, but their marriage was without passion.  Throughout the story, Helen is very much aware of the death and destruction that her rash action has brought, yet her love for Paris does not waver.  It is also clear that the Greeks used Helen's abandonment of her husband as an excuse to wage war against the wealthy city of Troy.

In the story of the Trojan War, the Greek gods play an active role in the events, so it is hard to completely exclude the supernatural.  Nevertheless, the tone of the book is generally realistic.  The author, known for her meticulous historical research, gives us an excellent depiction of life in the Bronze Age.

The novel presents to us all the famous characters of Homeric legend... Cassandra, Hector, Agamemnon, Odysseus, Andromache and more.  The great Greek warrior Achilles is portrayed here a a cruel, violent, arrogant villain... an interesting contrast to the usual portrayal of him as a heroic figure.

I found the tragic fall of Troy especially moving.  The aftermath of the war, with Helen eventually returning to Sparta with her husband, a portion of the legend that is not as well known, to be very interesting.

If you have an interest in ancient Greece and its mythology, I recommend this novel.

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Flying with the Blue Moon

My return journey from Mexico to Ohio on Thursday was marked with none of the cancellations or delays which have plagued so many travelers.  

When I checked in online 24 hours ahead of time, once again I was able to upgrade to an "economy plus" seat for both flights without any charge.  My frequent flyer status makes me eligible for upgrades, but that has only rarely occurred on the day of travel at the airport.  On my flight down to Mexico this time, I accidentally discovered that I could change to a seat with more legroom the day before without paying more.  I don't know if this is something new, but I was happy to get a more comfortable seat at the standard economy price.

My flight from Mexico City was not scheduled to leave until 11:35 AM.  However, Alejandro and I left for the airport around 7:30 when he returned to the house after taking his sister to work.  Although the traffic was very heavy, we were at the terminal by eight.  I needed to check my luggage, but there was no line at all at United desk.  We had plenty of time for a leisurely breakfast.  My husband and I then said farewell, and I went through security.  There was no line there either.  My flight began boarding on schedule, and the plane pulled away from the gate just a few minutes late.  Not only did I have an "economy plus" seat by the window, but there was no one in the middle seat... so it was a very pleasant flight.

It was a cloudy and hazy morning.  I was seated on the right side of the plane, which, if conditions had been ideal, would have afforded me a view of the volcanoes as we took off.  But I was barely able to see sprawling eastern suburbs of the city before ascending above the clouds.

The sky cleared as we made our way northward along the gulf coast.  Soon we were making our descent into Houston.  

The only unpleasant aspect of the entire journey was at Houston Airport.  I used to be able to zip through immigration and pass through security effortlessly there.  Now (I don't know if it's because of the hour of my arrival, or because of the renovation of the terminals) I would rather travel by way of Chicago's infamous O'Hare Airport than through Houston.  Fortunately, I had a three-hour layover, so I never feared that I would miss my connection.  There was a fairly long line to go through immigration, although it moved steadily.  I had no problem picking up my suitcase, passing through customs or rechecking my luggage.  After that you go up an escalator to go through security again.  However, a long, snaking line was formed before reaching the escalator, and people were allowed a few a time to go up the escalator.  There you were met with an even longer line waiting to go through the checkpoint.  It was one of the longest waits I have ever had to go through security, and by the time I had passed through and took the train to the terminal for my next flight, half of my layover had been eaten up.

I had a pass to use the United Club lounge, where I could relax and have a free lunch.  However, there was a sign outside the lounge saying that they were not accepting day passes that day.  So, searched for someplace to have lunch.  Another thing I don't like about the Houston Airport now is that all the nicer, sit-down restaurants have gone annoyingly high-tech.  The only way you can order is by scanning a QR code onto your smartphone, order from your phone, and pay by credit card.  Sorry, but no!  I went to a fast-food place and ordered a sandwich.  By the time I finished eating, it was time to head to the gate where my flight to Cleveland was scheduled to leave.

We were a little late in boarding and taking off, although we still arrived in Cleveland ahead of schedule.  Once again, there was no one seating in the middle seat.

Taking off from Houston

As night fell, I looked out the window and saw the moon rising above the horizon.  My attempts to take a photo were not very successful.

If you have been following this entire trip, you may remember my early morning departure via Chicago on August 2nd when there was a full moon outside the window.  This month we had a "blue moon" (not a reference to the moon's color, but to the occurrence of two full moons within one month).  Actually, the full moon was the night before, but it still looked pretty full as I looked out the window on my way back to Cleveland.  It seemed to give a sense of symmetry to the journey... flying out with the full moon and returning with the (nearly) full moon.

Friday, September 1, 2023

It´s September

I returned home in time to flip my calendar to the month of September.  As my readers know, my custom-made calendar for this year features photos that I took of works at the Cleveland Museum of Art.  Since we are heading into fall, I thought that this painting by Van Gogh, with its autumnal hues, would be appropriate.

This is one of three oil paintings by Van Gogh which the museum has in its collection.  It was painted by the artist toward the end of his short life while he was interned at an asylum in St. Remy in the south of France, and it is considered an excellent example of his mature style.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Time to Return

It has been a very frustrating month in Mexico, but, after changing my airline reservations twice to extend my stay, I have at long last accomplished everything I needed to do before returning to Ohio.  As I said in the previous post, yesterday we signed the papers, and Alejandro and I are now the owners of the condo which I have been renting since 2017.  My home-away-from-home will be my permanent residence.  After a lot of time spent standing in line on repeated visits to the Mexican immigration office, I am now a legal resident of Mexico.  In two years I will be able to renew my visa to a permanent residency status.   I called Mailboxes Etc. with a few questions that I still had, and I can register for private mail delivery online.  

Tomorrow, I fly back to Ohio.  Then I will have a whole new set of tasks to accomplish.  The most important on my list to sell my house.  I have never sold property before.  I hope that it is an easier, less bureaucratic process than in Mexico.  I hope that the house sells fairly quickly since I don't want to be stuck in Ohio for months on end.  Perhaps I am being overly optimistic, but I would hope that by October I will be purchasing a ONE WAY ticket to Mexico!

Just Browsing

Yesterday, just two days before my scheduled departure, we finally signed the papers, and Alejandro and I are now the owners of the apartment that I have been renting for the past six years!

On the way back to his family's house, we stopped someplace that we were always talking about visiting... Mexico City's new IKEA store.

(photo taken from the internet)

After a delay due to the pandemic, the Swedish furniture retailer opened the doors of its first store in Mexico in April of 2021.  It is located in a shopping mall called Encuentro Oceania that is not too far from the airport.  When it first opened, COVID restrictions were still in place, and, in order to maintain a healthy distance between customers, reservations were required to visit the store.  Those restrictions, of course, were lifted quite a while ago.

I had only been in an IKEA once before.  That was with one of my cousins in Switzerland.  This store seemed even bigger.  It took us several hours to go through the entire store.  Although we didn't buy anything, we did see a number of items that we would consider buying for the apartment.  The merchandise is very international.  We saw items from India, Vietnam, France, Italy, Bulgaria, Indonesia, Poland and other countries.  At first, I was impressed that I didn't see anything made in China.  But when we got to the home accessories section, there were quite a few items from China.  I wonder if, now that IKEA has a presence in Mexico, some of their products will be produced here. 

On the top floor there is cafeteria style restaurant that features Swedish dishes.  We stopped for a snack there before leaving.  Alejandro took a photo looking out from the restaurant window.  The store is located near a freeway and a Metro station.  In the distance, you can see the skyscrapers of downtown Mexico City.

We had fun browsing through the store, and I am sure that we will return in the future and perhaps make some purchases.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

A Doubly Special Day

Grandparents' Day is a relatively new celebration that didn't exist way back in the day when I still had grandparents.  In 1978 President Jimmy Carter signed a proclamation making the first Sunday after Labor Day Grandparents' Day.  This year it will be September 10th.

In Mexico Grandparents' Day is celebrated on the same date every year... August 28th.

Yesterday, Alejandro and I went out to buy a cake for his father Pedro.  We went to the same bakery where we have bought "baklava cake" a number of times for birthdays.  This time, however, we got a chocolate amaretto cake.  It was very tasty, and I'm not sure now which one I like better.

 Pedro with his Grandparents' Day cake

Yesterday also happened to be the first day of school for students in Mexico.  Pedro's grandson Ezra started his second year of "secundaria", what we would call 8th grade in the U.S.  He was looking forward to his return to school and came home very happy. 

Monday, August 28, 2023


Neither Alejandro nor I went to watch it, but the 40th Mexico City Marathon was held yesterday.  More than 25,000 runners from around the world participated in this year's event.  The race began at the Olympic Stadium on the campus of the National University of Mexico, wound its way past many of the city's most famous landmarks, and ended at the Zócalo, the city's main plaza.

The winner of the men's event was the Bolivian athlete Héctor Garibay Flores.  He was not only the first Bolivian to ever win the race, but he broke the marathon's record with a time of 2 hours, 8 minutes and 22 seconds.

(images taken from the internet)

Winning the women's event was Celestine Chepchirchir from Kenya.  She came close to breaking the women's record with a time of 2 hours, 27 minutes and 17 seconds.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

A Curious Church

Near the Basilica of Guadalupe, along the Metrobus line that passes close to Alejandro's home, there is an old church, in ruinous condition, which has always piqued my curiosity.

The front entrance is blocked, poles appear to be holding up the facade, and it doesn't look as if there is a roof.  And yet, it is a functioning church.  A sign on the front says that baptisms are held the second and fourth Saturdays of the month.

On Google Maps there are reviews and photos of the church.  People say that the building is under restoration and that masses are already being held there.  The photos posted of the interior show that the church does have a roof.  I have not been able to find anything about its history, but from the baroque decoration on the facade, I would guess that it dates from the 18th century.

According to Google Maps, the name of the church is the Sanctuary of San Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin.  According to the story, Juan Diego was one of the first natives to be converted to Catholicism after the Spanish conquest.  In 1531 it was to Juan Diego that the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared four times.  He was canonized as a saint in 2002; the first indigenous saint in the Americas.  

(image taken from the internet)

There are those who debate the historicity of Juan Diego.  They point out that there is no mention in contemporaneous written records of him or of the apparitions.  Not even Juan de Zummáraga, the bishop whom Juan Diego repeatedly visited and who saw the miraculous image of the Virgin imprinted on Juan Diego´s cloak, ever wrote anything about it.

As Alejandro and I were driving by, I mentioned the church.  He said that when he was a boy, the building was used as a movie theater.  He remembers going there to see Disney movies, and that, in the niches where images of saints would have been, there were paintings of Disney characters.

I wish I could find out more about the history of this curious church.

Friday, August 25, 2023

A Coin I Had Never Seen

A few years ago, there were plans to replace the 20-peso banknote (currently worth a little more than a dollar) with coins.  That seems to have been as successful as the effort in the U.S. to replace the dollar bill with a coin.  I still get plenty of 20-peso bills in my change, but I think I have only once received a 20-peso coin.  

A few days ago, Alejandro received a commemorative 20-peso coin that was issued in 2021.  It was minted to honor the 200th anniversary of Mexico's independence from Spain.  (The War of Independence began in 2010, but the war did not end until 2021.)

Under the words "Bicentenario de la Independencia Nacional" are the portraits of three of the most important figures in the war.  To the left is Miguel Hidalgo, the parish priest who began the struggle for independence on September 16th, 1810.  Next to him is José María Morelos, who took up the leadership in the war after Hidalgo was captured and executed by the Spanish.  Morelos was also captured and executed by the Spanish.  The mantle of "Commander-in-Chief" of the insurgents passed to Vicente Guerrero, the third portrait on the coin.  Guerrero survived to see Mexican win its independence and became the second President of the new nation.  However, he was overthrown in a coup begun by his conservative Vice-President and executed in 1831.

Above the portraits is a small square which contains the image of the "Angel" (actually a "Winged Victory") which is atop the Monument to Independence in Mexico City.  In very small print next to it is the word "Libertad".

The back side of the coin shows the eagle and the serpent which is the nation's coat of arms.  The official name of the country "Estados Unidos Mexicanos" (United Mexican States) appears above it.

Thursday, August 24, 2023


This morning I should have been on my way to the airport for my flight home.  However, I have extended my stay in Mexico City by another week.

When I originally made my reservations for this trip, I was only going to stay until August 17th.  I thought that it was going to be a relatively quick trip to sign papers to take possession of the apartment I am buying.  But before I had even left, the realtor said that the paperwork would be ready in mid-August.  So, just what does "mid-August" mean here in the land of "mañana"?  Shortly before my departure, I changed my schedule to leave on August 24th to be on the safe side.  But I still don't know when the documents will be ready to sign.  

First the paperwork had to be rewritten because they did not include the apartment number.  Then I was told out of the blue earlier this week that I had to pay for an appraisal of the apartment which had already been done.  I went to the ATM and paid for that.  The appraisal was necessary to calculate the closing costs which are fees paid to a notary.  I talked to the realtor and asked if another week would be enough time for everything to be taken care of.  "Oh, yes," he said.  So, I changed my flight reservation yet again.  But I am still waiting to hear what the closing costs are, and I am beginning to think that another week is NOT going to be enough time.

It has been a very frustrating experience.  There are days when I feel depressed or angry, and there are nights when I cannot sleep.  I love Mexico, but quite frankly, if it were not for the fact that my husband is here, I would not put myself through the aggravation of buying property here.

I have never experienced buying or selling a home in my life.  I just hope that when I finally return to Ohio and put my house up for sale that the experience north of the border is not as frustrating as it is down here!

Wednesday, August 23, 2023


Alejandro found this picture on the internet and joked that he should get a T-shirt like this to wear on his next visit to Ohio.

The word "gringo" is a word used to refer to an English-speaking Anglo American.  There are many theories on the origin of the word.  Some of them refer to the invasion of Mexico by U.S. troops in the Mexican American War.  Supposedly, the Mexicans would yell at the soldiers in their green uniforms, "Green, go home!"  The most accepted theory, however, is that it comes from the word "griego" (Greek) and was used for someone speaking an unintelligible language.  (Comparable to our expression, "It's Greek to me.")  

I suppose that now that I have my Mexican residency visa, I could get a T-shirt that says "Cálmate, chilango, soy legal."

"Chilango" is a slang term for a native of Mexico City.  Its origin is also disputed, but it may come from Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs.  And, like the word "gringo", it is a term that can be, but is not necessarily, an insult.  Mexicans from the "provinces" will use it mockingly to refer to the residents of the capital whom they view as arrogant and rude.  However, the natives of Mexico City have adopted the word for themselves and use it with pride.  I have often heard Alejandro refer to himself as a "chilango".

Well, this simple post with a photo of a T-shirt evolved into a language lesson!

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Keeping Warm

As I have said before, the nights in Mexico City are usually quite chilly with low temperatures going down into the 50s F.

One morning last week we found the family dogs, Iztac and Pepe, cuddled together on the sofa to keep warm.