Friday, January 26, 2007

Hoping for Strawberries

Going on three weeks here. I think I'm a little past the, "what the heck am I doing here?" stage and moving on a feeling of belonging again. I'm thankful for the familiar faces; we can pick up where we left off. I've been the recipient of some warm hugs and greetings that surprised me and left me with the impression that I was returning to a remote island where the ones left behind were overwhelmed to be rejoined. They offer things. No hot water?--shower at our house. (Ariel) It's dark out--here's my flashlight. (Peter) Don't have any dishwashing detergent?--here's a box. (Camille) Forgot your shorts?--here's some to borrow. (Diane) No car?--please borrow my spare. (Rene)

I'm especially thankful for the Allen family (other Loreto Bay homeowners) who are here for one year. They are renting a home in Loreto while their custom home is being built. Sarah has become my fast friend and confidant. She and her three children have been here since last August. Stuart flies down as frequently as possible, and as Robert has yet to arrive she and I are sharing the similar experience of being "on our own." People must think people like us are crazy. What possesses women with young children to temporarily uproot from the comfortable U.S. to remote Baja? (Come down and have a Margarita ocean-side and we'll share our theories with you.) Sarah's taken full advantage of their stay here. She and her kids are mastering Spanish like we never did. They have plenty of Mexican friends who are always visiting at her house. Her friends are so gracious as to rival my people's southern-rooted hospitality. So much cheek-kissing! Maybe it's a small town thing. Women band together, exchanging favor after favor, looking out for one another. It would be an interesting thing for a study. I believe women adapt to and improve any situation, shape any camp into a community. I often repeat something my oldest son said to me when he was eleven or so. He'd been sitting quietly contemplating something when he looked up and so earnestly asked: "Mom if we didn't have women, would we be civilized?" (He's a fast learner.)

However, I feel more isolated from the culture living in the Loreto Bay development in Nopolo. I tend to see Americans and Canadians mostly. I must say, I've met more Canadians here than anywhere else in my life, eh? Neither do the cheek-kissing thing that I encounter in Loreto. Living in town Sarah is seeped in the Mexican culture and seems to be thriving. I envy her sociability. She has made friendships mostly with other mothers who invite and include her in everything. Maybe I'll be more willing to focus on friendships now that all the problems I had with my casa chica have been taken care of. I must give Loreto Bay Company high marks for resolving matters so quickly. Our tub upstairs leaked through the wall to the floor below (broken pipe). Workers had to take out the tub, tear out a wall, and dig out my courtyard to repair the plumbing. I had other, more minor issues that were taken care of promptly. For all the discomfort of construction, with its noise and dust, I have to say the good care I'm given makes up for a lot. I went to pay my the fee for reconnecting my electricity today. When my number came up and it was my turn to haggle with the bored and disinterested clerk, I was surprised to see Rodolfo from LB owner services walk in--just in time to help me. That was especially fortunate.

I also know and hear the negative things that occur down here, it doesn't take but a few days to get up to speed. Maybe that too, is a little of the small town mentality. Heck, we don't even get newspapers or mail in this parts--what are we supposed to talk about? Most talk centers around Loreto Bay Company, rightfully, since we all have substantial dollars riding on its success. I can't imagine what an undertaking it is to build a huge development out of the ground, but it's bound to be fraught with missteps, misunderstandings, and mistakes. Living here, in the unfinished project, we are privy to the realities of the processes. We are mingling with the employees so we hear things we're probably not supposed to. No suspense intended; If I knew something dreadful I'd be writing about it.

I'm just pretty happy with the things that are going right. I have Internet connection and cable hook-up, though I'm still struggling with the missing "a" key on my Dell laptop. I have to pound repeatedly on the key to bring up the "a" which wears on my fingertip as much as my patience. Do you have any idea how the "a" is used in language? I played tennis with Sarah yesterday. I think the courts are only slightly better maintained than last year, but oh, what a pretty setting. I'd like to play everyday. I'd like to create a kids clinic, but tennis instructors are non-existent here. Shame not to put this wonderful tennis center to good use. I'll keep hoping someone will turn up, some wonderful retired tennis pro who would love to bring tennis to the young people of Loreto. While I'm hoping let me add something to my wish list: Please let there be delicious strawberries at the Saturday market (tomorrow) and please, if there are, let there be enough left for me when I finally wake up and get out the door.
See, these are the real worries of life in Loreto.

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