I can’t believe I haven’t written anything here for weeks! Of course, when I was sick, I didn’t have much to say. However, a lot has happened since then. Let’s see if I can remember it all.
First, I’m still not entirely better. Now I think it is just allergies. While I tested positive for cats, dogs and dust, I also know by experience that I am allergic to molds and mildew. I know this because every rainy season, my allergies go into overdrive. When I lived in Virginia, I was alway sick at Thanksgiving (November), because that was when all the leaves had fallen and were decomposing everywhere. In California, it was in the spring, when it rained the most. Here, I’m not exactly sure about the seasonal conditions, but I know it has been raining a lot, mostly at night, when it’s cooler. The mornings are lovely, but a bit damp, and I think this may be the cause of my continued snottiness and congestion. I still get that pain in my cheekbones and scratchy throat, although now it is probably due to postnasal drip. Nevertheless, it is quite annoying.
For a little while, I was able to function quite well without having to take allergy meds. Now I’m back to it, every day. Sinus wash, allegra, nasal steroids. Life with allergies. I guess it is better than the constant feeling that I’m getting sick.
We knew there was a rainy season here in Querétaro, although no one could really say exactly when that was. When it first started raining every night, we were told that it wasn’t rainy season, just storms from the Pacific. We had a few rainy days, but typically, the days are bright and sunny, just like back in Boise.
Querétaro reminds me so much of Boise. Just bigger. The main exception is that you don’t see as many people out riding bikes and running, and there are no paths through the hills for hikers and their dogs. I miss that. Still, people here are creative about how they exercise.
Yesterday, I saw some women in the park working out with soda bottles as weights. There was a group of them working out together. Cheaper than the gym, right? I am still hopeful that I will be able to join a tennis club at some point. I just need a little more money!
Back to rainy season.
When it rains, it pours. Literally. I’ve never seen so much rain collect on the streets! Drainage here is problematic, although they have these enormous ditches everywhere, which I assume are to help. Still, the water comes so hard and fast, that the roads become rivers. The manhole covers can’t handle all the rain and turn into veritable fountains! If this isn’t rainy season, I’m a little worried…
Speaking of which, I finally received the application I needed in order to receive my pension from Circuit City. This was the one thing I got out of my too many years of marriage to my first husband, and I’m determined to collect it. Of course, since Circuit City bellied-up years ago, the pension is being managed by the government. Can you say “red tape”?
The agency in charge — PBGC — Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp — actually contacted me in January, before we left for Mexico. They asked me to fill out a form online in order to determine my monthly benefit. After that, I never heard anything.
When I called, they told me I needed now to apply for the benefits, and that could be done online. So, I looked. I couldn’t find anything. Of course, during this time, I was leaving for Mexico to take the TEFL course, preparing our house for sale, and doing all of the things necessary for our upcoming adventure. Needless to say, I ran out of time.
In February, after we returned from the course and during the 10-days between that and closing and moving back to Mexico (yikes), I tried to call again and was told I had to go online. Still, I was unable to find anywhere where I could actually apply for the benefits.
Hence, we moved. Once again I went online, only to get no information. On the website it said that I could apply by phone, so I called again. We are in April at this point. The woman I spoke with told me that I could not apply on line because there were forms to sign and documents that needed to be provided. They would send me the application by mail.
If you’ve been following this saga along, you know that mail here is complicated. The last thing I had FedExed to me took two weeks, and the mail can take months. After this explanation, they suggested I change my address to a US address (a friend’s, etc.) and they could then fax or email me the documents. (However, the agency could not. Huh?) So that’s what I did.
My friend, Mary, back in Boise, did receive a notice of the change of address for me. She has been patiently waiting every since for the actual application, which, by the way, arrived here on Tuesday, July 10th. The letter inside was dated May 11, and the previous letter that had been returned to PBGC was dated March 10.
Holy cannolies Batman! Needless to say, Mary never received the application. Fortunately, we did. I still don’t understand what the issue was. All that needed to be attached was proof of my birthdate, via copy of my passport. There was one place that needed to be signed and dated. Other than that, which I could have done with my PDF app, there was nothing of real consequence. Just stupid bureaucracy!
I had the application completed and ready to mail back to them within 10 minutes. There is a FedEx office across the street from our neighborhood. So, in less than two days, the application was completed and returned. Will someone please tell me why this had to take more than six months? I just don’t get it.
That said, I should be getting a nice sum of money shortly (whatever that means), as they owe me retroactively to last April (2017).
Now I need to get my body back in tennis-playing shape, so once it arrives, I can join a club and get started! Gosh, I miss it!
The other new thing for me is that I found someone to go out with. Laurie is a fellow teacher at Globoworld. She is a few years younger than I am, but a lot closer than the other teachers there. Last week, she and I went out on a Friday night to one of the plazas near where she lives in El Centro. We drank a bottle of wine and ate a local version of french fries. Delish!
We had so much fun we are doing it again tonight. I’m not sure how good an idea it is to go out on Friday the 13th, especially with a supermoon expected, but what the heck. A girl needs a little girl time and wine! I haven’t been drinking a lot of wine lately. It is too expensive on our budget to keep a bottle in the fridge. Now it is a special treat when I’m out with friends or for dinner with Lyn, not that that happens too often.
Last Saturday night, our friends Tom and Tiffany (www.epicureanexpats.com) joined us for dinner at La Truckeria, a food truck place right near our house. We also invited our neighbors, Victor and Guiliana, to join us. It was a lot of fun.
These food truck places are very interesting. Both of the ones we’ve visited have been similar — they are largely outdoors although within a gated area closed off from the street. In the center, there is a bar, and around the outside of the courtyard, there are food trucks and small buildings where people prepare food. There is a waiter that brings the various menus and you select what you want to eat and drink, and they bring it to you.
The tables are set around the bar and everything is outside. At La Truckeria, there was a small swing set and slide for kids. This came in handy, as Victor and Guiliana brought their two children, one of whom is about 4 years old. The adults took turns taking him to “the park” and swinging him.
The food was good and plentiful. I ordered ribs, envisioning ribs like they serve at Applebees. I was mistaken, though. They were HUGE and quite meaty. We also had shrimp tacos with cheese, which we grew to love when we lived in Puerto Vallarta. We ate them everyday there! The kids had pizza and pasta, and Tom and Tiffany ordered something that currently wasn’t available, so I think Tiffany had a shrimp taco and Tom just had a margarita. Now that’s my kind of meal!