Not sure you noticed, but we are substantially into 2021 and it still feels like a continuation of last year. Here in Querétaro, MX, businesses are still at 30-50% capacity, with restaurants closed at 8 p.m. and only open for delivery on Sunday. You can’t buy alcohol either in a restaurant or at a store on weekends. Gah! We winos are not happy!
Of course, 2021 started off with a “bang,” quite literally, with the storming of the US Capitol on 6 January, as the Congress was conducting its official, largely ceremonial, counting of the electoral college votes. People here were very confused. As a result, “WTF?” has been the general impression of locals here of the state of the union to the north. We in the “extranjero” category are shocked and wary of what’s happening in our home country. It is unsettling, to say the least. For those of you who think Mexico is dangerous, people here think the US is worse.
Since the presidential election of 2016, I had a strong feeling that something like what took place at the Capitol was bound to happen. For the last four years, there has been a general distrust among people with opposing political views, to the point that two people can witness the same activity and see two entirely different things. Case in point, 6 January — to some, it was a peaceful protest protecting the country from a “rigged” election. To others, it was an insurrection against the democratic principles American’s have long held dear, a failed coup. There are no longer “facts” or “truth” only opinions and points of view. And, when you add in everyone’s 2nd Amendment rights (to bear arms, i.e., guns), the risk of violence skyrockets. Friends and families have parted ways over their viewpoints.
I have never intended this blog to be political, but these days it seems everything is. My point, however, is that the situation will not end until people again agree on a basic set of facts and values, among them, what it means to “peacefully protest.” What is it to protest? What is it to be peaceful? How can you bring a gun to a rally and expect the rally to remain peaceful? Mob mentalities are difficult to control. Guns incite fear; fear induces the “fight or flight” response; the “fight” response generates violence. And, what the heck do people need with more than one gun? You only have two hands, after all, and some guns require you use both hands.
So, what side am I on? I am on the side of truth and peace. Get a grip, peeps.
And then there is the pandemic…
The last year living in a lock-downed world hasn’t helped any of us. Those who are willing to do what it takes to stay safe — wear a mask, stay home, minimize contact with people — have suffered from loneliness and isolation. Extroverts (like me) crave opportunities to be with people to talk about anything other than the damned pandemic. Zoom just isn’t the same, although it is better than nothing.
For some, the pandemic situation has led to desperation — loss of jobs, income, housing — leaving them feeling hopeless and even more alone. Fear has taken over. Fear of disease. Fear of death. Fear of further loss of resources and hope. Some of us have been lucky to have jobs that can migrate online. But many are not so lucky.
Here in Querétaro, there has been an uptick of thefts, never mind people going door-to-door asking for money or trying to sell their wares, such as tortillas or nopales. Businesses have closed, but many have tried to stick it out, despite the downturn in business. There is a belief common here that it is better to die from disease than starvation. They do what they have to to survive.
It seems, however, that Mexico is bearing the burden of the pandemic better than the US, where the numbers of infected and dying are astronomical. I’ve known a few people here who have been infected with the virus, most with mild symptoms, but I’ve also known people whose relatives have died from it. Why? Because they refuse to change their behaviors and continue to have their Sunday family dinners, go to work in offices and factories, travel around the country and either don’t wear their masks or wear them improperly.
Even with a vaccination, we will still need to remain alert and take precautions. This is far from being over!
And now the news…
Lyn and I are about to move to our new city. We are mostly packed and plan to depart Querétaro for Merida on 24 January. The moving truck will come the next day. My good friend will be here to ensure that the movers get everything they are supposed to. We need to leave early so we can arrive ahead of the moving van. Since we will be traveling with a dog and two cats, we expect to take a bit longer. Also, driving at night is not recommended, so how far we will get each day is not yet known.
We are excited about our next adventure (but not the driving). We bought a map of Mexico and the distance is huge!
I’ve already made contact with people in the area, so we have some contacts. We’ve spoken with a contractor to get started on the repairs and renovations we want. Hopefully it won’t take too long before we can actually move in, since we are already expecting visitors at the end of March.
I’ve also spoken with the current owner. She told me that one of the neighbors doesn’t like foreigners and cut down her palm trees in the front yard. Someone also smashed the planters on the porch. I assume they were able to do that because the house was empty most of the time. We will be living there every day and, hopefully, will get to know the neighbors so they don’t do things like that to us.
Our initial plan is to stay in an Airbnb for a month, possibly more, while we make the basic upgrades to the electrical, plumbing and roof. Once we can live in it, we’ll start on the cosmetic improvements.
We are continuing to teach classes online during the process. Some income is better than none, right? Lyn is teaching math classes again, although I’m holding off on my English classes until we get to Merida. There’s just too much to do right now before the move. I can only take so much stress!
So much to say…
I could go on longer, but I’m just too tired, so I’ll save it for another day. After the move. See ya then!