A River Runs Through It

A River Runs Through It

One of the things I like about living in the Col. Centro Histórico de Querétaro is that there is a river that runs down the center of Av. Universidades with walking paths on both sides. It reminds me a bit of the Boise Greenbelt, except that here the water is not as nice and it isn’t as “green.” There seems always to be a soapy foam in the water, as well as various discarded items (i.e., trash). I think the foam may be due to the people constantly scrubbing the statues and features along the path, but I can’t be certain.

Sophie & Izzy on Av. UniversidadesThe warm climate here also invites people to sleep outdoors on the many small retaining walls and benches that line the walkway. They also use the fountains to bathe and clean their clothes. Not the most sanitary approach to living, but some people must do what they must do.

It is one of the sadder aspects of living here — seeing the homeless and disabled people begging on the streets. We try to keep change handy for when we pass them. Just like in Boise, sometimes we walk on by and send up a silent prayer for them.

Our Anniversary

Yesterday was a very significant day for us. Our 20th Anniversary. I am so lucky to have found someone who makes me smile every day and gives me such joy. (I think he feels the same. I HOPE he does, anyway!)

Lyn at AlioliTo celebrate, I chose what looked to be an upscale restaurant for dinner. Alioli is located on one of the more touristy streets downtown. It is a lovely setting with comfortable seating and a beautiful view of the alley where so many locals sell their wares. Unfortunately, the food was a bit disappointing.

The cheese platter was lovely, with five different varieties of cheese, fruit and candied nuts. The menu had a wide variety of unusual items, such as barbecued octopus, etc. I’m not that adventurous when it comes to food, though.

My disappointing dinner at AlioliFor the main course, Lyn ordered the short ribs, which he liked immensely. I ordered the Creamy Chicken, which would have been more appropriately called Creamy Chicken Bones. There was absolutely no meat on it! The waiter told me it was because it was a small bird. So? You still have to have something to eat and you can’t eat bones.

Lovely view from AlioliUnlike in the US, the restaurant did nothing to compensate us for it, so we paid the check and left. I don’t think we’ll be going back there anytime soon.

The Interview

Among the other highlights of the day was my job interview at the International School of Querétaro. The school has a large campus in a town called Juriquilla, which is about 5-6 miles north of the center of the city. They have upwards of 1000 students and more than 170 teachers and staff, sports fields and a swimming pool.

The position I interviewed for was to teach English in the Middle and High Schools. I loved the two women I interviewed with. The first, Blanca, is the director of the school. She was having a tough day due to the death of one of their teachers over the weekend. It was her job to tell the students and teachers. My heart went out to her!

Marcela, the second, was the Academic Director. She was very nice and very professional. She asked me a lot of questions and seemed to like the fact that I had a marketing background and good computer skills. My lack of experience was also seen as a benefit, since it meant that I would bring fresh ideas and energy. A lot of the teachers there have been there for more than 10 years. That, I thought, was a good sign.

The next step will be for them to arrange for me to give a demo class. They will let me know when and what topic. Yikes! I will be quite nervous, however, that usually passes once I get in front of the class.

Cars

One of our dilemmas is that we have to return our rental car today. Yesterday we spent a lot of time looking for a car to buy. They are less expensive here, but the process is more complicated than in the US. Once you pay, it can take 48-hours for them to deliver the car to you. And, it appears we may have to get additional visas in order to buy a car.

I’m not quite ready to do that yet, so we are going to Uber for a while.

Lyn and I agreed that the process we should follow is 1) get jobs, 2) find a place to live, and 3) get a car. So that’s what we will do.

UGH!

UGH!

What a cluster! Never, ever, EVER trust UPS when they tell you “no problem.” Boy, did I learn that the hard way!

So, when last I wrote, we were waiting for UPS to arrive between 2 and 5 p.m. on Thursday to pick up all of our worldly possessions. I worked so hard to get everything the way they asked me to, to dot every “i” and cross every “t”, but to no avail.

When the driver and his 18-wheeler arrived at our house, he wouldn’t even come in the door. “I can’t take that,” was pretty much what he said.

“What?” (My response.)

Turns out that UPS Freight cannot pick up boxes that are not on a pallet and shrink wrapped.

They also cannot deliver to a residential address.

Oh, and you need a customs broker.

And,….

The list goes on.

Once again, I get on the phone with UPS. Once again I am transferred to at least four different people. Finally, after I break down into tears and hysterical sobbing, a woman in Florida arranges to have a regular UPS truck come and pick up the boxes.

An hour later, a very nice driver shows up at our house.

Now, this is where things get complicated. You see, it is almost 5:00 by then. The new owners of our home are sitting in their car in front of our house waiting to get in to do a walk through. The realtor has also arrived and is giving me shit about how his clients have a legal right to do their walk through and la-di-dah, blah, blah, blah.

Well, this New York girl had had it up to her eyeballs and went into battle mode with this young punk. You see, we still owned the house until 9:00 a.m. the following morning, and if he didn’t back up and straighten out, he was going to deal with the wrath of god in the form of one 5-foot 1-inch NY bitch.

Poor Lyn, my sweet little southern boy husband, just stood there muttering “she’s been drinking” (ok, a little wine with friends who came to give support), while my dear friend Mary watched with glee. She had never seen this version of me up close, and she was pleasantly surprised to see me in a rare form.

Needless to say, realtor-boy wisely backed down. Mary, the UPS man and I put all of the boxes into his truck, and Lyn and I collected the last of our things from the house so the buyers could do their thing.

They’re very nice people…

On the way out, I introduced myself to the buyers and tried to explain the chaos. They were quite understanding and kind. They, too, had recently relocated from the midwest and understood the trauma associated with moving long distance from a home they lived in for many years.

I had written them a letter and left them with good information about the house and the services they might need. Lyn and I had thoroughly cleaned the house in order to leave everything in the best condition possible. We went far beyond what other people do. I wanted to make them feel welcome and know how much we loved the house. It’s just the way I am.

Back to the UPS saga

So, once we got everything on the truck and I cried and cried and cried, we followed the truck up to a UPS store in Vista Village. The store is a franchise, so not technically UPS. The poor owner – a lovely woman named Elisabeth – was not prepared for what she received. It was like something from a bad dream — we had to explain again and again and again what was happening. Ultimately, around 7:00 p.m., we decided there wasn’t anything further we could do until the next morning, after our 9:00 a.m. closing appointment.

To be continued…

I hate moving…

I hate moving…

Ugh. Moving is a drag. Moving to another country is even more challenging. To date we have packed a few boxes, watched our living room, dining room and patio furniture leave without us, and have made travel arrangements for us and our pets. Still no place to live in Queretaro, although I’m confident something will turn up.

Our Fur-Babies

Traveling with five animals will be stressful enough. Just going through this move has been more than our new kitty can handle. She is behaving quite badly and I may need to re-home her before we go. I can’t have a bad cat in a rental. I hate to do it. I’m very attached to my pets, but Coco is fairly new to us and is quite shy, which means we haven’t really gotten that close. As it was, we rescued her and her kittens, all of which were adopted. Since then we’ve tried to get Coco to be part of the family. She is in love with Jack the Cat, but could easily live without us. I already made her plane reservation, but that can certainly be changed.

Boxes Everywhere!

Right now the house is a freaking disaster. There are boxes, papers, decor, clothes, and other detritus of life everywhere. We didn’t really unpack (what’s the point), so our suitcases have a prominent place in the middle of our bedroom.

Yesterday, we had some art appraisers come and look at the dragon (see photo above) and my great uncle’s oil paintings to determine if they would be able to sell them for us. At this point, they can just keep them if they can’t sell them. I don’t have the bandwidth to consider anything else.

It was amazing how different the house felt once all the artwork was off the walls. So far, we have packed 8 boxes. Not a lot, I know. Apparently, we were very good at getting rid of things!

This weekend, another friend will pickup our guest bedroom furniture, TV and remaining kitchen things. That will leave us with just our bedroom furniture and the couch in the den.

On the 15th, everything else goes, including us. We will have to stay in a hotel for a couple of nights before leaving for Queretaro on Saturday, Feb. 17. Yikes. No turning back now.

God help us!