It’s official, we’re official. Burt and I have achieved temporary resident status in Mexico and not a day too soon. When I initiated our visa application process I didn’t realize that being in limbo between application and achieving residency would come with certain complications. One complication is you can’t leave the country without special permission. Another is the banks don’t like letting you do business. We’re running through pesos faster than Olive can eat a chocolate bar and having banking difficulties threatens our building project. Add to that Dad having debit card issues and using us as his money changer and suddenly we had a payroll to meet and no moolah to spare. The first transfers we made this year came with the surprise that we needed both a visa and a passport to make the transfer. In years past we only needed a passport. Two times they let us get away with showing the letter saying our visas were in process. Two weeks ago we finished the visa process but our laminated cards weren’t ready. We were issued a temporary visa, a piece of paper with our new ID number and photo. It says we are temporary resident of Mexico and has the Mexican equivalent of our social security number. Immigration said to use the piece of paper in the interim if any one wanted to see our visa. Burt took this to the bank expecting to get money. He got nothing but the news that it would not work. We needed our laminated card.
That sick feeling of being here with no access to money settled upon us. We have a team of 5 people expecting payday. We got debit card-less dad with no pesos asking for a loan. The cards were due to be done either today or by the end of next week. I had to put aside my fear of Spanish on the phone and call immigration to see if our cards were available. I hate this kind of thing. I was calling a day earlier than the earliest due date to be a pushy gringa asking for my card. It all went super smoothly. My card was ready. Sus tarjetas estan aquí. Muy bien.
Long story short: we drove to La Paz, got our card, drove home, got money, gave some to dad. Our workers will get paid on Saturday.
Like everyone when it comes to exercise, doing chores, flossing, I sometimes wonder how time gets away from me. I keep meaning to write about something, anything, nothing, but find time is flying by faster than I can keep up. In less than two week we are leaving Mexico. I can’t even think about it. It hurts my head and heart. I don’t want to leave. Last everythings are rolling by. Last art class, last Spanish lesson, last fiddle lesson, last tennis game, last taco. This is a fact of life on the road. We are always saying good bye to people and places we love. On the flip side it is hello to new ideas and experiences and more friends.
This week we hosted our last art class. Burt brilliantly came up with the idea to make hula hoops, or, as they are called here, hula hulas. When we told the kids about the idea a week ago they were not enthused. “Vamos a hacer hula hulas!” I was met with blank stares and half smiles and silence. I figured it was their usual fear of the unknown or, maybe, they didn’t know how to hula hula. The only way to fix that lack of hula skills is to get a hula hula and practice. So Burt and I ignored the tepid reception and plowed ahead. You cannot let the ill-informed or inexperienced stop a great idea.
It’s been very cool here this year. The whole winter has gone by and we still have not had a day break 90 degrees. Friday was more of the same. Sunny weather. Cool shade. Warm sun. Burt and I prepped and waited. And waited. Nobody showed up on time. Maybe making hula hulas was a really bad idea. A few minutes after 3:00 some kids wandered in. Burt explained how to make a hula hula with irrigation tubing and a coupling. Irrigation tubing is widely available in our agricultural town. It’s cheap and easy to find. The kids used the saw with Burt’s help to hand cut the pieces. If you’re thinking of making your own you want a hula hoop that has a diameter of somewhere between your belly button and shoulder. Bigger and heavier is easier. Circumference equals 2 x pi x radius OR pi x diameter. Measure your diameter (the distance between belly button and shoulder) and multiply by 3.14. That’s how long the pipe needs to be for a nice hula hula. The hula hulas were connected by Burt. It takes some strength to force the pie over the coupling. The kids took the circles for a test drive to make sure they worked. Hula hulas made. Now their eyes started to twinkle. Next I showed them how to decorate using pretty electrical tape and sticker.
More kids showed up. Tape was wrapped. Hand eye coordination and color theory developed. Hidden hula hula skills were revealed. Fun was had. Then all of a sudden one kid says, “Do we get to keep these?” and I was aghast. What did they think this was? Slave labor for my personal hula hula sweat shop? That my mini-minions were making toys they couldn’t keep. Was this why they were ambivalent to the idea? Of course you get to keep your hula hula. It’s YOURS!!! I reassured them that they were building their own toys. Suddenly there was much more excitement and a rush of ideas on what could be done the next time we make hula hulas. I felt pretty silly for not explaining to the kids that the hula hulas would be theirs to keep. I also saw a yawning gulf between the culture of entitlement I come from and how a lack of opportunity can keep a person from even imaging something might be given to them. Mind blown.
Any ideas for next year? I want more things we can make and share. Come on people. What did you make as a kid?