Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Old Friends and New

Yesterday was a day of mostly resting. We hung around the hostel and relaxed and I slept. I finally started to feel human again by late afternoon. We left the hostel around 4:30 to explore the town a bit and to meet my friend Geri for dinner. Geri and I used to work together, but about 8 years ago she got married and moved to Oregon so we don't get to see each other as much. She's here taking classes at the Academia Hispano Americano.

We were having a hard time finding the Academia, and were getting directions from all sorts of folks, but it was simply eluding us. Finally, we decided to just take a cab. He charged us 15 pesos, which is about a $1.25. As it turns out, we were less than a block away. Oh yeah...real smooth. Even worse, we had walked by it and noticed the pretty courtyard and went inside the courtyard to see it, not realizing it was the place we were looking for. GRINGAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So we finally got there and got to see Geri and have dinner. Afterward, we went to the Centro and the Parroquia - this is a beautiful part of town and the Parroquia is an impressive old church. There, Sierra made friends with Pamela and they spent the next couple of hours playing and running around while Geri and I visited with her grandpa Martin. It was a great time.

Excitement in the Middle of the Night

Well...we made it. What a long, strange trip it's been! Let's see...for two weeks before leaving I was selling everything in the house and packing and trying to figure out all the details and what needed to be packed. I was getting by on about 5-6 hours of sleep a night. On Sunday morning we woke up at 4:30 am and headed down to the airport for a very teary goodbye - it was a lot harder than I figured it would be. We were able to upgrade to first class for our flight to LA and that was fun. Sierra is convinced they use softer plastic for the 1st class windows than for coach!

I surprised Sierra with the Disney tix at the SFO airport and she was excited...I think it helped to get on our plane...she was really sad. It was a quick flight to LA and I have to say...LAX is a dirty and yucky airport. They didn't have any lockers for us to put our backpacks in, so we had to take them to Disneyland. Problem was....Disneyland didn't have any lockers for us either, and almost didn't let us in the park. Finally, they let us put them into the kennel

We had a good time at Disneyland and were pleasantly surprised that the lines weren't as bad as we figured they would be. We left at 8 o'clock to get back to the airport. After checking in we went up to the gate and vegged for a bit - Sierra was struggling so we got some food and she slept a bit on the floor. I was afraid if I fell asleep that we'd miss our flight, so I stayed awake.

As it was getting close to time to board, I woke up Si, and she was completely out of it and kept trying to lay back down to sleep. She was pretty whiny. At the last minute we had to switch to another gate, so we trudged down that way only to wait in a long line for about forever. Finally we got on and were able to get some sleep. Well, Sierra was able to sleep anyway - they kept waking me up to ask about drinks or to fill out paperwork or some other such thing. We landed in Guadalajara at 6:45 and stood in another long line for customs. Sleep had been good for Sierra and she was much more helpful.

There was a woman with her daughter and 3 grandkids who kept trying to get in front of us in line. I was just tired and cranky enough that I wouldn't have it, so we sort of jockeyed for position for about an hour - but I finally secured my position! We definitely had the SLOWEST processor of them all and our line inched along. Then, the guy handling the line next to us left, so our slow guy had to process two lines...oh yeah, that was fun. We FINALLY made it through (didn't even ASK for proof of custody for Si) and we got the "green light" so no bags searched.

We took a taxi to the Central Camionara (central bus station) and got the ETN bus to San Miguel de Allende (SMA). Now let me tell you, taking that ETN bus was the best idea yet. Only 24 seats on a huge bus. The seats are wider than 1st class ones and they lay almost all the way back. There are leg supports that fold out from the seat in front - imagine it as looking like a dentist's chair when it is fully prone. They played two movies (Remember the Titans & Blackhawk Down) and they provided headphones for the movies or for radio. In the back is a little changing room, coffee service and a restroom. I was finally able to get some sleep.

We got into SMA and grabbed a taxi to meet my friend Geri in the centro. Only problem...I only had about 11 pesos on me and a bunch of American change, and $100 bills. The driver said all the banks and cambios were closed!! It cost 40 pesos for the taxi ride. We were in a bind. He finally found a bank and I got my money put into pesos and paid him 70 for helping me out.

We missed Geri, but got to our Hostel - it is called the Iron House Youth Hostel and is really nice. There's another mom with her two sons here (8 & 11) and they are taking Spanish classes. The owner is so nice and showed us all around. I was still pretty out of it and wasn't very good company last night, so I went to bed around 7:30 pm. At 9 pm the owner came and knocked on our door...."tu amiga esta aqui" - your friend is here. Geri. She was worried when we missed each other and wanted to make sure I was okay. She was crying because we hadn't seen each other in so long...she's just the softest-hearted person you'll ever know. We visited for a minute and agreed to meet for dinner tonight. I had taken two Tylenol PM's and was pretty much just a zombie, so I went back to bed and slept soundly until 2 am.

And that's where we come to the title of this story. Our door has a slide-lock and is a bit hard to open. I woke up at 2 to go potty and couldn't open the door. I was pulling on that slide for my life, doing the dance with more and more intensity. I got out my swiss army knife and flashlight and tried to bang it such luck. Being the ingenutive person I am, I finally dismantled the lock and removed it from the door so I could go about my business!!! I was afraid I wouldn't make it, but thankfully, I did!

Today has been pretty much a day of doing nothing, just trying to get some energy back - although I did wash some laundry. Other than's just been about laying around!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Got Sleep?

Oh my gosh I'm tired. I went to bed merely 3 hours ago after getting my stuff packed. Packing is NOT my forte. But it's least as done as it's gonna get now. Now we're off to the airport.

Did I mention that we have a 17 hour layover in Los Angeles? Yeah, that sounds fun, huh? Actually, we're going to use it as an opportunity to visit our favorite mouse (and mermaid and fairy and princess...). Sierra doesn't know yet - I let her think we're just going to be bored out of our minds for the whole time. Hehe! However, in light of the situation, perhaps I'll sleep instead. I just thought of something...maybe LAX and Disneyland are in cahoots, giving folks loooooooong layovers so they'd do just this...Hmm - it's a thought, but way too big of one at this time of day (night).

Okay...well - we're off...everyone's excited and I think a "whole new world" awaits us!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Well, I guess it was inevitable...anxiety, frustration and short tempers. As I take a moment to decompress and focus on where my emotions are at, I realize a few things. First, I am really excited about going, but it's almost as though I'm fearful of expressing the true extent of my excitement for concern of making those I love feel as though I'm not going to miss them, or that I'm ditching them for some big a result, I think I'm a bit more "blase" about my excitement than what's really going on. Second, I know that Sierra has mixed feelings about going...part of her is excited and part of her is feeling like she's going to be missing out on a lot of stuff here. I find myself catering to that part of her that is feeling like she's going to miss out and going out of my way to make this easier on her. So...what I'm doing is stuff like not asking for her help, letting her spend loads of time with friends and basically saying "yes" to a whole lot of stuff that I would not normally say "yes" to - and this ends up overextending me so that I get short tempered and stressed about all the money going OUT instead of IN.

On one hand, I'm glad she's spending time with friends and getting to say goodbye, but I need to take a better look at what I can and cannot handle and act accordingly. This is a common theme in my life, one I've struggled with forever - I'm the proverbial "yes" person, even when it's not something I can really take on. I am trying to learn to get in touch with myself better so that I can take an accurate account of what I can and cannot do, and then to say "no" when I really can't do something. I've found that I'm so out of touch that it's not until I've gone under for the 3rd time that I even realize I'm in over my head!!!! Hello!

Okay - now that you know this about me, don't ask me to do anything!!! Haha!! =)

Well, you wanted a real perspective on what it's like to move to another country to do missions work, and here ya have it...up to the minute!! I feel a lot better now, having dumped it all into written fashion, so I think I'll go say yes to something...

Just kidding.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

After the "BIG SALE" go through life thinking you *NEED* this and you *NEED* that and you look around and all you can see are the things you lack and what would be *perfect* for this nook or that cranny.

Yeah, but then you go off and decide to sell it all and up and move to Mexico to start a new life doing missions work with orphans so you decide to have a giant garage sale...or make that house sale, estate sale, sell-it-all sale or whatever. You pay $50 to advertise it and you put up signs all over the place and in two adrenaline filled, chaotic days you see that everything you worked for and sweated over and hoped for and thought would be the greatest thing is just....junk. Yup...that pretty much sums it up. That whole "one persons junk is another's treasure" principle up front and center.

So, that's what I did this past weekend - I sold the net sum of all I'm worth and all I've collected over the years. I don't know if getting $.05 cents on the dollar (and that's being generous) is depressing or just plain eye-opening. WOW! When everything you have to live and furnish a 4-bedroom, 3-bath home is sold for a net sum of $1500, you realize it's not so important to buy all that stuff in the first place. Ah well...lessons learned, right? Hopefully this lesson will stick with me when I am in the position to "nest" in another home.

It's pretty cool, actually - an empty house and I have to say, I like it!! I could definitely get used to a simpler lifestyle.

Five days to go...the days are getting more and more chaotic as I try to say goodbye to everyone. Next week this time we'll be in San Miguel de Allende, relaxing!!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Planning and Preparation

Tomorrow is my last day of work. WOW!! I'm in that hyper-excited phase and just have a ton of energy. It's cool! I can't even believe I won't be "working" for the next year or so. At least not the 9-5 working for a paycheck kind of work. It feels good, but of course, I'm a little worried about staying on budget and keeping costs down. I've neve been very good at that!

As I think about it, I haven't had a *true* summer off since I was 13 or 14 years old! I started working as a babysitter when I was only 9 or 10 (ok - what kind of crazy parent lets a 10 year old be in charge???? That freaks me out when I think about it. Sierra is 10!!!). By the time I was 12 I was babysitting several days a week and raking in the cash - come 13 or 14, I pretty much had a regular job babysitting. That was back in the day when kids charged $1 per hour - whether it was one kid or 5. Whatever happened to those days?? Kids these days charge $5 for the first kid...and then additional for more., back to the point - this will be my first summer off in many a year. We spend our first 10 weeks just traveling around and checking out various parts of Mexico. We start off in San Miguel de Allende, which is a colonial city where a lot of artist-types congregate. My friend Geri will be there taking Spanish classes, so we thought we'd meet up with her for a week to hang out. From there, we go to Cuernavaca for our own language school and then 6 weeks of who-knows-what.

There are so many details that I need to take care of, and only a little over 2 weeks to do it all - I'm worried about getting them all done, but in the end I'm sure it'll work out.

Oh yeah - the swim party went well. About 60 people showed up and kids were having fun swimming and being crazy in the pool. The bummer was that it was freezing! We'd had days of hot, hot, hot - but the night of the party, the temp started dropping fast and the wind really picked up. Of course, the kids didn't even notice unless they got OUT of the pool...haha.

Next on the list...packing!! Garage sale!! And a million other little things...I'll have to put a list on here of everything that needs to be done for future reference.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Dreams really do come true...

My name is Dayna, and I am 35 years old. For practically my entire life (ok - well, the last 20 years or so) I've had this dream to live in Mexico and work with orphans there. After a Series of Unfortunate Events (in my life...not the movie!), I found myself at a crossroads with the freedom to take some different directions. After a lot of prayer and soul searching, I decided that now was the time to explore a little bit more about what this dream of mine is. three weeks, my daughter Sierra and I will leave for Mexico...but first, we have to get through her 11th birthday party! We're having a big party at the local pool and a bunch of kids from her class will be coming, along with other friends and family.

Sierra has mixed feelings about our move. She's excited to travel and see the world and explore some new adventures, but she's worried about missing her friends and family. I can understand that. I'm worried about that, too. That's part of the reason I decided to have this website - so we could keep in touch with people, and they could see what we're up to.

Well, I guess that's all for now - I'm sure there are so many questions you must be asking - WHY are we leaving?? HOW will we afford it? WHAT will we be doing down there?? WHEN will be coming back? WHERE in Mexico will we be? As well as a hundred others...I hope to get to some of that in the next few weeks...until then - buen viaje!