It's been a long time since we've updated you and mostly that is because life is good, it's not awesome, it's not amazing, but it's good.
We've been attempting to find a place to "settle down" in San Miguel de Allende where we can establish a bit of a homebase, in doing so we have spent the last 6 months renting two different plots of 6 acres each, the first was a 30 minute drive from town and the second a 15 minute drive from town.
And once we moved to the first property a pair of horses became available plus the motorcycle wasn't sufficient, so we bought a truck.
People wonder how a traveling lifestyle mixes with horses, and I once said, "well, horses don't fly too well!" and a friend Brandon Pearce replied: "Unless they're unicorns!" (too funny not to quote here!). This is part of the homebase idea, live in SMA for 6 months a year and have someone house sit (take care of the dogs and horses) for the other six months of the year while we travel elsewhere.
At the second property, we started adopting more dogs and are currently fostering 3 additional dogs, for a couple weeks we had a total of 7 dogs, yes that's right we were outnumbered by dogs.
We also have hired a nanny and Becky has been working for the business.
But we've continued to run into problems.
Problems with Gracie
Currently, the windshield is leaking in two places, we have to get that fixed before the rainy season! We also found a leak in our hot water tank, so we need to replace that (hopefully with a tankless model so we can have unlimited hot water showers). The black tank has overflowed too many times causing the floor in the toilet room to crack. Driving her is more and more challenging as everything seems to break when we move her.
Problems With The Business
We lost a couple of clients and I haven't been making enough money to afford the staff I had so I had to lay people off, and we haven't yet seen growth of new/additional clients.
Problems With The Kids
In general they're just kids, but each has their own special needs, Alia is in the process of receiving meds for ADD, we first had to run an EEG to verify that she doesn't have epilepsy (because Josiah has it) ... the other problem we're having is the kids want more time with Becky and I, but due to work and the lack of staff we've been relying on the nanny more than we're comfortable with.
Problems With Health
Becky's wrist is causing her significant amount of pain, and while the MRI determined it's not carpal tunnel it is significant enough that she is seeing a physical therapist weekly to tighten loose ligaments.
Problems With The Dogs
We've had to pay for damage to three sheep as the dogs view them as fun toys or playmates. What we've discovered is that sheep are very weak animals and just the trauma from a dog biting them on the hind leg is enough for them to die, so we've been buying dead sheep from our neighbors. Not exactly how we want to live life. The dogs also bark at the horses a lot, we've re-homed two dogs for chasing the horses, and now we need to re-home most of the dogs we are currently fostering for the same reason.
Problems With The Property.
We live right next door to a wedding reception venue. Let's just say some sterotypes of Mexicans are earned honestly. Namely that they start their parties late, they are loud and they go till all hours of the morning. So we've been struggling with sleeping (or not-sleeping) most Weekend nights from about 9pm to 5am... It's bad when you fight all night to sleep and you wake up with top dance music stuck in your head. We also live in the desert and while we're in the region around SMA that has the most water available it's still extremely dry and we're surrounded with sandburs/stickers all over the place... they're so awful the kids will not play outside, There's problems with them showing up in our beds, our underwear, our shoes and socks. They make country living here no fun.
Problems With The Desire To Travel.
We've been stationary in San Miguel for almost a year, that's the longest we've been anywhere in over 4 years. Sure we've been changing properties and moving around the city, but we're still shopping at the same places, eating at the same places and seeing the same friends.
But the title of this blog post is life is good?
Just as I finished writing that heading the sound system is being tested at the hacienda next door, it's 2:30 on a Saturday afternoon and I know there will be very loud music tonight. So how can I say life is good with all the problems I just listed?
Well, there are a ton of reasons, I'm not sure I can list all of them, but it's kind of like being forgetful to be thankful for health until you get a cold, right now there are hundreds of things that are really making life good despite all the negatives.
Becky and I are doing better. We're celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary later this year, and we've had tough times along the journey, but right now we're in a good place, able to talk and communicate and being on the same page.
We've been able to hang with a lot of families here, celebrating birthdays, holidays or just going to the park together.
The Kids Are Reading!
This is huge for me as I've always struggled with unschooling and our kids' lack of desire to read. Mixed with Alia's learning disabilities/challenges I thought we'd never see this day, so it's worth celebrating, and it is part of why Life is Good. It's proving to me that this unschooling "experiment" is working (since I'm not a professional or an experienced parent I feel like everything we're doing with our kids is an experiment to a certain degree!)
We've been able to do some amazing things as a family here, like escape rooms, the monarch butterfly migration and a couple of water parks.
We've been able to celebrate the day of the dead, independence day and many other celebrations they observe here.
We live in Mexico!
Seriously, I have to pinch myself sometimes when I read stories of families who long to sell their house/stuff and hit the road and realize we've been doing it for four years, that our kids are third culture kids, that Zander has spent more time outside of the US than he has spent in the US.
We can speak Spanish
We're growing in our Spanish language abilities, seriously I still cannot understand many things, but I have to remind myself that 2 years ago I couldn't talk to a mechnic in spanish, and now we do doctors and mechanics and lots of other interactions all in Spanish. Sure yeah we could have tutoring/lessons and learn faster, but there is a phrase Mexicans use ... "Poco a poco" which is very similar to "little by little" and is viewed as a better way to learn as it's absorbed more... or at least thats what I tell myself to justify our methods. We are learning new words each week thanks to our neighbors, friends and especially our kids' nanny.
The business is making money, we've had trouble paying our bills since October, and in the last two months have been able to start catching up to staff that we owe. So we're making a profit for today, just need to pay off the debts we incurred over the past 6 months.
Internet in El Campo
We have awesome internet, live in the country, have horses and have crossed off a major life-long goal for Becky. (one of mine was living in an RV and traveling, so we got that out of the way a few years ago )
While its dry and desert-like (who am I kidding, we live in a high desert surrounded by cacti and rocks) it is still amazing considering what our friends and family have been experiencing this winter. Days have been 70s-80s degrees and nights 40s-50s. Sure we're about to move into the rainy season and will get stuck multiple times in our own driveway due to the clay-like mud that this ground turns into, and sure it will be warmer as we push into the 90s, and sure our RV doesn't stay cool like the stone/cement/brick houses here, but man we've really enjoyed what we have, and I'll take this over snow any day.
US Winter Trip
We were able to visit friends and family in Michigan and Georgia in January. It had been a long time (2 years) and it was good to re-connect in person.
So that's the update for today, there is a ton going on, and Becky has been dreaming of visiting South Africa and the Maldives lately, we've got major itchy feet and would like to travel again, but first we have to find a stable place to homebase here in SMA and re-establish our income. things are moving slower than we desire. But in the grand scheme of things ... Life is Good.