Saturday, October 6, 2012

Return to Mexico

Hola to all our family and friends:

Well, I know it's been a long time between posts. All of you have been busy, too, I'm sure. Between the time we returned to the states on April 1, 2012 until now, we have made many changes in our lives as well as spent a funpacked summer. I'll try to highlight those and catch you up.

 Our biggest news is we sold our house on August 27th after just four days on the market! Lucky us. For the next four weeks life was pretty hectic as we sorted, sold, gave away and stored our home furnishings, artwork, and personal belongings in preparation for our October 1st departure to Mexico. Daughters Dawn and Tiffany were a blessing, as usual, housing us for the last week, and putting up with our extra stuff.  We kidded them that it was "payback" for the post college years we stored their stuff.

We are now back in San Miguel de Allende for the next six months. We're staying at the casita on La Palma where we spent last winter. It's the home of friends who sublet it to us, conveniently located not far from the center of town, known as El Jardin. The weather is lovely, as usual: sunshine, blue skies and temperate climate of 73-80 degrees each day, a  bit like our Portland Indian Summer before we left. It was hard to leave with such lovely weather but  it's fun to run into our former San Miguel neighbors and friends made last winter.

We're still recuperating from the exhaustion of our sale and move but it feels good and natural to be back here. No, we're not moving permanently to Mexico but imagine our paths will take us here often in the winters of our lives in the years to come. It's a good footing for taking off on other adventures in Latin America. We still support Eco-Viva which assists small rural communities in El Salvador and I hope to revisit the communities there sometime in the next year.

My current pre-occupation is to complete  revisions on my novel and get it sent out on Monday to the four agents I "pitched" to in August at the Willamette Writers conference. They all expressed enthusiastic interest and requested the first fifty pages, which was very exciting. Just have to put the final polish on those pages so wish me luck in first, getting an agent, and secondly, finding a publisher. Writing the novel has been a three year project and I'm anxious to see it in print and to share it with all of you.

The WW Conference followed on the heels of a wonderful workshop I took in Joseph, Oregon at the annual Fishtrap gathering of writers.  I was fortunate to study with one of the workshop learders, Luis Urrea, former Pulitzer prize nominee for his book The Devil's Highway and author of Hummingbirds Daughter and Queen of America as well as others. I've read all three and highly recommend them to the readers amongst you. Luis encouraged me heartily to pursue publication of my novel and recommended several agents, three of whom I was able to meet at the conference in August. I was truly inspired by him. Gary enjoyed the week also with kayaking on Wallawa Lake and some hiking. We enjoyed our tent camper and the beautiful natural environment of this northeastern corner of Oregon, one of our favorite places, home of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce native peoples.

Other highlights of the spring and smmer were celebrating a significant birthday on April 21st with my two daughters with a weekend at the beach, a birding trip to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Eastern Oregon in May, and kayaking with my new woman's kayaking group. The all-woman group met every Thursday morning to kayak a different lake, river or slough in our region. I enjoyed the companionship of new friends and their enthusiasm for the sport.  I've learned to hoist my kayak up on the top of my car with the help of a new rack and roller and love exploring the out-of-doors by kayak.

A favorite kayaking spot is the Nehalem river, on the Oregon Coast, where Gary and I had the good fortune to spend some weekends at a small cottage (400 sq.feet---cozy!)we recently purchssed from a friend and former neighbor. Our Nehalem place will be our "get-away" together and individually. It may be  our only Oregon "home" for awhile once we return in late March, 2013. We plan on looking for the next small "ideal place" in the Portland area and will divide our time between there, to be near our kids, and Mexico.

It's time to close this missive which is longer than I planned, or you might want to read. My apologies. Like my dear friend Peggy might say: TMI (too much information). Hope you all had a great summer and will follow me on my adventures in Mexico in the coming months. My next blog post will be in three weeks after our return from Cuba. We are joining others on the Global Justice Center of San Miguel's Cuba trip, October 14-24th. We'll spend a few days next week in Mexico City before our departure to the "forbidden island"---we are looking forward to learning more and enjoying the culture, Afro-Cuban music and dance and visits to schools, hospitals and cultural centers. Traveling for us is always a learning experience.  Pray for no hurricanes. I promise photos.

Adios for now, amigos, Sher