Thursday, December 8, 2016

Adios, Amigos

Look at us, trying so hard to move to Mexico.

If anyone peeks through the windows these days, they'll witness extensive list making. I'm the Hunchback of the Central District, curved over my notepad and computer addressing the myriad of details necessary to get this thing off the ground. You never realize how many details are involved in the daily function of a family home until you have to change them all.

The window peepers would also witness much document scanning. The immigration attorneys need this document, the relocation people need that document, and the school to which we're hoping to gain admittance needs five hundred documents in the next five minutes -- or else adios, amigos.

The only computer in the house that has the proper driver installed for our ancient scanner is my old laptop with the cracked screen.  I tried installing the driver elsewhere and ended up with malware so I gave up and am instead squinting at an old screwed up blinky screen that is doing fascinating things to my eyes.  Now I see blinky blinky everywhere.

In scanning Lucien's file from his current school to send to the school in Mexico, I realize how many head injuries he's sustained so far in his schooling career, most of them incurred on the blacktop of the playground.  It's mind boggling (ha) to see all those head injury reports stacked in one place, all the medical advice over the years such as "keep an eye on him" and "don't let him fall asleep for four days." It's a miracle that kid still knows his own name.

The kids are not thrilled with the Mexico move, though they remain at least partially cheerful and optimistic because that is their natures. I can't blame their reluctance. They are both happy where they are now, each in class with their favorite teachers and surrounded by solid, funny groups of friends they've known since they were all babes. Lucien is especially sad because it means his time at his school ends in less than two weeks; he's a fifth grader now and will be moved on to middle school upon our return.

In truth, for many reasons, this move is a gamble -- and not just because we may get walled into Mexico thanks to Señor Trump --

I'm apprehensive about all the unknowns but am hoping to model an appropriate balance for the kids in their own apprehension; they should know I am also nervous and sad about leaving our familiar, tight-knit community but they will also hopefully learn from me it's OK to take risks and make changes, even when comfort is so damn comforting.

(They can't know exactly how nervous I am, though, because then they'd probably mutiny. I shouldn't have given them those swords for their Halloween costumes.)

I wonder if I sound off balance as I try to address my own conflicted feelings yet remain a strong, reassuring role model: "I'm scared but I'm not scared! Full lives involve risk-taking but agreed, this could be a gigantic mistake! We're gonna make so many new friends from all over the world but I'm definitely gonna cry every day!"

There's also the issue of Natani.  We have a couple responsible and well-liked house/pet sitters willing to take it all on but still, it's not going to be easy to kiss that crazy animal goodbye...

...or maybe it will?  

The desert dog attacking Dad with a viciously wagging tail
during my family's relaxing Thanksgiving holiday in our home.
She just loves so much, she can't hold herself back.

My family was indeed here for Thanksgiving.  My dad is a photographer so set up his nice camera in our front hall to take some long overdue family pictures. 

It's a kiss train with The Loosh wearing his favorite cat t-shirt.
The cat is shooting lightning out of its paws.
The Loosh knows how to Thanksgiving.

Mom said people always have their hands on each other in professionally posed photos so we decided to do that in our post-Thanksgiving photo shoot -- 

I love us.
(Is it just me or does Alex look a little "over" my family?)

Now it's Christmas and what a hectic one it will be.  I hope I remember to buy the kids some presents but honestly, won't they be happier I remembered to cancel The Seattle Times subscription, stocked up on the infrared lightbulbs Bobo needs to stay alive, and managed to get all our prescriptions filled for six plus months after many, many discussions with our insurance company?  Priorities, kids.

We had our Christmas tree delivered by a couple dads and one of their daughters from our school's Christmas tree sale.  They went above and beyond, set it up in my tree stand since Alex is once again down in Mexico, even delivered it alongside a plate of cookies and a quart of eggnog.

These days everything is double edged, every happy thing is also a little sad, so their commitment to us and to our school made me teary, which probably confused them terribly. Transitions blow.  Leaving what you love blows. But it's also exciting and awesome!  Help me.

The near future holds much change; we're hoping to be in Mexico City by the new year, which feels like only a handful of hours away. I'm not sure how long we'll be gone, at least six months, likely a little longer, and we'll be in touch after that.

Oh yes I'll be in touch, blog, in fact may be more present than ever.  If the Paris years taught me anything, it's that I won't know many people down there and will make an ass of myself on the regular.  Much processing, and for me that means writing, will ensue.

Seattle friends, this one's for you -- come playoffs, I may be a very lonely 12th Woman but promise to sport my blue and green every game just like this --

I am going to fit right in as usual

You all still have permission to come into my house, as we've always done in playoffs past, and Rusty, you better sit in your special seat so we win.  Seahawks 4-ever.



  1. Wow! You're leaving in a few weeks! That's crazy!:) 2017 is a year 1 in numerology: a new beginning. Well, 2016 was a complete write-off, so things can only get better! Here's hoping!

    Looking forward to following your mad adventures down in Mexico:) Wish you were going back to Paris, though;)

  2. I'll be in Mexico City with my daughter in January! Good luck on the move and the transitions! Let me know if you need a reader to buy you a drink!

  3. I know the feelings of dread before a big move. This is the worst time. But once you and the kids are actually there, it will be ok. You're a pro! (For Alex, he'll be at work, so no problemo.)(Loved him in the family photo, so calm.) I look forward to lots of great posts. Hasta luego.

  4. Aw, MJ, I remember being so very present for the reverse of this when you left Paris and here you are embarking on another big shift. This is one of the hard parts, but soon you'll be living in another country again: PRICELESS for your family and for life experience for you all. I'll be thinking of you! If you make it to Roxborough Park any time soon after the move, keep me posted; my pop is in Sedalia and I've been going down there a lot. We could connect! Much love from Northern Colorado coming at ya! xo Karin

  5. I bet it has entered your thoughts that you were surprised with another year in Paris, and so the six months may end up to be........ I think your kids will be so grateful some day to have lived in two such diverse cultures and also because their mother is so playful and curious, will participate in the full experience of it all. I will be anticipating your stories and the adventures right from my favorite chair right here in Iowa. Safe travels, Kathy

  6. I am a longtime reader, mostly lurker. I've been reading your blog since you were in Paris. Don't be freaked out, but I also have a son named Lucien. (I *swear* I didn't name him after your Lucien, like some common stalker. I named him after a neighborhood restaurant whose frites I really liked, which is totally normal. It was either that or being named after our local bodega cat, so I think I made the right choice.) Also, my family and I are likely moving to Seattle soon from Portland - I am so grateful for your blog to give me a bit of insight into Seattle neighborhoods as we begin our hunt. Anyway, I just wanted to wish you luck and say you'll love Mexico City. I lived in Cuernavaca for a year or so a long time ago. It's not far from the city. Best of luck to you and the family. I look forward to your posts from your new home base. xox, Nicole