The Clean Team

IMG_7045At first I was incredibly excited when my dad told me that, finally, after nearly two years, he had convinced his brother and sister to join him and my stepmom on a trip south to visit us in San Carlos.  Then I got a teeny bit nervous.  I love my aunt and uncle dearly.  But.  They are two people who happen to be very particular about their surroundings.  

I am not judging them.  I admire their organization, and it is a pleasure to be a guest in their homes.  If I drop a chip on the floor, I know, without a doubt, it is safe to eat.  I am never going to find someone else’s hair on the soap in the shower.  And freshly ironed sheets are pretty amazing.  But my super obsessive compulsive clean gene was somehow switched out with a “meh, it looks fine” one.  

I am not a complete and total slob, and I follow a cleaning schedule.  But honestly, there is probably something sticky on one of my refrigerator shelves right now.  There most definitely would be a “five second rule” debate in my home.  I am also pretty good at ignoring toothpaste spit splatter on the mirrors until “clean the mirrors” day comes around.

Not only do I have genes working against me, but I also live in a desert that ends thumbnail
where a beach begins.  So I am constantly battling dust and sand on the floors.  We have never had a scorpion in our home, but what in the hell IF one showed up while our guests were here?!  I am pretty good at pretending that taking a shower with a two and a half inch cockroach is no big deal, but something like that could cause my aunt to never want to shower again.  Or worse, disown me!  It was very, very important to me that my aunt and uncle felt comfortable in our home

And certainly I wanted my parents to feel that way too.  It is just, well, they know all about my slacker ways and come and visit me anyway.

thumbnail-1So basically, I cleaned for a week straight before they arrived.  Thus proving to myself that I do have a super obsessive compulsive clean gene, and I am just really good at overcoming it most days.  I followed Steve around with a broom and a bottle of glass cleaner.  I washed all the sheets and towels twice. I crawled around on all fours looking under beds for dead cockroaches and live gekkos.  I used an eight foot plumero to wipe down all the fans, curtain rods, and ceilings.  I sat down inside as little as possible, not wanting to dent or dirty my fluffed and vacuumed sofa cushions.  It was pretty scary.

And then they all arrived!  I stashed my dust rag in Steve’s underwear drawer before opening the door to greet them with big hugs.  I am sure they all wondered what new scent I was wearing.  Had they asked, I would have told them- – Fabuloso.  After the family put away their suitcases (I had even cleaned the closets), we all hung out on the terrace- -as in outside.  And we basically stayed there anytime we were home! 

But we were not home much.  We visited the brand new San Carlos sign and the newly IMG_2721opened mirador.  We toured Guaymas and the pearl farm.  We kayaked and did a little shopping.  We even took a sunset cruise on the Sea of Cortez and were entertained by dolphins.  The delicious food of our area agreed with everyone.  (Thank heavens because my super obsessive compulsive clean gene would have drawn the line there.) IMG_2127

It was a wonderful visit full of many exciting adventures and new experiences.  Most special to me were our heartfelt conversations.  These things matter so much more than passing the white glove test any old day, and my family knew it.  I loved sharing our home with my parents, aunt, and uncle.  I am hoping they plan a return visit next year.  Mostly because I am sure my house will need a another good cleaning by then.

And thankfully, even the cockroaches cooperated in making this a great visit.  Steve spotted one scurrying across the kitchen the day after everyone left for home.  Whew.

Eyes Wide Open

Juárez Theater

Ugh.  I spent two and a half hours writing yesterday and decided just before clicking “publish” to delete it all.  If you want to know about the Juárez Theater, Jardín de la Union, Basílica Colegiata de Nuestra Señora de Guanajuato in Plaza de la Paz, The University of Guanajuato, The Mummy Museum, Callejón de Beso, and Diego Rivera’s childhood home, you can look them up on the internet.  No more boring history lessons from me on this trip!  Don’t get me wrong.  All of these places were beautiful and absolutely amazing and make Guanajuato the unique and special place that it is.  Historical facts just do not adequately express how much I loved being here.

In fact, I was so taken with the city that I soon as I returned home, I immediately started fantasizing about returning to enroll in Spanish classes.  Never mind that I have a teacher here in Guaymas.  Or that Steve would probably miss me for the two to six months I planned to be gone.  Or that it would cost a lot of money that we do not have.  Or that we had family coming to visit, and they were expecting to see me.  My dad suggested that Hermosillo, a bit closer to home, might be a more realistic option for my Spanish immersion. It was not really about the lessons.  I wanted to be back in Guanajuato: exploring the nooks and crannies, mastering public transportation in the tunnel system, enjoying festivals and performances, sampling every flavor of ice cream offered in the corner shops, and then maybe, improving my Spanish.


I loved stepping out of a narrow alleyway into a small plaza, surrounded by brightly painted homes and businesses.  I was constantly making that little surprised “ohh” with my mouth and murmering “wow”.  The blues, purples, pinks, greens, and yellows added a depth to everything I saw.  I have tried to describe what I felt using words.  I just cannot.  The city was vibrant.  It was cheerful.  The cobblestone streets made me feel as if I had stepped into the past.  I saw more people walking than I saw cars.  I excitedly followed the curves in the streets as they wound their way between buildings and eventually became staircases, climbing the hillsides.  Papel picado was strung between the balconies of homes across the street from each other.  I loved that as Guanajuato grew, no one attempted to change it- -make it move in organized, right angles or straight lines.   Being on the streets made me happy.  I felt lighter here.

It was impossible for me to photograph what I was seeing well.  I mean, honestly, I

University of Guanajuato

struggle taking good pictures of Caleb opening his presents Christmas morning, never mind doing justice to what Guanajuato offered.  I tried though.  I really did.  And I was incredibly grateful for the stranger who reminded me to put my camera down, to look- -with both eyes and remember.  “Your memories are better pictures,” he said.

Callejón de Beso

Before this trip, I had no idea just how many beautiful places there are in our world that I had never seen.  I mean I did, but I was not spending a lot of time thinking about it.  It is funny in a way.  Guadalajara, Chapala, San Miguel de Allende, Atotonilco, and Guanajuato have been here all this time.  Had I not been gifted with this opportunity to live in Mexico, would it ever have occurred to me to visit these cities?  How lucky I was!  What else is out there waiting to be discovered?  What other surprises will I find that I am not expecting?  Do not worry.  I am not going to start a list- -that actually might depress me.   But I am definitely going to use both eyes a lot more once I get there.