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A Chapter Closed

Sometimes when the book is really good, you might skim ahead just to take a peek at what's going to happen. I sure wish I could do that in life.

The Mexico chapter has closed. My car successfully took me back to the USA, although it promptly let me know how unhappy it was to return by breaking the thermostat. Before I returned to the USA, I took a detour to visit friends in San Miguel de Allende.

I had a kind and attentive greeting committee to share my lunch time with!
I don't mind if I do!

After San Miguel de Allende, I set out on the first day toward the border. The first part of the trip was beautiful and I loved it. The Mexican countryside is so diverse and I love driving it. Unfortunately it turned into a deluge for the last part of the trip, but I made it all it one piece, if not dry.

The next day I waited in line and had my car ungraciously searched by a seemingly disgruntled woman working the booth I happened to choose. I watched almost 10 cars pass through on both sides while she rummaged through my stuff, not putting anything back.

I was heading to my parents home, but before I could actually get "home", I had a couple of concerts to play. The first one was in a beautiful museum. It was such a beautiful way to get back into the orchestra circuit. You can imagine at night, the lights behind the glass were such a stunning backdrop. Even David Duchovny stopped by to watch and listen. (I know; no picture, no proof. But can you imagine all the musicians scrambling for a photo? The conductor got the only one.)

While I was there, I had the wonderful opportunity to get out and enjoy the gorgeous trails around town.

This little guy was so colorful and even stood still so I could get a photo!

This video is of a sound bridge. It's been constructed in such as a way that as the wind moves through the bridge, it "sings". It's really quite amazing to listen to. I know there is wind sound in my phone recording, but when I stand directly underneath the bridge, you can hear the beautiful notes as the wind weaves through the metal.

I finally made it home. Unfortunately, "home" has been a bit of a construction zone almost the entire time I've been back so I've been embracing my inner Harry Potter and living under the stairs.

I was able to fit my individual mattress on the floor with a plastic box at the head to keep it from sliding all the way to the corner. And my side table became my floor desk. I draped some holiday lights around the corner so I could find my way out at night if I needed and put rugs down on the cold concrete floor. It's been two and a half months and I'm still under the stairs. Luckily, I'm mostly off performing and staying in hotels right now!

It has been really nice to be able to be in the concert halls again. The last three years really tried my heart and soul.

Several concerts have been live film scores, which I love to play so I've had a great time playing the movie music and the great classic wonders.

When you see the screen stopped on such a funny spot so you try to copy it with your stand partner! Great times on stage :)

There have been some really long drives starting super early in the morning but I've tried to enjoy the sunrises I rarely ever see and capture them to share with you :)

My apartment in Guadalajara needed to be finalized, so exactly three years from the time I moved, I return to say goodbye for good.

I tried to get as much as I could done as fast as possible. There were lots of doctor appointments and restaurants to eat at one last time.

This is one of my favorite treats and it's actually really good for you: tuetanos or bone marrow. I took a video because I couldn't eat them for almost half an hour they were so hot off the grill. Don't worry, I had tacos de picaña to keep me occupied :)

The first day I flew back was a national holiday so instead of doctors visits and cleaning, I went to Jocotepec for one last mini vaca!

Found a nice restaurant with a fantastic view!
And a kitty that really wanted my shrimp more than my pets, but had to settle for just the pets since the shrimp had hot sauce on it!
The malecon in Jocotepec from the pier.

And for once I was in the right place at the right time to watch a Mexican traditional dance show.

The following day I took advantage of the weather and the long holiday weekend to go hiking in the Barranca. I've been faithfully doing Insanity workouts and I jogged between 3-5 miles a day in Guadalajara also. Hiking the Barranca did not seem intimidating.

What I failed to factor in was that my body, in just one month's time, had already lost the altitude stamina I had gained. I had been living in the USA was around 911 ft and Guadalajara is 5380 ft!

Needless to say, it took me a lot longer to hike back up the Barranca because I couldn't breath. How humbling.

I still really enjoyed it despite the lack of oxygen.

Taking a breather at the lookout point!

And if you have followed my blog since my Korea days, you'll know my affinity to taking pictures of trash receptacles :-D

This one is really unique but makes my thumbnail hurt!

When I got back up to the street level, I watched a group of Mexican cowboys headed down the street on horseback. It was so quintessential and brought a smile to my face. Glad my phone was close by for a quick photo to share it :)

I worked feverishly to clean the apartment and get to all the appointments and consultations I had scheduled. I collapsed sometimes on the couch out of exhaustion, unable to shower to go to bed. But I got it done. The landlord didn't honor the work I put it to clean it on the time he had asked (days before my contract ended) and didn't return most of the deposit claiming he was losing money because I had asked for a 2 week extension when I gave my notice 2 months in advance and when he found someone to rent it, the new renters couldn't start in the middle of the month so he took the money he was losing out of my deposit as if that was my fault.

There was nothing I could do so I tried to forget about it and enjoy Mexico as much as I could the remaining few days I had left.

I got to go to my favorite taco stand. Their tacos de suadero were the best in the city!

I sure do miss street tacos!

When I eventually would get back to the hotel after dark, I got to open the windows and see a nice view of the city bridges lit up bright.

I booked a hotel with a gym and a pool and a nice restaurant and bar and I literally never had time to even try one of them. I was just too busy :( The last night before I checked out I had about an hour between appointments in the area and got to go catch the sunrise up on the rooftop.

The saddest part of leaving Mexico was leaving my two pet rats, Snickers and Butterfingers, behind with a friend. I miss them terribly and feel terrible, but know I can't take care of them here since I'm never "home". But I took a couple of videos to help me smile when I think how I can't be there for them.

This is Snickers, who liked to chirp when he was content and happy. They loved snuggling up next to me and spending time perched on my shoulders. I don't know who loved it more! <3<3<3

Butterfingers was a quieter one and liked to make happy noises with his teeth chattering.

They were both so loving with their unique and adorable personalities and I miss them terribly. I never imagined when I got them that I'd have to move quickly back to the USA. But I had to say goodbye and return once again to the USA.

I arrived back in the USA the end of November, the final time, from Mexico. Boy, I never missed winter. Not for a minute! But making the best of the situation, I took a cute pic by the river when I finally ventured out of the house.

On my way to a Christmas gig, I found the big man. I guess I've been naughty because he didn't give me anything on my wish list, not even a tank of gas!

I did get to enjoy some Christmas lights in a downtown cafe and on the street outside. They were mesmerizing and I really enjoyed my time there. Maybe I'll get a chance to go back. I hope they keep them up year round!

The thing that has stuck with me this year and something I've believed for a very long time is that Hope Anchors the Soul. Without hope, there is nothing worth going on for. That hope has been hard to find, hard to keep, and hard to trust this year. It's honestly still a struggle, but finding the silver lining and the positive note will reveal just enough of the glimmer of hope necessary to keep going.

This soup mug (or giant coffee mug) idealizes that for me as part of my heart is always out at sea, anchored to the constant motion, uncertainty, and adventure contained within the infinite possibilities and hope that the endless sea permeates through every pore of my being.

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