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International Women’s Friendship Month

September is International Women’s Friendship Month. So how do these international friendships typically pan out? Sometimes not so well, sadly.

Living in rural Mexico often means isolation for women who have chosen to come with their husbands to the lands of their ancestors. Friendships with other women are slow in developing, if ever. And yet, women need the support of a tribe of their own, not just the husband’s sister or aunt or cousin. 

Studies have shown that deep, abiding friendship between women can counteract stress–and moving to a new culture is certainly rift with that. Women have an innate drive to communicate, which moving to an area where a new language is spoken can inhibit. Friendships occur over shared experiences, beliefs and values–things that are not found in the new environment these women have settled in. 

Friendship can help women combat loneliness, improve their chances of surviving breast cancer, and generally help create a satisfying quality of life, no matter where a person lives. 

So why is it so hard to foster friendship in a new country?

Unfortunately, we have an inherent bias built into our perceptions that takes deliberate effort to overcome. We tend to choose friends who look like us, have a similar background, and social values. When we are faced with making connections with people who neither look like us nor have a shared history, we need to work more at finding commonality than we would otherwise. And while we immigrants to Mexico may be driven to find connections, the women that live in our village with long-time established friendships, are not. 

So where does that leave us? Depressed, lonely, and ill. Online friendships sometimes help with the worst of this, but virtual buddies can’t ever replace an actual friend. 

In June, I was able to visit my hometown for the first time in 10 years. I stayed in the home of my best friend since third grade. I thought that it was just me, who had been living in relative isolation for so long, that most enjoyed our time together. So I was surprised when my friend said that she really missed the company of women, both her girls were grown now. 

at shannons

We talked about the growing Amish community in the area and whether they had a better support system than most women. After all, they have shared values, a common background, activities, and history. Since that society of women is closed to non-Amish for the most part, we weren’t able to do more than speculate.

Bringing these thoughts back with me to Mexico, I started to feel less resentful of the women who refused to befriend me. The closed society of women here is no different than the Amish community in Pennsylvania. Which of course, makes it difficult for interlopers like myself to establish deep and abiding friendships. 

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So where does that leave me? I will continue to enjoy my virtual interactions in the various Facebook groups I am in, including two that I help manage SOTB Bloggers and Women Surviving Rural Mexico, which I invite you to join if you live in Mexico. I will keep trying to be supportive of the women as they struggle with their online presence and daily interactions in Mexico. I will try to remember that I have an internal bias as do the women I come in contact with, so I mustn’t hold it against them. And I will continue to cherish the friends that I have no matter the distance between us. 

How have you made and maintained your friendships with other women?

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A Horse of Many Colors

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Cookie waited until we had left for the U.S. last month to have her anxiously awaited baby. My husband was over the moon that it was a boy and promptly named him Red, although I’m not sure the name quite fits him. He’s a mahogany color if anything, with yellow socks and a black muzzle with what looks like mascara rings around his eyes. Horsey people say that the color the hairs around the mouth are will determine what the final coat color the horse will be. So I guess we’ll just wait and see with little Red.

He’s friendly and smart and thinks he’s a dog. This angered Puppy so much that he ran away for a few days right after Red arrived. Puppy wasn’t interested in yet another new friend. He got over it and came back though he has made his new hideyhole where the food is kept because Red can’t get in there. 

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Cookie is an excellent mama, if maybe a little too protective of her son. One day the little Chivita (one of the triplets) managed to get into the stall with Cookie and Red, only mama wasn’t having any of that. She bit Chivita’s tail clean off. Needless to say, Chivita isn’t as curious about the new arrival as she was before. Her tail healed up just fine as well.

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About a week after our return, we had our one and only baby goat of the year. I think she was premature because she was just so small and wasn’t up and around as soon as most of our little ones. She’s doing fine now though, so it’s all good. We haven’t come up with a name though. Suggestions?

Some of our goats are in heat now and our hunka hunka burning love macho goat can’t seem to handle all the hormones in the air. He’s become aggressive. He’s butted the door until it has come off its hinges. He’s butted the wall between the goats and Lady until it fell over. If this keeps up too much longer, it might be time to trade for a new macho.

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Making Herbal Preparation Free Course Herbal Academy

Free Making Herbal Preparations 101 Course

From Monday, July 22 to Wednesday, July 31 Herbal Academy is offering Making Herbal Preparations 101 Mini-Course for FREE! You know how much I love these courses!

In this one, we’ll learn about the way that herbs are used and prepared for everyday use and begin making our own herbal recipes at home. In the seven lessons, we’ll cover:

  • 4 basic categories of herbal preparations
  • 12 everyday safe herbs to use at home
  • 33 DIY herbal recipes, from teas and tinctures to salves and oils with chickweed, dandelion, lamb’s quarters, nettle, violet, burdock, hawthorn, oat, raspberry leaf, and red clover.

Laminated recipe and tutorial guides for the course are available as an upgrade.

I’ve already signed up and am anxiously awaiting August 1, when the class opens. Won’t you join me?

Free Making Herbal Preparations 101 Course

Herbal Academy has stated that this course will be re-released in 2020 however it won’t be FREE! So why not take advantage of this amazing offer today?

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The Long Trip Home

Well, our month in El Norte had ended and it was time to head home. My brother generously offered to take us to the airport in Philadelphia because although there was a bus from the neighboring town, we’d be cutting it close. 

Our little road trip was blissfully uneventful. My brother and I kept up our running commentary of Remember Whens… and when we passed through Allentown, well nothing doing but to have his neat little car play Billy Joel’s ballad. Hmm, things are pretty much the same since ol’ Billy crooned that song! 

I unwisely decided to drink not one, but two cups of coffee and we had to make an emergency pit stop (or two as this old lady bladder wasn’t cutting me any slack) before we arrived, but arrive we did. 

We had enough time before our flight to grab a bite to eat and get checked in. I had weighed the suitcases before we left, both were under 50 pounds, which was a good thing because no one offered to saran wrap or weigh my bags here. The check-in attendant was a lovely girl from Argentina who asked about how we liked Mexico as she had a friend who moved there. This friend had initially hated everything about Mexico, the food, the music, the people but now 3 months into her new life has fallen in love.

We were flagged by the system and she had to manually enter our information. I showed her our documentation and she said everything looked good to go, so we went. Our bags would be sent on to Mexico, no need to pick up them up in Chicago. Getting through the security checkpoint was a breeze. 

We still had some extra time, so we settled in these comfy chairs next to the window overlooking the tarmac. There were places to charge our phones there and we took advantage of those. I may have dozed a bit because the next thing I knew I woke myself up with a giggle which of course made my son giggle. 

The flight was also blissfully uneventful. We arrived in Chicago even a little ahead of schedule. We were shuttled from the plane to a point past the security checkpoint so we didn’t have to remove our shoes again. We had some horrible McDonald’s food. Ugh! There just weren’t many options. 

We had a 4-hour layover and there weren’t many places to sit, so we made do on the benches outside the bathrooms. Have I mentioned that I was never so pleased as I was using the public bathrooms in the U.S. since moving to Mexico? There wasn’t a turnstile to maneuver or an attendant to pay for a stip of toilet paper at the door. The toilets flushed automatically. The sinks, soap dispensers, and hand dryers turned on with a wave of my hand. Talk about POSH! 

About an hour before our flight was due to depart, we wandered down to our gate and found a good seat by the charging station. We were scheduled to fly out at 7:30 arriving in Mexico City at 11:40 pm. Well, that didn’t happen. 

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First, the flight that was coming in was delayed because of storms in the area. That flight was rerouted to Indianapolis. A few hours later, the plane made a second attempt, which failed, and was rerouted to Ohio. 

The day shift crew went home for the day. Substitutes were found, not all of them were Spanish speakers. This caused some angst amongst the half of the passengers that didn’t speak English. One angry man in a red shirt started shouting. I’m surprised he wasn’t approached by security, but maybe they had already gone home too. His gripe was that everything was MENTIRAS (lies) and that everything was in English. 

I understood his frustration however it wasn’t these girls’ fault. There was another incident with a Mexico City fresa (hoity-toity) who was just outright insulting, upset at her inconvenience. She filed a complaint online with the airline. Whatever. We were all inconvenienced.

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A very tired boy still waiting for the flight to board in Chicago.

Personally, I prefer to wait it out when conditions are unsafe to fly in. So wait it out we did. We finally boarded the plane at 12:30 am. Boy, were we exhausted. I have to admit I slept through most of the flight, awakened twice briefly when the flight attendant passed with a flashlight asking if we wanted water. My son was completely unconscious the entire time, which was for the best. He gets antsy on trips. 

We arrived at 5:30 in the morning and went to go through immigration. I had my paper given to me by the powers that be from when we left. My son, being Mexican, wasn’t given any papers. So I made the executive decision to send him through the Mexican National line while I queued up in the Foreigner Line. 

Just before I was to be attended to, I saw that my son was out of the line with a paper that he was trying to fill out. He said that because his passport was foreign (he has a US passport) that the guy told him he had to fill out that same form I had. Umm, no. That didn’t seem right. He wasn’t entering the country as a visitor at all! 

Well, I had him approach the desk with me when it was my turn and explained our situation. The lady stamped my passport again and took my son’s birth certificate. After ascertaining that we lived in Mexico (and that his birth certificate was Mexican) she gave us back everything and sent us on our way. Whew! Needless to say, my son was mighty worried he wasn’t going to be able to get back into Mexico at all!

We picked up our suitcases, which weren’t on the turnstile but lined up alongside. I imagine they had beaten us to Mexico by several hours. We decided we had nothing to declare and bypassed the voluntary x-ray machine completely. 

Upon exiting, several ladies in taxi booths waved us over. I picked one at random and paid $235 pesos for a taxi to the bus station. We left through Salida 9 and our ticket was taken by the attendant there who flagged down a cab for us. The cab driver presented his credentials and our ticket had the cab number written on it. 

Soon enough we were at the bus station. We bought tickets for Moroleon and went to the waiting room to wait. We had missed the 6:30 am bus but were in plenty of time for the 8:40 am bus. We were scheduled to be home by 1 pm. 

That didn’t happen. I must have fallen asleep again because before I knew it, it was 9:30 and we were still in Mexico City. There were several protests of some sort and the roads were closed. Traffic was at a standstill. We waited for 3 hours before we could inch along to a road where we could get off and take an alternate route. 

Then, when we arrived in Celaya, we were told it was the end of the line for that bus. We’d have to wait for another bus and transfer over. That added about 45 minutes to our already tediously long trip.

We didn’t arrive in Moroleon until 6 pm that evening. My husband had taken the day off to pick us up and had been to the bus terminal three times to check for us. So much for planning! We were TIRED and after some quesadillas went to bed.

 

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