Tag Archives: Mexico

An 18-year Old’s Birthday in the Time of Coronavirus

This month, my son turned 18. We had planned a trip to Instituto Nacional Electoral for an IFE (voter’s registration card) after getting a Mexican passport from the Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores but the INE is closed and I’m really not sure what sort of documentation with a photo my son can use otherwise, so we are stymied there.

Then we had planned a trip to San Miguel de Allende to renew my son’s passport. However, although the Consulate has hours by appointment listed, the U.S. State Department says there are significant delays and passport applications could take months. 

Without a passport or IFE card, my son can not apply for a driver’s license in Guanajuato, although that office is still open in Moroleon. Without ID, he also can not open a bank account. So, none of these things will happen anytime soon. 

Normally, we have a little get-together on my son’s birthday with some of the Flores relatives. That didn’t happen this year either, although they would have come had we asked, social distancing notwithstanding. We’ve elected to self-isolate as much as possible. Of course, everyone thinks we are overreacting, but after that serious several-week episode of fever, dry cough, and fatigue my son had in February, that may or may not have been COVID-19, well, better safe than sorry. 

Instead, we had tacos and some red velvet cake from a box. Even this required a masked trek to the carniceria, fruteria, tortilleria, and the abarrotes. My son declared himself well satisfied with the meal, though so it was worth the effort. 

There were no gifts this year since Amazon is not delivering to Mexico at the moment and Amazon Mexico charges 4x the amount for the same products. I did order some clothing items for him from Zulily which is still delivering to Mexico, but there is a considerable delay in shipping, so who knows when that package will arrive. It’s not like he goes anywhere, so if his pants have become highwaters and his shirts ride up over his belly, no one but the three of us (and our animal kingdom) see it. 

So what has my son been doing during quarantine? Pretty much what he was doing before, really. He is still on track to graduate from online prepa (high school) from UVEG in a few months. When that happens, his diploma should have his picture on it, so that would take care of one form of identification for those official documents mentioned earlier. Of course, the local UVEG is closed, so I’m not sure how that will play out, but he has a few more months of classes anyway.

We’ve put off talking about future plans for the moment. Is college even an option anymore? The last few classes he has to finish are designed with a vet degree in mind. We’ll see.

He’s been playing an online game with his friends called Don’t Starve. In it, he must learn new skills to survive a foreign habitat, including basic first aid, hunting and gathering, food storage, farming, and self-defense. If there ever was a game designed with today’s situation in mind, this would be it! My son’s interest in our small stockpile of medical supplies and long-term food storage has increased. We’ve always been focused on local foraging as well as animal husbandry and have recently added on to our kitchen garden. The information he has absorbed because of our lifestyle he has used to his advantage in the game, making him an in-demand team player. 

skulduggery

He’s been reading the Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy as well. I ordered this set a few months ago in paperback, so he’s able to head out under a mesquite to read and at least get out of the house for a bit. 

Of course, there are The Puppers to keep him occupied, and now Fuzz Lightyear. Things might not be as exciting as I’d hope for my son at 18, but everyone under this roof is healthy and safe, with enough to eat, enough to keep themselves busy, and well, that’s really enough. We’ll just take it one day at a time for now. 

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Filed under Cultural Challenges

Quarantine Thoughts

Moroleon, GTO under quarantine

You’d have thought with our quest for self-reliance in La Yacata that we’d be prepared–or at least more prepared than the general population. Maybe you’re half right. We aren’t worried about the 4% increase in the CFE bill. We understand that toilet paper really does grow on trees (and which leaves to stay away from). We know how to pay for things at the ATM so our internet won’t get cut off, although I have to admit, that process was rather complicated to learn. 

We also aren’t strangers to entertaining ourselves. I have my piano, my son has his guitar and classwork and we have books and movies and puzzles and even video games, along with our animal kingdom to entertain us with their silliness. My son has become quite the helicopter dad when it comes to the Puppers. I swear, at least three times a day he calls me over to the door to tell me what cute thing Fred or George has done (or was frustrating thing Terry has done).

We also have several projects in the works so that my husband isn’t lacking for activities to do either. More on those as we finish them up over the next month or so.

tudors

What I’ve noticed is that my hypervigilance when it comes to pandemic survival technique strikes when I least expect it. For instance, I was watching The Tudors the other day and sandwiched between the gratuitous sex scenes and religious debates, London was hit with a pandemic of the “sweating sickness.” Curious, I tried to do some research on it and it turns out scientists still don’t know what caused that particular, deadly malady. The disease up and vanished after running rampant from 1485 -1551. 

So, watching the series, I took particular note of what survivors did. Guess what–quarantine seemed to be the name of the survival game. People left London in droves, heading to remote country estates if wealthy or suffered in crowded, unsanitary conditions and died if they weren’t. 

walking dead

Then I went through a period of binge-watching The Walking Dead. I have to say that as stressful as this pandemic is, I am so thankful that it hasn’t spawned zombies. Anyway, the survival techniques that previously I chuckled at, are now analyzed for ideas that I can implement in La Yacata. The communities that were created, like The Kingdom, the prison cell block, The Hilltop and that factory thing that Neegan set up, well, they all had their pros and cons. My back garden (which will be described in agonizing detail in an upcoming post) was inspired by Rick’s prison compound. 

gentleman

Then there is the idea of isolation that has been on my mind. A few months back, my book club read the book A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles about a Russian aristocrat sentenced to house arrest in a hotel across from the Kremlin. How he not only endured but thrived in his new life is well worth a read. 

I am mourning some of the activities I had been looking forward to. My son turns 18 next month and I had been planning on getting his IFE, both his US and Mexican passports, and helping him open his first bank account. I even hoped for a trip to Tennessee in October. All of these are on hold now. I nearly despaired when I read that things might not get back to normal for two years. But then, I have to remember, that we can only live in the present. What may or may not happen in the future is still so uncertain. 

So today, well, today is enough. I’ll talk to people struggling with their own issues around the world in my English classes and I’ll write an article or two for money. Then I’ll water my plants and marvel at the miracle of nature or read a book or work on a puzzle or play the piano or call my mom. I’ll make something from our small stockpile of pasta for lunch and decide how long I can put off going to town for more food. This evening I’ll watch a movie and look at it through a survivalist lens again and bug my husband about that next project. And it will be ok. 

Copy of Everything will be all right in the end.

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Filed under Health, Safety and Security

Natural Healing — Yerba Buena

yerbabuena.jpg

Yerba buena, (also spelled hierba buena) otherwise known as Spearmint, is yet another herb that came with the Spanish friars and was gleefully added to the indigenous medicinal herb garden. 

Curanderas (healers) add spearmint to make a concoction more palatable but it also has its own medicinal value.

To treat acid indigestion, gastritis, heartburn, and nausea steep dried or fresh yerba buena for 15 minutes. Allow the tea to cool to room temperature. Add limón and baking soda and drink as needed. Nausea caused by pregnancy tea is made from yerba buena flavored with canela (cinnamon). Nausea caused by a hangover calls for a tea made from a spoonful of yerba buena flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Intestinal inflammations are traditionally treated with an infusion of powdered root. Spearmint has a proven antispasmodic effect.

For the most part, yerba buena (good herb) is still used primarily to treat stomach ailments in Mexico, although the herb has other medicinal properties worth noting.

Spearmint (Mentha spicata) has been shown to reduce pain for people who have osteoarthritis. The antioxidant properties protect the liver. Regular ingestion improves memory. Spearmint is effective in reducing anxiety and is antimicrobial. Infusions of spearmint have been traditionally used topically as a mild wound wash to reduce the chance of bacterial infections. A poultice of spearmint leaves and a little olive oil is sometimes used to treat burns.

It is both antiproliferative and antidiabetic. It has been effective in the treatment of Polycystic ovary syndrome and hirsutism. Yerba buena has often been used medicinally particularly digestive issues. It has been shown to have anti-obesity properties.

Yerba buena is often used to reduce flem. To make a tea for colds and flu, boil 10 grams of the leaves for each 1 / 2 liter of water. Tea for a headache is made with a sprig of fresh hierbabuena and a few romero leaves (rosemary).

Babies are given teaspoons weak tea made from yerba buena then they have hiccups and are teething. If a baby is colicky, basil, cempasuchil, eneldo (dill), fennel, senna, yerba buena, brook mint, rosa de castilla (rose) are combined in equal parts. Three fingers full (a good pinch) of the mix is steeped in a liter of water.

Yerba buena is a natural food preservative and can be used as an organic insecticide. It also prohibits the growth of certain fungi on plants.

Overall, yerba buena is a good herb to have on hand.

hierbabuena.jpg

 

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Filed under Homesteading, Mexican Food and Drink, Natural Healing