Monday, March 27, 2006

My Chacala Landladies

I have been really lucky with my landladies in Chacala. Aurora was my landlady for my first visit to Chacala, and then again when I returned to stay. I was at Aurora's for about four months. We had lots of fun developing some garden areas at Aurora's, and visiting and talking (really more sign language than talking), and getting to know each other. The family was very nice and I spent alot of time with the two girls, drawing mostly. Or eating cacahuates (peanuts) and playing cards with the whole family.

My first Mother's Day in Chacala Aurora and her daughters came up to where I was housesitting and left me a Mother's Day gift. It made my cry. Aurora and her husband and have been great friends to me. And the rest of her family too. They have taken me on boat trips and a trip to the hot springs, etc etc. Aurora has the most lovely smile. And she is an important person in town, kind of the treasurer for town projects and the Techo group, and involved in the schools and other things around town. It makes me happy to be around her. And her mom, Narcisa is one of my favorite people in town. She makes me feel so welcome and cared for.

The next winter, after housesitting for seven months, I moved to Dona's Lupe's, another Techo. It was affordable for me, mostly because the family wasn't really prepared to serve as landlords. So I rented by the month for six months. I learned lot about the water and electrical systems at that house. It was right next to Aurora's place, across a vacant lot, so we visited alot and did stuff together. I got to know Dona Lupe and her daughter and husband, and struggled to deal with her son. The main struggle was his habit of coming home at midnight, during his stereo or TV on full blast and passing out for the night. Ugh!! But I really enjoyed getting to know the rest of the family. They were usually at their restaurant down near the beach all day. But after they closed the restaurant each evening they would come up to my place to visit and have Cokes and whatever. Dona Lupe's has a nice terrace overlooking town, and was always cool and breezy. We still spend alot of time together, at the restaurant. The Coke truck leaves my Cokes at her place for me to wheelbarrow back to my camp. The Coke truck doesn't like the beach road by my camp. I pay extra for the drop-off service and for using the wheelbarrow. And Dona Lupe and I share plants and give each other little gifts.

Now I am camping (four months so far) at Esparanza's, and she is a good landlady and really nice to ber around. She is always home, managing her large family and the camping area and her other business, a lavendaria for Majahua and the guests from Mar de Jade, Majahua and the campground. Myself included for my sheets, towels, and white tee shirts. We spend alot of time together, talking, sharing plants, drawing and painting with the kids, walking on the beach and so on. Esparanza has eight kids, two adults living in the houses next door with their own little kids, two in University, one almost in University, and an 8th grader and a 1st grader. All boys but one. She is helping me alot with Spanish and I try to help around the place with cleaning up after campers and doing litter patrol every day on the beach between her campground and Mar de Jade. She wanders in and out of my camping space, visiting and letting me know about this and that. Like that the water, vegetable, bread, taco, corn on a stick or ice cream truck is here, for example.

Anyway. I love being around families here in Chacala, and am really going to miss being here at the beach. I am getting comfortable with the lack of privacy. Last night right when I got home from doing errands and visiting with Narcisi I had guests. Aurora, Leila (a guest from Boise who is from Venezula and speaks Spanish) and Lupita (who has Casa Chacala hotel). Luckily on the way home I had asked Frank at the little market to microwave a packet of popcorn for me (it's my latest favorite treat here). So we sat around my table and had Coke and popcorn and talked and laughed and joked for an hour or so. The stars were really really bright and we admired them pointed out the constellations to each other. I am so surprised and pleased that I can mostly follow and participate in the Spanish conversation. At home I didn't have many drop in guests, and here I have them all the time. And I have gotten to really like it. I think not having much control over my environment is probably good for me.

No comments: