Adios paradise, hola navidad en Merida

Yesterday we were abruptly snatched from the gentle embrace of paradise and unceremoniously dumped back in the real world. We said good bye to Tulum and took a four hour bus journey back to Merida. It was not a great journey. Seconds before the bus arrived Col decided he needed to run out on to the street to try and buy a jumper (yes, a jumper, in Tulum in 30 degrees) because he couldn’t remember packing them and that obviously meant he had no jumper for the next four hours on the bus (to be fair to him, the buses are freezing). A cleverer thing to do would have been to ask me where his jumpers were, but no, instead, he ran out of the station with the bus tickets in his pocket. I had no idea where he was, what he was doing or what I should do. I had both kids, five suitcases and four small bags. I was a little annoyed to say the least! And then, to top it all off, for the first time in my life I was actually sick on the bus. I often feel sick but I have NEVER been sick. Yesterday I was sick as the bus pulled in to the bus station in Merida.

But let’s backtrack:

Our last week in Tulum was pretty much idyllic except that Col and I got some bug that manifested as a sore throat for him and a cold that turned in to sinusitis for me. Yay. And then SB got an ear infection too. But we can put away the illnesses, they were swiftly dealt with with a quick visit to the pharmacy doctor – a guy who had a speech defect, had no interest in not mumbling or looking at us when he spoke incredibly quiet and fast Spanish. He had two tvs in his teeny office and clearly would rather have been watching one of them than writing prescriptions for foreigners. Ah well. His JD, as far as I can tell, was to over subscribe drugs so the pharmacy could sell more. SB was given three drugs he needed to buy – a topical antibiotic, ibuprofen and a liquid antibiotic. We refused the last two. For my sinusitis I was told I needed antibiotics and an antihistamine.

In this last week we visited  El Grande Cenote, just outside of Tulum. It was pretty good fun even though the water wasn’t that deep and there weren’t many fish or stalegmites/tites to look at in the water. This cenote is a sinkhole style cenote so it’s mostly open to the sky and trees that throw their roots down to try and reach the water. We spent a while here, long enough for SB to contract an ear infection and possibly made his extremely cut up hand worse by getting it in the water (the doctor we visited to check on the state of his hand after he fell and scraped it badly twice, said we shouldn’t visit cenotes while his hand was open. Shame we went on our way home from the cenote!).  As we left both kids had a screaming fit, SB in particular and this was when i realised my cold had progressed in to sinusitis – one of the signs for me is an inability to cope with the kids’ noise close to my head. Oh, and SB randomly shoved a bead up his nose. I have no idea why. Thankfully Col got it out before SG and I returned from our walk! I have taken him to A&E once already to remove items from his nose, I don’t need to do it again!

We also had one last perfect beach day. The sea was super calm and somehow had created a slight laguna that was even more sheltered from waves so the kids could play there with no worries. Col and I tagged in and out, one playing with the kids while one sunbathed/guarded our stuff. They were both on great form and I would say it was my favourite beach day with the kids. And after the beach we headed to Pizza Manglar to meet our friends for a farewell supper. What a lovely day. Oooh, and on the way to the beach we stopped off to look at the hilarious xmas decorations going up in town: dsc_0303

Saying goodbye at school was hard. We had such a wonderful experience there. I really loved learning Spanish with these guys. The teachers were really professional and great fun to be with. Every Friday, school has a little get together with singing and tacos (amazing tacos!) and a goodbye to those leaving. This Friday was our turn to say goodbye. I’ve learned an awful lot about Mexico, the Yucatan peninsula and Mexicans. I have even learned how to mock the local accent!

The kids’ teacher received a dream catcher as a present while we were all in class. I held my breath a little, knowing full well that SB was likely to explain to their teacher what he knows about dream catchers. I was right, he did. He told her they’re pretty but that it’s ndsc_0300onsense to think they might catch dreams. Proud but horrified!

SG has had some hilarious moments this week. At one point she informed Col that he was stupid. He had told her he wasn’t falling for her ploy because he isn’t stupid. Her response was, ‘actually daddy, I think you are stupid’. She’s also come out with ‘mummy, daddy’s on my duvet, that really isn’t very pleasant of him’ and ‘I prefer you to daddy at the moment, mummy’ (love this one!)

So then Merida. We breathed a sigh of relief when we rocked up to the house and the estate agent really was there to meet us! We’d taken a chance by signing a contract on a house we’d never seen but it seems, thus far to be ok. House is big: three bedrooms, two bathrooms, huge garden with big pool and terrace. It comes with a car too.

We went out for supper and a walk once we’d unpacked. I’d forgotten how much Mexicans love to touch our kids’ hair. Tulum has such a mixed population that no one even glanced at the kids. Here, back in real Mexico, everyone wants to touch them and talk to them. Neither child enjoys random people touching them or trying to engage them in conversation. In an ice cream shop last night one guy even asked to take a picture of SG. While I understand that she’s cute and very blond, that’s still not happening!

When we got home we were faced with extremely loud music from a bar somewhere in the vicinity. Not great. Luckily the kids went to sleep pretty quickly and didn’t wake due to music. We struggled to sleep through it and even after it stopped at 1.30 I struggled to sleep.

I posted a question on the FB group for expats in Merida asking if there was always this much noise at night or if it was likely to be a one off. Weirdly, got a few really sanctimonious replies asking me why I was living downtown if I don’t like noise and helpfully telling me I should have checked on noise situation before moving in. Even told me it wasn’t a good idea to be so negative upon moving to a new town. I guess they’re defensive of Merida or something but such a judgement didn’t feel welcoming at all! Awesome, thanks guys. Possibly not a group I’ll be using much then!

Today the kids woke super early so I’m writing this at 2.30pm, feeling as if it’s 8pm. I’m shattered. We’ve swum and been to wallmart to spend a zillion pesos on stuff and the kids are watching Mexican tv while I write this and Col does whatever he’s doing! My parents join us tomorrow, which is super exciting. We can really start exploring this city and its surroundings once they’re here. Bring on the next four months!

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