The Year In Review

One year ago I arrived in what was to become my new country, although I didn’t know that at the time.

Anyone who has followed my trials and tribulations knows that I spent time in both Panama and Ecuador, both of which I can only describe as total disasters. When my time in the group home was coming to an end in Belleville and I found it hard to believe that I had actually been there for two years, I knew I had to make a change. I considered returning to my beloved Okanagan but I knew that life would be a pale shadow of what it was before. My parents were both gone. All my wonderful toys, my boats, my dirt bikes, my snowmobile as well as things like my downhill skis, my bike and a host of other things were all gone and there was no way I could afford to replace any of them on my meagre pensions. Not only that but rents had basically tripled so I couldn’t afford to live there anymore. It had become only for the lifestyles of the rich and famous, certainly not me. The other option was Mexico.

The only reason I looked at Mexico was that a friend of mine from Ecuador had moved to Ajijic, a place I had never heard of and she posted glowing reports about the area. I started researching and was surprised to see how much it was like BC. A huge lake. Mountains. A gorgeous climate. Wonderful culture. And, no winter! The problem was that I was barely surviving month to month even living in a group home so going to Mexico was impossible. I had more than overstayed my welcome in the group homes so I started looking for a place to live in Belleville, Trenton and even Kingston, a place I really lived, but the rents everywhere were absurd. I would starve if I rented anything.

Life is timing. Earlier in the spring, I had bought a bike at Canadian Tire. When I came in the door they were doing one of those credit card promotions with double the points and so on. Knowing I had gone bankrupt twice I knew they would turn me down but what the hell? Go for it just for fun. When I bought the bike they gave me the points and processed it through my temporary credit card so it looked like I had made a payment of four hundred dollars. The next thing I knew I got a permanent MasterCard with a credit limit of two hundred dollars. Go figure. Over the next while anything I bought at Canadian Tire I put on my credit card and paid it off immediately, partly so I could use the points. Cool!

Next thing I get a letter from Canadian Tire that my credit limit has been extended to five hundred dollars. Hey, this is great. Me, a guy who has had more than my fair share of credit troubles, has five hundred bucks of credit. Before long my credit limit is one thousand dollars, then two thousand dollars and finally, ten thousand dollars! Of course, the interest rate was a crazy nineteen percent so I hadn’t planned to put anything on the card. Then they send me yet another promo that I can write a cheque to myself for four thousand dollars and deposit it then get three months interest-free. Talk about an offer you can’t refuse.

At this point, despite knowing that going to Mexico was an impossible dream, I had started working on a city portal website for Ajijic, something I felt was sorely needed. The more I learned about Ajijic the more I wanted to go. At the same time, the President of the group home had told me my rent was increased by a hundred dollars to $479 a month, for a room! I had learned enough about rents in Ajijic and actually found a nice looking apartment for less than that a month. The cost of living looked cheap, so the issue was my flights. Well, there’s my credit card staring at me, interest-free for three months, so being the eternal optimist I figured I would be making money from my website to pay off the flights. Oh, boy. Was I wrong.

My time at the group home was up at the end of September so I booked my flights to Mexico. I made a new friend, Francis Dryden, in Ajijic who was kind enough to go and check out the apartment and he said to take it, so I did for six months. My experience in Panama and Ecuador had taught me to not believe the tourist information you find on the internet, so checking it out for six months seemed like the right thing to do. The group home graciously let me store all my stuff in their basement while I was gone. I had no idea what I was going to do when I returned but that was a worry for the future. I was excited about my new adventure in Mexico.

My terrible experience with AeroMexico has been the subject of numerous other posts, so I won’t repeat it here. Let’s just say that it should have been a foreboding of the troubles that lay ahead.

Francis had agreed to pick me up at the airport in Guadalajara and take me to my apartment because he knew where it was, of course. I waited and waited outside the airport, but no Francis. Finally, when an Uber driver asked me where I was going I went with him, hoping Francis wasn’t just late. I learned later that he thought my arrival time was at night, not in the morning. My Uber guy, Mike, spoke pretty good English, which was good because I had lost most of my Spanish from Ecuador. He ended up spending a couple of hours with me while we tracked down where my apartment was. Nice guy. I can’t find the right words to describe my feelings as we came down into Ajijic. It was love at first sight. The area was so beautiful. The weather was incredible. The first thing I saw was the Walmart so I figured I might just be able to get the things I needed and was used to back home.

We then found our way to my new apartment and it was even better than I expected. It was huge and had everything you could imagine in it. I wouldn’t need anything except food. I met Perry and Kathy, my new landlords and their dogs. I was one happy camper. Francis and his wife, Anastasia, then took me out every night for a week to the best restaurants and bars ever. Monday night was my first trip to Adelita’s, a bar I would spend a lot of time in over the next couple of months. They had amazing food and a great band. The place was packed and I couldn’t believe this was a Monday night. A whole lot different than what I had left in Belleville.

In a couple of weeks, I met the love of my life. Here again, I have gone into great detail about my relationship and how it ended with her, so I won’t repeat myself. The point for this story is how that relationship changed my entire life plan. The day I had arrived in Ajijic my six-month plan went out the window and I started figuring out how I could stay here forever. I decided to return as planned to Canada and file for my temporal visa and return to get married. She surprised me by wanting to come with me to Canada and offered to pay for her own flights, so that became the new plan. To say that the trip back to Canada was the worst experience of my life would be a gross understatement. I have referred to it as a Murphy’s Law trip because what could go wrong did go wrong, from our flights to our hotel to applying for my visa to not being able to sell a single thing of all my stuff. It was also unusually freezing for that time of year, late March, early April which didn’t help.

As I’ve described elsewhere Plan D went out the window when she broke up with me by text. In terms of describing the highs and lows of the year that was, this was not only the low point of my last year. It was also the low point of my entire life. I completely fell apart and considered suicide for the first time in my life. I felt totally worthless and didn’t see any reason to go on. It was only through the support of good friends that I made it through and I’m still around. It was a life-changing experience that has changed my faith in love and people who you really can trust. It hurt so bad.

One of the things we were dealing with pre-breakup, was that we had to find a new place because my landlords had put the rent up almost sixty percent, which we could not afford. On the trip back from Canada she had informed me that I should look for a place on my own, which was clearly a forewarning of what was to come. It had become increasingly difficult to find a place and Ajijic was out of the question. I ended up moving to the disaster I am now stuck in here in Riberas, a short distance from Ajijic. I have the landlord from hell. I’ve had no water, no electricity, no internet, cockroaches, ants and on and on. No fun. I’m stuck in a one year lease and he refuses to give me back my deposit even if I could find somewhere else, which I can’t.

I don’t really want to admit this in public, but I should follow-up on the credit card story. Partly because of the flights back to Canada and partly the expense of my relationship, like losing three thousand pesos when she missed one of her flights, my credit card got to an unbelievable twelve thousand dollars, an amount I can’t possibly payoff! I have no clue what I’m going to do unless I finally start making some money off the websites. I’ve written to MasterCard confessing everything but they don’t respond. I am also paying nineteen percent on that huge amount so I’m just getting deeper and deeper in trouble. My only benefit is that I am not reachable in Mexico and still don’t ever plan to go back to Canada. I just have to put it out of my mind or I’ll go crazy with worry about it.

Since my devastating breakup, my feelings about women have certainly changed. I have always been a hopeless romantic and love women, but my faith in love was shattered. I’ve certainly met some nice women and there’s no shortage of beautiful women here, but I don’t trust anyone with my heart now. I know how difficult it was to make it through the breakup and I could not survive it again. I recently went through a horrible scam with a woman who I spent hours and hours on chat with and I still don’t understand it. I was just left feeling very stupid for falling for it. Made me even more cautious.

Just when I had pretty well given up on women and focused on work instead I saw a video on Facebook of a friend with a rescue dog who was up for adoption. It’s been a very long time since I had a dog, my wonderful Spade back in BC, who I had the tragic experience of putting down. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have a dog again but thought it would be nice to have some company. My boy, Rollie, joined me a little over a week ago and it has been a fabulous experience. We bonded instantly and he’s a real treat. A wonderful and welcome addition to my life here in Mexico.

Who knows what the future holds and what I’ll be reporting a year from now? I’m turning 69 in a week so I at least hope I’m still alive in a year to celebrate seventy. I’m still working all day, every day on my websites so hopefully I can finally find someone to work with me in the field and start making some desperately needed money. I lose one of my pensions now that I am out of the country more than six months and I will not be able to survive when that happens if I haven’t found a way to earn more money. Ever going back to Canada is out of the question. Regardless of what happens, I’m not ready to give up yet.

Stay tuned.

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