Saturday, August 29, 2020

4 Walls of Isolation

 I'm having Korea flashbacks. The bad kind. Yes, I did end up having wonderful memories in Korea but it took me a while to get there. This life in Mexico is proving just as difficult with totally different factors.


Yes, I can speak Spanish and yes there are people that speak English.

Yes, there are restaurants to go to nearby (for take out these days).

Yes, I'm living without 8 other girls or one very angry one.

Yes, I have access to American TV should I want.

Yes, I'm living in a time zone where I can call my friends and family while I'm awake.

Yes, I have my car.

Yes, I have access to big name stores with all I could want.


But I struggle with depression nearly every day.


No, I don't have a job. Orchestras are no longer working even if I was in the US, but I certainly don't have inroads to one in Mexico at this point.

No, I don't have a place to play my violin every day. I can't even bring myself to play it at all. It's just too depressing.

No, I don't have long walks on the beach, breathing in the fresh sea air.

No, I don't have lovely weekend tours throughout the state.

No, I don't get to be around people everyday (even if they don't speak my language).

No, I don't wake up every day with a purpose even though I have goals and projects.

No, I don't wake up with hope even though I seek it out. The future is blurry and dim each day.


This isn't Mexico's fault. I'm in this predicament through a number of factors; covid and an extroverted personality (needs to be around people to get energy) being the main two. 


My days are encompassed within 4 walls. If I open the doors for fresh air the mosquitoes are waiting just outside for a chance to feast during the night. If I go to the store, it's a nightmare of half hour long lines and crowded aisles because Guadalajara is an open city. I really have no where to go anyway. Why go anywhere? I have no job inside or outside. The more I wander around in my car the more I waste gas money. The more I wander around the city streets, the further I get from the possibility of a job. So I sit around all day. I read all my emails, research topics, come up with failing ideas, and do my workout. For some introverts this would be a dream reality. But for me, my energy tank is empty. It's always empty. It gets a small boost every couple of weeks when I stock up at Costco, and I find myself standing straighter and smiling and even daring to hope. And then I get back home and reality smacks me hard in the face and all the dreams I'd just dreamed quickly fade away.


I finally have all the time to do all the things I'd always wanted. I have time to write (but it always comes out negative like this is). I have time to practice (I cry just picking up the case). I have time to study Russian (I can barely bring myself to learn a new word a day in Spanish). I have time to develop new business ideas (I think about them a lot but never get motivated to start any). I have time to read (ok, I've actually done this but with heavy feelings of guilt every time I sit down to enjoy a book instead of working toward a job). Pathetically, possibly, I don't even binge watch Netflix with my time. My days are mostly silent and lonely. 


The hole is deep and dark and the sides are slippery. 



Thursday, July 9, 2020

Legal to walk another 6 months

What an experience. What a day. What a really long day to test my patience, my feet, my Spanish, and my dedication to finding the best perspective and having a positive attitude.

Trying to survive in a foreign country with a second language has certainly been a challenge (every time). Trying to survive in a country (that often works under the table) during a worldwide pandemic has been an even greater challenge.

Before the virus started, I had a job lined up in the US and the intention to start my temporary visa for Mexico (which must be started outside of Mexico). A month before my trip was planned the border was closed as well as the consulates and concert halls. Day by day I read and watched and waited to try to figure out what the best plan was. Day by day my "plans" changed.

Several times I visited the immigration office and every time I was turned away and told to wait. I was a bit worried but I waited. I waited until after my visa expired and I kept waiting as they kept instructing.

Considering the situation progression, I decided to seek additional advice. I paid a lawyer to help me. He filled out lots of paperwork, which I signed, and told me he would make an appointment for me as soon as possible at immigration and an associate would accompany me to help me.

Fantastic I thought. Yes, I've paid more than the cost of a new visa, but I'll finally be able to get an appointment and get help to secure a new visa. Granted, not for my car (thus the title that I'm legal to *walk* for another 6 months), but it's much more reassuring to have a current visa, especially if I can't leave for much longer.

Three weeks later I finally had my appointment. It's a good thing I kept up with the lawyer as I never received the email with my appointment information.

So that brings me to today.

It was an early morning for me as I prepared everything for Denny Crane to stay home alone for the day and made sure I had everything I needed for my appointment at 9. I was told to arrive early. and I arrived five minutes before 9, looked for the associate, but didn't find him. I messaged that I was there and received a message about 10 minutes later that said he was late and was parking and would be there soon. Another 10 minutes later he arrived. Unfortunately, he was 20 minutes late to my 9 o'clock appointment and I was told it was too late. I was not allowed to enter. I didn't understand everything that transpired afterward but I did understand that I needed to wait. And that is what I did. I waited.

Waiting outside immigration. Yes, that is a blow up sanitization walk-through tent just inside the door.

I was finally permitted to enter my appointment around 10 minutes after 11. I did not know before hand that I was going to be standing for the entirety of my appointment and to try to give a proper impression, I wore my business attire (khaki pants and black blouse with sweater). What is included with my business attire are my high heels. My khaki pants are too long for flats. Well, I most certainly did not enjoy standing in place for an hour in high heels after waiting for 2 hours.

But, you do what you need to and I stood there and answered all the questions and signed all the papers. All of this without any help that was promised. I had envisioned a private appointment where I had a translator to help me, but the reality was I stood in a general room alone because the associate was not allowed to enter with me. I did my best to do everything in Spanish and was almost completely successful, which was an amazing feeling. After an hour I was told to wait more, so I regressed to my previous waiting game and waiting another two hours.

Nope, can't say it's my happiest face after half a day of waiting and standing.

At 2 o'clock I tried to get back in to the second part of the process but the doors weren't open. I did have a bit of good fortune in that about ten minutes after 2 they opened the doors so I was permitted to wait inside instead of outside where I was quite cold. However, nothing was happening inside. I sat and waited and waited some more. A half hour later there was finally movement and after waiting for the couple in front of me to sign their new visas, I was finally granted the opportunity to finish the process and sign my new visa, thus granting me the legalization to walk around Mexico for another 6 months.

My car permit is also expired and so far the government isn't extending those permits. I'm not sure why, but luckily for me, I live very close to everything so I don't need to drive often, but it's still disconcerting to know that my car is illegal every time I want to go to a restaurant or Costco.

So after 8 hours (Poor Denny Crane. He held it all day. He's such a boss!), I returned home with blisters on my feet and barely able to walk, very very hungry as I hadn't eaten all day, an incredibly full bladder from not having a restroom all day, and extreme tiredness from waiting all day lol!

Now it is on to another waiting game where I wait on the virus and the countries of Mexico and the USA. What will transpire in the coming 6 months I can not say, but I'm very thankful to have my new visa to wait it out and see!

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Two months of dusting later I've learned this important fact...

I've learned something very important in the last two months.

  1. There are windows with the same name as a piece of music I regularly played back in my cruise ship days, Jalousie.
  2. These windows are not recommended for any outside walls. 

This is what Jalousie windows look like. 



Often I see this design on closet doors, but in Mexico they are the most common type of window on houses. Very often there are panes missing which make the situation even worse as maybe 1/3 of houses in the cities have screens to keep the mosquitoes out. 

But the main reason these windows are practically useless is because they do not seal. You can close them, but they overlap each other and there is no sealing agent of any kind where they overlap nor on the sides where the opening mechanisms function. The result is incomparable, even to normal single pane windows.
  • There is no sound control. It appears that anyone remotely close to your windows, whether neighbors above or people simply in another apartment with the door open 15 feet away, are actually in your house. You can hear all the conversations, music, telephone messaging notifications, and other various sounds we won't discuss. 
  • There is limited rain control. Yes, if you close them completely, most of the rain will not come in, but if it's raining hard or the droplets are large, the windows simply do not seal sufficiently to keep the rain from entering. Curtains get wet. Floors get wet. Furniture that happens to be in front or nearby gets wet. And heaven forbid what happens if they're open because the rain landing on each of the panes acts as a launching agent soaking everything within ten feet. 
  • There is ample opening for mosquitoes. If the screens are well sized and without holes than this is not a problem, but I have learned in Mexico, this is rarely the case. If there are not holes in the screen itself, the person that cut and installed the screen didn't measure the window properly or didn't bother to do the job correctly so there is at least a half inch opening on one side or more where the screen closure simply does not touch the other side of the window. There are both holes and poorly measured screens in my home, and with tape to cover what I can it helps, but the windows themselves are far from sealing and are welcome invitations for mosquitoes to enter all day and all night.
  • There is no insulation in these windows. Single pane windows offer very little insulation as well and often the water and ice will form on these windows, but that is better than inside the house. With Jalousie windows, if there is a gale of cold air, whether the windows are "closed" or not, you will feel it. It's impossible to stay warm in the winter time with these windows and no electric heater. Even with an electric heater, it has to run constantly to maintain an adequate temperature because the windows are constantly permitting cold air to enter. The opposite also works for hot air in the summertime. Air conditioning will bleed you penniless with these windows because they just don't seal. Fans blow the hot air from outside around your house and you control how much of the hot airs circulates based on how much of the window is open, but it never circulates cool air.
  • There is nothing to keep the dirt and dust outside. This is the worst of all for me. I've never lived in a house with all Jalousie windows and I hope I never do again. With tape over the sides of the screens and curtains over all the windows (sometimes double curtains), the tops of the kitchen counters and bedside tables are black with dust within 5 days or less. I do not exaggerate with the color black. The paper towel has so much black dust on it it typically starts having rolls of the stuff instead of just absorbing it. I can't quite describe the awful reality of the dirt that passes through these windows. No, it's not necessary to live on the street or next to construction. This happens in a secluded and private complex.
Needless to say, I spend hours a day just cleaning various surfaces in my home. I did try for two weeks to just barely clean and spend more time on other (more important) tasks, and quickly learned that if I want to sleep well, breath easy, have clear sinuses, and not sneeze all day, (as well as not eat dust), I need to commit the hours of cleaning every day.

This fact has been the most horrendous part of my two months in the new place. Every hope and excitement to get my writing career started has fizzled with exhaustion and the endless list of what else needs cleaning. Two months in has revealed it won't subside and there aren't cheats to be had to clean less (other than paying someone I suppose). My time is now spent in janitorial fashion without the paycheck. 

So, if you ever see these Jalousie windows in a house and you can't change them, turn around and don't look back! Trust me that they are not worth your sanity, your sleep, nor your sinuses.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

More adventures than the high seas

I don't even know where to start.

Writing another post has been on my mind every day for months now. Somehow every time I sit down to write, the desire and inspiration vanishes and I see the pile of dirty dishes in the sink and the pile of dirty clothes, and the feelings of loneliness and hopelessness overtake me. Self isolation hasn't been the kindness company.

Today is different. Just a little.

Today, I made a pot of percolator coffee. It's weak because I have no idea how much coffee grounds to use because I never ever ever make coffee. I've never purchased a coffee pot or coffee to make any. But my new apartment happens to have an old fashioned (and quite nice quality) coffee percolator, so I purchased a small bag of coffee the last time I ventured out to the store.

Last night, I passed the time eavesdropping mosquitoes and swinging an electric racket around wildly in the air in hopes of being able to sleep at some point. I think I got about 4 mosquitoes and 4 hours of toss and turn, mosquito nightmares, sweaty sleep. Just enough to wake up and feel too awake to sleep, and too tired to work.

What more perfect day for me to try to make a cup of coffee.

So yes, today is slightly different as instead of tea, I'm drinking a much less pleasant flavored beverage (mostly because I don't know the right measurements) and doing my best to continue on with the chores at hand (although failing miserably to achieve them in a quicker time line).

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The real question though, is how did I get here, to this apartment and with a pile of dirty dishes and clothes every day it seems.

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Well, if you read the last entry, I was living in an asbestos infested, mold growing, and air infiltrated apartment where I couldn't cook or live without breathing problems. It was lovely....

With the knowledge that my visa for Mexico would expire in a couple more months, I looked tirelessly for a new apartment with a 2 month lease possibility. Painting over the existing mold in the apartment did not solve the problem and the landlord was unwilling to cover my housing costs in order to fix it properly.

With the best fortune, somehow I managed to get my deposit back after only two months living there after signing a year lease. I've heard so many horror stories about getting deposits back and the girl that left the apartment next door had to fight for just half of hers so I'm happily shocked to have all of mine.

It was another month of looking full time for apartments once I realized I wasn't going to be able to fix my housing problem internally. All my work on my website was back out the window and I struggled to breath indoors so tried to take my workouts outside, but the dust level outside was also quite high and taxing.

I'd been in Guadalajara for approximately 3 months.  The first two I was couchsurfing and looking for apartments every day and one month into the new apartment I was back at it again.

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Facebook marketplace is the old craigslist of the USA. I found a place willing to rent just two months with the option to extend. It was furnished and secure and had a covered parking space. It was also clear on the edge of town and had two stories (Denny Crane can't do the stairs and therefore barks incessantly at either end if I go to the other level). But two months...no problem.

I signed the lease, handed over my deposit and felt extremely grateful to have found a place with a 2 month option for the same price as my old place and I wouldn't need to buy anything.

Moving day arrived and I realized the secure dead end private gated street didn't have room for me to drive my car into my parking space while the neighbors car was parked in front of their house. I believe I had to ask them 3 or 4 times that day to move their car so I could either get into my garage or leave my garage. I was not off to a good start. But they assured me that during the weekdays their second car that parks in the street is never there. Hah.

I quickly learned that was not the case and had to arrange my days around when their second car was gone. If I heard them leave or looked out the window and it was not there, it was a mad dash for the keys and my purse and Denny Crane to run out the door before they could return. I barely made it once as they pulled into the street just as I was leaving my garage. By the last day of the two months, I found it ironic more than frustrating.

The very last day I pulled into the street to find their car in the same place in front of my garage so instead of asking them to move it, I simply parked in front of my garage and waited for an angry neighbor further up the street to let me know they couldn't leave because the street was blockaded by my car. Luckily that never happened and eventually the neighbors left and I was able to correctly park my car in my garage.



Boy am I wary of secure one way dead end streets in Mexico now.

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In the beginning to middle of my two month lease in the new house was when the USA started to take action with travel bans and border closings.

I had planned on going back to the US to play a couple of concerts and get a bunch more of my stuff and see my family. Now I had no idea what to do.

With the situation changing daily I read as much information as possible about what could happen if the borders closed and my visa expired.

To this day, nobody still really knows.

But I went to immigration several times to no avail, spoke with others in the same situation to no avail, and even questioned a couple of immigration lawyers in fb to no avail. The best answer I got was, hang out and wait and when you leave, buy another visa.

So with this information, that is what I decided to do.

But that meant, do I extend the lease on the house in the location I dislike with the parking problem or go back to looking for another place, again.

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I went back to house hunting. I think I've house hunted in Guadalajara more than I've done anything else. If there wasn't a pandemic I could pursue a real estate license here. I certainly know all the listing websites and neighborhoods well enough.

I decided to look for a cheaper place and after a month of searching yet again, I found one. I managed to get a 6 month lease since I have absolutely no idea what in the world will happen so 6 months is a little easier to handle than a year.

The location is stellar first and foremost and I have an uncovered parking place that I can access all the time. It's those little things.

However, this is the first apartment building I've lived in here as opposed to more of a townhouse situation.

Ugh. I hear every conversation, toilet flush, dish washed, music selection. I haven't complained but my neighbors have complained. Apparently it's okay for them to molest my personal ear space from 7 am onward until 1 am many nights but it's not okay if I do the same. When I say the same, my movies are so low in volume I actually have to focus in order to follow the dialogue because the neighbors conversations/music/movies are significantly louder than mine.

Denny Crane is much happier here though. It's all one level so he can always keep an eye on me and he has a large dirt garden to use for his bathroom just outside the door. I've been here a month this Friday and he is definitely starting to settle in to his new home.

I've spent the last month mostly super deep cleaning and rearranging furniture and getting settled myself in terms of which rooms are the most annoying to reside due to the neighbors.

I'm looking forward to practicing violin and getting complaints about that very soon. But let's just say that I'm fairly certain my violin practicing is a higher quality than the neighbors karaoke sessions, piano and ukulele tinkering, and whatever else comes out of their apartments.

I've definitely learned that I value a quiet residence potential. I'm not always quiet and don't expect everyone else to be either but as I'm typing this I'm listening to one neighbor on a conference call, one neighbor watering their plants in the hallway, and another neighbor singing to the radio as she's in the kitchen. (And yes, she's an absolutely hideous singer, if you can actually call her a singer).

Only 5 months left. In the next 5 months who's to know what will transpire. My visa is now expired as is my car permit. The border is closed and the isolation continues.

If I can get my coffee recipe right, maybe, just maybe, I can get the motivation to really get things done like any good introvert would do during this time....if I can just find that inner introvert in there somewhere I'll be all set!

Finding my daily inspiration inside a hairless coconut after some Insanity!



Sunday, January 5, 2020

Nothing New...Year

The holidays have come and gone. I didn't celebrate any of them. I didn't even know which days they were except for the lack of traffic outside. My fb feed was actually confusing because of all my friends in different countries. I had to go google what day it was because I didn't know if it was Christmas today or tomorrow or yesterday.

None of that really matters to me. It's just humorous. Holidays could be good educational days but in my life and my experience, instead of encouraging more regular family get-togethers and more consideration of friends on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, holidays are the perfect rationalizations.

That being said, I didn't celebrate any and have been having quite the experience here in Mexico.

It took just over two weeks to get rid of Montezuma's revenge. The day after I got an intense migraine that took a couple of days to recover from. Now that my body seems to have stopped fighting me, lol, I've gotten back to work on my new writing career. I'd tried to use WordPress for a month and realized it didn't actually have the same possibilities that Wix does so I chose to return to Wix. In just a couple of days I'm already happier and further along than a month ago so hopefully it will be up and running by the end of the Jan.

The latest thing taking up most of my time is the return to apartment hunting. The place I'm staying is literally snowing on me everywhere except the bedroom. So I've tried to move everything uncovered into the bedroom and only live there unless I need to use the bathroom or the kitchen. It's really gross and I'm not sure the ceiling isn't raining asbestos on my belongings and food, but I don't have a test to prove or disprove it so I just live with the assumption it is. From what I read, it's likely asbestos. The landlord has told me he will have it cleaned but I don't know when that will be. The windows have been painted open since I arrived also, making it much colder in the house. Those have also been promised to be replaced or fixed but time moves a little slower and the holidays made it impossible so I've had extremely unfortunate timing in these matters.



 












It's still fairly cold here with nighttime temps down in the 40s. This morning I woke up to 38 degrees so definitely heater weather. Still, once the sun is out for a little while, it warms up into the 70s and is very pleasant outside.

In the last trip in my car I discovered a leak in a hose. Had fun going to Autozone to get a new one and because it was AutoZone they just did the work for me which was helpful because all my tools are in the US. The new hose and two new clamps cost me a staggering 131.80 pesos or about $7.



I've found a local panaderia where I can buy multigrain rolls and Mexican pastries for pennies. Each roll is 8 pesos. I eat way too much delicious daily baked bread now....



I also managed to find the one and only Asian market and indulged in a box of ChocoPies and have some ramen for those cold and lonely nights lol. I've also found a few Korean restaurants. Each is slightly different in their inclusions so it's a surprise each first visit but I've enjoyed them immensely none the less. It is very strange to my brain to go to a Korean place and speak Spanish, especially if I'm speaking to a Korean. In these pictures I found a Korean restaurant that has Korean style tables. Well, almost lol. They have floor chairs instead of just cushions and you keep your shoes on instead of removing them at the restaurant entrance, but it's pretty close and I enjoyed it.
































All in all, now that my body is back to potential work out status, I'm enjoying discovering the possibilities in Mexico. Sometimes it's still really tough and much nicer to stay in my bedroom watching football on my ipad and eating ramen than dealing with my brain switching to Spanish, but it's getting easier as the days progress and by the time I return to the States my English will probably be just as bad as the other times I've moved to foreign countries. I think they call this total immersion!

Sunday, December 22, 2019

The Inner Fight

Mexico is the third country I've technically moved to from the United States, although one might argue that leaving for 6 months to a cruise ship for the first time (before living overseas) was just as scary a notion.

The first two countries were South Korea and India, neither of which I had any inkling of the language nor customs. Both were immense struggles and I left both a very different woman. Knowing I had some of the language and customs for Mexico made it seem a choice that would be easier.

Initial excitement always provides a magic carpet ride as it were, to enable the first few days or weeks of anticipation. Then once things are starting to settle, the reality of a new country, no matter the language or customs, overwhelms your senses. I want to run and hide.

People mention to me how brave (or crazy) I am to do this all by myself. I've never felt either of those ironically. I just feel normal; my normal :)

I still face all the fears everyone else does. The fear of stepping out into an unknown city, an unknown country with unknown people. It's scary. I've hid inside my apartment for days surviving on cheese and crackers and cans of beans and chicken. It's terrifying to step outside. It's terrifying to try to speak Spanish. It's terrifying to try to ask questions or figure out how something works when your frame of reference is clearly not sufficient. It's just as terrifying as it is exciting. The waves of both emotions flood various days predicating actions. Rationalization takes over despite the realization that it is.

Even so, I've stepped out before. I've met people and walked away happy. I've had conversations in Spanish and been pleasantly surprised at the success. I've figured out different systems of driving and purchasing and thought, "Wow, too bad it's not this easy in the U.S.". I've enjoyed my time exploring and learning each and every time. Yet I still find myself overcome with the fears of "ifs" and an unknown future for days at a time.

There is nothing easy about stepping outside of my comfort zone. There is nothing easy about moving outside your country, your language, your culture. There is nothing easy about traveling the world alone. There is nothing easy about facing your fears. None of it is easy. Yet, my life is more fulfilled. It is more joyful. It is more beautiful than I could possibly hope when I face each of those fears head on.

Yes, there are days, and maybe even weeks, where I curl up and feel sorry for myself and let the fear take over and binge watch Netflix. There are many more days and many more weeks though, where, with heart pounding and palms sweating, I face each fear head on with determination. There have absolutely been disappointments (read my India posts). But out of it all I'm the woman I am today that people see as brave and crazy because of it.

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The minute I went to publish this post a couple of days ago, the touch pad on my brand new computer quit working. After uninstalling and reinstalling the drivers and restarting the computer numerous times, it still doesn't work. Luckily it recognizes my external mouse, but seriously, I now have to travel everywhere with an external mouse to use a brand new computer. Sigh.

I've been struggling with Montezuma's revenge for over a week now. It comes and goes but it's never wise to leave the house for very long. The plus side is I eat less (knowing what the result will be), so I'm hoping to end the battle a few pounds less than I started.

It's been in the 40s and 50s degrees F here inside my concrete apartment. It does get up in the 60s outside but the concrete keeps it cool inside. It's a great convenience in the summertime but with old style windows that don't close so the cold air blows in day and night it's miserable in the winter time. I've had every sweater on that I own and double layer socks and pants, cuddled up under all the blankets but it hasn't been enough. I finally broke down and bought a space heater for the bedroom. All I can hope is that I don't lose my deposit over the electric bill (which has happened to me before so it's a valid fear).

The sugar ants have decided they like everything here. From the bar soap to wash my hands to the crackers for my cheese wrapped inside plastic and wound with a twisty tie on the top most shelf of the kitchen cabinet, to the toothpaste residue in the sink. It's unreal. They don't sell ant traps here that I have found and these aren't standard ants that I've used traps for before so I'm thinking just let them enjoy the bathroom accoutrements and keep everything not in cans in the fridge. Cold crackers with cold cheese isn't too bad :)

Between the cold, the revenge, the computer problems, the ants, and the solid rain for two days I haven't got much rest, but the rain has finally stopped. It's still very overcast with a chill to the air, but it's not raining. I've moved almost all my furniture into the bedroom so I can "close" the pretend door-like structure and work, eat, sleep, and play with Denny Crane in the nice warm room. Only time will tell what the price of the enjoyment will cost me.

It was too cold for color.

Monday, December 9, 2019

The Golden Goose That Got Away

If you haven't seen a house hunting/ renovating show that declares you can't have it all, you can't check all your boxes, you will have to comprise; I'm guessing you're in the minority.

I'm telling you: they're wrong.

Apartment hunting in Guadalajara certainly has been a learning experience. No amount of pre-move research, no amount of contact making and local questioning can prepare you for the reality of house hunting in a foreign country, even a country you semi-know.

One day though, after tireless research, calls, walk-throughs, disappointments, and possibilities, I walked into the house I now call "The Golden Goose That Got Away."

This place indeed did have it all. It did indeed check all my boxes and more. It indeed didn't have any comprise I could find. It was a golden goose, once in a lifetime find. 

I tried that very day to get my paperwork in only to find someone else had already started the process the very same day. I was told if they didn't submit all their paperwork by the next Monday I could step into line. So I collected everything I was told to collect and double checked (with my Spanish interpreter) that the agency was okay with all the paperwork I did and didn't have. I was confirmed and reconfirmed that indeed, if I submitted the forms they emailed with the documents they requested, I'd be able to sign a lease for the apartment.

Immediately I collected, assembled, and submitted the requested paperwork and forms, verifying with my interpreter yet again that everything was done correctly so there would be no problems.

With my hopes and excitement soaring, I waited to hear my acceptance. 

That same afternoon I received a phone call from the agency. I still struggle with Spanish over a telephone so I gave the phone to my interpreter and learned everything I'd been told was false. The lady at the agency that had been working with me apparently didn't know what she was talking about and they couldn't rent to me as an American without all the other documents they hadn't requested. I offered 6 months up front. I offered to pay more rent per month. But the boss on the phone would not be swayed and I was denied flat out on my American status. 

I have searched in the weeks since and found nothing even remotely close. I didn't think I would. I already knew the market and the Golden Goose apartment was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I don't expect to have again. 

The thorn in my side is that the apartment is still listed for rent. No one else has it and I still can't have it. I will have to move on, but I now have a standard I hope to match one day again in another apartment. 

And now I know that all the television shows that tell you it's impossible to find that perfect place, are indeed, incorrect, because I did. I found the Golden Goose and it got away.