Mérida is ranked the 3rd-most-friendly city in the world

Check out this article at https://yucatanexpatlife.com/merida-is-ranked-the-3rd-most-friendly-city-in-the-world/

LOOKS LIKE WE MADE A GREAT CHOICE!

The pandemic means that we are not having a Kwanzaa celebration this year. It has been enjoyable to review pictures from Kwanzaas past and to re-read and re-share this post.

https://boltraveling.com/2019/12/29/furaha-kwanzaa/

Nuestras Primeras Dos Semanas en Mérida

Tomorrow will be 2 weeks since our arrival in Merida. Because of Covid concerns we haven’t done much exploring yet, outside of getting to know our new neighborhood. Here is a summary of our first two weeks in pictures.

First off, We love our little orange house and the small compound in which we are living.
There is a lovely park one block away with walking trails. I am really enjoying my morning walks an seeing my neighbors and their dogs.
There is a GREAT BIG mall within walking distance too. It has EVERYTHING including an enormous supermarket (Soriana).
There are all kinds of restaurants in the area including a pretty good pizza place (yes, they deliver).
Equally close is another, smaller, mall with a fully stocked Walmart.
There is a beautiful community of Black folks here. They had a gathering in the park on Sunday which included a toy drive. Kathy enjoyed meeting some new folks and seeing some old friend and dropping off some toys.
We have a tortilleria right across the street from us, which is wonderful.
The place I was most excited to discover was right next door! There is a wonderful little tienda that sells fresh fruits and veggies, and egg. They even have a butcher!

So, our new life in Merida is comfortable, quiet and beautiful…all we could ask for during these difficult times. We look forward to exploring and sharing more as the weeks progress. Stay safe! Love and light to all!

?!Merida!?

My friend, Olivia, gave me the inspiration for this week’s blog post. She asked some great questions which I will answer here.

The value of questions!

How was your time in Vietnam? It was wonderful! Vietnam handled the Covid crisis very well. It was very safe. Da Nang is beautiful and affordable. However, we came for a month and ended up staying for 10. We were concerned about having to review our visas every month and the strong possibility that we would eventually be denied.

Beautiful Da Nang!

Will you ever return to Asia? We hope so. We love Asia, especially Thailand and Malaysia. Plus there are several countries we still want to visit (India, Sri Lanka and Cambodia for sure). But if 2020 has taught me anything it’s that nothing is for certain.

Yep!

What was your impetus to move to Mexico, in the middle of a pandemic? How did you choose Merida? Merida is one of the safest cities, not just in Mexico but the world. While the pandemic is of course a concern, we chose Merida because of it’s relatively low Covid numbers, thriving black ex pat community, affordable housing and proximity to family and friends in the U.S.

In or out of a pandemic Merida is very safe!

How are you feeling today? We traveled for 2 days, 4 planes plus all the packing and preparation. We are exhausted and jet lagged but grateful to have arrived safely. We tested for coronavirus before leaving Vietnam and were both negative. We plan to isolate for the recccomended 10 days and will wear masks and practice social distancing until further notice.

Covid Testing, Family Hospital, Da Nang

One question Olivia didn’t ask but I wanted to share on briefly is: What was traveling like during a pandemic? It was really surreal and a bit anxiety producing. Most of the airports were REALLY empty until we got to Houston. We treated ourselves to better seats, lounges and a hotel stay during our Houston layover. We wore masks at all times and my hands are so dry from all the washing and hand sanitizer. Overall our travel was a positive experience, for which we are very grateful!

Ho Chi Minh City International Airport
All Nippon Airways Ticketing Desk
Vietjet Travel Lounge (only 3 people there, including us)

Thank you Olivia for helping me to clarify what I wanted to share today, our 5th day in beautiful Merida.

Casa Dulce Casa

Tạm biệt Da Nang!

We came for a month and you were gracious enough to allow us to stay for 10. You have provided us with a save place to shelter, delicious new foods to try, beautiful places to visit and kind people to meet. But now it’s time to say tạm biệt (goodbye).

Kathy and I are excited to begin the next phase of our journey in Merida, Mexico.

2020 has made travel difficult to say the least. But it has also strengthened our resolve to stay out of the United States. We looked at several options, none of them perfect and decided on Merida.

Merida is the capital of the Mexican state of Yucatan. It is known for its colonial architecture, tropical climate, Caribbean atmosphere, and frequent cultural happenings. It is less than a 30 minute bus ride from the beach. It is frequently sited as one of the safest places, not just in Mexico, but the world. There are many cenotes which I am super excited to visit!

Especially wonderful for us, Merida has a thriving Black expat community. We are fortunate to already have some good friends there.

So on December 2 we embark on this new adventure. We are well prepared with face masks and shields and lots of hand sanitizer. We do ask your prayers and well wishes and look forward to sharing all about our travel experience and our new home.

Thank You Vietnam!

While many countries, including developed ones, have recently begun to apply new lockdowns and restrictions to deal with a second or even third wave of infection, life in Vietnam is back to normal with the country going almost 80 days without a single local case. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/oct/20/vietnam-covid-economic-growth-public-health-coronavirus

It’s not that hard!

Clean your hands often. Use soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub.
Wear a mask in public!
Practice Social Distancing!
Follow the advice of doctors and scientists!
When you must go out, please stay safe!
We can get through this!

On Becoming a Doula!

Before I even knew what it was called I long wanted to support a woman in giving birth. Last week my dream came true!

It was a wonderful experience! A birth doula is a trained companion who is not a healthcare professional and who supports a woman through pregnancy, child birth and the postpartum period. Doulas can also provide support through other significant health-related experiences, such as miscarriage, induced abortion or stillbirth, or non-reproductive experiences such as dying.

My dear sister friend blessed me with the opportunity to perform doula duties for her throughout her pregnancy. She gave me permission to share these photos. I couldn’t have asked for a better mother for my first doula experience!

The mom did an amazing job! We took this picture on the way to the hospital. Labor had begun.
The Miracle of Birth!

For the past 6 months we studied and prepared for the birth. We read lots of articles and books, watched YouTube videos and most importantly, took a course in hypnobirthing. I was there for the actual birth and am also providing support to the new mommy and baby.

Birthing Day!
1 Week Old! Mommy and baby are doing well!

I am really excited to be starting a formal course of study to become a certified doula. I look forward to being of service. Just call me Granny Doula!

BOLT: Reflecting Gratitude

As I walked along the beach this morning in Da Nang, Vietnam I was reflecting on how grateful I am for our time here. We planned on a month but it’s almost a year, thanks to Covid.

I’m grateful for sheltering in a place that took the virus seriously, where everyone wears masks and respects social distancing rules when in effect.

I’m grateful that I am here with my beloved, Kathy, and that we both remained physically healthy and mentally well.

I’m grateful for time with family. While we may not be related by blood I have truly found family here.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to do something I always wanted to do: support another woman in birthing a baby. I’m a doula y’all! Look for a blog soon about this experience.

I’m grateful for some amazing sunrises, wonderful adventures and beautiful sights to see. As our time here is winding down (we leave in early December, details soon) I wanted to express my gratitude to Da Nang for helping me to #findbeautyeveryday

Thank you for allowing me to share my gratefulness. I’d love to hear what you are grateful for.

Morning Miracle Tumeric Drink

I used to have a LOT of joint pain, especially in my knees. Some days I could barely walk. Then I discovered tumeric and how it helps with inflammation, arthritis and joint pain. I started experimenting with different ways of talking it.

There are lots of ways to take this miracle spice, including capsules or packaged teas. I like making this drink from scratch, it’s a lot more affordable. Also, I believe using fresh ingredients are more potent. My recipe has fresh ginger, another very healthy root.

For the past 3 years I’ve been drinking this 7 item tumeric drink daily and have been almost completely joint pain free. I call it my morning miracle drink. It’s a lovely way to break my fast and start my day.

I make a base drink weekly of 4 ingredients. This recipe makes enough for a week’s worth of morning miracle base. I store it in the fridge and pour out a cupful every morning.

I love this container for storing the drink base.

Morning Miracle Base:

1/2 cup of tumeric root (chopped)

1/2 cup of ginger root (chopped)

2-3 cinnamon sticks

1/8 cup of black peppercorns or 2 heaping table spoons of ground black pepper (black pepper is said to make the tumeric more effective)

Add 4 cups of water

Bring to a boil these 4 ingredients and then simmer for 30 minutes

I buy all the ingredients at our local market for about 50 cents.

I add these ingredients daily to the base drink:

The juice of one lemon or 2 limes

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (also very beneficial to your health)

You can drink Miracle Morning hot or cold. I prefer it room temperature.

There are lots of different recipes for tumeric tea. Let me know if you have a favorite.

BOLT 2020: Our 5th Year of Travel/Lessons Learned

We had all kinds of plans for this, our fifth year of full time/home free travel. We were going to visit India, Sri Lanka and travel through Thailand.

Welp! The universe had other plans. We came to Da Nang, Vietnam, planning on a 1 month stay. We’ve now been here for almost 10 months!

We are very grateful to have sheltered in such a safe, affordable and beautiful country. We’ve undergone two very strict lockdowns but have also had the opportunity to explore this beautiful city.

Most of all I think this has been a time of reflection and focus on what’s really important.

I’ve learned to take nothing for granted and that plans, expectations and situations can change in a moment.

I’ve learned to let small stuff go. I’ve gotten much better at accepting people as they are.

I’ve really come to appreciate the value of a spiritual routine, of grounding myself with morning quiet time and practicing regular meditation and prayer. I’ve also learned how important regular exercise is to my spirit.

I’ve recommitted myself to finding beauty every day and sharing it with the world.

How about you? What lessons have you learned in 2020? We’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to share in the comments section.