Eulogy for Walter S. Mills, Jr.
Sunday, June 30, 1996 @ 3:00 PM
Friend’s Meeting House, Est. by the Quakers in 1753
Chappaqua, NY

Walt, Jinny, Skip alias Butch and SundanceWalt. The mere sound of the name evokes strong feelings in me. First of love. Second of enthusiasm.  And as those two rush over me there is a third – excited anticipation. They all relate to the Walt we all knew. To me he was Uncle Walt for about half my life, until that enchanted trip to Bermuda when he became Butch and I became Sundance. And make no mistake, without Jinny’s great love and sense of humor, Walt couldn’t have been Butch and Skip couldn’t have been Sundance. There was a power and a mystery in those three.

Walt and Jinny invited me to come spend a week with in Bermuda. It was as fun filled a week as I have ever spent, and my life has not lacked for fun. About mid week it rained and we took refuge in Hamilton in a dark cool movie house. It was a holiday and all the young native Bermudans were out of school.  The movie was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. There was constant dialogue from a large youthful black audience.  Right in the middle of the scene when the soundtrack played ‘raindrops keep falling on my head’ there was a loud sounding splat next me. I turned to see Walt grab his head.  A large droplet had landed square. Another splat and Walt turned fiery with rage. A balcony overhung our seats and Walt was to going to kill whoever was spitting from the balcony. But the music continued and the drops continued to splat dead center on his bald head. The sound of thunder and rain on the roof was in almost equal volume to the music, Jinny and I lost it in convulsive laughter. Walt covered his head with a handkerchief, excepting his place as the recipient of the targeted leak and I even think I heard him humming ‘raindrops keep falling on my head’.

Whats so great about BoliviaThe next scene in the movie flashed to the trio’s arrival in Bolivia, a safe haven from the law and the promise of great riches. They stepped off the train, through the portico of what was once a house, and were surrounded by tumbleweed, sagebrush and pigs.  Sundance looked at Butch and said, “What’s so great about Bolivia. There was a dramatic pause and eye contact.  Then out of the balcony one of the young Bermudan boys screams, “Poke chops!”  No one has ever laughed any harder than Walt. Jinny and I were a close second and third.  But there it all was in that quintessential moment. Walt sharing his love for the moment, his enthusiasm for all of life’s quirks, and alive and boisterous in the instance of unexpected happening.  The three of us left the movie house aglow, running through the downpour, jumping over retainer walls, and acting like the kids we would never let go.

Mid Ocean Country ClubThe routine for the day would go something like this. Arise before the sun.  Eat some breakfast and at barely the first light ride our motorbikes through the damp morning mist to Mid Ocean.  Teddy would be ready with our bags and off we went. To play golf with Walt and Jinny was to experience true love.  On reflection what I marvel at the most is how comfortable they were in the inevitable uncomfortableness we all feel within ourselves and with each other from time to time. And no other place than the golf course can expose those vulnerabilities so dramatically. They would cheer, console, coach, and concede.  I never remember a time when there was an extended period without laughter and affection, though it often took some unusual form relative to my experience. With the round finished we would bike back to the house, refresh ourselves, and bike to one of the better restaurants for lunch. Same menu as dinner, half the price.  Then we would tour or shop and return to the house where preparation would begin for the evening repast

At the bottom of the hill where the house sat, was a small shop that sold the wine. Inside its small room was this large cask of Portuguese red wine. Walt would say “Paissano” with a richness hung on every vowel and consonant. The game was this. Walt and I would get on our bikes and the last one inside the front door had to pay. Every afternoon Jinny stood in the front of the house as we started our race, explained what idiots we were and in her own way prayed for our healthy return. Walt and Skip were fast. Butch and Sundance were reckless.

On the evening of the leg of lamb and the cedar fire and the stories on the grassy lawn, and a later than usual bedtime – Walt reminded us of the banditos that came into the houses and took the money and that everything was going so well this trip, we should take our precautions. Always put the money and jewelry under the mattress.  They intend no harm, they just want the money. Off to bed we went, with the scent of rosemary and cedar and earthen wine being kissed by the southern Atlantic breeze.

In the darkness of the next morning and Walt’s rustling I muddled to put myself together. Thick of body and mind.  “Butch, the banditos have gotten us.  My watch, money, its all gone.” Walt went to tell Jinny and a mad search of the house was underway. Anxiety was high. Jinny was the first to report nothing was missing of theirs. “Go back and check your room see what else is missing” I was instructed. We searched the room together. “My pants are gone. My shirt is gone.” Detective Walt pieced together all that had been said and all that had transpired and suggested I check under the mattress. Ahha! All there in one big clump. Safe from the banditos. Paissano. We laughed all the way to the golf course and through another glorious day.

There are so many wonderful Walt stories to be remembered,W.A.Hoo – the Chinese emissary, security systems at Hilltop, Steve’s cure for cancer and on and on. But when they are all told they simply underline what Walt was in life and in dying. Full of love, adventure, action and enthusiasm. What more fitting tribute could there be to a man’s life than to be surrounded in so many moments by a loving wife, four terrific children, and all these beautiful grandchildren. Walt lived and loved well and we will miss his presence.

And Butch, we’ll ride again together across other plains.

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The Paradox of Strenth

StrengthSome lessons happen over a lifetime. Others happen in an instant.
Either way, the paradox of strength is that it develops though pain.
Each misfortune cultivates a renewed appreciation.
Each obstacle fosters a new level of perseverance.
Each sadness teaches a greater depth of compassion.
Each challenge harvests a new field of possibilities.
We must fall down to rise up.
Again and again and again.

Don’t be pushed by your problems, be led by your dreams. Dr. Andrea Dinardo

Read more . . .

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Independence Day in Mexico

Independence Day in MexicoIndependence Day (Día de la Independencia) is a Mexican holiday to celebrate the “cry of independence” on September 16, 1810, which started a revolt against the Spaniards. It follows from the day of the Cry of Dolores (El Grito de Dolores), on September 15.

Yesterday was my first to experience the day in Centro Historico Morelia. It was a sight to behold and experience.

Hidalfgo y CostillaOn September 16, 1810, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Catholic priest, launched the Mexican War of Independence with the issuing of his Grito de Dolores, or “Cry of Delores.” The revolutionary tract called for the end of Spanish rule in Mexico, redistribution of land, and racial equality.

August 24, 1821, eleven years after the outbreak of the Mexican War of Independence, Spanish Viceroy Juan de O’Donojú signs the Treaty of Córdoba, which approves a plan to make Mexico an independent constitutional monarchy.

David's NeighborhoodMorelia has been called the ‘cradle of Mexican Independence’ and for good reason. My apartment in Morelia is steeped in the memory of the Revolution and ultimate Independence. My street, Aquiles Serdan, is one block to the north of Madero, Morelia’s main avenue in Centro Historico, and one block south of 20 de Noviembre. Just to the east is the Aquaducto, the backbone of the city. Its stone construction was begun 1728, under the direction of the Bishop of Michoacán, Fray Antonio de San Miguel. In its 1700 meters’ length, there are 253 arches, but we can only see 234, because the rest is under ground. It reaches a height of almost 10 meters and has two water storage areas. It is one of the most striking architectural elements in the city.

Is it any wonder that this lover of history, political science, sociology feels blessed that God has deposited him in this sacred place. His temporary residency was just finalized this week. That saga is available in the pictured story of El Amigo Gringo, Turista a Residente.

Happy Independence Day Mexico!

En Espanol

Día de la Independencia en México

El Día de la Independencia es una fiesta mexicana para celebrar el “grito de la independencia” el 16 de septiembre de 1810, que inició una revuelta contra los españoles. Se sigue desde el día del Grito de Dolores (El Grito de Dolores), el 15 de septiembre.

Ayer fue el primero en experimentar el día en el Centro Histórico Morelia. Fue un espectáculo para la vista y la experiencia.

El 16 de septiembre de 1810, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, un sacerdote católico, lanzó la Guerra de la Independencia mexicana con la emisión de su Grito de Dolores o “Grito de Delores”. El tratado revolucionario exigía el fin del dominio español en México, redistribución de la tierra e igualdad racial.

El 24 de agosto de 1821, once años después del estallido de la Guerra de la Independencia de México, el virrey Juan de O’Donojú firma el Tratado de Córdoba, que aprueba un plan para convertir a México en una monarquía constitucional independiente.

Morelia ha sido llamada la “cuna de la Independencia de México” y por buenas razones. Mi apartamento en Morelia está empapado en la memoria de la Revolución y la Independencia definitiva. Mi calle, Aquiles Serdan, está a una cuadra al norte de Madero, la avenida principal de Morelia en el Centro Histórico, y una cuadra al sur de 20 de Noviembre. Justo al este se encuentra el Aquaducto, la columna vertebral de la ciudad. Su construcción en piedra se inició en 1728, bajo la dirección del obispo de Michoacán, Fray Antonio de San Miguel. En sus 1700 metros de longitud, hay 253 arcos, pero solo podemos ver 234, porque el resto está bajo tierra. Alcanza una altura de casi 10 metros y tiene dos áreas de almacenamiento de agua. Es uno de los elementos arquitectónicos más llamativos de la ciudad.

¿No es de extrañar que este amante de la historia, la ciencia política, la sociología se sienta bendecido de que Dios lo haya depositado en este lugar sagrado? Su residencia temporal acaba de finalizar esta semana. Esa saga está disponible en la historia ilustrada de El Amigo Gringo, Turista a Residente.

Feliz Día de la Independencia México!

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Turista a Residente en Espanol

Esta es una historia sobre serendipity o Divine Order. Tú decides.

On The Street 4Mi intención desde el punto de decisión para venir a Morelia, México fue para una estadía turística de más de corto plazo. Como la mayoría de las aventuras, solo podemos ver muy adelante en el camino del viaje. Si desea el fondo, puede encontrarlo en un diario para conmemorar mi llegada el 27 de febrero de este año. Cinco meses pasaron rápido y me quedaba un mes para renovar mi condición de turista por otros seis meses o solicitar el mismo período de tiempo para un estatus de residente temporal. Ambos requirieron un viaje de regreso a los Estados Unido

Mi propia investigación en Internet afirmó que, por varias razones, una visa de residente temporal estaba en sintonía con mis intenciones. Morelia United es una pequeña congregación de expatriados en su mayoría retirados de los Estados Unidos y Canadá que se reúnen una o dos veces al mes y en ocasiones especiales para conectarse. Algunos de los miembros de ese grupo hicieron una presentación que confirmó mi intención y se convirtieron en asesores y participantes en el proceso que se desarrolló.

Michael Dunham fue mi conexión de tránsito desde los Estados Unidos a Morelia y me presentó al grupo en mis primeros días aquí. La historia de mi conexión con Mike es una historia en sí misma. En resumen, Mike fue un consultor de software en California y se acercó a mí en los primeros días de mi empresa de software. Más tarde se convirtió en director de operaciones de una empresa de software de Morelia y en su retiro decidió hacer de Morelia su hogar. Ahora es un fotógrafo consumado cuyo principal interés está en la escena del jazz aquí.

Morelia, con sus muchos encantos y atracciones, no es un centro para los viajes aéreos internacionales, que espero ser importante para las Oportunidades Escondidas en el Lugar de Trabajo. También resultó problemático para mi regreso a los EE. UU. Para obtener la documentación y el papeleo necesarios. La secuencia de personalidades y eventos de Turista a Residente comenzó en mis primeras semanas aquí con una invitación para visitar a Jan Starr y ver si su hogar podría ser un candidato para mis necesidades de alquiler. La visita a Jan, que merece su propia viñeta extendida, y su espaciosa casa en el vecindario de Vista Bella al sur del Centro Histórico me presentaron a dos de sus conductores de taxis que ella usaba en ocasiones especiales. Gabriel y Jesús hablaban inglés, que ella sabía que era un requisito mío. Llamó cuando nuestra visita estaba por terminar y Gabriel nos recogió, hablamos sobre posibles compromisos futuros, y él me depositó en el centro de la ciudad, cerca de mi vecindario temporal en Mike’s en la calle Aldama. Jan es una canadiense de 87 años que reside la mitad del año en Morelia y el resto en su casa en Thunder Bay. Ella es vitalidad humana y espíritu extraordinario.

La semana en que comencé mi búsqueda activa de mi propio departamento con solo unas pocas semanas en Morelia, Mary Chacon colocó un anuncio para su apartamento de alquiler (que había estado en su familia durante mucho tiempo) en Aquiles Serdan en un vecindario que yo era aún encontrarse a unas doce cuadras de la casa de Mike en Aldama. Intercambiamos mensajes durante el día e hicimos arreglos para reunirnos en el departamento esa noche.

Un lado corto pero importante; Los primeros días aquí me lastimé la pierna derecha en caminatas prolongadas. La combinación del cambio de elevación de 6.000 pies desde Nashville y los desafiantes senderos peatonales agregaron una disrupción del nervio ciático. El ambiente y las circunstancias no permitieron el descanso y la rehabilitación que necesitaba mi pierna.

Aquiles Serdan 803La noche que conocí a Mary y a su esposo, Jorge, el dolor se volvió insoportable, pero no tanto que no pude ver el potencial del apartamento. Expresé mi interés, revelé mis circunstancias, incluso que pasarían varias semanas más antes de poder mudarme. Mary y Jorge terminaron llevándome a la sala de emergencias en Star Medica esa noche que había identificado como mi siguiente paso vital. Toda la saga médica es una historia para otro momento y lugar. Al día siguiente le mostré a Mike el enlace al apartamento y estaba claro que estaba impresionado con el apartamento y el vecindario. Mary y yo estuvimos de acuerdo más tarde ese día y la firma y mudanza del contrato de alquiler estaba programada para la noche del 25 de abril, unas tres semanas más tarde.

El día anterior a la mudanza, llamé a Gabriel para ver si él me recogía a mí y a mis dos maletas y me ayudaba con cualquier problema de traducción. Después de una cena de celebración con Gabriel en el barrio, pasé mi primera noche en Aquiles Serdan 803 (Aquiles Serdán fue un líder en la Revolución Mexicana y el número 803 en numerología se traduce a Once). Vale la pena señalar que todos estos eventos ocurrieron el cuarto miércoles del mes, mi fecha clave de transacción financiera, que ha sido alrededor del tiempo de la luna llena de este año.

A mi regreso de Panoli, una panadería y un café en el Portal Matamoros frente a la Catedral, después de un desayuno del sábado por la tarde, tomé un taxi para llevarme a casa. A pocas cuadras, Jesús López (la otra referencia anterior de Jan) y yo estuvimos conectados y pasamos la siguiente hora conociéndonos. Hablamos sobre mi necesidad de ayuda para adquirir una visa de residencia temporal y la fecha límite del mes que tenía ante mí. Estaba familiarizado con gran parte de la comunidad Expat y me remitió a una de las participantes de Morelia United, Nancy Reddish, a quien había conocido solo un par de semanas antes. Ella a su vez me presentó a Rossy Izquierdo como consultora que podría ayudar.

RossyRossy se reunió conmigo en mi apartamento el 25 de julio y comenzamos la consulta 33 días antes de que expirara mi permiso turístico. Ella validó mi intención de convertirse en residente temporal y describió el proceso y el costo que tomaría para lograrlo. Morelia con todos sus encantos, su historia y su gentil gente no es un centro conveniente para viajar en avión. El aeropuerto es remoto para la mayoría e incluso se planificó por adelantado, los costos de vuelo son exorbitantes. Para mí, Laredo fue el destino más cercano de los EE. UU. En autobús para avanzar en el proceso y las personas mayores pueden viajar al cincuenta por ciento del precio regular. La mayoría de los clientes de Rossy no están tan limitados por el flujo de efectivo, por lo que llevarme a Laredo, guiarme a través del cruce de fronteras y el proceso en el Consulado fueron un ejercicio de creatividad en el que se destacó.

Como he compartido con algunos de mis amigos, la historia de cualquier protagonista, ya sea en la ficción o en la vida, es un obstáculo. Los autobuses más lujosos solo tienen veinticuatro asientos reclinables de gran tamaño con WiFi individual. Las terminales de autobuses se parecen a las modernas instalaciones aeroportuarias de los EE. UU. El autobús que arreglamos salió a las 8 pm el domingo y llegó a Nuevo Laredo a las 11 a.m. del lunes.

En mis primeras semanas, había conocido a Ana Espino y su hijo en Onix en el Portalas un domingo por la tarde. Ella no hablaba inglés y su hijo hablaba un poco. Saludaron al gringo e hicimos todo lo posible para comunicarnos con los traductores de teléfonos celulares y conectarlo en Facebook. Ana y yo compartimos varios intentos de conectarnos, pero la distancia entre nuestras dos capacidades de comunicación lo hacía demasiado difícil. Después de mudarme a Aquiles Serdan y saber que necesitaba ayuda, publiqué una búsqueda de un asistente personal en Facebook. Unas semanas más tarde recibí un mensaje de Ana allí y después de algunos mensajes traducidos desafiados de ida y vuelta ella estaba interesada en conocerme. Organizamos un tiempo. Ella llegó con su hijo. Hablamos de mis necesidades y las de ella con su hijo traduciendo parcialmente en conversación y mucho con nuestros teléfonos celulares. Desconocido para mí en el momento en que apareció otro ángel. Ana iba a venir una vez a la semana y limpiar el departamento los martes. El 3 de julio fue su visita, incluyendo obtener llaves para ella y todos los suministros que necesitaba. Lo que ella logró en esa primera visita fue más allá de mis expectativas. La semana siguiente ella comenzó a comprarme en el mercado también. La víspera de mi partida a Laredo le dejé un mensaje sobre mi viaje y que su dinero estaría sobre la mesa y esperaba verla la semana siguiente.

Morelia Bus TerminalJesús me recogió en mi apartamento a las 5:00 y tuvimos una conversación de dos horas antes de que partiera el autobús y hablamos principalmente sobre su negocio de giras, que es extraordinario. Rossy se había vuelto a conectar con contactos suyos seis años antes en su propio regreso de los Estados Unidos a Morelia. Tenían un cruce de fronteras y el negocio del transporte y acordamos tener a su hijo como guía y cuidador desde mi llegada a través del proceso y partir el martes por la tarde o noche después de la cita programada a las 9 a.m. del Consulado en Laredo. Rossy estaba preparado por teléfono para interactuar y traducir durante toda la aventura. Oscar, el hijo, hablaba inglés y, como dice el refrán, el plan se veía genial en papel.

El autobús, desconocido para cualquiera de nosotros, no llegó a la nueva terminal principal de autobuses en el corazón de Nuevo Laredo, sino a un lugar secundario que me recordó una escena de la Noche de la Iguana. No había señales de Oscar al llegar y Rossy comenzó la búsqueda de conexión inmediatamente. A la una llegó sin mucho inglés. La terminal al aire libre, las moscas, los bebés llorando y el ir y venir de los pasajeros en la temperatura de 95 grados había quemado mi tostada. La vieja camioneta azul de Oscar con litera en el piso de la cabina no inspiraba confianza para lo que estaba por venir. Quince minutos más tarde nos detuvimos frente a la habitación que había arreglado, que era un motel de estilo años sesenta con cortinas rotas frente al estacionamiento y sin señales de vestíbulo o restaurante. Abrí mi búsqueda anterior de hoteles en mi teléfono celular, señalé uno que había etiquetado anteriormente y le indiqué que me llevara allí. A las 2 pm me registré en el hotel Colón Plaza y lo que parecía y se sentía como un oasis en el desierto. Solo para recapitular el tiempo, ahora faltaban 3 horas para llegar a las 24 horas de cuando Jesús me recogió en mi departamento.

Fui a la habitación y rechacé el aire acondicionado y me dirigí al restaurante. Martini y algo de comida increíble, un corto viaje al segundo piso, pisos acolchados, el mejor colchón y sábanas (me recordó a Cipriani en Venecia), tres horas de sueño, y al despertar me sentí como un bebé listo para su próxima alimentación. Volví al restaurante, una botella de vino, ensalada y no sentía un dolor intenso. Francisco estaba en la recepción, hablaba inglés con fluidez, y describí mi misión y mi cita a la mañana siguiente en el Consulado de Laredo. Con confianza, dijo que tenían un servicio de mensajería que usaban regularmente para ese propósito y llamó y la cita estaba programada para las 6 a.m. de la mañana siguiente. Llamé a Rossy con las buenas noticias para que pudiera relevar a Oscar y volviera a la cama.

SergjioAl filo de las 6 de la mañana del martes, sonó el teléfono para anunciar la llegada del correo y cinco minutos más tarde conocí a Sergio, lo revisé sin más cargos y subí a la parte trasera de su sala de exposición 2018 Chevrolet limpio y nos fuimos a Texas.

La madrugada a lo largo del Río Grande antes de llegar al cruce de la frontera me hizo pensar en las exposiciones de mi niñez en Washington DC; antes del cuarto grado, las lecciones de historia de Texas comenzaron en Dallas; el Álamo, Davy Crockett y mi transición de Tennessee de la escuela secundaria a mi carrera; mi reciente mudanza a Morelia; y ahora, el estado actual de los asuntos en nuestros dos países; que en la gran extensión de las cosas no parecía haber progresado tanto. Todo esto en el caleidoscopio de las mentes no se preocupa por el proceso que se avecina, gracias a la preparación completa de Rossy y la tranquila calma de Sergio.

Laredo Border CrossingLa línea procesional de autos ya tenía diez o veinte de profundidad en todos los carriles abiertos que solo crecerían a medida que avanzara el día. Este fue mi tercer cruce de frontera. El primero fue a pie durante una excursión de la fraternidad de la Universidad de Texas a Nuevo Laredo en 1965 en horas de la noche para el intercambio cultural de un tipo diferente; el segundo fue en mi Volkswagen Beetle con mi novia, Blythe, en las vacaciones de primavera de 1966 rumbo a Acapulco; y ahora. 18, 19 y 70 años, respectivamente. Qué diferencia hace un día.

La agenda en Laredo era un cajero automático para dólares para pagar la tarifa del Consulado y Sergio, la oficina de correos para mi cambio de domicilio oficial en los EE. UU. De Nashville / Antioch a Seattle / Siverdale, la cita del Consulado a las 9 a. M., Antes del regreso a Nuevo Laredo terminal de autobuses y un boleto para San Luis Obispo para dividir el viaje a casa. Condujimos por todos los lugares muy cerca uno del otro y podría haber sido el domingo por la mañana. El cruce de frontera había sido tan rápido y sin problemas. Sergio y yo fuimos a desayunar a McDonald’s y tuve mi primer huevo, salchicha, queso y galletas desde mi último entrenamiento en Planet Fitness la semana antes de irme a Morelia y hablamos sobre Sergio y su familia de un hijo y esposa con un bache en su estómago. Nuestro uso de herramientas de traducción en nuestros teléfonos celulares mantuvo la conversación en movimiento.

Colon Plaza RestaurantHicimos las rondas y estábamos en el Consulado a la hora señalada y el área de espera ya estaba llena con aproximadamente 40 personas esperando para llevar a cabo una variedad de tareas. Gracias a la planificación de Rossy, el proceso prosiguió sin problemas en un poco menos del tiempo estimado de dos horas. Hubo una parada más en Inmigración antes de regresar a México. Sergio conocía el paisaje como la palma de su mano y una hora más tarde estábamos en Nuevo Laredo, en la estación de autobuses, comprando un boleto para San Luis que no salió hasta la tarde. Volvimos a Colon Plaza, liquidamos nuestras cuentas, hicimos nuestros anuncios, y configuré mi oficina en el restaurante con un martini.

Francisco arregló un taxi para el corto viaje a la terminal de autobuses. Al atardecer estaba en camino para el viaje nocturno a San Luis. Mi plan era pasar el día o incluso la noche, hacer un descubrimiento y la recuperación antes de regresar a Morelia. Era poco después del amanecer y en mi búsqueda de un boleto, había un autobús que partía en 30 minutos y mi insomnio cansado estaba más listo para el hogar de lo que una breve recuperación y descubrimiento podría proporcionar.

San Luis Obispo CountryLa buena noticia fue que pude ver el primer lado del campo desde la etapa de Monterrey a Nuevo Laredo del viaje anterior y los pueblos y ciudades, ya que el autobús hizo algunas paradas poco frecuentes. La dicotomía de México, su paisaje y su cultura es la dramática distorsión del tiempo que separa lo viejo de lo nuevo, a veces a unas pocas cuadras de distancia. La distancia desde San Luis a Morelia se encuentra a gran altitud, rodando y accidentada pasando por los estados de San Luis Obispo, Gueretaro, y en Michoacán. Nuevo León es uno de los treinta y un estados en México al norte de San Luis Obispo y limita con los Estados Unidos

Santiago de Queretaro

Mi proyecto Workplace Hidden Opportunities resonó a través de esta peregrinación. Con toda la discusión sobre la migración de México a los Estados Unidos y, en menor medida, la migración de Expats en el reverso, esta observación es válida para ambos. México está más maduro con la oportunidad de lo que jamás hubiera imaginado. Hay ciudades, por nombrar dos Santiago de Gueretaro y Monterrey, que son centros de auges que no se pueden describir. Para los agraristas arraigados desde hace mucho tiempo, donde el salto a la era de la información está demasiado lejos para ir, las oportunidades de la era industrial abundan. El crecimiento de la población y el cambio de edad demandan vivienda, espacio comercial e infraestructura, lo que significa empleos. La inversión pública y privada en aquellos en México es desenfrenada.

Cafe MichelenaLa gente como la familia Ramirez en Morelia son ejemplos de ese liderazgo. Independientemente de dónde se encuentre un individuo en su propio camino evolutivo, hay tres industrias que ofrecen oportunidades ilimitadas: construcción, hospitalidad y tecnología en todos los niveles, desde el trabajo de jornada inicial hasta la gestión ejecutiva.

Hotel Virrey de MendozaMi apartamento era un lugar para los ojos y el cuerpo adolorido. Ana había venido y el lugar era impecable. Deposité mis cosas, me refresqué y llevé taxis a Onix en Portalas, donde la libación, la proteína, el potasio y las caras amistosas me recordarían que estoy en casa. Juan me trajo una bebida, puso una servilleta de tela en mi regazo, y la brisa prevaleciente en esa esquina de la plaza fue como un abrazo de un viejo amigo. El Amigo Gringo de Portalas se había convertido en estos últimos meses en un rostro amistoso y conocido de los mercaderes habituales de la calle como el hombre del mapa y los mendigos cuyo lugar de trabajo era ese. Es sorprendente reflexionar sobre las ideas que se habían vertido en esa esquina frente a mi primera oficina de redacción en el lobby del hotel Virrey de Mendoza la semana después de mi llegada.

Rossy, otro de mis ángeles atados a la tierra, fue a principios de esta semana a las oficinas de Inmigración en Morelia para continuar el estado de residencia con todo en orden y solo quedan dos pasos superficiales. Por hoy mi pasaporte y mi visa afirman que soy residente de México.
Turista a Residente ha sido un viaje increíble y sé que recién había comenzado.

Esta es una historia sobre serendipity o Divine Order. Tú decides.

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Turista a Residente

This is a story about serendipity or Divine Order. You decide.

On The Street 4My intention from the decision point to come to Morelia, Mexico was for more than a short term tourist stay. Like most adventures we can only see so far ahead on the journey’s path. If you would like the background you can find it a journal entry to commemorate my arrival on February 27th of this year. Five months went by fast and I had a month left to renew my tourist status for another six months or apply in the same time frame for a temporary resident status. Both of these required a trip back to the US.

My own Internet research affirmed that for a number of reasons a temporary resident visa was in sync with my intentions. Morelia United is a small congregation of mostly retired Expats from the US and Canada that gather once or twice a month and on special occasions to connect. Some of the members of that group made introduction that confirmed my intention and became advisers and participants in process that unfolded.

Michael Dunham was my transit connection from the US to Morelia and introduced me to the group in my first days here. The story of my connection with Mike is a tale in its own right. In short, Mike was a software consultant in California and reached out to me in the early days of my software company. He later became the COO for a Morelia software company and on his retirement decided to make Morelia his home. He is now an accomplished photographer whose primary interest is in the jazz scene here.

Morelia, with all its many charms and attractions , is not a hub for international airline travel which I hope to become important to Workplace Hidden Opportunities. It also proved problematic for my return to the US for the necessary paperwork and documentation. The sequence of personalities and events of Turista a Residente started in my first few weeks here with an invitation to visit Jan Starr and see if her home might be a candidate for my rental needs. The visit with Jan, which deserves its own extended vignette, and her spacious home in the Vista Bella neighborhood south of Centro Historico introduced me to two of her go to taxi drivers she used for special occasions. Gabriel and Jesus both spoke English which she knew was a requirement of mine. She called as our visit was ending and Gabriel picked me up, we discussed potential future engagements, and he deposited me back downtown near my temporary neighborhood at Mike’s on Calle Aldama. Jan is an 87 year old Canadian who resides half of the year in Morelia and the rest in her home in Thunder Bay. She is human vibrancy and spirit extraordinaire.

The week I began my active search for my own apartment with only a few weeks time in Morelia, Mary Chacon placed an ad for her rental apartment (which had been in her family for a long time) on Aquiles Serdan in a neighborhood which I was yet to encounter about twelve blocks from Mike’s place on Aldama. We exchanged messages through the day and made arrangements to meet at the apartment that evening.

A short but important aside; the first days here I injured my right leg on extended walks. The combination of the 6000 foot elevation change from Nashville and challenging pedestrian walkways added a sciatic nerve disruption. The environment and circumstances did not allow for the rest and rehabilitation my leg was calling for.

Aquiles Serdan 803The evening I met Mary and her husband, Jorge, the pain had become excruciating, but not so much so that I could not see the potential for the apartment. I expressed my interest, disclosed my circumstances, including that it would be several more weeks before I could move. Mary and Jorge ended up taking me to the emergency room at Star Medica that evening which I had identified as my vital next step. The whole medical saga is a story for another time and place. The next day I showed Mike the link to the apartment and it was clear that he was impressed with both the apartment and the neighborhood. Mary and I agreed later that day and the lease signing and move was scheduled for the evening of the 25th of April, some three weeks later.

The day before the move I called Gabriel to see if he would pick me and my two bags up and help with any translation issues. After a celebratory dinner with Gabriel in the neighborhood I spent my first night at Aquiles Serdan 803 (Aquiles Serdan was a leader in the Mexican Revolution and the number 803 in numerology translates to Eleven). It is worth noting that all these events have occurred on the fourth Wednesday of the month, my key financial transaction date, which has been around the time of the full moon this year.

On a return from Panoli, a bakery and cafe on the Portal Matamoros across from the Cathedral, after a late Saturday breakfast I got a taxi to bring me home. Within a few blocks Jesus Lopez (Jan’s earlier other reference) and I were connected and we spent the next hour getting acquainted. We talked about my need for help acquiring a temporary resident visa and the month deadline that was before me. He was well acquainted with a lot of the Expat community and referred me to one of the Morelia United participants, Nancy Reddish, who I had met only a couple of weeks earlier. She in turn introduced me to Rossy Izquierdo as consultant who could help.

RossyRossy met me at my apartment on July 25th and we began the consultation 33 days before my tourist permission expired. She validated my intention to become a temporary resident and outlined the process and cost it would take to accomplish. Morelia with all its charms, history, and gracious people is not a convenient hub for air travel. The airport is remote for most and even planned in advance the flight costs are exorbitant. For me Laredo was the closest US destination by bus to advance the process and seniors can travel at fifty percent of the regular price. Most of Rossy’s clients are not as cash flow constrained so getting me to Laredo, guided through border crossing, and process at the Consulate were an exercise in creativity which she excelled.

As I have shared with a few of my friends the story of any protagonist whether in fiction or life is one of obstacles. The most luxurious buses only have twenty-four oversized reclining seats with individual WiFi. The bus terminals look like modern airport facilities in the US. The bus we arranged left at 8pm on Sunday and arrived in Nuevo Laredo at 11am on Monday.

In my first few weeks I had met Ana Espino and her son at Onix on the Portalas on a Sunday afternoon. She spoke no English and her son spoke some. They greeted the gringo and we did our best to communicate with cell phone translators and connected on Facebook. Ana and I shared several attempts to connect but the distance between our two communication capabilities made it too difficult. After I moved to Aquiles Serdan and knew I needed help I  posted a search for a personal assistant on Facebook. Quite a few weeks later I received a message from Ana there and after some challenged translated messages back and forth she was interested in meeting me. We arranged a time. She arrived with her son. We discussed my needs and hers with her son translating partially in in talk and a lot with our cell phones. Unknown to me at the time another angel had appeared. Ana was going to come once a week and clean the apartment on Tuesdays. July 3rd was her visit including getting keys for herself and all the supplies she needed. What she accomplished on that first visit was beyond my expectation. The following week she began shopping for me at the mercado as well. The eve of my departure for Laredo I left her a message about my trip and that her money would be on the table and I looked forward to seeing her the following week.

Morelia Bus TerminalJesus picked me up at my apartment at 5:00 and we had a two hour chat before the bus departed and talked primarily about his tour business which is extraordinary. Rossy had reconnected with contacts of hers from six years earlier in her own move back from the US to Morelia. They had a border crossing and transportation business and we agreed to having their son as guide and caretaker from my arrival through the process and departure on Tuesday afternoon or evening after the scheduled appointment at 9am the Consulate in Laredo. Rossy was at the ready by phone to interface and translate through the entire adventure. Oscar, the son, spoke English and as the saying goes the plan looked great on paper.

The bus, unknown to any of us, arrived not at the main new bus terminal in the heart of Nuevo Laredo but in a secondary location that reminded my of a scene from Night of the Iguana. There was no sign of Oscar on arrival and Rossy began the connection search immediately. At one o’clock he arrived with not so much English. The open air terminal, flies, crying babies and coming an goings of the passengers in the 95 degree temperature had burned my toast. Oscar’s old blue pickup with litter on the floor of the cab did not inspire confidence for what was ahead. Fifteen minutes or so later we pulled up in front of the room he had arranged which was a sixties style motel with broken shades facing the parking lot and no sign of a lobby or restaurant. I pulled up my earlier search for hotels on my cell phone, pointed to one I had tagged earlier, and instructed him to take me there. At 2pm I checked in to the Colon Plaza Hotel and what looked and felt like an oasis in the desert. Just to recap the time frame it was now 3 hours shy of 24 hours from when Jesus picked my up at my apartment.

I went to the room turned down the air-conditioning and headed to the restaurant. Martini’s and some incredible food, a short ride to the second floor, carpeted padded floors, the best mattress and sheets (reminded my of the Cipriani in Venice), three hours of sleep, and on awakening I felt like a baby ready for his next feeding. Back to the restaurant, a bottle of wine, salad and I was feeling not intense pain. Francisco was at the desk, fluent in English, and I described my mission and appointment the next morning at the Consulate in Laredo. With confidence he said they had a courier service they used regularly for that purpose and called and the appointment was set for 6am the following morning. I called Rossy with the good news so she could relieve Oscar and it was back to bed.

SergjioAt the stroke of 6am on Tuesday morning the phone rang to announce the courier’s arrival and five minutes later I met Sergio, checked out with no further charges, and climbed in the back of his 2018 showroom clean Chevrolet and we were off to Texas.

The early dawn drive along the Rio Grande before we got to the border crossing had me thinking of my childhood exposures in Washington DC; before the fourth grade Texas history lessons began in Dallas; the Alamo, Davy Crockett and my Tennessee transition from high school through my career; my recent move to Morelia; and now, the current state of affairs in our two countries; which in the grand sweep of things didn’t seem to have progressed that much. All of this in the kaleidoscope of the minds eye with nary a concern for the process ahead, thanks to Rossy’s thorough preparation and the quiet calm of Sergio.

Laredo Border CrossingThe processional line of cars was already ten or twenty deep across all the open lanes which would only grow as the day progressed. This was my third border crossing. The first was on foot during a fraternity outing from The University of Texas to Nuevo Laredo in 1965 in the late night hours for cultural exchange of a different sort; the second was in my Volkswagen Beetle with my girl friend, Blythe, at spring break in 1966 on our way to Acapulco; and now. Ages 18, 19, and 70 respectively. What a difference a day makes.

The agenda in Laredo was an ATM for dollars to pay the Consulate fee and Sergio, the post office for my official change of address in the US from Nashville/Antioch to Seattle/Siverdale, the Consulate appointment at 9am, before the return to Nuevo Laredo bus terminal and a ticket for San Luis Obispo to break up the ride home. We drove by all the locations in close proximity to one another and it might as well have been Sunday morning. The border crossing had been that fast and smooth. Sergio and I went for breakfast at McDonald’s and I had my first egg, sausage, cheese and biscuit since my last workout at Planet Fitness the week before I left for Morelia and we talked about Sergio and his family of one child and wife with a bump in her stomach. Our use of translator tools on our cell phones kept the conversation moving.

Colon Plaza RestaurantWe made the rounds and were at the Consulate at the appointed hour and the waiting area was already full with approximately 40 people waiting to accomplish a variety of tasks. Thanks to Rossy’s planning the process proceeded without a hitch in a little less than the estimate two hour time frame. There was one more stop at Immigration before returning to Mexico. Sergio knew the landscape like the back of his hand and about an hour later we were in Nuevo Laredo at the bus station buying a ticket for San Luis which didn’t leave until early evening. We went back to Colon Plaza, settled our accounts, did our adios, and I set up my office in the restaurant with a martini.

Francisco arranged a taxi pick up for the short ride to the bus terminal at at dusk I was on my way for the night ride to San Luis. My plan was to spend the day or even night, do some discovery, and recovery before returning to Morelia. It was just past dawn and in my search for a ticket there was a bus leaving in 30 minutes and my sleepless weary self was more ready for home than a short recovery and discovery could provide.

San Luis Obispo CountryThe good news was I got to see the first of the country side since the Monterrey to Nuevo Laredo leg of the earlier trip and the towns and cities as the bus made a few infrequent stops. The dichotomy of Mexico, its landscape, and culture is the dramatic time-warp that separates the old from the new – sometimes within a few blocks of each other. The distance from San Luis to Morelia is all at high elevation, rolling and rugged passing through the states of San Luis Obispo, Gueretaro, and into Michoacan. Nuevo Leon is one of thirty one state in Mexico to the north of San Luis Obispo and borders the US.

Santiago de Queretaro

My project Workplace Hidden Opportunities resonated through out this pilgrimage. With all the discussion about migration from Mexico to the United States and too a smaller extent the migration of Expats in the reverse, this observation holds true for both. Mexico is more ripe with opportunity than I would ever have imagined. There are cities, to name two Santiago de Gueretaro and Monterrey, that are boom-centers beyond description. For the long-rooted agrarians where the leap to the information age is too far to go the industrial age opportunities abound. Population growth and age shift demand housing, commercial space, and infrastructure all of which means jobs. Public and private investment in those in Mexico is rampant.

Cafe MichelenaPeople like the Ramirez family in Morelia are examples of that leadership. Regardless of where an individual is on their own evolutionary path there are three industries that provide unlimited opportunity: construction, hospitality, and technology at every level from entry-level day labor to the executive management.

Hotel Virrey de MendozaMy apartment was a site for wanting eyes and a sore body. Ana had come and the place was spick and span. I deposited my things, refreshed myself, and taxied to Onix on the Portalas where libation, protein, potassium, and friendly faces would remind me I’m home! Juan brought me a drink, laid a cloth napkin in my lap, and the prevalent gentle breeze on that corner of the plaza were like a hug from an old friend. El Amigo Gringo de Portalas had become over these past months a friendly face and acquaintance from the regular street merchants like Adam and map-man to the beggars whose workplace that was. It is amazing to reflect on the insights that had poured forth on that corner across from my first writing office at Virrey de Mendoza hotel lobby the week after my arrival.

Rossy, another of my earthbound angels, went earlier this week to the Immigration offices in Morelia to continue the residence status with everything in order and only two perfunctory steps remain. For today my passport and visa asserts that I am a resident of Mexico.

Turista a Residente has been an incredible journey and I know it had only just begun.

This is a story about serendipity or Divine Order. You decide.

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The Workplace


In a western orchestra, there are typically between 22 and 30 instruments. Add casual, pop instruments perhaps another 20. Globally there must be a 1000 or more. Casper Abraham via Quora

When the idea for the Workplace 100™ (W100™) was conceived it was more focused on the corporate real estate aspect than the acceleration of change that is taking place in the workplace. From my perspective many of us could see the tsunami effect of those changes coming and were, in fact, speaking about them (some are captured on these pages). Most of us were not yet living them.

For many of us, 2017 was a disquieting year. Without recounting the numerous disturbances it has been a wake-up call to individual responsibility, accountability, and course corrections in 2018 and beyond. The W100 can be a Force majeure in bring raised consciousness and insights to what will unfold.

Road Ahead
Imagine one note played clearly and resonating without distraction. Now imagine two played clearly and resonating as if one. Now imagine four different notes played clearly and resonating in harmony. Now imagine eight players adding their own harmonic riffs. Then there were sixteen, thirty-two, sixty-four and finally one hundred. Each brought with them their unique instruments. And then they played together.

W100™ is an exercise and experiment in collective intelligence. It starts with the identification and naming of one hundred engaged souls who are perceived by their words and actions as emissaries of a unified thought capacity and an unbridled collective intelligence. Its focus is on the aesthetics of the workplace and on the physicality of underlying corporate real estate assets and operations.

Humanist Future Trends 2020: Peter Vander Auwera by Rudy de Waele was published only a few short days ago. Peter used the term levers in describing five trends that in his words, ‘could enable high-quality advancement for a humanist future.’

  • High-Quality Connections
  • Respect for the collective unconscious
  • Coherence of narrative, motives, and governance
  • Everything important has to do Aesthetic, Moral and Spiritual advancement
  • Structure drives everything

This is the type of instructive and inspiring communication we are looking to connect with the W100™ and the Workplace Hidden Opportunities network. One change in the selection criteria is the search for individuals who are pursuing a big idea and actively communicating aspects of implementing that big idea. Historically, best practices have been a mark of distinction. In today’s exponentially and accelerating change a best practice could, though not necessarily, be a framework for obsolescence.

What will be apparent now is that the identification and naming of W100™ candidates has not been the typical process of rounding up the usual suspects; nor will the qualification and onboarding process of its members. While many of these candidates are known to me and each other, I suspect many are not. The W100 is grand experiment in exploring the potentialities of collective intelligence. The list of candidates have been selected and will be announced here at Workplace Hidden Opportunities, on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere including such locations as the W100™ candidates choose to share. Tomorrow, August 2, 2018 is the day.


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The Lemon Tree

Lemon Tree 1In a nearby park to enjoy the first cool breeze we’ve had in several days in early June I was reminded of several summers spent in Clovis, New Mexico at my grandparents house.

Clovis is four hundred miles on a straight line west from Dallas, seven miles across the Panhandle border. My family lived in Dallas from the fall of 1956 to the summer of 1963 when we moved to Nashville, Tennessee. I had my ninth through fifteenth birthdays during those years.

Lemon Tree 2A lemon tree across from the bench where I sat now brought forth a cascade of reminiscences. A perspective yet to be seen and now retrospective all were captured in the Peter, Paul and Mary classic of my youth, Lemon Tree. What wondrous mystery I would write many years later in my own scribed vision, To My Father’s House.

Clovis, in those years, had about twenty thousand residents and the house at 712 Mitchell Street was a half block from the edge of downtown and the Methodist Church where my grandfather was one of the elders. The summers were hot like the spell (which I have been told is unusual) that Morelia is experiencing. The houses in Clovis didn’t have air-conditioning then nor does Morelia now. Mornings and evenings were usually a bit cooler with a breeze.

Clovis provided free reign visits to aunts and uncles, three downtown movie theaters where the films changed weekly, capturing butterflies, cherry Cokes at the Rexall lunch counter, or just wandering the streets and alleyways; the entertainments were endless. The basement at 712 and PopPop’s shop out back were museums in their own right. One was home to the collected memorabilia and his HO model train platform (which filled the basement), the other housed tools most of which he had designed and built from scratch and remain beyond my comprehension.

Clovis StockyardsClovis had two primary claims to fame: cattle ranching and the Santa Fe Railway. The stockyards were a bi-product. Breezes and strong winds came from many directions flavoring the night air with a variety of smells. My bedroom was on the front of the house where the windows opened to the front porch, its swing and when the wind was right (or wrong) the smell, which could last for days was as pungent as if you were in one of the stalls with the cattle. Across the street the expanse of the Curry County Courthouse grounds was like a park, but it too was subject to the prevailing winds. The theaters were air-conditioned and accompanied by the buttered popcorn and the big screen entertainment the smells outside were forgotten.

Life, in those days, before the lemon tree was free of many of the complexities of adulthood . . . at least in those transitional stages.

Today, looking back, those prophetic words resonate. Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet, but the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.

My friend, John Madden, like to quote a line from The Last Best Hope, ‘What you lose on the merry-go-round, you pick up on the swings.’ No tree, no flower, no flower, no fruit. And to be sure, some fruit is sweeter than others. As for my take at my now seventieth year, life without the lemon tree would missing its most primal ingredient.

Perhaps my favorite expression of this is Carly Simon performing It’s Coming Around Again with her chorus of young voices.

En Esapnol

En un parque cercano para disfrutar de la primera brisa fresca que hemos tenido en varios días a principios de junio, me acordé de varios veranos pasados ​​en Clovis, Nuevo México en la casa de mis abuelos.

Clovis está a cuatrocientas millas en línea recta al oeste de Dallas, a siete millas de la frontera del Panhandle. Mi familia vivió en Dallas desde el otoño de 1956 hasta el verano de 1963 cuando nos mudamos a Nashville, Tennessee. Tuve de noveno a decimoquinto cumpleaños durante esos años.

Un limonero frente al banco donde estaba sentado trajo una cascada de reminiscencias. Una perspectiva aún por verse y ahora retrospectiva, todas fueron capturadas en el clásico de Peter, Paul y Mary de mi juventud, Lemon Tree. Qué maravilloso misterio escribiría muchos años después en mi propia visión, “To My Father’s House”.

Clovis, en aquellos años, tenía alrededor de veinte mil residentes y la casa en 712 Mitchell Street estaba a media cuadra del borde del centro y de la Iglesia Metodista donde mi abuelo era uno de los ancianos. Los veranos eran calientes como el hechizo (que me han dicho que es inusual) que Morelia está experimentando. Las casas en Clovis no tenían aire acondicionado entonces tampoco Morelia ahora. Las mañanas y las tardes eran generalmente más frescas con la brisa.

Clovis brindó visitas gratuitas a tías y tíos, tres cines del centro de la ciudad donde las películas cambiaban semanalmente, capturaban mariposas, cerezas Cokes en el mostrador de Rexall, o simplemente deambulaban por las calles y los callejones; los entretenimientos fueron interminables. El sótano en 712 y la tienda PopPop atrás eran museos por derecho propio. Uno fue el hogar de los recuerdos recopilados y su plataforma de modelo de tren HO (que llenó el sótano), las otras herramientas alojadas, la mayoría de las cuales había diseñado y construido desde cero y quedan fuera de mi comprensión.

Clovis tenía dos reclamos principales a la fama: la ganadería y el ferrocarril de Santa Fe. Los corrales fueron un producto biológico. Brisas y vientos fuertes vinieron de muchas direcciones, dando sabor al aire nocturno con una variedad de olores. Mi habitación estaba en el frente de la casa, donde las ventanas se abrían al porche, su columpio y cuando soplaba el viento (o mal) el olor, que podía durar días, era tan intenso como si estuvieras en uno de los puestos. con el ganado Al otro lado de la calle, la extensión de los terrenos de los juzgados del condado de Curry era como un parque, pero también estaba sujeta a los vientos predominantes. Los teatros tenían aire acondicionado y estaban acompañados de palomitas de maíz con mantequilla y el entretenimiento de la gran pantalla olvidó los olores del exterior.

La vida, en aquellos días, antes de que el limonero estuviera libre de muchas de las complejidades de la edad adulta. . . al menos en esas etapas de transición.

Hoy, mirando hacia atrás, esas palabras proféticas resuenan. Limonero muy bonito y la flor de limón es dulce, pero la fruta del pobre limón es imposible de comer.

A mi amigo, John Madden, le gusta citar una frase de The Last Best Hope, “Lo que pierdes en el tiovivo, tomas en los columpios.” Sin árbol, sin flor, sin flor, sin fruto. Y para estar seguro, algunas frutas son más dulces que otras. En cuanto a mi opinión en mi ahora setenta años, la vida sin el limonero echaría en falta su ingrediente principal.

Utilice los enlaces y fotografías de arriba. . .

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