Sunday, July 27, 2008

Road Trip Baja California

I'm an atlas freak. One of the first things I did in Tijuana was buy maps of Tijuana, San Diego, Mexico and Baja California. I sat poring over them, and decided that while we're here, we should drive down the Baja California peninsula, which looks like it's made for a road trip.

The perfect opportunity presented itself when our friends from Abu Dhabi Shawn & Dawn came down to visit for two weeks (unfortunately at a time when Ahmed was back in Abu Dhabi, so next time, sweetie!). So I got my first real experience of travelling with a baby and the copious amounts of gear that involves. I think I did pretty well with one suitcase between us for clothes, two big bottles of baby water, one tin of formula, and one separate bag with bottles and sterilizer. And a car seat. And some toys. And her push chair, but being a Quinny, it's tiny and hardly takes up any space in the car boot. And of course, the precious baby herself, Princess Maya. We loaded into the car, Shawn in the driver seat, Dawn, his wing woman, and Maya and I taking up the back seat. We got as far south as Loreto, on the Sea of Cortez, in 40+ degree temperatures in a car with broken air conditioning. Maya, bless her sweaty forehead, hardly complained at all.

Here's the view for about a thousand of the 2,500 km we drove:

Here's Maya enjoying the view on the drive:

Here's our amazing baby learning how to hold her breath underwater: (Shawn took this picture, can't take the credit!)

I never realised it was so simple. When you blow on her face, her instinct is to hold her breath. At that moment, you can dunk her underwater briefly, and she won't breathe in any water. And provide a nice happy, smiling face when she comes up, so she's not too startled! Maya loved the pool & her dunkings. And Auntie Dawn coughing and spluttering in the water and swimming her around. Our little Pisces water baby.

Tips and hints if you too happen to be doing a Baja road trip one day:
El Rosario: stay at the Baja Cactus Inn, not the Hotel by Mama Espinoza's. Same price ($40 per room, but worlds apart).
Santa Rosalia: stay at Hotel El Morro (just south of town) Ph.(615) 152 0414. Nice rooms for $45 but the highlight is definitely the pool, where Maya did her impersonation of the baby on Nirvana Nevermind album cover.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Making the most of it

On the surface, there's very little to complain about:
1. Maya is with me all the time. How many adoptive parents are lucky enough to have their babies with them from (almost) newborn? She's a delightful baby, and so easy to love and look after!

2. My position at the British Council has been held for me. And being a British company, I've been entitled to 6 months' maternity leave. Very lucky, compared to most other companies in the UAE and their measly 45 days.

3. Playas is really nice place to while away the days. The beach is a 15 minute walk away. There are numerous cafes within walking distance. The supermarket is a 5 minute walk away. The border fence is a mere 500 metres away. Here's where it tapers off into the Pacific Ocean:

I find borders very strange. NZ is surrounded by sea, so that's our border. Fences are for keeping sheep in. Or out.

4. The weather is great. Sunny every day. Not too hot.

5. I have a beautiful courtyard to hang out in with Maya, who loves looking at the trees and plants, and the turtles in their little pond. Abu Dhabi and our lack of balcony or garden will be a shock to both of us.

6. Tijuana is fascinating. There is a lot more to Tijuana than I'd expected, and I don't feel at all unsafe, given all the negative reporting. I know there are drug shootings, and certainly, there are problems, but which city doesn't have such problems? Ok, Abu Dhabi, maybe.

7. We've been so lucky to have so many visitors. Not all the families living here during the adoption process are so blessed with friends and family coming from so far away to support them.

Despite these things, these two months have been particularly hard. Ahmed left on the 13th June, and there are still no official dates on the horizon, so nothing really to look forward to. The worst has to be the indefinite waiting around. Maya is growing up, her papa is on the other side of the world, and all I can do is sit and enjoy the sunshine.

So I decided to get out and do some things to keep me occupied. Three things:

Firstly, I called one of the mothers from Gymboree who gave me her phone number one day, and arrange to meet for coffee.

Secondly, I discovered that the Red Cross charity shops needs volunteers to help out.

Thirdly, I printed up some notices advertising private English lessons. (I never actually got around to delivering them. I think the logistics of trying to teach with a 5 month old baby are too tricky. And I don't really want to charge people for lessons)

But with the first two ideas, I end up making a great friend in Anna, a Russian mother, who's recently moved to Tijuana to be with her Mexican husband. We discover that we both really enjoy walking, and push our babies all around Playas at least once a week. We are a rare sight, however. No other mothers out pushing their babies. I also really enjoy hanging out with a group of retired Americans & Mexicans every Thursday morning at the Red Cross in Rosarito.

So the months of June & July slip by, with these pleasant diversions, but no progress on the adoption front.