It’s good to be back home. I didn’t realize this was home until I was gone for a week. I knew I had settled in here, begun to make a life, but I didn’t think of it as home until I was back in San Diego. There is a reason for me to be here, a reason that matters. My reasons for staying in San Diego are gone now. Visiting can be fun, but it runs out of steam after a while.
The first few days were busy as I could make them. Surfing in the morning, seeing friends and family, generally doing everything in the course of three days since I expected to leave on Monday, Tuesday at the latest. It was fun, busy, a bit crazy, but fun. Then came the visit to the immigration office. Dealing with the government is never easy.
I was on the last day that my certificate from Guadalajara was still valid, so the consulate in San Diego decided they needed to call and make sure it was okay. No, that does not make sense to me either. I also couldn’t return until Thursday, when they had an appointment available. I didn’t need an appointment the first time I showed up, but for some reason I couldn’t just walk in on Tuesday. Once I had that done, they told me to go to the airport to get the canje visa so I could get my final work visa in Guadalajara. The airport immigration office, it turns out, doesn’t have those. So, the only thing to do was to go back to the border and visit that immigration office. Unfortunately, the cab dropped me off at the entry to the United States, which offers no access to the Mexican Immigration Office. It’s on the other side of the concrete walled, ten car entry point complete with unhappy looking people with dogs and guns.
Fortunately I have my Sentri card, so I crossed back into the United States, crossed the bridge to the entrance to Mexico, and crossed again so I could get to the office. I’m sure there’s another way, but it’s not easy to find late at night in a language you’re not completely familiar with. Without the Sentri, I would have never made my flight in time. If you ever cross into Mexico by land, you should get the Sentri. I used it after the seminar in Tijuana on Sunday and crossed in half an hour. The people I know without it spent four hours in line. I’ve spent up to six and a half on a holiday weekend.
The seminar was awesome, and if I had more than just a weekend I would have gladly spent the time crossing back. As it was, I’m glad I didn’t have to. It was a stuntman seminar with Art Camacho, a director, stunt coordinator, and generally awesome guy. Somehow though, I still managed to get hit in the face, more than once, by the same person. The Doctor has been training to hit too long to easily switch to not targeting vital points. He never hit me hard, but it’s hard to retrain something so ingrained in your martial practice. Most others hit people because they don’t have enough skill. He just has too much.
Apparently I need to work on my head snap when I’m reacting to an attack. Not a surprise, but I also want to work on my rolls and falls. I’ve been thinking about finding a Karate school down here to help with it. I don’t like the combat style much, but I need to know how to hit the ground and recover.
We did manage to get together for nerd poker one night. Phucket was late, but he had work and it was last minute. It was a good time, laughing and mocking each other. I’m playing with them again tonight, but it’s not the same over the computer. It’s still fun, but it lacks something that only physical presence can provide. The stories are fantastic, and I can’t wait to see how this chapter ends.
Surfing was awesome. I wish I could have done more of it, but it started raining on Tuesday. That, more than anything ruined the relaxing holiday week. I know in many parts of the world, rain is common and easily dealt with. In San Diego, everything seems to stop, like a snowstorm in New York. Over the course of two days they had maybe an inch of rain. The results are always the same. First comes the car accidents, because no one knows how to drive, or more importantly, to stop, in the rain. Second, the beaches become toxic from all the runoff into the ocean. Whatever diseases and poisons are on the streets end up in the water for a few days so surfing can result in the joy of medication resistant diseases that can be mildly lethal. Third, my Sifu trains outdoors, and the rain can be a bit acidy and burny sometimes, and he prefers to avoid the possibility of getting sick.
On the plus side, I did get soup. That is one of my favorite things in the world, hot soup on a cold day. As long as it’s decent soup, I’m happy. That is one of the aggravating things about Mexico. With all the slow cooking they do in this country, they do not have crockpots. I’m guessing it has something to do with the price of electricity, but it still makes me sad. It was nice spending most of the time at home. By the time Thursday hit and I didn’t have my own place, with my own stuff, and all that has become familiar, it started to wear a bit thin. It’s amazing how simple comfort can be hard to find, even when you feel welcome in someone’s home.
The worst part was that I was getting tired of the food. Not the quality, but the quantity. I haven’t had heartburn since I left San Diego, but being back for a week that already changed. I guess my stomach just doesn’t like to be stuffed until it feels like it should rupture anymore. I did that way too often when I lived in the States, and my new habits are still taking hold. I would walk into a store and feel the need to buy something food related. I used to have trouble resisting that force, but it’s not as strong as it used to be. One of the things I left the States to learn was how to be hungry. I am just surprised that I am learning so fast.
Back home again, I had home made chard tamales with Mexican hot chocolate for breakfast. I had a great night at Mexican nerd poker night at the Diplomat’s house. I went out for lunch and wound up walking for an hour and a half to see a graveyard that looked like a park on the map. I never did get food either, just walked and wandered a new part of the city. I got to work again, and teaching is still awesome. I got to take a long nap in a cold room with many heavy blankets. I talked to my landlord in Spanish, and he ended it with that simple word. Bienviendos. Welcome.