Friday, March 20, 2009


Our area was at the far left.

It's strange to live in a foreign country, even if it's one as close as next door. Our property was in what was called an "American" community there. It was like living in a capsule of Americana. Our area was divided into several sections or "camps". The first two camps down the Z road as we called it, had names. The next 3 were numbered and the last section was the Baja Beach & Tennis Club.

Before Baja Beach was even built, they began to sell lifetime memberships to the Americans in the area. Roger wanted to buy in, but I was hesitant. They wanted $5k of our precious building dollars to get in on the "ground floor". I'm glad we didn't spend the money there.

We spent time making the plans for our home. Leasing land in Mexico is a gamble no matter what. 99 years leases are a lie. Even 3 ten-year leases may not be made with full disclosure. Roger was retired because he had developed asbestosis on the job. Whatever we built would be his last hurrah and he loved Mexico. We decided that we'd spend the money he had saved to build the house. We were not blind to the fact that we might lose everything. We couldn't even rent a home such as we wanted in the U.S. It was a go.

The first kind of Spanish I learned was construction Spanish. We hired an architect, made plans, had them approved and hire a man to begin construction for us. It took many months to get the foundation in. You understand that a man who builds his home on sand is a fool. Our footing went more than 5' down with thirteen 4' pilasters, 1" re bar in both directions and tied with heavy wire. Fill dirt then came in and a one foot concrete foundation was poured. Roger stubbed in all the elecrtic, phone and plumbing before the foundation went in.

We rejoiced every time we saw progress in the house. After the foundation, the windows were the biggest expense. We had 29 of them installed. Curtains were not an issue. There were no permanent residents within view when we built it.

The beams atop the 26' second story were enourmous! Roger and his friend Art installed the one at the rear (over the upstairs bathroom) while I video taped. I nearly had a heart attack. Other than the framing for the bathroom and loft, there was no place to land. The other beam was over open space 26 feet below. I asked Roger not to try to participate in that, so we spoke to our contractor. Seven young men showed up to earn a bonus. We took a walk. I couldn't watch. It was worth every penny to take that walk.

Living in the trailer wasn't easy. We thought it was big when we bought it. It was 30' long with a middle bedroom and rear bath. It had all the amenities. Wonderful for a couple of lovebirds as we were back then. Unfortunately, there was no room for disagreement in that 30'. When we would argue, one of us would head for the bedroom, the other for the kitchen/family area until we cooled off. I don't know exactly how he felt, but it was tough for me to pass him to use the bathroom while I was still angry - or have him pass me for that matter. We stopped construction to build a 30' x 15' room and 2nd bath alongside the trailer.

I hear and read of such turmoil in Mexico these days with the drug wars going on. I know it is a frightening place nowadays. I thought I would live and die there. I love speaking Spanish, I love the people there, I love "my" kids who still live there. My years were not wasted. I still have missionary friends there, including the couple who took over the ministry when we left 4 1/2 years ago. I am saddened to know that the country is in turmoil and persecution of the Americans still living there is likely. Please pray for those who have been chosen to place themselves in ministry in countries around the world.

Also please pray for my sister Charlotte who will be having surgery on Monday, my dear friend Sharon who will have surgery on Tuesday and for Donna who is also having or just had surgery. I thank you for reading and I am praying for you as well. Love and blessings,


Pamela said...

Beautiful place! I'm sure you miss it.

Carolyn said...

I can imagine how you miss it. It is always sad when your "home" changes so much and becomes a dangerous place for others to be. I would have loved to see progress made on the house. You two must have been so happy to see it happen as you did. God Bless you Penny. You are such a dear sister! Love

natalie said...

Dear Penny,
I will add their names to my prayers and I wish them well.
Thank you for this very interesting entry.
I am sure that times were more free in Mexico then; even is poverty was still there.I love Mexico too and I worry about it.
thank you too for the kind comments in my journal.

Lisa said...

I can't wait to hear about when you moved into the new home... oh please tell me you got to move into it! Hearing about that beam and the footers is amazing...I always wondered how they build on beachfront land.

Kathy said...

Penny you have lived such an interesting life and I so enjoy reading your essays about Mexico and your missionary work.

I do hope today finds you feeling well.