High Desert Life

by Miles Hutchins

It seems a bit strange writing to Central Oregonians from Central Mexico. But life goes on wherever you find yourself.

For instance, I recently had cataract surgery in Guadalajara. I would have had it in Bend if still residing in Central Oregon. Since Guadalajara is a large city of several million, and our destination was in the bowels of the city, we opted to travel by taxi instead of risking a late arrival at the clinic. One of the best decisions we have made since arriving in this beautiful country.

Our driver, Felipe, was highly recommended by two of our nearby vecinos (neighbors). He arrived promptly at 7:15 and away we went. Felipe is also a couple of blocks away vecino. Speaking English as well as Spanish, he is also well acquainted at the Guadalajara clinic of my doctora, the designation of a female doctor. Felipe was a great help getting me signed in, help with paying the bill, getting Bobbi some coffee and, in his spare time, assisting other folks with linguistic limitations.

Bottom line to all this is that I now see much better with my formerly cataract covered left eye and am looking (pardon the unintended pun) forward to having the same surgery on my right eye some day in the not-too-distant future.

We are settling in quite well, I think, to life in Mexico. On Easter Sunday after church, we, along with 16 others, enjoyed a scrumptious meal at one of our church friends’ house in a community called the Raquet Club, an upscale place situated on a hillside, with a great view of Lake Chapala. It also provided a cooling breeze for our outdoor on the patio dining.

Our thoughts often go back to Redmond and our life there. Singing in the choir at St. Thomas was a joy. But our choir here at St. Andrews Anglican Church is almost professional, so we just enjoy it, not sing in it.

Likewise, we fondly remember working at St. Vincent food bank, or St. Vinnie’s as we called it. In fact, Bobbi and I met there. There are similar opportunities here to volunteer and participate in community affairs. And many chances to donate to fund raising events, which almost always include a remarkable meal.

Breaking bread together has taken on a whole new meaning to us. Let me hasten to add that these charitable activities are part and parcel of the foreigner and Mexican community both. A recent event was held at a Mexican restaurant, staffed by Mexicans, owned by a Mexican, in a facility and on land donated by foreigners. All diverse groups imaginable had plunked down 450 pesos, about $23 U.S. dollars, to attend and support a local feeding program in the area.

After living my entire life in Oregon, except for the last (nearly) two years here in Mexico, I can say with some certainty that differences matter little, and similarities matter a lot.

— Miles Hutchins is a retired former Redmond resident who grew up in Central Oregon and now lives in Mexico. Contact him at milesredmond@gmail.com .