Thursday, November 29, 2012


It was just about this time last year that I published this post about aguinaldos for mail carriers and employees, be they part or full-time.  I believe it is worth publishing again as a reminder to all of us living in Mexico.  So, here it is again:

Yes, it is definitely that time of year. It all starts with the mail carriers who have their special day on November 12, Dia del Cartero. In your mail box, they will leave a card with a return envelope, preprinted with their name on it. (Convenient, huh?)

You simply insert your “gift” as a token of appreciation for their service for the past year. I think they must like me because I actually participate in giving, partially because I have always given to my mailman when in the States in appreciation for the services they provide, and partially out of fear that if I don’t give, I may never receive another piece of mail as long as I live in Mexico!  

On the other hand, I readily give generously to my housekeeper who works for me fulltime, year round. She is an integral part of my adopted family that I have been fortunate enough to have for 23+ years now. She is a single mother and has two children and a small house that she supports on the salary I pay her. In addition, any special needs that arise, I take care of plus I help whenever I can throughout the year. Her Christmas bonus is above and beyond the norm, and includes several gifts for both her and the children. I do believe that it is more blessed to give than to receive and this is one way I can give back to the community that I have chosen to live in. Something I think we all should do.

If you live in Mexico and you have an employee such as a housekeeper, gardener, cook, driver, or just someone who stops by to help you with chores every now and then, you should consider paying an Aguinaldo. It is customary to do so here in the Yucatan and throughout Mexico as well. There are even formulas on the internet to ascertain the amount you should pay!

Basically, from what I have seen from others living here, the Aguinaldo is considered the “Thirteenth Pay”. That is, one months’ salary for either full or part time help. In addition, to the monetary part of the Aguinaldo, a gift, or gifts, are often given as a token of appreciation for loyal service and/or longevity of service, or both.

Aguinaldo’s are usually paid in Mid-November up to the first part of December and often represents the total “Christmas” the family will have, including food, drink, and gifts. Often, the children in the family will receive some new clothing as their gift and are absolutely delighted to do so! (Unlike some children “north of the border”.) Let’s face it, the people that work for us are generally poor and do the best they can with what they have. It doesn’t hurt to help. It feels GREAT!

You don’t have to give until it hurts, just give until it helps.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


I have recently been thinking of all the wonderful things there are to be thankful for while living here in Merida.  Mind you, it is not “cheap” to live here, but you do get a bigger bang for your buck on many items.

I live on a budget but do take the opportunity to splurge on myself whenever I can.  For example, I have a massage therapist come to my home twice a week and I receive physical therapy and massage therapy.  He is a licensed professional (four year college graduate) and does a great job.  His charge is 150 pesos for one hour.  150 pesos is the approximate equivalent of $11.50 US.

The other day, I went for a haircut, shave, and manicure.  Each service cost 90 pesos, or the approximate equivalent of $7.00 US.  There are many places that charge less, but you get what you pay for.  I normally only get a shave and a haircut, but there was a new girl in the shop just starting out so I thought I’d help her out a bit and give her some business by having a manicure.  I rarely get a manicure, but I actually enjoyed the pampering.  While getting my manicure, Evelyn was cutting my hair.  Afterwards, I received a facial cleansing and light facial massage with a skin treatment prior to my shave.  After the shave, more facial cleansing, a bit of gel for my hair, and I was on my way, feeling like a million dollars.  All of this cost only $21.00, plus tips of course.  How can you afford not to pamper yourself every now and then?  I cannot imagine what such services would cost in the US or Canada, but I’m sure it would definitely be more than $21.00 US.

Having had an on-again, off-again, stomach flu bug for the past two weeks, I decided to go to the doctor.  Most local pharmacies, have a doctor on staff.  They are usually young and just starting out, but nonetheless, they are medical school graduates.  I knew I needed an antibiotic to get rid of this bug I had and explained my symptoms to the young doctor.  He diagnosed me with an intestinal inflammation and gave me a script for an antibiotic, cipro.  His charge:  zero/nothing/nada!  His services are a courtesey of the pharmacy.  I went to the pharmacy to fill my script and the medication cost only a few dollars.  Total charge for doctor’s visit and medications was approximately $11.00. 

So yes, there are some tremendous advantages of living here in Merida.  But realize that, comparatively speaking, not everything is so inexpensive.  There are lots of items that cost more here than in the States.  Food prices keep going up and up, as does gasoline.  Electricity is another big ticket item, too, as are most electronics.  But, after all is said and done, you can live comfortably here, even on a fixed income.

Life is good here in Merida and I am grateful for all the blessings that have been bestowed upon me.