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My Retirement Journal: Day 1

I'm retired.

Yesterday was my last day at POP. It was a momentous day for me, but while I cleaned out my desk and took care of a few last-minute chores, for everyone else it was a regular Tuesday. A few people came by to wish me well, and at 3:30 I was invited to a champagne toast with the people who sit in my area. There was some sweet reminiscing, and when it was finally time to go I felt pretty wistful.

Although retirement is, by definition, a monumental life event, leaving the job I've held longer than any other job in my life feels even more significant to me. I think it's inevitable when you work at the same company for thirteen years, they will come to feel like family. Like all families, there was plenty of dysfunction but also lots of love. Leaving them is in many ways harder than parting with long-time friends or moving out of my home. These are people I see every day, people who are always there even if just via peripheral vision. Some of them I really liked, some maybe not so much, some I hardly knew. But all of them were a big part of my life, and I will miss them a lot.

Plus I have so much respect for the quality of the work they do. Even when I was frustrated by aspects of my job, I was always proud to be a POPster.

Yesterday was also the day the proceeds from the sale of my house landed in my bank account, and it was the day I had to wire some of that money to pay for my house in Ajijic. I contacted my real estate agent down there, and they sent the settlement statement, but then I got the email that threatened to topple all the dominoes.

First, some background. In Mexico, all real estate transactions are handled by a Notario. In the US a Notary is a licensed public official who can do things like administer oaths, take testimony, and witness and authenticate legal documents. In Mexico, the Notario is a lawyer with a lot of experience and training who has gone through rigorous training and passed a stringent exam. All real estate transactions are handled by a Notario, whose responsibilities include providing document security and ensuring that everything is done in accordance with the law, that the deed title is clear, and that it is recorded at the Public Registry. The Notario is both civilly and criminally liable if anything is not handled correctly.

So yesterday at 11:14 am I received an email from the manager of my real estate agency. It seems the Notario wanted me to have my actual resident card in order to close. But I won't get my resident card until after three to six weeks after I get to Mexico and apply for it. All I have now is the visa stamp in my passport that allows me to enter and receive the documentation I need to complete that application. He does have a photocopy of the tourist visa card I had when I was there in January; do I still have that card? Of course, I don't, because I had to surrender it when I left the country. I emailed him back:
Please do not tell me now that we cannot proceed!
And then I go into a quiet panic and wait. Seventeen long minutes. Finally I get a reply.
We talked to the Notary, he will allow us to close with the copy we have of your Tourist visa.
The dominoes are still standing. I wired the money, they have received it, and everything is still on track.

Today I am selling my car, and tonight I'm having dinner with a friend. Tomorrow I'm not sure what I'll do with myself all day. At midnight my friend Joy will pick me up and take me to the airport. My flight is at 5:00 am Friday.

I'm scheduled to arrive at Guadalajara airport at 2:20 pm. I have to hope I make it through immigration and customs quickly, because when I get to Ajijic I have to go to the real estate office and sign some stuff in order for everything to be ready for closing on Monday. The guy I'm renting a car from is picking me up. A few more dominoes could still teeter. 

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