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Catching A Dream

Dreams are ephemeral, and what happens in them is not real…. Until it is.

Two years ago, Gabriel and I went to Puebla, Mexico, on vacation. It was a vacation like many of our vacations over the previous five years, where we were exploring places that we might want to retire to. There had been several trips to the Redwood forest close to the Oregon Border and along the Oregon Coast all the way up to Portland. There was undoubtedly all the beauty that anyone would require, but there would be no family there. Finally, on this vacation we decided to go to Puebla, not just to visit family, but for me to see how it would fit to live there.

Gabriel’s mother is 85 now, and he wanted to visit her regularly, so while he had been going to Puebla, I had not. It had been several years since I had gone with him, and this time, we went and stayed with his mother and sister, but we were out and about much of the time. People in Puebla walk more and drive less, so I was walking 5-10 miles per day, which is a great way to get to know a city. The downtown area called to me, with its colonial style (3 story buildings with commercial on the ground floor and apartments above that), little parks, great food, and weather that is generally not too hot since the altitude is 8000 feet. Eventually, we came to realize that our dream of moving to Portland was evaporating and was beginning to coalesce around Puebla.

Dreams stay dreams until we create them into our lives. We can sit and daydream about how nice something will be, but until we switch from dreaming to doing, it will just be a fancy. There is always something concrete that needs to be done to get it going. It can be as simple as doing a vision board, where you cut out pictures from magazines that remind you of the many components of your dream. Or it can be an action that starts the dream on its way to reality.

For Gabriel and I, that first step was looking at what apartments were available in the downtown area. Puebla is not as internet driven as Los Angeles is, so one way to find an apartment is to walk around and look for the “Se Renta” signs. We walked and started to make calls, and saw many apartments. Finally, we found a building just a block and a half from the Zocalo (the downtown park with the cathedral and shops ringing it) that had two-bedroom apartments available. While it was not exactly what we wanted for once we moved to Puebla, it was perfectly priced for an interim apartment. We rented it, and then I had to leave to go home. Gabriel was there for another week and started looking for furniture, but only bought a couch before he came home.

The apartment became an anchor for our dream. We were now committed, but I was still determining when we could move. It was the summer of 2022, and I still had lots to do for Ahiah. The pandemic was over, but Ahiah was not back to any sense of normalcy. Our Sunday service was open, but most of our congregation still watched the service from home. On the home front, I had one son who was still in college, another who was battling his own personal demons, and a third son who was divorced and living out of state, so my granddaughter was missing her father. I expected that it would be 3-5 years until things would settle down, or I just got to a point where, as the toast pops out of the toaster, I would be finished even if all the reasons to stay were not.

As time went on, things progressed. My son in college was on the path to graduation (in fact, he is walking for his graduation next Sunday), the other son found a path to peace, and my third son had moved home and lived with my granddaughter again. Ahiah pulled out of the Pandemic Doldrums and had a steady heartbeat. Gabriel started creating his own dreams of going home. So, while the toaster had not popped yet for me, everything else was starting to point to the possibility that this was the time.

In March, we went to Puebla to see how retiring would feel. With enough furniture in the apartment to make it feel like home (even a stove and a refrigerator), we could easily imagine how it would feel. We talked to the landlord about our dog Ganesh, and after much wringing of hands, they finally said that they would not bend on their no-pets policy. With the angst of the real world settling into our dream, we decided it was still a good dream and that this was the time. That left the final few chapters of retirement, which are well on their way to becoming real.

The point of telling this story is that dreams are just dreams until we start down the path that makes them real. Renting the apartment and seeing how we could live in Puebla was our first step to reality. So, what is your apartment?

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