About Us

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Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Brian & Deya met in Vancouver Canada. After a few years together we were married and made choices. One was not to have children the other was not to take life for granted. The rest is yet to come.

July 24, 2013

The surprises of a renovation project and others…


The Highlights

· The return of a dear friend from South America… alive and in one piece!!!
I want to say welcome back to Mexico Octavio after few months of travelling with Namibia through Central and South America; she will be waiting for you in Argentina patiently to continue on to the tip of the world.
I am just extremely happy for you to have come back in one piece and full of experiences, good energy and friends; I wish you accomplished your goals.
We still need to connect... I would love to hear about the journey and the one to come…

-Thanks for the lovely gifts, you will see me wearing each of those items, I truly love them!!! Brian thinks you have great taste!!!-
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· Our Volunteering efforts, Sunday at the beach picking up garbage.
This month we participated in a Sunday Activity called “Primera Campana de Conservacion y Limpieza de Playas”, basically a campaign to clean the busy beach of Progreso where all the locals go in the Summer (more than visitors/foreigners) and dump their garbage.
Quite interesting to see foreigners (Brian and Deya) cleaning the locals’ beach. It did not take long to get couple of locals embarrassed and getting up to help… An enjoyable activity organized by “Na’Lu’Um Colectivo”, another organization to which Merida Verde supports.

-In Progreso picking up garbage from the beach…-
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In the beach Progreso 140713
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· Fun with friends…
Less words, more pictures.
Our dear friend Lic. Alberto knows where to find good food; I love the poc-chuc of this place: El Principe Tutul-Xiu in Merida.. and with Betty having ice cream on Paseo Montejo close to midnight.
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· Our Renovations Project: Centro #1.
We are full throttle into construction so please excuse the short update. What is next: executing, control and monitoring and iterative planning.
1- Some of the unknowns.
Like in any project there are unknowns and those can be devastating if the planning phase did not consider them.
In this project we found couple of items that need attention: some of the columns in the first floor do not have a foundation and therefore we need to build those. We also found a well under one of the walls which requires some Engineering to avoid sinking of the wall with the weight of the second floor.
98_190713 The new columns for first floor
100_190713 The well
104_200713 The well 9m deep

2- Some of the interesting knowns.
Have you seen a cistern and septic field being built? Here some pictures of the beginning of the septic field which will be located far enough from the cistern to avoid contamination.

-The septic field, the cistern later!!!-
60_150713 The septic field
61_150713 The septic field


3- Our stakeholders.
A great deal of work keeping the stakeholders engage and understanding their expectations to best meet the client’s expectations who at the end looks for reasonable answers. Our neighbour in the back was willing to remove his invading roof after having proper communication with him, helping him to understand our rights and needs.
The neighbour in the right side facing the property had made a bunch of assumptions and operated based on those to complain about the noise produced by the nature of the project: CONSTRUCTION. As a Project Manager I need to make sure that he is engage and does not cause grief, in summary. I was very patient and in simple language I explained to him that we have the permits to operate (which is not normal and he had made the assumption that we don’t have them) and that we could assist with lessening the amount of noise on the roof (the one that most affected him) from 10am-1pm under the understanding that we were going to do that to support him not because we had to; I also reminded him that if he had built his own wall rather than using ours, the noise would not be as cumbersome.
One way or another, I have made intense efforts to keep our stakeholders engage but yet I still need to work harder because these stakeholders are not the most problematic…

-Neighbour at the back taking his roof from our property-
4_Neighbour taking his roof from our property
13_Neighbour without roof

-Our neighbour from the right side facing the property using our back wall to hold his roof-
73_170713 Our wall was used by the neighbour to sit his roof in the back


4- The beauty.
When the walls were uncovered to treat the humidity on them we discovered beautiful, tasteful walls that we are thinking to preserve in that way. We will see…

-The overall progress-
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-Look at the beautiful rocks that may remain uncovered!!!-
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Regards,
Deyanira MD.

July 02, 2013

The right way or no way!!!

I am not going to bore you with the details of our “boring” lives… of course you can imagine that coming to a new city involves a lot of paperwork, exploring, settling, looking-finding, setting up schedules, trying to get used to the new weather, meeting people, getting involved in activities, learning how to get around (although with Floyd is easier), integrating (the most important part/reason of being “somewhere”), etc…

The truth is: it does not matter where, we make ourselves busy; we produce results. Brian is 100% immerse in his studies and I am conducting an interesting project under my boss’ supervision.


The Highlights

· A visit with Christophe Langlois, an excellent, fun, fantastic individual and well known Chef from Bowen Island… an adventurer. He came to Merida in April on his way back to Canada, after touring North and Central America. We shared “The Motorcycle Diaries” and enjoy his company for few days, although we had no home to offer him… sorry about that Christophe, next time you are here we will welcome you in our home!!!

-Christophe and “The Motorcycle Diaries”-
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We will see you back in Canada, now you are in our hearts!!!


· Enjoying life despite our busy schedule. Finding the activities that are set up for free!!! Getting to know the locals!!!

-Lots of activities for free in Merida, hard to be bored…-
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-Finding out what is made in Yucatan is interesting… we love doing research on what is produced locally, how and by who-
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-It is not the same owning a hammock, than owning a hammock made by Jose in Tixkokob, having had lunch with him and his family. By the way, the guy speaks English and he learned on the street. When Brian described what Jose told him after 30 minutes of chatting while I was in the bank, I thought Brian’s Spanish was improving so fast, later on I found out the truth-
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-Our second hammock, made by Andres’ mom (Emilia) in Chumayel… they got a ride, we got a meal…-
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-The Challenge!!!-
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-We met a French chef (French-Canadian) in the Saturday’s “Slow Foods Farmer’s Market” and he provided us with real bread and goodies… we know where his business is now…-
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-Learning how to sleep on a hammock (or should I say in a hammock?) is something that Brian is mastering… I am still attached to the bed but will soon start the training… Sleeping on a hammock in Yucatan is common but there are certain things that cannot happen in a hammock… ummm????-
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· Volunteering for two organizations: Merida Verde and Mission of Friendship.
The first one, Merida Verde, was created to promote greater sustainability in all aspects of life in Merida. I am leading the Recycling Task Force and had already scored some points (according to Brian) in the monthly municipal meetings making more than a few people sweat.
The second one, was created to support the community in different aspects; in other words to form Christian community, to grow in faith and love with the people of Yucatan, and to share their gifts and talents with those in need. Though we don’t belong to the faith base of this organization we do support the great work they do and people who help the children of the Yucatan. Our roles are as mentors and guides to young kids offering our skills and experience for the benefit of their development.
Both organizations are led by two lovely, lovely women. We hope to contribute and make a difference.

-Volunteering with great organizations!!!-
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· Our Renovations Project: Centro #1.
This has not been easy, but definitely interesting. I will summarize it in steps and will try to provide you with an idea of how Project Management applies here; a small or big project, what matters is: knowing what we are doing.
1- I can tackle a mouse or an elephant but first I need to find out how. Although Yucatan is part of Mexico, things are set up differently. The first step to conduct this project was to find out: What is involved? Who is involved? How much does it cost? When does it happen? What is the status of our property? Where do I stand? And more…
2- Finding the right people and going through the steps. Yes, we are in Mexico but that does not mean that there are no rules or that we can just pay for people to do what we “want” them to do. I refuse to be a sheep and therefore finding the right people for the bus is important so we don’t die through the corners. The laws and regulations are North American therefore knowing how to read and speak Spanish allows me to understand that I don’t have to make stuff up, I just need to read. Hiring an Architect to develop an Architectural design was cumbersome since we did not know anyone here. Establishing a proper relationship with our Architect was definitely what I would call indispensable in order to get those drawings approved by the different Institutions that have jurisdiction over the property (e.g. INAH, Patrimonio, Obras Publicas).
3- Research, research, research!!! While the Architects were working on the design I was busy finding out what was next. And by the time they finished the design I managed to have water and electrical hooked up (including a letter of apology from the manager of the electrical company for poor performance) as well as a Project Management Plan that the client: Brian, approved. This plan basically outlines how Project Manager (PM): Deya, will go through each stage of the project (Initiating, Planning, Executing, Controlling & Monitoring and Closing) and how she will manage each of the management areas (Integration, Scope, Time, Cost, HR, QC, Procurement, Risk, Communications and the recent added Stakeholder), in other words, the plan will tell the client how PM intends to approach the project and will allow her to set a baseline to depart form.
4- The right way or no way!!! A pretty design means nothing. An approved design means: we can work. Normally Architects in Mexico, present to the different Institutions involved in the permitting, a set of drawings and a different set to the client. With us, that was not the case: one set, PERIOD.
Client did not come to Merida to get a fancy, modern façade; in Merida historical buildings are protected therefore a modern façade in our project would be a NO-NO. With this in mind we got permits and found out every detail of the process.
Now, after going through the selection process to hire a Contractor, we have one and we are working with him to manage the scope and cost of the project.
The renders will give you an idea of what we are trying to achieve and the drawings, which had suffered some changes, will give you an idea of the distribution of the space… space that we like to share with you in the near future.

BEFORE
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AFTER (Renders)
And still too modern, this is definitely how the façade WILL NOT LOOK LIKE!!! And apparently the neighbours also changed the front of their buildings???
FINAL-FACHADA
FINAL ARTE
FINAL COCINA
FINAL BAÑO
FINAL CUARTO
FINAL TERRAZA

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Regards,
Deyanira MD.