Cabin Fever (León Enjaulado)

First off, I have neglected to revel the christened name of our Ford Fiesta. Its official name is “Frijolito” (little black bean). Frijolito has been doing reasonably well as long as we operate within its preferred specs. Such as, not driving in the rain, not driving thru, around or even near water, not moving the seats, not turning on the radio, and not seeing the speed bumps at night. (I guess the last one is on me. Pretty sure some of the tires left the ground, and I landed hard enough to dislodge all the back seats, but my friend Josef who was with me and is 16 years old thought it was pretty hilarious)

For the last few weeks it been overheating from time to time. At first it seemed like a quick fix, but eventually, it would start to over heat almost immediately, and the motor oil changed from a dark brown/black to light brown. And generally running very poorly.
All ingredients in the worst recipe ever….. head gasket problems. Bummer! But it gets worse…..
The head gasket ended up not being the primary cause. Rather, the head had eroded away to allow coolant to enter one of the cylinders. This just got expensive.

Fortunately, our neighbor Juan is a mechanic and also attends our congregation!

This has been a real learning experience for us. First, to communicate all the vocabulary related to cars, motors, and repair in spanish (for example: Cabezote, junta de culata, anticongelante, or manguera) . Second, how different automotive repair shops are from what we’re used to in Iowa. We are used to just dropping it off, waiting a while and coming back repaired along with a large invoice. Here, things take place on island time, so it was a couple weeks before he was able to get started. One thing that I really like about his shop is that its also kind of a meeting place for people. I enjoy going down and talking with him and his workers, looking at the cars they are working on and probably in general bothering them. Haha.

Juan said that they can repair the head by filling the bad spots with metal, and smoothing it out. That helps with the repair costs, but it was still an incredible about of work!

We are anxiously awaiting its return as we’ve developed a little bit of cabin fever, considering it’s been over a month without a car. The city is walkable, but hauling groceries or to get farther out to see the sights or visit the beach requires a taxi ride which can get expensive if your using them a lot. Also, taxis’ can arrive in various amounts of time. Sometimes they show up 5 minutes after we message them, other times 45 minutes. They must be on island time too! We have been doing a LOT of walking. A round-trip walk to the Mega Supermarket is about 6 miles. We have really appreciated all the rides from friends too!
Thank goodness the weather has changed and is only in the mid 80’s with less humidity!!!!

Its hard to believe that we’ve been here for almost 6 months. Although the first few weeks were a little stressful, with the help of the friends we really have come to enjoy living here. We are really happy with how easy it was to fit into this life here. Sometimes it still is an adventure but it feels like our new normal. Although island time moves slower, the past 6 months have flown by!
We’re looking forward to visiting Iowa soon and enjoying some cooler weather.
Can’t wait to see everyone soon!

Blog Credits: Author- Johnathan Paxton;  Photography- Brandi Paxton & Johnathan Paxton

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