Merida is a special place and now home to me, so when Patti said she was coming to visit in early September, I was in a high state of anticipation, and I was not disappointed.
Those of you that have followed the transition of Patti Burch from crossdresser to woman in the last four years, first on the DG Woman’s group and then on the TG Woman’s group on Yahoo, know that Patti is a very special person. She has seemingly broken every rule in the book by her acceptance into the little east Texas town society of Ben Wheeler.
Thrown out of the house by her now ex-wife and told to get it out of her system, Patti struck out first to Terrell where she was accepted by the pastor and then the ladies of a small Baptist church. That alone is ground breaking. She later moved to Ben Wheeler which is about 70 miles east of Dallas, just off I20 and moved her aviation business to the airport at Mineola, Texas.
Patti is a small plane and helicopter pilot and owns her own aviation repair business. The business has thrived throughout this transition and won her the acceptance and admiration of the community she serves and lives in.
Patti has always been very special to me, probably because she said, “I have to visit Tasi” when I announced that I was retiring and leaving Texas for Mexico. She flew to El Paso and we spent two wonderful days together. I later had the chance to meet up with her in Houston for an evening, but nothing will compare to the last 7 days spent with Patti, her two sisters, Jeannie and Debbie, her best friend and fashionista, Marsha, and her illegitimate mother (as Patti says), Peggy here in Merida. What an amazing experience to see and experience Patti as the wonderful woman that she has become, but more than that, to see the love and caring that the women around her have for Patti. It was beyond special for me just to be part of the group.
The ladies got to meet both sides of me as they arrived and departed on a Wednesday which is maid day and Spanish lessons day and I’m not able to dress at home. I was actually surprised at how little luggage the ladies brought with them, nevertheless, my SUV came in handy to transport what luggage they had. As I was slinging luggage into the back of my SUV, I made the remark that it wouldn’t be happening if I was wearing a dress and got some laughs and a comment that they hoped to see Tasi soon.
The days went by all too quickly so I hope my memory will recall it all. It was convenient that Patti’s villa loaned to her by a customer was just 5 minutes from my house.
The ladies came prepared for the beach and most days were spent in Progreso (beach town for Merida) with a side trip to Sisal, once a thriving seaport for the Yucatan, but now a sleepy fishing village. Not many places you can spend all day on the beach eating and drinking for 500 pesos. The days were mostly hot and humid.
I was able to spend four of their eight days here dressed as Tasi (I did not join them for 2 of the 8 days).
Tasi didn’t appear until Friday when I wore my little black dress with a turquoise statement necklace and earrings. Peggy was outside when I arrived and was effusive about my looks. All the ladies paid me compliments and made me feel that Tasi, the woman, had emerged. We went to my favorite Italian restaurant for dinner and it was truly just six ladies having a meal. Not once during the week did I feel as if I was seen any differently than the other ladies. And though I took special care to be dressed appropriately and have my makeup applied well (which is a challenge in this heat), I was just me and the woman emerged. Do need to work on my voice though.
Marsha knows fashion (former model) and beauty well and she was a great inspiration and resource throughout the week. She’d obviously had an impact in creating Patti’s feminine image. For the first time, I had someone that could look at me and say these changes will improve your presentation. Although I have (blue) winter coloring, I’m more a spring than a winter and need to shift from the bright colors to more muted ones, for instance bright reds to pinks, bright whites to creamy whites, etc. We spent one afternoon shopping at some large department stores and trying on lipsticks. Marsha recommended the IT Cosmetics brand which is made specifically for aging women. She and Jeannie both use the brand and love it.
One of my special treats was using the pool at Patti’s villa and trying out my new swimdress which Patti brought with her for me. Almost wish I had gone to the beach with them now. I did find out that wearing silicone breasts in a swimdress makes you somewhat buoyant .
On Saturday we headed to the historic center of Merida to do some shopping and I unfortunately confused Saturday for Sunday which is the big market day in centro Merida. It was very hot so frequent stops for refreshments helped mitigate the heat. I was wearing a turquoise top and a black swingy skirt, but it was still hot. Those of us not wearing hats purchased one from a local vendor. Peggy is the grand dame of hats and she was never without one, as were many of the other ladies too. It’s sad that so many crossdressers have yet to learn that hats are a fantastic fashion statement.
We had a lovely meal at Pancho’s, a well-known and better restaurant in Merida. But as evenings are the time when Meridians come out, we were the only patrons of the restaurant on an early afternoon. Of course that led to excellent service and a great meal. We arrived back at Patti’s villa by mid-afternoon, just in time for the daily siesta. The ladies quickly learned a short nap in an air-conditioned room is a great refresher for those hot afternoons in Merida, especially after a few margaritas.
I was glad to learn that Patti and her ladies did go back to centro to see the market on Sunday so they got to experience Mexican market life of which there are many throughout the city. This was Peggy’s first time in Mexico and what a wonderful experience it was for her.
I returned to join the ladies again on Monday evening where we went to Lucianos, an upscale Italian restaurant in Altabrisa Mall, mostly because Patti wanted calamari. My outfit this evening was a red top with a white pleated flowing skirt. The conversation as always was lively. I however experienced a shoe catastrophy and one which I’ll need to research and blog about later. My beautiful white sandals literally came apart and the faux leather pealed from the shoes. I’ve now lost five pair of shoes to this problem since coming to Merida. My shoes are stored in shoe bags in a gym bag and I have no idea why the climate here is causing the problem.
The last full day for Patti and friends was Tuesday. Patti took the ladies to Sisal, a small fishing village on the coast about one hour east of Merida. It’s an area that rarely sees gringos and they were treated royally by the local merchants. I joined them on their return and Patti decided to go to the restaurant from the evening before, LaPa LaPa. It’s a loud sports bar in the late evening with a great band, but our venue was an early evening dinner. Drinks and nachos were the order of the day and the nachos were some of the best I’ve had. One large order fed all six of us. I was wearing my favorite red and black tiered printed maxi skirt with a sparkly black top. The ladies loved the look…very Bohemian.
You can see from the photos that our outings were largely casual as this was vacation for all but me. I wasn’t however about to lose the opportunity to dress in more feminine clothes. I chose my outfits with care, apparently with good results and I’m gaining confidence in my ability to put outfits together. Looking at my Pinterest pages on Sister House helps. You can collect all the looks you like and use them in building new outfits and finding just the clothes you want.
You can tell that I love that feminine flowy look. The day I wore the maxi skirt, Marsha said, let’s find your “sweet spot” (Ah…what’s that?). We raised the skirt exposing more and more leg until Marsha finally said, “ankle length is best for you”
Our last day or day of departure is always anticlimactic. Back to boy mode to take everyone to the airport for a mid-afternoon departure to Houston. Time always passes too quickly but the all too brief memories and the new friendships with four other remarkable women will be there for a long time. Patti has become the woman she wanted to be. She has a full and rewarding life and I was glad that I could share part of it even for a brief time.
I believe they were all ready to return after being back in the USA for just a day.