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It has been a whirlwind past couple of months for us—wrapping up our twins’ 6th grade school year in San Miguel de Allende, packing up a house for our move back to the coast, a five-day trip to the States for my father’s celebration of life, and then back home to Mexico for an 11-hour car ride from Central to Coastal Mexico with three kids, two dogs, two tired parents and a boat full of our stuff hooked to the trailer behind our car. 

San Miguel de Allende

5 a.m. Departure from San Miguel de Allende

 

are we there yet?

Loaded up and ready to go! “Are we there yet?”

 

Beach Bound

Beach Bound and only 450 miles to go!

 

jungle air

Windows down and soaking up the jungle air

We arrived to our little slice of paradise north of Puerto Vallarta, exhausted but so happy to be back at the beach. We wasted no time getting our suits on and into the water right down in front of our new home. Standing on our beach in the state of Nayarit, we can look across the bay to Puerto Vallarta in the state of Jalisco! Talk about a view!

Sierra Madre Mountains

An amazing view of the Sierra Madre Mountains

 

Growing up in Mexico!

Growing up in Mexico!

 

Luna Love

Even Luna Love wants to get in on the water action! #nomorecitydog

 

water pup

Our Water Pup Seamus SO happy to be back in the water!

We were fortunate to have one of our daughter’s dear friends from San Miguel de Allende travel with us and we girls took full advantage of a day of fun in the city, getting their hair done and dining out at an amazing seafood restaurant with this view!

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta Fun!

In the few weeks that we have been back to the coast, we have been spending our days unpacking all of the many bags, boxes and suitcases, taking care of dental/medical appointments and leaving time and space to just chill and take in this amazing beauty all around us. 

play relaxation dogs

An afternoon of play and relaxation with my pups

My recovery from spinal surgery continues to go incredibly well….how could it not with this as my private little physical therapy playground? 

beach gym

Beach Gym!

Many of our Los O’Gradys in Mexico followers have asked which we prefer—Central Mexico or Coastal Mexico. Honestly, we love them both! They each have their own special attributes, their beauty and characteristics unique to themselves. We are ocean people true and true and for as much as we love magical San Miguel de Allende and other parts of Central Mexico that we had the fortune of exploring (and plan to return to!), living and being based coastal is a decision we are happy about. Mexico, in all of her varied and dynamic beauty, is home to us. 

We began this grand Mexico adventure back in 2012 along this same coastline…coming back now in 2016 feels like reuniting with a long-lost dear friend. We will settle in and stay in this area—Frank with his solar expeditions, our children with their paths, and me with my writing.

From retired firefighter and teacher to photovoltaic designer and writer and now 12-year-old twins, we continue to embrace our re-invented, re-inspired lives in Mexico—grateful for this Mexican-American Dream that we are fortunate enough and brave enough to create for our family. 

my kids

~Katie

 

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What an honor to be published on The Huffington Post!  We Left the American Dream to Raise Our Children in Mexico

If one of my jobs as a mother is to support and nurture the emotional well-being and development of my children, then moving to Mexico has been one great step towards that endeavor.

In November of 2012, we sold, donated and discarded the majority of our physical possessions, packed the remaining essentials into a 14-foot aluminum boat and immigrated from Southern California to Mainland Mexico with our eight-year-old twins and 90-pound chocolate lab.

Departure from San Diego November 2012

My husband had recently retired from firefighting and we wanted to show our children a life outside of the States. Mexico had long been a cherished place of family adventure and connection and we were ready to have that as our norm and not just a reality relegated to vacations only.

Within three months of arriving to the small jungle town of San Pancho, Nayarit, we became permanent residents and in a few years time we will apply for our Mexican citizenship.

Mexican Mug Shots 2013

We have spent the past three and a half years decompressing, reconnecting and carving out new lives — immersing ourselves in sunsets and surfing expeditions, horseback riding through high desert plains, soaking in hot thermal pools, climbing pyramids, and imbibing our senses in the rich cultural heritage of of a country that reveres the family unit.

We have gone from mind-numbing traffic on five-lane freeways to commuting on dirt jungle roads and sixteenth-century cobblestone streets where there is no shortage of stimulus to engage our minds and activate our senses.

Burros in San Miguel de Allende

Our children are bilingual and bicultural and see a world without borders. They have witnessed their parents reinvent themselves from teacher and firefighter, to writer and photovoltaic designer. They see a life without limits, that anything is possible, that dreams do come true, that shaping one’s own way in this world is not just possible, but doable.

Our children see that it is not only okay, but of great value to slow down and pay attention to the details, to relish and thrive in the here and now, to be alive and awake to the magic of the moment… to value conversation and interaction that does not involve tuning the world out behind a computer screen.

Cañada de La Boca

We have not traded in some “American Dream” for a second-hand version of a life. We are not living in Mexico by default, but by choice.

And we are not so naive as to not see — as we have lived them first hand — the struggles and challenges and hard edges of living here. In many regards, Mexico is like the Wild West. It is not for the fainthearted or weak of constitution.

Our kids are independent, artistic, thoughtful, perceptive, tuned-in. They have two hands-on, present parents who are no longer running the rat race, struggling to keep our financial heads above water. We can afford housing, food and medical care. I have recently had two major, life-saving surgeries in Central Mexico, with top notch, patient-centered care. My husband and my son’s food allergies have lessened.

If our contribution to the good of this world is raising decent, compassionate, wise, strong-willed children, then things are looking pretty good. Moving to Mexico has played a huge part in our parenting success.

M & L 11 YEARS OLD SMAIf you are feeling courageous and up for an unforgettable life adventure, perhaps you too are ready to mix it up and get out of your comfort zone — to see what’s out there waiting to awaken your senses, shake you upside down, and see what you’re really made of.

You just might surprise yourself.

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