Thanks to creating a radical change in our family’s lives, we no longer live under this paradigm of life in a 21st century modern society. I remember being STUCK in traffic—more often than not—and just sitting there at the steering wheel, anxiously and impatiently tapping my fingers, moving along, inch by inch, so over and so fed up with that being the “norm”, knowing in my heart that it didn’t have to be and feeling so READY for a change.
The picture above represents so much of what we were ready to change (and say goodbye to) in our lives—breathing in the exhaust fumes of other vehicles, missing out on active, joyful engagement in life because we were on hold in in a sea of cars. That was not how we wanted to spend our valuable, once-in-a-lifetime time. I would take pictures from the dashboard of my car to the hundreds of rear bumpers in front of me and text them to my husband at work with the message, “One thing I will NOT miss”. And I don’t, not one little bit. What’s to miss about it?
Since moving to Mexico in 2012, we have gone from daily traffic congestion and the frequent witnessing of road rage to driving on jungle roads and 16th century cobblestone streets. We have traded in mind-numbing, lost hours in the car to engagement in other, far more meaningful activities of our choice.
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 in supporting that endeavor.
This is not to say that life was dreadful for us in the States for certainly it was not. San Diego is a beautiful city with much to offer and experience. Yes, we had some rough patches, but that is just life and part of its various dimensions anywhere.
Without a doubt we miss our family and friends and that continues to be the biggest adjustment and area of conscious acceptance in our transported, immigrated lives…BUT, life here in Mexico for the past four years has proven itself to be empowering, character-building, sustainable and life-changing.
We immigrated to mainland Mexico when our twins were eight years old, during the middle of their third grade year, and within three months of our arrival we became permanent residents. The process went rather quickly for us because we did our homework prior to our move and had all of our required paperwork in order. Patience, good luck and having the right legal liason were in our favor as well.
Our twins, a.k.a. “The Reds”, were seasoned Mexico travelers prior to our move, having spent the first eight years of their lives adventuring back and forth between San Diego and Bahia de Los Angeles, Baja California. Frank’s firefighter schedule and my school teacher’s allowed us blocks of time off together as a family and we took full advantage of them to head South!
Mairead and Liam fondly referred to their Baja home as their “other home” and Mexico forever became ingrained in their hearts as a place of fun, discovery and family connection.
Aside from the understandable and inevitable emotion of parting ways with loved ones, our move and the preparations leading up to our departure from San Diego were relatively seamless in the sense that it was meant to be and something we collectively were all on the same page about and ready for.
We arrived to San Pancho on a Friday, and that following Monday our formerly homeschooled twins began their first ever five-day-a-week program at Escuela del Mundo. Surrounded by tropical trees and open green space, our children were free!
While the Spanish immersion component of the program was a bit of an initial challenge for The Reds, they transitioned and acclimated rather quickly, having been exposed to Spanish and a bilingual/border city for their first eight years of life in San Diego. Even without those language advantages, we all know how sponge-like children’s brains are, and if given the opportunity, they can assimilate and adapt with great ease. I do believe they were the only Mairead and Liam their classmates had ever met, but their new friends and teachers graciously and warmly accepted them and made great efforts at learning and pronouncing their unique, Celtic names.
After Escuela del Mundo in San Pancho, we placed them at Costa Verde International in Sayulita, Nayarit—a neighboring village just 10 minutes down the main jungle road, famous for its bohemian, surfing culture. Moving to another school was indeed another change and adjustment for our children, but one that they embraced wholeheartedly with the amazing, trusting, positive attitudes that they approach most things in life with.
Located a few blocks from the beach, Costa Verde is a bilingual, multi-cultural school that focuses on environmental sustainability and the advancement of ecological responsibility in Mexico…and surfing! In fact, it was part of their PE program!
Mairead and Liam continued to explore, discover and develop their own sense of community and connection within the larger context of their family’s move and immigration to another country. Their language skills progressed and improved so that at this point, a year or so into our move, they could flip back and forth between English and Spanish with great ease…impressive and beautiful to listen to for sure.
After a year and a half of coastal jungle living, we were ready to experience another part of Mexico and set our compasses on something completely different. Sight unseen but with lots of research, we chose San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato in the interior of the country—the birthplace of Miguel Ignacio Allende, one of the leaders of the insurgent army during Mexico’s War of Independence. San Miguel de Allende was the first municipality to be declared independent from Spanish rule, and as such, life here is steeped in history, culture, national pride and one festivity after another.
Our children are developing their mental and physical capacities in a loving, nurturing and intellectually stimulating environment of freedom and growth.
They see a life without limits, that anything is possible, that dreams do come true, that carving one’s own way in this diverse world is not just possible, but doable. They have witnessed their parents reinvent themselves from teacher and firefighter to writer/relocation consultant and photovoltaic designer. They have gone from being monolingual homeschoolers to bilingual life learners of this world, interacting and learning with not only Mexican Nationals but also with many other adventure-driven families from various parts of this globe.
From San Diego to south of the border, we embrace our re-invented, re-inspired lives in Mexico.
We thank you Mexico for your warmth, your hospitality, your graciousness and generosity…for welcoming and adopting us and allowing us to feel at home in our new country.
May the adventures continue on!
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