It comes to me as no great surprise that we find ourselves in a time when more and more people are moving to Mexico, looking not just for an escape from the current political and social climate north of the border, but for a reinvented, reinspired life where adventure is affordable and enhanced quality of life is your most precious commodity.
As the granddaughter of a former Chief of the US-Mexico Border, it is no small irony that I, along with my husband and two young children, would immigrate to Mexico nearly five years ago.
Departing from San Diego with nothing more than a car and trailer full of stuff that we deemed to be the remaining essentials after gifting, donating and selling the rest, we headed south.
Shortly after our arrival to the beach town of San Pancho, we became permanent residents, having begun the process stateside to facilitate its expediency.
From a very early age, perhaps even encoded in my genetics, I have had a deep love for Mexico–her people, her magic, her fervent sense of community amongst family and friends…the sense of freedom I feel in her rich biodiversity.
Growing up a half an hour away from the San Diego-Tijuana border, my relationship with my grandfather was by far one of the most significant contributors to this undeniable connection I have with Mexico.
My “Big Joe” as we called him, adorned in his Stetson cowboy hat and crisp-collared Oxford shirts, modeled such a deep respect and brotherhood for our south of the border neighbors, that I too could not help but fall in love with a land and people so magnificently rich in corazón y alma (heart and soul).
I would marvel with the pride that only a granddaughter can feel at my grandfather’s ability to conduct himself so eloquently in both languages and cultures.
He would turn the ordinary into magic.
His affinity for conversation, his staid charisma, his thoughtful ways and his sharp sense of humor made for a dynamic mixture that quite simply attracted people to him. It felt good to be in his company and I was just lucky enough to be his granddaughter.
I would sit mesmerized on his living room couch, predicting my future in his black Magic Eight Ball, listening to his stories of herding cattle and training horses down at our family’s dairy ranch in Chula Vista.
He would speak of his many adventures, one of them of having left home at the age of 14 to become a cowboy on the last rancho that spanned the US-American border.
Family historians have shared with me that he was known as the “Paul Revere of Chula Vista” on account of his warning the Otay Valley on horseback of impending rain that ended up bursting the Sweetwater Dam.
He died when I was a freshman at university, and while I miss him dearly, I will carry the strength of his legacy, his humility, and his wisdom with me always.
Growing up in a border city gifted me access to a bilingual and bicultural world, allowing me to move easily between both realms to this day.
If former lives exist, I am certain that I was a salsa-dancing Latina in mine!
My Grandmothers Mary & Elizabeth had their own fair share of shenanigans south of the border and their stories were the material of an I Love Lucy episode! The picture below is of the two of them (in the middle) in Tijuana, in 1982 when I was just 14, an impressionable age for sure.
Here in Mexico, there is a palpable beckoning and invitation to slow down and to take it all in, to be in the moment and to not rush from point A to point B on autopilot for the sake of checking off a to-do list.
The stimulus and sensory-rich nature of the Mexican culture—alive with a detectable vibra (energy)—beckons one to be awake to and appreciative of the details around.
Life in Mexico takes you out of whatever slumber you might have previously found yourself in, RESETS your outlook and REMINDS you that true, mindful, engaged living results from paying attention to and participating in LIFE.
Mexico has taught me, and reminds me daily, to relish and thrive in the here and now, to celebrate the present moment and the textures and layers within that moment, and to always, always be grateful…for health, life, family, friends and fun!
Mi Querido México, thank you for taking us in, for welcoming us and for graciously adopting us with open arms. These past four and a half years have been one heck of an adventure and we are better people for it….mil gracias.
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