On November 30, 2012 I celebrated my 44th birthday by boarding a plane with my eight-year-old twins on a one-way ticket to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
My husband Frank had left a few days prior by car with our 90-pound chocolate lab and our 14-foot aluminum boat filled to the rim with all of our remaining earthly belongings after a several years of downsizing.
We happily and willingly said adiós to five-lane freeways and a rat-race mania in Southern California for a slower and more connected way of life south of the border.
No Map, No Worries!
Frank will have to tell the story of how he did the 1400 mile trip from San Diego to San Pancho, Nayarit without a map–something about just heading south?!
He made it, safe and sound, in four days–car and trailer intact–with Seamus slobbering on the back of his neck the entire drive down. Fun!
As we approach our eleven year Mexi-versary, we pause to reflect over some of the more noteworthy life lessons our time in Mexico has gifted us:
1. Savor The Moment
Here in the land of “mañana”, there is a beckoning and invitation to slow down and take it all in. The sensory stimulation of a quintessential Mexican town, alive with a mosaic of sights and sounds, make it nearly impossible to not pause and linger in the magic and awe of the moment.
2. Honor Your Heritage & Celebrate Life!
Mexico embraces her rich history, values her roots and honors her young and old alike. She celebrates with intention and holds in reverence the sacredness of family and community. Her people are hard-working, welcoming and generous of both time and help.
Weddings, Quinceñeras, Blessing of The Horses, Día de Los Muertos..there are oh-so-many wonderful reasons to celebrate life!
A very good friend is often referred to as a primo (cousin) or hermano/a (brother/sister). Our children have just as many, if not more, tíos and tías (uncles and aunts) here in Mexico than they do in the States simply due to the fact that family ties are not limited by blood relations alone.
Conversations are sin prisa (without hurry) and you can count on a customary kiss on the cheek between young and old, male and female alike.
3. Never Lose Your Sense of Wonder
Living in Mexico invites one to stop and look around, to be in the moment, to celebrate the textures and layers within the day, to pay attention, to take it all in, to notice…to be participatory and present.
There is a certain organized chaos on the streets of Mexico–families of four piled atop a motorcycle, off-leash dogs dodging in and out of traffic, police officers standing in the middle of busy, four-way intersections–a cacophony of sights, smells, and sounds emanating from the markets, corner cantinas, mariachis, city buses and street vendors.
To some it might seem a chaotic, lawless and haphazard way to live–to others, a fabulous cultural immersion of community, connection and feeling alive!
4. Live Sustainably
Delicious and affordable street tacos, super-sized fresh fruit cups, chicken rotisserie dinners complete with tortillas, rice, salad and grilled peppers, shopping at affordable outdoor markets and Mom & Pop stores, all allow one to live (and eat!) sustainably in Mexico.
5. Be Grateful
This was not meant to be a promo for Coca-Cola, but I love this capture of a cowboy with his horse, taking it all in at the Jardín in San Miguel de Allende.
From the jungle to the desert highlands and back again twice each now, I have thousands of pictures of our immigrated lives that capture the multitude stories within the images.
I am so grateful that I have chosen to live in a country that provides an abundance of sensory-stimulating experiences with a people so generous and full of corazón and alma.
These are but just a few of our Life Lessons from 11 Years in Mexico.
What about you?
Has Mexico taught you a thing or two, changed your perspective on something formerly held as “the truth”, opened your heart and mind to a new way of living?
I would love to hear about them in the comments section below!