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https://www.losogradysinmexico.com/a-california-cowgirl-giddies-up-in-the-blessing-of-the-horses-san-miguel-de-allende

As a horse-crazy girl growing up in Southern California, I spent my weekends at the barn and my summers at Rawhide Ranch refining my lassoing and barrel racing techniques.

“Pigtailed Cowgirl” was my go-to Halloween costume, complete with a western hat, boots and the biggest belt buckle my jeans could support.

Barbies and dolls never held my interest. Riding, grooming, cleaning stalls and tack did.

Studies, travel, my career, and various other life ambitions took me away from horses until 2014 when I moved to central Mexico with my family.

A Cowgirl’s Dream

Thanks to my lucky shamrocks I had the opportunity to participate in the ultimate equine experience of my life–The Blessing of The Horses–an annual central Mexico pilgrimage that convenes at The Parroquía of San Miguel de Allende.

While my emergency spinal surgery was a success and I was not sentenced to a wheelchair for the rest of my earthly existence, little did I know that this ride would be my last.

Heading out atop Guerrero (Warrior), a 17-hand black Friesian, into the desert plains of central Guanajuato, 

The Blessing Of The Horses, San Miguel de Allende (A Cowgirl's Dream!)

traversing the trails and sometimes no trails at all, we met up with many other groups of riders from the surrounding communities on our way to El Jardín, the town center of San Miguel de Allende.

The Blessing Of The Horses, San Miguel de Allende (A Cowgirl's Dream!)

Watch Out for The Tree!

I was so mesmerized by the totality of the experience that I did not notice the low-lying tree branch just inches in front of my head. With no time to duck, it ripped my hat right off and brought it tumbling down to the muddy ground below. Fortunately, it landed to the side of the puddle, and even better than that, the spikey branch spared my face.

Upon rounding the corner of the train tracks, I was greeted by the sight of hundreds of riders that had all joined together, some who had made the trek from bordering cities and states, for the procession up Canal Street into the main plaza.

The Blessing Of The Horses, San Miguel de Allende (A Cowgirl's Dream!)

I was one of a very small handful of female riders in a sea of cowboys and my face hurt by the day’s end from all of the ear-to-ear smiling!

I know my Grandpa Joe was smiling down from heaven, seeing his granddaughter out there in Central Mexico, atop this extraordinary, high-stepping gelding into a 16th-century colonial town amidst hundreds of cowboys and spectators, living my life in Spanish, in Mexico!

The Blessing Of The Horses, San Miguel de Allende (A Cowgirl's Dream!)

¡Viva Santo San Martin!

The procession didn’t begin without first a cleansing downpour from the high desert sky, adding another element of surprise and adventure to the ride. Within moments of the first drops, all of the horses did a 180-degree turn to position their hindquarters to the rain and thus shelter their faces as much as possible. Quite a sight amongst so many horses!

The Blessing Of The Horses, San Miguel de Allende (A Cowgirl's Dream!)

One of the more senior cowboys performed the honorary task of charging up and down the cobblestone street, shouting“Viva Jesus Cristo, Viva Santo San Martin!”. The parade officially commenced and in groups of two and three, we made our way up to the Jardín, passing by hundreds of waving, smiling spectators to the base of The Parroquía where a full Catholic mass was given to bless the horses and their riders.

The Blessing Of The Horses, San Miguel de Allende (A Cowgirl's Dream!)El Centro was filled with flower-adorned arches and papel picado strung from the buildings. Riding through this tunnel of color, celebration and tradition was an honor for this 45-year-old California Cowgirl in Mexico!

The Blessing Of The Horses, San Miguel de Allende (A Cowgirl's Dream!)

Blessing of The Horses & Riders

Arriving at The Parroquía, hats were removed and heads bowed down to receive the blessings from the high priest.

The Blessing Of The Horses, San Miguel de Allende (A Cowgirl's Dream!)

There are experiences in one’s life that have the power to change who you are—to impact you in such a profound way that you see the world around you differently, with more depth and perspective. This was one of those times for me.

Thank you, Guerrero, The Gentle Warrior, for being my grand, majestic, safe companion and guide for the day. Thank you Mario and Rodo for your protection and navigation along the ride…an experience and a day I will never ever forget!

If you would like to read about another central Mexico pilgrimage that I had the fortune to participate in, please click on this link:

Feast of Saint Martin, Guanajuato~Mexico

Resources for Planning a Trip to San Miguel de Allende

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Cultural Differences, Mexico vs. The States~ 'No' is Not The Answer

 

There are clearly many cultural differences and nuances between the States and Mexico.

Some of them more subtle than others, some that take their time to settle into, and others that set you back on your heels.

The first time Rosa, our house helper extraordinaire came to our home, I offered her a cup of morning coffee. She readily and happily said yes, even though she didn’t drink one sip of it. I  found it in the corner of the kitchen counter at the end of the day—cold, still full, no sign of lips ever having come near it. 

It was safe to surmise that she didn’t care for it or perhaps more accurately that she never really wanted it in the first place, but saying ‘yes’ to the offer, even with no desire of drinking it, is much more the culturally accepted norm here in Mexico and in great contrast to my experience in the States where the default response is, “oh, no thank you”, so as to not inconvenience the hostess or come across as a PIA. (There are exceptions to this of course.)

Not that a simple acceptance of a cup of coffee would deem one an opportunist, but there indeed seems to be a certain discomfort in the US in receiving a simple offer with a simple, “yes, thank you”…a way of graciously acknowledging the friendly gesture.

Here in Mexico,“sí, muchas gracias” is the norm, for to do or say otherwise might be considered rude and certainly not the cultural norm in a society that revolves around community and friendships

If you are offered a cigarette (as my husband has been on multiple occasions) and are not yourself a smoker, graciously accept it with a big smile, stick it behind your ear, and say that you are saving it for a very special occasion. Saying “oh, no thank you, I don’t smoke” and then going on to state all of the hazards of smoking, might deem you an individual with rudimentary social skills.

How about a party…invited to one and don’t think you can go? Instead of saying ‘no’ with a laundry list of all of the reasons why, just graciously accept the invitation and if you aren’t able to make it, send a last-minute message or even nothing at all. This is not seen as rude or inconsiderate, just a culturally accepted norm. Of course if you are only one of two people invited, a gentle decline is in order, but if you are one of many, not making it regardless of your RSVP status is not considered a social crime. 

Cultural Differences, Mexico vs. The States~ 'No' is Not The Answer

Hosting a party with a starting time of 4:00? Don’t be surprised if your guests start rolling in around 6 or 7 o’clock. It’s cultural.

Invited 25 people to the party? Expect the number to at least double! Make room and more food for all of the cousins, aunts, siblings and best friends that will be joining the celebration! And no, they did not need a formal invite—the more the merrier! This must be where the ‘mi casa es su casa’ comes from.

These are but just a few examples of situations where we have had the opportunity to learn firsthand the importance and cultural significance of saying ‘yes’, of being open to the unexpected, of viewing life through a different lens, of expanding our horizons and improving our craft, sense of humor and flexibility as human beings.

We are transplants, expats, immigrants. We love living in a country where conversations and relationships are like a dance versus a race…where life’s moments are more about the experience versus the bottom line and how fast can you get there…where I can say ‘yes’ to the coffee, show up late to the party, and have it all be okay.

¡Viva México!

Other interesting articles on cultural differences between the U.S. and Mexico:

Cultural differences between the U.S. and Mexico in the Business World

Seven Cultural Aspects to Know Before Doing Business in Mexico

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Keep Calm & Speak Spanish! 5 Tips from a Master Teacher!

Many of our friends, family members, and followers have on more than one occasion asked me for some insider’s tips for learning Spanish. Perhaps seeing me rattle off in near-perfect Spanish carries with it a certain shock value–which is a good thing–as it presents an opportunity to gently remind people that a book cannot be judged by its cover!

After years of growing up in the border city of San Diego/Tijuana, earning my degree in Spanish with a Masters in Cross-Cultural Education & Curriculum Development, and having taught K-12 Spanish for over a decade, I do indeed have a certain advantage and insight into language acquisition tips. 

While waving a magic wand might be the desired prescription for developing a working command of written and spoken Spanish, unfortunately for most, it doesn’t come that easy and hence a little bit of focused studies and uninhibited practice is in order.

Wherever you are on the learning continuum, I hope the following five tips are helpful:

Keep Calm & Speak Spanish! 5 Tips from a Master Teacher!

1. Examine Your Motivations

What are your reasons for wanting to learn Spanish?

Are they external—i.e. your Mother wants you to, you need a passing grade in an elective, you feel the regret of an unmet goal?

Or do you have an internal desire to learn, to connect with the people and to understand the culture? Are your motivations born from a personal hunger for intellectual stimulation, global connection, and cultural awareness? 

If you are trying to learn Spanish because you “have to” or you “should”, then you likely are not feeling the necessary motivation, commitment, nor desire to learn.

If your reasons, however, come from a true desire to communicate and connect with a world outside your own immediate one, then you are at a great advantage and you will not only learn the language but also enjoy doing so! 

2. Learn Like a Child

Keep Calm & Speak Spanish! 5 Tips from a Master Teacher!

Learning Language through Dance!

Pimsleur Language Programs

Pimsleur Language Programs

Music (including nursery rhymes), cartoons, movies with and without subtitles, talk radio, translating billboards and other print media all are engaging and very effective ways to supplement your language learning. Go to the library and check out children’s books, rent movies in Spanish, tune your car radio to a Spanish-speaking channel, listen to Spanish CD’s on your commute to work…all of these learning modalities add up to the larger picture of your desired fluency.

Learn like a child, take it all in, be curious and observant, and most of all, be patient with yourself. Seek out opportunities to practice Spanish and immerse yourself in real-life learning opportunities.

Learning in isolation only—behind a computer screen, nose in a book—-will likely not give you an adequate return on your investment. Balance and variety is the key to engaging all parts of your brain. Get out there and practice, speak, listen and engage with other Spanish speakers. Even if your pronunciation or syntax is not perfect, native speakers will likely feel honored that you are making the effort to communicate with them in their mother tongue. 

 3. Put In The Time, Do The Work

Yes, learning Spanish will require some work, study, practice, repetition, commitment, consistency, and stick-to-itiveness. Find what works for you.

Do you prefer one-on-one instruction, small or large group classes, interactive computer programs, listening CD’sflashcards, textbooks…or a combination of some or all? 

Identify what your learning style is and capitalize on it. If you prefer to spend minimal time in grammar books, then get out there and start listening to and speaking with people. If you feel more confident with some technical/grammar knowledge first, then obtain that foundational knowledge and then put it to real-life conversational practice. 

Whatever way(s) you learn best, identify it, put in the time and do the work. I promise you, it will be worth it. 

4. Live, Work, Spend an Extended Amount of Time in a Spanish-Speaking Country

This is a given and why immersion programs work so well. Being in a country where Spanish is the native tongue is hands down the number one way to learn. Before I moved to Spain my junior year of college, I was very conversant in Spanish, but it was really only upon being forced to speak the language day in and day out—at the laundromat, at the post office, buying groceries, living a life in Spanish—-that all of the dots connected and before I knew it, I began to dream in Spanish!

Dreaming in the language is a tell-tale sign that your brain is making the connections and crossing over from emerging learner to more fluency. (Arguing is too!)

5. Fall in love

…with a person, the culture, the music, the sights, the sounds, the history, the vibrancy, the idiosyncrasies of the ever dynamic Spanish-speaking culture–whether it be in the Caribbean, Central or South America, Mexico, Spain or Morocco. If your fire and desire for language acquisition and cultural understanding come from within, the learning will occur.

Keep Calm & Speak Spanish! 5 Tips from a Master Teacher!

Proud Teacher of The Year @ Mt. Everest Academy

Language is primal, organic, a birthright, essential and fundamental to the human experience. It provides a platform through which we can connect, understand, love, play, and adventure–where doors of opportunity are opened and connections are made.

Learning how to communicate and express yourself in another language is a skill you will never regret and one that can only add value to your life.

If you have any questions or comments about this post and your experience (frustrations, challenges, success) with learning Spanish, feel free to share them in the comments section below and I will get back to you muy pronto!

I wish you the best of luck on your Spanish learning journey!

Cheers y Saludos,

~Katie

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It was our first big summer storm since our return to the jungle from San Miguel de Allende. The lightning came cracking down over our house like an arrow landing its bullseye, resulting in my jumping about three feet in the air and one of our rooftop AC compressors catching on fire! 

Fortunately for me, I share a home with a fireman and knew that our family (and my nerves) were in good hands. The tropical downpour helped to diffuse the situation as well.

Thanks to the ingenuity, reuse and repurpose mentality of the Mexican culture, the wires were changed out and the unit spared! Hard to believe, I know…fire and all. 

The Roof is on Fire! 7 House Maintenance Tips for Living in Mexico

Jungle Summer Rain Storms are Powerful!

Jungle storms can be unforgiving, powerful, messy and destructive. They are equally exciting, cleansing and replenishing—popping out dense, lush, green canopies and a multitude of ecosystems that thrive inside of them—reminding you of the absolute grandeur and magnificence of Mother Nature.

The rainstorms also provide an opportunity to identify where exactly more silicone is needed, such as around the collection of leaking windows at the base of a 20-foot high boveda ceiling! Tall ladder anyone? Those first few falls on our slick marble floors were not so fun (especially after back surgery!) and made us delay not in tending to this issue ASAP.

The Roof is on Fire! 7 House Maintenance Tips for Living in Mexico

Keep a supply of silicone on hand!

The jungle wasted no time in welcoming us back and reminding us of the fortitude, sense of humor and determination one needs to both survive and thrive here. Yes, there are prices to pay for living in paradise folks!

The following are 7 tips as to how you can maximize your enjoyment (and minimize your frustrations) in both coastal and central Mexico, based purely on our experiences these past 5 years of our immigrated lives!

1. High-Quality Roof Sealant

Ensuring that the roof of your home has been properly sealed and therefore protected against leaks and moisture intrusion should be a top priority. We learned the necessity of this the hard way when our San Pancho rental grew large circular mold spores from the outside in after our first rainy season there. A disgusting and unsafe “inconvenience” to say the least and one that duct tape alone would not remedy!

Use a quality product that has not been watered down. Hire a reputable company to assess the roof’s condition and if needed, to powerwash it prior to putting on a new coat of sealant.

The Roof is on Fire! 7 House Maintenance Tips for Living in Mexico

What a difference a powerwash can make! The Before and After in Progress!

There are various types of impermeabilizantes (sealants)  Spending a bit more to ensure a quality result is well worth it. We went with an eco-friendly, waterproof one believing it best to have maximum protection considering the amount of rain we receive here on the coast of Nayarit. 

2. Air Conditioners

Have all AC’s serviced. The filters should be cleaned of mold/dust/debris and the electrical panels checked for unwanted critters that can wreak havoc. Apparently wires are a delicacy to geckos—ridding your AC’s of them is far easier than having to replace the units.

3. Mosquiteros

Screens on all doors and windows are not a luxury but an absolute necessity lest you want to share your home with mosquitos, spiders, geckos, scorpions, iguanas and stray animals. Even with window and door screens, these over the bed mosquito nets come in handy and allow for sleep that is not interrupted by buzzing in your ear!

The Roof is on Fire! 7 House Maintenance Tips for Living in Mexico

Mosquito-Free Sleeping

4. Bathroom Drain Covers

Just think golf ball-sized cockroaches and sewer smells. Trust me, you’ll want to use these

5. Ventilation

Jungle, hot, humid….ventilate your home as much as possible lest you want to find fur growing on your clothes, shoes and other household items. Using these moisture absorbing bags inside closets and other closed spaces helps to absorb excess humidity and to protect your items from musty odors and mold. 

The Roof is on Fire! 7 House Maintenance Tips for Living in Mexico

Just Say No to Mold on Your Clothes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Check Outlets for Proper Wiring

Check all outlets with a polarity tester or hire a qualified electrician to do so.

The Roof is on Fire! 7 House Maintenance Tips for Living in Mexico

To prevent the photo on the left, invest in the photo on the right!

7. Carbon Monoxide Detectors

If you’ve been following us for any time (or at least for the past year), you know why we recommend these for both home and travel safety.

The Roof is on Fire! 7 House Maintenance Tips for Living in Mexico

For Home & Travel Safety

These are our Top 7 Tips to consider whether you are renting or purchasing a home in Mexico.

Do you have any that you could add? 

Feel free to share them in the comments section below. 

Saludos,

~Katie O’Grady

Reader Tips:

Arturo: For the summer months it is highly recommended to put your clothes in airtight bags or vacuum sealed bags so that mold doesn’t grow in them especially if you skip town. I highly recommend doing this process with your shoes because if you don’t, the soles will disintegrate completely from the salty air and humidity.

Margaret: Keep all your food in the refrigerator, even if you wouldn’t normally, especially fruit. Clean up your kitchen messes as soon as possible to deter unwanted scavengers and never ever ever let your kids eat in the bed unless you want… ANTS ANTS EVERYWHERE! (And they bite). Even with screens and drain covers, if you leave food out they will find you… 

For More Reader Tips, please see in comments section below.

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I’m a Dreamer, I’ve Lived Death in Every Imaginable Form

When we lived in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, we had the pleasure of meeting and becoming friends with Nancy G. Shapiro–Author, Life Coach, Advocate of Calm and an overall lovely person.

"I'm a Dreamer, I've Lived Death in Every Imaginable Form"...Excerpt from The Book of Calm by Nancy G. Shapiro

While I was recovering from major surgery, Nancy came to visit me at our home with a goodie bag of home remedies.

More notable than the items themselves was Nancy’s calm presence and healing energy.

It comes to me as no surprise that she has authored a poignant and dearly-needed book in today’s world, The Book of Calm: Clarity, Compassion, and Choice in a Turbulent World. 

I am honored to share with our Los O’Gradys in Mexico readers an excerpt from Nancy’s book, featuring some of my husband Frank’s very real and very raw thoughts on a life well lived.

 

*Parts of this essay were originally published in Nancy’s book

Listening to Your Own Story, by Nancy G. Shapiro

I’ve lived in San Miguel de Allende twice, the first time for over five years, currently for almost a decade. San Miguel is a World Heritage site and much-loved city in the central high desert of Mexico. Its large expatriate population began with the arrival of American GIs who came here after WWII and enrolled in the two local art schools using their GI Bill benefits. The flow of foreigners hasn’t stopped since, resulting in a population in continual flux, changing with the seasons and other, less definable cycles.

Expats often speak of a more relaxed lifestyle, with more community and more time for family—in stark contrast to the 21st century’s assertion that all problems and challenges can be resolved through economic means, resulting in the mind-numbing story of dedication to work, busy-ness, consumption of goods, and a subsequent loss of values once widely appreciated, respected, and practiced. The families I spoke with while gathering stories for my book had a conscious awareness that something was amiss or missing in their former lives, something that compelled them to move and create their own version of a life well lived.

Frank O’Grady’s words were some of the most poignant, an example of the conscious self-awareness necessary to take such action:

“I’m a dreamer,” said Frank, a San Diego fireman for twenty-five years. “I’ve lived death in every form imaginable; it’s a soundtrack of blood and screams inside of me. Old people just wanting a human there while they die, babies who never even got started, the critically ill dying after wasting away for years, the addicts. None of them able to live their dreams. I have a responsibility in this life to live as if every day is my last because, in all reality, it is. My wife and I both retired early, left the rat race, and moved to a Mexico beach town several years ago when our twins were young. Then we moved to San Miguel, and now we’re back at the beach. The kids are thriving. The beach is what nurtures us, warm water surf, the freedom. If I don’t live my dreams and seek the beauty, who will do it for me? No one.”

The creation of a life full of meaning, values, and the richness of choice doesn’t mean one has to pack up and leave a place for years at a time. Or at all. Generation after generation, change occurs within families, cultures, and countries when what was ‘known and correct’ is transformed by chaos and upheaval, or by innovative progress and relative calm.

                                     As the poet Rilke reminds us:

                                                Again and again some people in the crowd wake up,

                                               They have no ground in the crowd,

                                               And they emerge according to much broader laws.

                                               They carry strange customs with them

                                               And demand room for bold gestures.

                                               The future speaks ruthlessly through them.

Sometimes letting go of what was once called home, passing forward one’s belongings and starting again is exactly what is needed when one ‘wakes up.’ My husband and I seem to get itchy feet and hearts every seven years or so. We are looking at travel trailers, and have no idea what is coming our way, only that something new is calling us.

Officially seniors now, our years add up to one hundred thirty-three years on this planet. What we’ve learned in those years is that we are ongoing creations—work, homes, places, our ideas of who we are and what we need have changed many times over. For change is inevitable, and embracing the shifts that come our way gives our actions a spunky energy and creative zing. We love and laugh more than ever, and are curious and excited to create another version of our lives filled with all we value and know to be true for us. As Frank says, “If I don’t live my dreams and seek the beauty, who will do it for me?”

Nancy G. Shapiro’s The Book of Calm: Clarity, Compassion, and Choice in a Turbulent World is available on Amazon. She advocates calm as a Professional Certified Coach, writer, and workshop leader. Her expertise is supporting people through the inevitable shifts of personal and professional transitions while celebrating their resiliency, spirit, and wisdom. www.nancygshapiro.com

If you would like to order Nancy’s book for yourself or a loved one, click on the cover image below:

"I'm a Dreamer, I've Lived Death in Every Imaginable Form"...Excerpt from The Book of Calm by Nancy G. Shapiro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Living in truth is the highest form of self-empowerment*

~Katie O’Grady

 

 

 

 

 

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We left the city yesterday for our friend’s Villa perched high on a mountainside overlooking Puerto Vallarta.

I could feel my senses simultaneously relax and awaken as we left the hustle and bustle for the tranquility of the jungle green.

I love experiences that take me off the beaten path, up a winding road, unsure of what the journey holds, giddy and kid-like in the unfolding of a grand new adventure (even with GPS!).

                                                    “It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new.                                                                                                      But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful.                                                                               There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.” – Alan Cohen

[yt4wp-video video_id=”L-pzegrfdk0″]

 

When our friend Dennise invited us to partake in the cutting of the Rosca de Reyes with her family, we knew it was due time that we come to understand firsthand the significance of this celebration of  and with our Mexican brothers and sisters.

Rosca de Reyes FUN!

Rosca de Reyes FUN!

In spite of my being a former Spanish teacher and us five-year permanent residents of Mexico, admittedly, we had never really participated in nor understood the true significance of the Three Kings’ Day and Rosca de Reyes celebration, until now.

[yt4wp-video video_id=”zDtQt6X98DM”]

 

Needless to say, we had an amazing, fun-filled time with lots of laughter, cultural immersion, food, hot chocolate and good family fun.

I will let the following photos tell the rest of the story…

When a 15-minute drive out of the city takes you to this! Villas Sueños del Alma

When a 15-minute drive out of the city takes you to this! Villas Sueños del Alma

Getting my Rosca de Reyes Lesson!

Getting my Rosca de Reyes Lesson!

Celebrating Life and Friendship!

Celebrating life and friendship!

Here’s to following your heart’s desire, your path of truth and authentic living…

How have you celebrated or participated in the Three Kings’ Day or the cutting of The Rosca de Reyes?

We would love to hear about it in the comment’s section below!

Saludos,

Los O’Graydys in Mexico

*deja a tu alma cantar*

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We Left the American Dream to Raise Our Children in Mexico

As seen on The Huffington Post: 

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.

We Left the American Dream to Raise Our Children in Mexico

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.

We Left the American Dream to Raise Our Children in Mexico

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.

We Left the American Dream to Raise Our Children in Mexico

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.

We Left the American Dream to Raise Our Children in Mexico

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.

We Left the American Dream to Raise Our Children in MexicoIf 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.

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