my creative expression and freedom painfully on hold
until I address and openly share
the other side of living the good life
here in the magical little town of San Pancho, Mexico
I am called to write about that which I really don’t want to—
turns my stomach
to give time and space
to the words
that speak to the despair and pain
my family endured these past 3 months…
that which I never foresaw coming
that which I never imagined would be a ‘lesson’
needing to be repeated
I have yet to realize the increased wisdom
or the larger life meaning of so much hardship
no matter the source,
to one’s experience of their reality
attitude directly effects
that perception of reality
life is just bitter and brutal
and it is simply difficult
if not impossible
to be cheery and positive,
seeking the ‘beautiful, soul-enriching’
component of the trial at hand
isn’t worse than another’s…
Certainly there are plenty of other
painfully trying situations
far more distressing than ours—
My sweet 6 year-old neighbor
who just lost her mother
A friend who’s relationship of 2 years ended
and the loss crushes her with the pain
reminiscent of the death
of her husband
just 6 years ago….
Life and its challenges
is not about comparing one bushel of rotten apples to another
weathering ourselves through the eye of the storm
tirelessly searching for and reaching out for the life vest and rescue boat…
often in the form of finding out who your true friends are
and who really has your back
…dealing with the right-in-your-face-reality
walking through it
burning fire and all
being ejected from our home
with children, dog, and all the physical necessities we could
fit into our suitcases and car—
including food for my highly-allergic son and husband,
nebulizars for my asthmatic children
who’s health had been compromised
with the exposure to the mold in their rooms—
wondering where we’d go
what we could afford
how long would the remediation take
how much would it cost
could we absorb the upfront costs on our fixed income
would the owners of the home do the right thing
respond in a timely and reasonable fashion?
…all in a new country
learning to navigate life
through new and
Third party bystanders have beckoned me to see some deeper meaning,
especially being that this is our third time down this road, twice before in the States, both also water/mold related displacements resulting in loss and painful moves for our family….
“What does the mold represent?”
“What is the mold in Katie?” (My least favorite inquiry)
“This must be your Karma”
“The answer lies inside you…..”
These are some of the questions and statements made to me
by perhaps well-intentioned people
but they certainly made me question
the kindness, timing, and appropriateness of their inquiries….
Sometime around mid-August
the rainy season hit
and hit hard
Rain so hard
it’s like God
opened the sky’s ‘on-valve’
A roof that clearly could have used some sealant!
and forgot to turn it off—
for days on end
turning into weeks
and then a full month and a half
of extended, saturating,
torrential tropical down pours….
4 inches in one day
18 in a month..,
Yes, that much…
like a drum recital on our roof
holes and leaks
and in our case
inner saturation of all of the exterior walls of the home
leaching down, into
and underneath the floor tiles—
worst of the damage in our children’s bedrooms
Water and mold intrusion in our son’s room
black and white
furry toxic mold growing out through the walls
and up through the grout in the tile
Walls so saturated with water that it seeped into and underneath the flooring.
Yes, there would be breaks in the rain
but it wouldn’t be before long
that the thunder and lightening
would start up again
and alert us of yet more rain rain rain
Fast and Furious…
pride in ownership and management,
we have come to find out the hard way
are not perhaps what they could be
and certainly not in the case of the home that we rented
site unseen, off the internet—
basically the bullet we had to bite
to get our foot in this town
and have a landing place for our family.
Power-washing the rain/mold saturation that was seeping through the inner surfaces of the ceiling
No doubt competency exists,
and we have seen such in our first year here,
but in our case
multiple weather-proofing measures
for life in the wet jungle
had not occurred prior to our
assuming occupancy of this house.
Within a month
the home became uninhabitable
and out we had to move out.
This experience has had its moments of rocking us to the core
knocking us around a full 13 rounds
with a couple extra thrown in
for the sheer cosmic humor and absurdity of it all.
Lots of heartbreak, tears,
Protecting our children’s sentimentals from the remediation process, dust & mold spores
living from one place to another,
out of our suitcases
and back of the car
all the while
trying to maintain the appearances of normal life
for our 9 year-old twins
who are actively involved
with school, activities, friends.
Seamus our pup wandering off
for hours on end
trying to find his way home–
confused as to where or what that was,
only to find him sitting on the porch
of what he has known to be his digs
for the first 10 months of our new lives here.
My children’s fears and concerns,
the stress it has caused our family…
the effects that no
monetary value can be placed on
have been many….
Time that can’t be replaced.
What is the ‘larger life lesson’?
I don’t know if it is so much a lesson per se
as it is that
Life can be Hard…
Is also beautiful and mysterious and magical
and so many things that escape description…
but it can also have its moments
of slamming you down to your knees….
This was one of those for us.
BUT, we are survivors true and true
and if there is to be insight gained
and heartfelt gratitude expressed,
it would be in the revealing
of although new,
strong and steadfast friendships…
extensions and expressions
of genuine care for my family
helping hands outstretched to ours,
words of comfort, wisdom, and humor
that were the very life jackets
and rescue boats that we so desperately needed
So yes, this begs that I reconsider
and revise my previous statement
of there being no ‘larger life lesson’…
And it would be this…
That it is okay to be proud and private,
to guard the intimate hardships of your family
from the outside world
and in the same breath,
to humble yourself, to
ask for help, to manifest change within the power
and to redefine and clarify what truly matters in life…
Love, Family, Friends, asking for and accepting help,
reciprocating when able to,
participating in the universal, expansive, cosmic nature
We are now back in the home
still all sleeping in the upstairs bedroom
as we wait for our children’s rooms to
off-gas all of the chemicals and paints
used to eradicate the mold
and restore the walls….
We are intact, whole, solidified and connected by our common bond of strength and love…
We have weathered the storm
We are standing tall
Still looking for the fun
Ready to get back to the magic
and put this far behind us.
About the author:
Are you interested in knowing the inside scoop on moving to Mexico?
Coastal vs. Central, Visa Process, Schooling, Housing, Medical Care & Expat Health Insurance, Car Importation, Budget, Cell Phone Service, Ins & Outs of Daily Life in Mexico?
Together with my Retired Firefighter Hubby and our now 17-year-old twins, we immigrated to Mexico in 2012 from Southern California to create our lives anew.
Nine years into our Mexico Adventure, we continue to help families, individuals and couples to carve out their own re-invented, re-inspired lives south of the border.
If you too are interested in creating a life of design in Mexico, feel free to contact me at [email protected] for details on how I can be of service to you and your family.
Saludos, Katie ☘️
“Katie tells it like it is, the good, the great and the not so good. She is very encouraging but honest and doesn’t sugarcoat. And that has helped me immensely in narrowing down my search for the perfect place to retire in Mexico. I will be making the move soon and won’t hesitate to use her services.” ~Sylvia
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