Six years ago today I celebrated my 44th birthday by boarding a plane with my eight-year-old twins on a one-way ticket to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Saying goodbye to my Mom was the most painful and difficult part of our move. Thank God for planes, trains and automobiles and her desire and ability to visit us several times a year!
My husband Frank had left a few days prior by car with our chocolate lab Seamus and our 14-foot aluminum boat filled to the rim with the belongings that had made the final cut. It was quite the sight!
We left five-lane freeways and a rat-race mania for a slower and more connected way of life. We have found that. We have created that.
No Map, No Worries!
Frank will have to tell the story of how he did the entire 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 4 days total, car and trailer intact and Seamus slobbering from door to door.
As we celebrate our six-year Mexi-versary and my 50th, we pause to reflect over some of the life insights we have been gifted as immigrants to Mexico:
1. Savor The Moment
Here in the land of “mañana”, there is a palpable beckoning and invitation to slow down and take it all in. The colors and sensory-rich nature of a quintessential Mexican town—alive with a mosaic of energy from street vendors, musicians, a multitude of sights and smells—make it nearly impossible to not pause and linger in the magic of the moment.
2. Honor Your Heritage
Mexico embraces its rich history, values its cultural roots and honors its young and old alike. Her people celebrate with intention and a reverence for the sacred.
3. Celebrate Life
Weddings, Quinceñeras, Blessing of The Horses, Day of The Dead, the list goes on…there are oh so many wonderful reasons to celebrate life in Mexico!
4. Be Curious
Here in Mexico, I am allured, intrigued, invited to stop and look, to be in the moment…to celebrate the textures and layers within the day, to pay attention, to notice…to be participatory and present in life. With my senses awake, I am tuned in to the details and the magic of my surroundings.
5. Use Common Sense & Situational Awareness
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 emerging from the markets, corner cantinas, garbage trucks, city buses and street vendors. Some would call this Darwinism, perhaps even a lawless and haphazard way to live…I just call it cultural immersion!
6. Honor Thy Family, Community & Friends
I love the importance placed on the family unit in the Mexican culture, including the extended one, and not always necessarily blood-related.
A very good friend is often referred to as a primo (cousin) or hermano/a (brother/sister) and they are taken into the family as such. My twin children have more tíos and tías (uncles and aunts) here than they do in the States!
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.
There is a strong sense of community and connectedness amongst the Mexican people. They are united, loyal, hard-working, welcoming and generous of their time and help.
7. Live Sustainably
10-peso street tacos, 20-peso super-sized fresh fruit cups, 100-peso chicken rotisserie dinners complete with tortillas, rice, salad and grilled peppers. With the current value of the peso to the dollar about 19 to 1, you can calculate the amazing value!
There is never a shortage of fresh, locally grown produce, meats, cheeses, wines and breads…and many, thankfully organic.
8. 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 to the coast, I have thousands of pictures of our immigrated lives that capture, as they say, a story within a single image.
I am grateful that I live in a country that provides plenty of sensory-stimulating experiences and that I get to share some of them with an audience who appreciates my work.
What about you?
What are some of your favorite things about Mexico?
I would love to hear about them in the comments section below!
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