What do we call “Paradise”? Is there such a place to live here on earth … ?
Is it living by a beach? In the mountains? A log cabin by a lake? A beautiful apartment in a big city? A mansion? A farm? A horse ranch? A small town where everyone knows each other? An Ashram? Travelling the world? Life on a boat? An island? It is up to each of us to decide … There are many options. Every choice has benefits and trials. Which has more benefits and less trials (or, should I say, ones you are willing to put up with for the benefits)? We search for our own paradise, learning along the way and as we grow and learn, our perceptions change. What we consider gifts and challenges changes, depending on where we are in our lives and the choices and sacrifices we are willing to make.
Living in Mexico this winter and last has been quite the learning experience for me! Some delightful experiences, some challenging, some an eyeopener! All combined the experience has been a wonder filled one. So many lovely people – Mexican and ex-pats (many from Canada and the U.S.). All helping each other to navigate the ins and outs of visiting/living in a foreign country. Sourcing out food, learning a new language (more than una cerveza por favour … lol!) discovering new ways of cooking along the way. New sights, new sounds, new smells, new tastes! Scenery is lovely and … I drive around freely and easily! Weather – well, what can I say … no snow … lots of sun, flip flops most days … although when the nortes blow in, it’s cold, windy and wet!
The challenges … well … sometimes needed items are very hard to find, require a lot of driving around or simply cannot be found. That goes for everything from food to hardware to kitchen gadgets (looking for a decent can opener right now! … Found one!), to linens and everything in between. One learns quickly here … if you see something you like/want/need or may need in the near future … BUY IT NOW! Things go quickly and restocking takes a while or not at all. Miracle Whip disappears as fast as the stars at dawn … twinkle twinkle and it’s gone!
The challenges also include getting used to living in a country that is not as rich, nor as advanced as ours. Although in the province of Yucatan it is generally safe, awareness is key. Locking doors, protecting phones, computers, etc., just as most places in the world … play safe and stay safe. The laws are sometimes enforced, sometimes not and they are a little different. Although now there is zero tolerance for drinking and driving, no smoking in an indoor area, no talking on the mobile phone whilst driving, etc. Car accidents are handled a bit differently (all parties involved can be jailed until they agree on who is at fault – Lawyers come in very handy!), thankfully I have not learned this first hand. Associating with a person of interest to the police can land you in jail. Visa requirements … best to always look up the laws and requirements of where you are going BEFORE you get there.
Internet is EXTREMELY slow, even in Merida it is not as fast as large metropolitan areas in Canada or the U.S. People take precedence over animals, resulting in many street dogs and a few cats that are sick, dying or dead. Although there are ex-pats and Mexican vets now that are neutering and spaying animals for free. If anyone can catch a street dog/puppy, they will de-worm, de-flea, cure the mange and spay/neuter the animal for free. We all do what we can to support these efforts. Many of the people here have adopted 1, 2, 3 or even 4 dogs! Sewer system at the beach and many places in Merida is a septic tank which comes with its’ own challenges. Electricity goes on and off at random, as does the mobile and internet service … Then there are the bugs … CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN … no leaving the dishes in the sink or dropping food on the floor! Do NOT walk in the bush – snakes, bugs, animals all live in any empty, grassy space and they all come out at night.
Although some days can be very trying, the beauty, the people and all the knowledge I’ve accumulated have been more than worth the trials! I’ve learned about Mamay fruit, Achiote paste, coconuts, fish/seafood (so many different kinds!), jicama, cilantro, nuts, oils, I have cooked Mexican foods – Yucatectan foods (yes, I will share the recipes with you). The ruins, the cenotes, the markets … museums, art, music … beautiful, intriguing, enlightening … Watching Pelicans float by is so relaxing … meditative!