You know how time is such a crazy thing? Sometimes it barely moves. Sometimes it flies. Surely you have experienced this in your life?
For instance, how did we go from this…
The first picture was taken 4 years ago and yet it feels like yesterday.
You probably know what I mean, right?
Have we only been here in Mexico for 3 months? Really? It kind of feels like much longer.
We get asked (a lot) if we feel settled? Are we enjoying ourselves? Is it what we expected?
The settled part is a work in progress. Couple steps forward, couple steps backward. We are learning patience. (wish I could just learn patience quicker) 😉
Let’s start off with that Mikee is thoroughly enjoying the nice daily dose of beautiful sunny weather. The affect the weather has on him is an infusion of energy that gets him to face each morning ready to attack the day. There is no “magic pill” for my fibromyalgia and I still have pain and exhaustion that saps my energy but I too appreciate the sunshine and make use of the fact that I can take a couple moments to sit outside and not have the discomfort that comes from the fickle New England barometric pressure that wreaks havoc on my body. The kids spend lots of time each day outside also. We enjoy eating most all our meals together as a family outside on the terrace.
As for our expectations… can you ever really know what to expect when you move a family to another country? Mikee and I know the language. We understand the culture. We spent the summer here. We did our best to be as prepared as possible. Still, the adjustment is exhausting -physically, emotionally, mentally. Not bad. But an adjustment, for sure.
Many of our friends have the perception is that we are on a perpetual vacation with lots of time to just sit and hang out by the pool or play tennis. Wouldn’t that be cool? The reality is that we are very very busy. Just like back in the States. But different. 😉 Many of the invisible stresses are gone -the excessively high cost of living, the affects of the daily changing weather patterns, and many other personal causes for anxiety. In this world there is not an escape from anxiety but there are different ways of life and adjustments are still necessary. We are not retired and Mikee works full time. We have 3 young children who mean the world to us and it is a full time job raising them -guiding, nurturing, comforting them as they adjust to their new home. And things here in Mexico just take time.
Our friends that live here understand that a lot of energy and emotion is put into adjusting to life here. It’s not bad. But life here is different. And it takes time. One friend told me (and she has moved to several different countries and many states by her own choice) that it took her a year to get comfortable and unpack and feel like this was home. Not only is she a pro at adjusting, she is just a super cool and easy going person. And she is single. Add the complication of moving a family and jumping right into life here (work, school, cong) many of our friends here tell us it took a year to get acclimated. So, I think that we are doing pretty well in our couple months so far.
There are some super awesome perks about life here. The abundance and variety of fresh fruit and veggies always available and super cheap. We have delicious fresh produce with all our meals. Grown local by family farms. (Mikee has lost 25 pounds that he attributes just to a healthy diet and lack of 3pm McDonalds drive through ice coffees ) Just today I filled -I mean FILLED to the tip top- my large reusable shopping bag with bananas, grapefruit, oranges, limes, zucchini, tomatoes, avocados, jicama (looks like a large onion, but tastes like a apple/potato… awesome with lime), apples, pineapple, (and there was more but i can’t remember it all) and paid just under $10.
(some of our favorite treats are fresh limonada (like lemonade but with juice from freshly squeezed limes), orange juice, jicama sliced and covered in lime juice, fresh pomegranate seeds in a cup -all super refreshing and delicious)
You do learn things about yourself. For instance, I never really felt like an about “things” kind of person yet I feel the need to tell each person that comes into this house that what they see is not my “things” or my taste and that my “things” are not unpacked yet. Yes, we did bring a lot of stuff -our kitchen, linens, cases of books for the kids to read, etc. But my boxes of “things” are only a couple of carefully packed items that I felt worthy of keeping and bringing on this journey. Do they mean anything to anyone else? No. But i think they are interesting enough. It would be nice to unpack them and have them here to look at.
There are also my pictures to hang. Why have I not just put them up? Not sure. The easy answer is that there is work we need to have done in the house still and walls in need of repair and paint and it seems we should get that done first. Maybe I should just say what the heck and get those pictures up so we have something pretty (and familiar) to look at. It just seems like more work to drill into the cement walls and place the necessary anchors. There are crazy, unstable nails and busted up plaster holes all over the place. So the pictures might help with that too.
The mom absorbs all the fears and anxiety of her little people in addition to her own adjustments to this big move. Our kiddos are superheros and are doing very well. That does not mean they have not had their own set of difficulties. There is the normal homesickness that pops up here and there. There is frustration and sadness as they adjust. They like a lot of things here but they also miss what they have been used to all their life and their momma is well aware of that and we talk about how we each feel in our new place.
Is our life better? Is our life worse?
Different can mean a lot. We have been able to spend time with our precious children that we could never get in any other way. Watching them grow. Watching them experience life. Watching them blossom and make new friends that they will treasure forever. Watching them take care of each other. Watching them play together and make so much noise laughing and playing while Mikee is on the phone that we repeatedly try to get them to quiet down although we really don’t want them to 🙂 . And not just watching as a bystander but being right there and enjoying the moment. The other day we all stopped what we were doing and took time for a jump rope contest. India had the record at 43 jumps. Mikee was on the way to beating until his shorts fell down at jump #23 (told you he lost a lot of weight). He made it to 29 but all the laughing (India was seriously bent over holding her stomach from laughing so hard) and danger of tripping on his shorts made him stop and let India keep her championship record. There is no way you can put a price tag on that. (Wish I could have videoed that!)
Maybe you have tried to arrange your life to be able to spend more time with your family. Then you probably understand that it involves a lot of sacrifice and adjustment. We learned that about 11 years ago when Mikee made the switch from a very successful corporate career to pursue work that would allow him to work from home and hopefully from any place in the world. But, isn’t that how family is designed to work best? To be able to spend time together? I know this is not always possible, but for right now it is pure joy. And we do savor it.
This week India learned in her literature classes about how your perspective in life affects your attitude. We are all also learning that lesson in real life right now!
This week Austin learned in his literature classes about some characters who showed courage, patience, hard work and sacrifice to attain things most people thought impossible. We are all also learning that lesson in real life right now, too!
Liking or not liking living in a different country depends largely on viewpoint. We could focus on how life here is strange and inefficient and lots of things break. Or we have an expression-
“If it doesn’t go like we planned (and we live to tell about it) then it’s a great story to share.”
Mikee laughs and says it must be extra hard for control freak like me to adjust to the way things do not work or go as planned. Truth is I don’t have energy to get all upset. But I do like time with my family and being able to focus on spiritual activities together and the sunny days and that life here is … interesting. (did you see my post about getting stuck in traffic in town in the middle of a circus parade?) Every time we leave our driveway the camera is usually ready because we don’t know what or where or when but we will pass something that is interesting enough to catch on camera.
When things get frustrating I focus on the benefits this experience has bestowed upon my children …and that makes it all worthwhile.
We have interesting traditions. Sunset is a little after 8pm now. (Sunrise isn’t until 8am, but that’s a different story) Usually while we sit outside out on the terrace we watch the bats come out of the roof of our neighbor’s house first, then ours. Must be about 100 of them. They fly real fast (and sometimes real close) as they head out for the lake. We have a chiminea that we use for burning our papers in whenever company comes over. Saturday we have 2 couples visiting. Both guys are named Rick and both play saxophone. We’re gonna spend the evening out on the bug free terraza listening to music and burning our trash while we eat, laugh, share stories, and watch the stars come out.
Yeah… things are different.