Last week I told you about the signed book giveaway of Travels with Grace through rafflecopter. The winner is Cassandra Darensbourg! Congratulations Cassandra! Please contact me to make arrangements for your book delivery. A big thank you goes out to everyone who participated as well!
Erma Note is the author of our giveaway prize, Travels with Grace. Here’s what she has to say about her life in Mexico.
I’m Erma Note. I am originally from the suburbs of Chicago, but I have been living in Mexico since 2003. I currently reside in Mexico due to job relocation.
I originally came to Mexico for a year to volunteer with an orphanage in Morelos State, Mexico. I ended up staying, getting married, and having my children in Mexico. My 23-year-old self never foresaw spending more than a year in Mexico, and I am often homesick for my family and friends. But I see that there is a lot of good in raising my children in Mexico. I have also met such a diverse array of interesting people in my years here, and my many friends and acquaintances have subsequently led to a variety of interesting connections.
I realized the other day while listening to the podcast “Curious City” (from WBEZ) that I am inherently a Chicagoan. While listening to the episode “To Chicago, With Love: What Do Transplants Love about the City?” I realized that I truly miss the environment I grew up in. I am still that person. But I have grown and evolved. So I don’t think my belief system has changed. I totally own who I am, and my family and friends from home helped shape me. But I have become worldlier since leaving the safe confines of the North Shore. Is that for better or for worse? That is a hard thing to determine. I know I would have always wondered “what if” had I not taken a leap of faith. I try not to be a “what if” kind of person if I can help it.
I miss fireflies in the summer and the Fourth of July. I miss seeing tulips popping up sporadically in my yard during the first days of spring, our magnolia tree in the front yard, and the view of Lake Michigan. I miss being able to go to family and friend events such as baptisms, weddings, first communions, graduations, and funerals. I miss having grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles nearby to watch my children grow (as was my experience with my extended family).
I think I am warier. I am always alert. I never rest on my laurels. I am constantly reinventing myself because so many dear friends leave every year. I think I am pretty good at keeping in touch thanks to social media. I am constantly meeting new, awesome friends that I would never have bumped into by staying in one corner of the world my whole life. I do NOT consider myself “an expat.” But I do consider myself a foreigner. I am a foreigner raising third culture children in Mexico. It’s complicated. But I know I am not the only one, and there are so many people bumping around the earth, trying to fit in. That is one reason I admin the Facebook group Mexico City Moms. Our goal is to help other people with families in Mexico adjust to the culture clash that often accompanies moving to a foreign culture.
I do not find it important to be a people-pleaser. I am honest and loyal, and I expect honesty and loyalty. I no longer have the capacity to deal with superficial people. I would rather have five close friends than twenty fake acquaintances. Fortunately, I think I have a lot of great friends. I hope they also think I am a good friend.
Due to job changes, we have lived in five cities over the last sixteen years. Nine of those years were in Mexico City, where all of my children were born. I got comfortable. Then we got moved again. Starting again is never easy. But I have managed to make friends everywhere I go, and I strive to make sure that my family is happy and functioning despite the upheaval.
It is a matter of when, not if, we move again. I am not great with transition. I am not a light packer or a minimalist. I live with a smidgen of dread and anxiety every day as such. I continuously research real estate prices while I peruse my emails. I am always hoping that somehow, somewhere, my kids will have a chance to grow up in one place, ideally the Midwest of the U.S. and near extended family. It is hard to be happy where you are when you’re wondering when you won’t be there anymore while wishing you were at home, wherever THAT IS at this point, and while at the same time feeling at home where you are.
My kids make me never give up. My children are my proudest accomplishment. I am also very proud of publishing my book and getting my message out to the world.
Certainly one of the most defining moments of my life was when I chose to come to Mexico. I felt that if I didn’t say “yes” right then and there, I would always wonder “what if.”
If I have free time, I enjoy shopping for handicrafts and visiting cultural sites such as pyramids and museums.
While I am not the main breadwinner of the family, I am an editor and publishing consultant. I also do author events for my book “Travels with Grace.” I would like to publish a Spanish edition of “Travels with Grace” sometime soon.