Tag Archives: living in Mexico

A bit of remodeling–Moving on up

The design of our new living space was intended as a living room/bedroom combination.  We couldn’t move upstairs until the stairs were tiled and the bathroom completed but had to move most things before the handrail on the steps was installed.

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The first items to get moved were those in the backroom.  That way, they would already be out of the way when my husband was ready to tile the backroom.  So my treadle sewing machine, the table, and chairs from my mother plus the cupboard where I kept all my fabric scraps found a new spot upstairs. My husband lengthened the shelves in the cupboard so that it was more spacious. It now serves as a mini-kitchen cupboard, the bathroom closet and fabric scrap storage.

Then the piano and the chairs I bought which were at the little house in Sunflower Valley came over.  We had to enlist a helper for the piano because even though it was a spinet and not an upright, it still was as heavy as a horse.  The neighbors thought we were moving out, but we aren’t.  I still will continue to rent in Sunflower Valley because we do not yet have electricity and internet services in La Yacata.  But we won’t be moving the piano again. Of course, now the little house is all drab again.  Guess I’ll have to work on livening things up there for my next project!

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Curtains needed to be made for those new curtain rods from Harley the carpenter.  We went to 10 fabric stores in town.  Yes, there are 10 fabric stores in our town. In fact, I would estimate there are at least 30 since Moroleon is known for its textiles.  In 9 out of the 10 we stopped at, I didn’t find anything I liked.  In the 10th store, I found a lovely brown embroidered fabric but the girl working there said they didn’t sell by the meter, but by the roll.  Umm, ok.  Well, I didn’t need a roll of fabric.  I toyed with the idea of ordering fabric online, but in the end, I found a large curtain at the Bodega which I cut into 6 smaller curtains.  I also picked up a bath mat set there. I cut the elastic off the toilet tank topper and made a second little rug for the stair to the bathtub. Who needs a fuzzy toilet tank anyway?

Once the bathroom was finished, it was time to move the bedroom things and occupy our new residence.  Our king size bed went out the front door and was lifted onto Joey’s roof.  The large armoire is made up of two pieces, so it was brought up piece by piece.  The smaller armoire wasn’t so heavy.

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I got it into my head that we needed bedside tables. I’m well into middle age and have yet to own a pair of bedside tables. It was time. In the past, I had seen some at the weekly tianguis (flea market). But you know how that goes.  Now that I was in the market, there weren’t any to be found.  We went to a place in town and he did have end tables, only they were $3,200 each, not for the pair.  That definitely was out of our budget. We stopped at the roadside tent where an indigenous man, his wife, twin toddlers and four year old have set up shop or camp or business or something. They had end tables but they were too short.  Our bed is quite a bit higher than the typical beds found around here.  We did end up getting some chairs from this place.  More about that in another post.

We happened on a truck full of furniture one day while picking up the tortillas and we stopped.  The guy had the perfect size bedside tables and we liked the style.  While we were negotiating a price, some lady on a motorcycle came and claimed both.  Drat.  We saw the same guy another day (bought a rocking chair but more about that later) and put in our order for a pair of bedside tables just like the ones that were snatched out from under our noses.  They were ready at the beginning of January.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also ordered two water stands from the same guy, one for upstairs and one for downstairs.  My husband and son just rolled their eyes at that, but quality craftsmanship is worth the price and the wait in this case.  It was another 2 weeks for the carpenter to finish them and arrange to meet us for pickup.

Things were certainly shaping up!

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Your stories about Mexico

My purpose in writing Surviving Mexico goes beyond keeping my mom up-to-day on our goings-on in La Yacata.  I am also committed to providing a resource for individuals living in or planning to move to Mexico.  Mexico is an enormous country, full of diverse cultures, languages, geographic landscapes and lifestyles. In comparison, our life in central rural Mexico is rather limited. Therefore, I would love to feature your story in 2018.

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Do you write a blog, vlog, newsletter or host another site on social media that focuses on Mexico?  Drop me a line to be included in the series Blogs about Mexico worth reading.

Inspirational Women Writers in Mexico

Have you written a book, ebook or academic paper about Mexico?  Fill out the contact form below to be featured in the series Inspirational Writers in Mexico.

Modern Day Marias

Do you live in Mexico? I’m planning a series similar to Modern Day Marias, as yet unnamed, and would love to hear your story!

Small Business

Do you make things to sell like crafts, paintings, and carvings, or otherwise have your own small business in Mexico?  Send me a message!

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Do you have an idea that would work as a regular feature like Geneva’s Southern Comfort Food Mexican Style?  I’m interested!

Do you work with a charity or non-profit organization in Mexico that you think should be featured?  I’d love to hear about it!

Have you been already featured and have written something new or qualify under another category listed above?  Let me know!

Do you know someone that I should feature?  Send them my way.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

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Flavors of Mexico

Life is full of the most natural of flavors...open your eyesand take a momentto savor them.

When we first arrived in Mexico, my senses were overwhelmed with the sights, sounds, and tastes of my new home.  I was willing to try just about anything. I even managed to choke down the unpleasant bits in the name of experience.  Everything was incredible. Everything was fascinating.  It was a lot like falling in love.

As I’ve passed the 10-year mark here in Mexico, that initial euphoria has taken a nosedive.  I am no longer willing to gag on my life experiences for the greater good.  That doesn’t mean that Mexico still doesn’t inspire me to heights of great passion.  It does, but it’s not the same as when I first fell in love.

There’s a word in Spanish that I think foodies would understand.  Saborear.  Literally translated, it means to savor.  Saborear goes beyond that brief moment that the food actually touches your tongue.  To saborear something is to hold it in your mouth and experience the flavor and texture of the food, to enjoy the act of eating.  To seek out the individual nuances of the ingredients and ponder them separately and in conjunction with the other flavors.  It’s not a sandwich cramming type of lifestyle.

I’ve learned to saborear my life in Mexico, which means making more deliberate choices, now and in the future. Unfortunately, living here in Mexico is often much like Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Jellybeans of the wizarding world.  Sometimes you think you’ve chosen a nice toffee flavor and it turns out to be nothing more than ear wax. Alas!

Because of this alteration in life choices, my lifestyle over the past year has been undergoing some drastic changes.  (See A room of her own) I’m still in the transition process. I’ve made some headway as you’ll see in my Mid-year Goals update, but there are still some aspects I’m working on.  Meanwhile, I’ll saborear the moment I am in.

How do you saborear your life?

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Herbal Courses from beginner to advanced

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Inspirational Women Writers in Mexico–Monique Alvarez

So, we’ve reached the half-way point for 2017.  Remember those goals you made back in January? (See Resolutions) Well, do ya?  So how are they going?  If like me, there are still a few things you are working on making manifest, it’s time to revisit the subject.

Therefore, today’s inspiring woman writer in Mexico is Monique Alvarez, author of Success Redefined Travel, Motherhood, & Being the Boss.  Perhaps reading about how she has created the life of her dreams will help you reaffirm those goals you had back in January.

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I’m originally from Colorado and I now live in Guanajuato, Mexico. On May 1st of 2016, my family and I decided to travel Mexico and a friend highly recommended Guanajuato.

I would say my relationship with my family and friends started to change when I moved overseas for the first time about seventeen years ago. Making the decision to travel long-term changes our world view so dramatically it’s often difficult to return to the same relationships and even when we do they are not the same because we have changed so much.

My belief system changed when I was 19 and on my first overseas trip to Myanmar. I’m from a very small town in rural America and I had no world view. I was raised with a few thousand people that for the most part are exactly the same. There’s not much diversity for the fact that they don’t welcome it. I saw how close minded I was and how I had been taught (mostly silently) that people who are different from me are less than or bad. I realized that there was so much more to see and experience. I realized how different and how alike we all are. I also learned that we always fear what we do not understand and that would impact me until this day.  I wouldn’t say I have overcome fear. I have got comfortable feeling fear and acting anyway. Every time I do something new I feel fear. Every single time.

I returned to the U.S. ten years ago after getting malaria in Kenya. I knew Colorado would be a tough transition for many reasons including the change in climate. I decided to move to Tucson, Arizona and a few months later I met my husband on a blind date. We traveled together for a year before having kids and now we are traveling with our two sons. I feel like my husband and I have a much better relationship when we are traveling. Life, in general, is lighter and more carefree. We have more time and more fun and that’s always good for our relationship.

In some ways, our life is very similar to how it was before we moved to Mexico. Toddlers are still toddlers. We still own our businesses. My husband and I started a business together in 2008 and it has evolved into my consulting business. He does a little web design but for the most part, he is fully in his art business. He paints on the iPad and sells limited edition metal art online. I facilitate masterminds for female entrepreneurs and I have recently written a book called Success Redefined Travel, Motherhood, & Being the Boss. We still work and play. I would say the thing that impacts us the most, however, is the change of environment. We are living in a country where I feel much more supported as a mother. It’s very family friendly in Mexico. They love kids. They expect kids to act like kids here. In the U.S. kids are expected to act like adults. Parents have many pressures on them and it feels nearly impossible to do “good enough” there. In Mexico, we take more time to do fun things. Meals are longer. We walk everywhere. We spend less time working. We go with the flow more.

Because of my travels, I have changed entirely. I’m not who I was raised to be. I’m not religious in the traditional sense. After I started traveling I began an inward journey. I sought out to find what spirituality meant to me. I am pretty liberal. I’m inclusive. I believe everyone should be able to love and live as they choose. I don’t believe that anyone on the planet is illegal. I see borders as absurd. I don’t buy into the philosophy of hard work or martyrdom. I believe in living well and deliberately choosing my life. I would like to believe I have become a more compassionate and tolerant human being. I also have to say I have become more protective of my time and energy. I am incredibly particular who I allow in my inner circle and that has been very good for me. I would say the most valuable skill I have learned here (and everywhere I’ve lived) is to ask for help, to ask questions and to receive help.

There have been challenges, though. When I first started traveling I went everywhere by myself. That in and of itself was a huge challenge. I lived a very sheltered life and so this shift to independence had lots of growing pains. Looking back it was the single best thing I did for myself, my husband and my children because I know who I am as a woman. I overcame getting the deadliest strain of malaria while living in Kenya. I had always been healthy and suddenly I was bedridden for almost a year. The contrast in life helped me see how valuable good health really is. Later when my husband and I traveled together we had to overcome our clients backlash about out decision to leave the U.S. for a year. After we returned to the U.S. I had two babies in twelve months and had severe complications after birth that were life threatening. We also almost lost both our boys as babies. As a mother, this is extremely painful and yet it’s also when I found my strength. I fought for my own life and the lives of my children.

I would say the biggest challenge I face as a full-time traveler is the amount of criticism I receive. People who never travel or don’t feel the have the means to travel are the first to say my life is not good for my kids or that I am out of touch with “reality”. Truthfully I am out of touch with a reality that blames others for circumstances. In my life and business, I am passionate about empowerment. Most people don’t realize the biggest challenge standing in their way of having an amazing life is that they are unwilling to take ownership of their decisions.  Spanish has also been a challenge for me.  However,  I’m focused on classes this quarter and I am excited to learn this language.

Professionally, the accomplishment I am most proud of is creating reoccurring monthly income for nine years in a row. Most people who start businesses dream of steady cash flow and I have experienced it. Personally, my kids make me incredibly proud. They are complete miracles and bring me tons of joy.

I can’t say I miss anything about living in the U.S. but that took time. In the beginning, I did. I missed some foods and some systems and procedures. Now what I miss is how simply my life was when I first moved overseas. There was no social media and I rarely even used email. I appreciate how technology connects me to my clients around the world and yet it was very nice to live without it.

Stuff, in general, is no longer important to me. When I moved to Tucson after being out of the U.S. for most of my twenties I thought I had missed out on something.  My friends had gone to college (I did not), they were married, they had bought houses and cars and I had a suitcase of dusty clothes. My husband and I bought a house our first year of marriage and the second we did, I knew I didn’t want it. I didn’t realize how travel had given me a taste for experiences and I lost so much of my desire for status symbols in my country.

The defining moment of my life since leaving the U.S. nine months ago was when a client wrote a nasty blog post about my choice to travel. I lost clients over it. I lost friends over it. At first, it was painful and confusing and then I found my fierce, take no prisoners self. I raised the bar in my life and that was the best thing I could have ever asked for.  I have a good life and a good family. I don’t need the whole world to understand it, I simply enjoy it.

I spend my free time downtown and in our favorite plazas eating street tacos and churros. When the boys are napping I sometimes sneak away for yoga, a walk or nap myself. My boys just turned two and three and the move has been good for them. They are loved by so many and are very happy. I believe kids pick up on the energy of their parents, particularly their mother in the early years and so having me happy and light is a good thing for them. My life is meaningful because it’s deliberately simple. I love a good cup of tea or playing Legos with my boys or having a nice dinner with my husband. I wouldn’t change a thing about my life. It has brought me to the beautiful place I am today.

Powerful women inspire me. Women who don’t take no for an answer. Women who reach for more. I love them! I have a practice of focusing on what makes me feel good and not on what makes me feel bad. I’ve found it’s good for my relationships, my bank account, and my health.

Ready to work on those goals again?

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