Adios por Ahora Mexico!

Goodbye for now Mexico!  It is bittersweet for us to be leaving Mexico as we so enjoyed our time here and made some wonderful friends in the past year.

This is a country that we will visit again as we feel that we just scratched the surface of fascinating places to visit.  I know I have already voiced this but it is worth repeating – everyone, if given the opportunity, should take the time to experience a developing country and immerse yourself in another culture.  If you embrace the ways of another country, you may find that you will be richly rewarded and have a greater appreciation for the wealth we all enjoy in the US, even with what is now happening in the political arena and our economy (and I refuse to expound on that).

Here are just a few things that we will miss:

  • balmy, sunny weather
  • fabulous food and amazing aromas
  • lush vegetation
  • colonial cities rich in culture and history
  • striking churches and historic buildings
  • vividly colored buildings and homes
  • stunning murals painted by local artists on the sides of buildings
  • smiling, friendly locals
  • beautiful children playing outside with basic toys (balls, bicycles, sticks)
  • multi-generations walking together hand-in-hand

I would be remiss in typing this final tribute to Mexico if I failed to mention a few people we met in Lakeside who touched us deeply:  

Our yoga instructor, Ana, was a delightful, inspiring young woman who grew up in the Lakeside area, moved to Canada where she earned her law degree, and walked away from that profession, as her heart and soul drew her to sharing her love of yoga and meditation.  She moved with her husband and baby son back to Lakeside, where she hopes to share the local culture with her child.  Her spirituality and love of imparting what she has learned certainly fed us during our time in San Antonio Tlayacapan.

Me & The Lovely Ana

Tennis seems to be a sport that is embraced in Lakeside, enjoyed by young and old.  Our instructor, Tony, who grew up in Guadalajara, is fun-loving and patient.  He encouraged us and pushed us each and every lesson.  We were thankful to spend time with him over the past several months.

Tony Probably Giving Me a Pointer about My Backhand

Lois Cugini, whose picture I unfortunately do not have, is a pint-size little bundle of energy who moved to the Lakeside area 30+ years ago from Boston, MA and who still has the accent.  She owns a funky little women’s boutique and wine bar in Ajijic, very well respected by locals and tourists alike.

Opus Boutique

Lee and Lloyd are a couple from the Houston area who retired to Lakeside several years ago and are still hard at work as realtors and property managers.  They were our landlords and are a delightful couple.

Me, Lee & Lloyd

Terry happened upon a familiar looking face when he was walking the bicycle path in Lakeside, shortly after our arrival to Mexico.  He turned out to be a man who we became friends with back in Michigan 10+ years ago.  We both took an exercise class he was teaching and it was great fun rekindling our friendship and getting to know his wife Geri.  They have lived in Ajijic for the past 4 years.

We recently house sat/dog sat for them when they returned to the states for a visit.  We must admit that we fell in love with their dog Kai and had some withdrawal pains when our house sitting job ended.  The house they rent is fabulous so I thought I would share the view from their veranda.

And here is the couple lucky enough to enjoy this view every day!

Brad & Geri

And last, but not least from this trio, is our buddy Kai.  It was love at first sight for me when I met him!

Kai

Geri and Dave came into our lives a few short months ago but we felt an immediate connection with them.  They come from the state of Washington and were our next-door neighbors for a few months before we left.  They are a dear couple and we will miss them greatly.

Geri, Dave & Me (Me Sans Makeup & Fixing Hair - Yikes!)

The next picture I had to include, as it will forever remind me of Dave.  His favorite expression is “it just doesn’t matter!”, meaning don’t sweat the small stuff.  He has the most positive attitude and we loved spending time with them.

"It Just Doesn't Matter!"

Last, but certainly not least, in our small grouping of friends, is Les and David.

Terry met David when he went to Lakeside on a fact-finding mission the year before we moved to Mexico.  He had been following Les’s blog, which I encourage everyone to read http://boomerstomexico.com.  David is an accomplished photographer and Terry saw him at a local parade and introduced himself.  He said that Terry was the nicest stalker he had ever met!

Les has a quirky, unique sense of humor and a beautiful spirit, and is a fabulous writer. Terry and I are both reminded of Erma Bombeck when we read her blog and she has been told by many that she should write a book.  We think this is a must!

When we told them we were moving back to the states for a time, she wrote us the loviest email as she has such an amazing way with words.  I will quote a piece of it and mirror back to them the same message, as it applies equally to them:

“We became the recipients of an oh-so-comfortable friendship.  The type of friendship that did not need constant attending or constant togetherness.  The kind of friendship that made each encounter, chance or otherwise, like the smile a rainbow brings after a gentle rain.”

Les & David

A few more lines I will take from Les’s email, as I believe it applies to Mexico in general for us:  “Goodbyes are not forever.  Goodbyes are not the end.  They simply mean we’ll miss you until we meet again.”

Adios Mexico!



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Mexico Here We Come!

We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate.  The world is all gates, all opportunities.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

We are clearly on our way to our next adventure, no turning back (well not at least until the plane lands in Guadalajara!).  This still seems so surreal to me and I wonder if it does to Terry as well.  Outwardly he seems very calm to me and I probably to him, although if he was sitting closer and the noise of the jet engines were not an issue, he might hear something different.  I feel that I have one foot still firmly placed in US soil and another toe tentatively touching soil south of the border.  I am thinking that it is one thing to be venturing into retirement and another to be doing this by heading out of your native land for a time.  A verse from an Eagles’ song pops into my head “A little voice in my head said don’t look back.  You can never look back.”  So, here we go, as our wheels touch down in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Our flight is 30 minutes late, due to a change in equipment in Phoenix, but still our taxi service, guided by Joseph, is patiently waiting for us as we emerge from customs.  We soon learn that he is the owner of the B&B where we will be staying for the next week, a man who has been in Ajijic 7 years, emigrating from Syria, by way of California.  He is a gentle soul who firmly believes that you should not sweat the small stuff (which most everything is) and that we should keep in mind that we are visitors in this beautiful country and not try to change what is.  We instantly know that we are going to like him.

On our first night we had a lovely dinner at a restaurant named Ninette’s just down the street from our B&B.  Many restaurants in this area have garden settings, as does this one, so the views are beautiful; the staff is amazingly friendly; and the food was “muy delicioso”,  which was an expression I used on the owner with my meager Spanish.  He promptly responded, “So, you enjoyed it, did you?” and seemed to take much joy in tricking me.  We met the wait staff, the owner and the chef and felt like we were one of the family before we left.  We had dined here earlier this year and the experience was as great this time.

We reconnected with a couple (Erin and Kevin) who were most gracious the last time we visited Ajijic and have been more so this time.  They have been instrumental in giving us sage advice in the areas of house hunting, getting a cell phone set up (which has been a test in patience and I believe we have passed), restaurants to frequent, the best shopping areas, yoga teachers, etc, etc.  We already consider them friends and do not know how we will ever be able to repay them for their kindness.  Fortunately, they subscribe to the same theory as we do, to pay it forward.

Kevin has a blog that we have followed for some time, one of many since we entertained the idea of spending some time in this colorful country.  Kevin is very articulate and weighs in on many topics, so I have attached his blog spot for your viewing pleasure: http://caffeinatedcalm.blogspot.com.

Erin has a spiritual side that appeals to be immensely so I am looking forward to growing through spending time with her.  She has already given me advice on the best yoga instructors in the area and is practiced in the field of massage.  I feel that we are blessed to have been introduced to this lovely couple.  As of this writing, thanks to the two of them, we have rented a lovely home that we will be moving into this weekend.  As soon as we are settled, pictures will follow!

For those of you who may be concerned about our safety or wondering about how we are adapting to the change in culture, we are doing well.  We have walked the streets of this quaint village after dark and the locals and those who are part-time and permanent transplants could not be friendlier.  It has only been a few days, but so far, so good.

I am attaching a few pictures of Ajijic so you can enjoy the flavor of this area.  Enjoy!

Ajijic Plaza
Colon Street - Quaint and Cobblestoned
Caballero