I’m going to the States soon to visit my daughter and her family – so far, my only grandchildren – and am just starting to get ready. There’s always so much to be done in preparation, it seems: gifts to be bought, cat care to be arranged, airport rides on both ends and a careful consideration of what kind of clothes I’ll need for what is always a very different climate than the one I’m coming from. Inevitably I gauge this all wrong, and end up at Goodwill buying a warmer sweatshirt or a pair of jeans or even a pair of shorts when I’ve misgauged the weather yet again.
I do have a collection of warm weather clothes and basics that stay at my daughter’s in Colorado. Now that they’ve bought a house, storing a box in their basement feels OK. I’m so not used to wearing long pants, socks and layers, what to speak of boots! But the Colorado weather can change in a minute and I’ve learned the hard way it’s best to be prepared. One Mother’s Day we woke up to five inches of snow – the first I’d seen in more than a decade! Ack! Now I have a pair of boots that stay there, just in case.
It’s starting to look like I’m going to have a suitcase full of toys. With three grandchildren, that seems to (happily!) happen more and more. I’ve learned that clothes are hard to buy for them once they’re out of the baby stage; between their and their mother’s likes and dislikes it’s almost impossible to choose something everybody will like. Still…it’s hard to resist the cute clothes for kids to be found here in Mazatlan.
I’ll be bringing at least two cases of books back; it’s cheaper to pay for an extra suitcase than have them shipped to Mexico. And of course I’ve started my shopping list! Although my “wants” always exceed my budget, there are still things I need to bring back: soap and toothpaste from Trader Joe’s; a couple of bottles of an organic coconut lotion I’ve used for at least 25 years; hopefully a bathing suit (surfing ruins them so quickly); at least one new book to read; “real” Q-Tips; a quart of Dr. Bronner’s liquid peppermint soap (Love that stuff!); a set of 100% cotton sheets and last but not least, cellulose sponges. (So weird, I know.) We all have the things we miss from NOB, though, from Triscuits to the newest issue of Mother Jones to a favorite candy bar. There are a few other things on the list – caraway seeds, chocolate chips – and inevitably I find other unexpected “treasures” whenever I’m there.
I have to admit I do miss the shopping there; “retail therapy” has always been a favorite of mine. Even if I don’t necessarily buy anything, I just like to be around aesthetically pleasing “things.” I haven’t found the same satisfaction here in Mazatlán, where oftentimes even the grocery store can be disappointing. One kind of tomato, for example, no aged cheeses and always a very limited selection of melons – basically only watermelon or cantaloupe. No honeydews, Crenshaws or (and I digress) pluots. On the other hand, fresh, juicy mangoes – a smorgasbord of varieties! – are cheap and plentiful in season, and fresh cocos frios are available all year round. Such is life in Paradise!
Speaking of which, my daughter has asked me to bring her only one thing: dried mangos. So toys and mangos it is! (And maybe one of those cute little shirts…)