There’s no question that it’s been an unexpected, challenging and thought-provoking year for everyone, and I’m no exception. On March 24, 2020, I closed up my home in Mazatlan, paid the rent and utilities four months in advance, packed a few things (including my two cats) in the car and headed north to Colorado.
My plan was to “ride out” the pandemic with a visit to my daughter and grandkids; I thought it would be a few months at the most. Who knew what we were all in for?!
I stayed in three states (Colorado, Oregon & California), drove thousands of miles through multiple other states with many hours of wailing, unhappy cats, set up and dismantled yet another home, which is getting harder and harder (emotionally) to do … all of it rather overwhelming, but finally, I’m home!
A year to the day later and fully vaccinated, I’m finally back in Mazatlan, my beloved home since 2006. This city touched my heart from the very first time I visited; if you haven’t already read my story, check out the Home page or if you haven’t yet, buy my book, Why We Left: An Anthology of American Women Expats, where you can read not only mine but 26 other stories by women who moved to Mexico.
How does it feel to be back in Mexico? Well, there’s no denying it’s a mixed bag. I miss the son and daughter-in-law I spent the bulk of my time living near, in Portland, Oregon; I haven’t spent so much time near anyone in my family for 14 years. It was a reconnection, or, really, a re-establishing of relationships. He was a boy when I left and he’s now a grown man, with a wife, career and established interests I knew nothing about. Having my little grandchildren come to visit me at my house was also a new experience for all of us, and their curiousity about me and my life touched me deeply.
I miss the abundance of wonderful food options, the farmers markets, specialty shops and the fact that even the most common grocery store is full of organics. That’s always been a big trade-off for me.
What I don’t miss is the weather up there! I used to joke about it but now I’m absolutely sure: I don’t need the change of seasons, and am completely and totally happy to wake up to a blue sky and warm weather Every. Single. Day. And I missed the ocean -the warm ocean – terribly and daily.
I’m staying for a few months in a friend’s gorgeous home, an unexpected offer that gave me a light at the end of the many-day tunnel of the long drive from Oregon to Mexico. I can’t even express how appreciative I am… It’s a breathtakingly beautiful place, and to have it as a landing place, to get my bearings and re-orient myself, is beyond good fortune. S&S, you know who you are – muchisimas gracias, amigas!
It’s been two weeks since I’ve been back, and I feel more settled each day. I know so many people in Mazatlan, and especially in this neighborhood, I know lots of the locals. Walking around, inevitably I meet someone I know. The farmers market I started 10 years ago is held in a plaza a few blocks away; I lived for two years in a house on another street two blacks from where I am now, and Lorena, the owner of the tiendita on the corner, was as happy to see me as I was to see her. I’ve learned lots of Spanish from her, plus she’s a wealth of information about the goings-on in the neighborhood.
I love being included in the morning gossip with other customers, love being able to make them laugh with simple jokes or funny gringa observations. The other day I took a pulmonia home from the market and the driver remembered me and my Toyota Tacoma – a truck I bought here that was the envy of every male from age nine to 90. I sold it 6 years ago and he still remembered it, and me, and seeing me unloading my surfboard at Los Pinos beach, my favorite Mazatlan surf break.
So there’s a touch of what’s happening for me, now, here in Mazatlan, Mexico. Have a wonderful day!