Monday, May 23, 2011

Pulling Away From the Curb

 Tears well up in both our eyes, we kiss, and smiles cross our faces. Ty lifts his hand and turns the key, shifts the car into drive and slowly pulls away from the curb. We are relieved to be on our way. Tasks and ‘’to do’’ lists are behind us now, some things left undone. What started four years ago with “Yes, it would be cool to live in Mexico” was now becoming a reality.                                                                  
 One morning a few months before, we had hammered a “For Sale by Owner “sign into the freshly mowed front yard of our house in Midland. Within thirty days we would walk the empty rooms, with lumps in our throats, recalling all the happy times we had shared with our family and friends within those walls. We were waiting for the new owner to arrive for the final walk thru. What we hadn’t sold or given away or packed in our little SUV was neatly boxed, inventoried, and stacked in storage. We had enjoyed a wonderful holiday season, and our daughter had cooked her first Thanksgiving Dinner while we were waiting for the sale to close and getting everything in order. It would be the last holidays with family for awhile and Ashley made it memorable.
Ty navigated the familiar streets of Midland with ease as we left town, both of us quiet, in our own thoughts. Excited, as we both knew, nothing would be familiar to us for a long, long time.
 At the end of our first day of traveling, we had reached Laredo, Texas. On the balcony at the Historic La Posada Hotel, overlooking the Rio Grande, we watched a very large Mexican flag wave on the other side of the river. It seemed so close, yet another world away. The bridge was busy with cars going both ways. The next morning, we would cross that bridge, headed south, receive our Tourist Visas and car permit, and head on down the road…......

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Is This All There Is?

 Why would we want to leave the comforts of a land we know and a family we love to go to a land we love and people we don’t know?
Being a typical American couple, we have worked our way up the American dream ladder. We have spent our lives raising our three children, working, sacrificing, saving, and always reaching for the next rung. A better education for our children, a newer car, a larger home, a better neighborhood, nicer furnishings and great vacations. We eventually found ourselves living the American Dream.
We had great family gatherings, swimming in the pool in summer, billiard tournaments in winter, great family feasts and wonderful holiday celebrations. Life was good.
Through hard work we attained more than we really had ever thought possible. However, always in the back of our minds was the nagging question “Is this all there is?”
Achieving the American Dream was one thing; however, maintaining our lifestyle had lost its luster.
So, on a trip to Yucatan we became convinced we should move to Mexico!
Truth is we’ve always loved Mexico. We grew up along the Texas border of Mexico making our way across the Rio Grande whenever we could. We visited the border towns of Cuidad Acuna, Juarez, Piedras Negras, Monterrey and Nuevo Laredo; we loved the music, the sights, the sounds, the people and never seemed to want to go home.  In the eighties, we toyed with the idea of moving to the colonial heartland. We vacationed along the Mayan Riviera at all-inclusive resorts. Wanting a more authentic experience we began to venture further into the Yucatan Peninsula. Always talking about how much we loved Mexico. We seemed to feel at home when our feet were on Mexican soil. Alas, we would return to Texas and stay status quo, grasping each rung and reaching for the next one.

Isla Holbox
    On the secluded beaches of Isla Holbox, a then almost undiscovered island where the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean waters mingle, nestled in a Mayan style thatch roof bungalow there was no doubt in our hearts and minds we should take the plunge.
Four years of dreaming, research, hours spent on the internet reading every blog and website we could find, research trips and a couple more vacations and we felt we were ready.  Sell our home, scale down our belongings, and head south of the border.
 When we were lounging under that thatch roofed palapa, our toes dusted with white sugary sand, watching pelicans dive into the turquoise water, dreaming of living in this tropical paradise, we were not thinking of details. We quickly found out the details are many; one detail would unearth three more details. I often felt overwhelmed and mentally exhausted but we never second guessed our decision. As with any dream or goal, you must keep your eye on the prize,not on the details or the hurdles. The hardest part of the move would be being away from our family.
Merida scored highest on our checklist. We love the colonial heartland, but we wanted to be in close proximity to the ocean, Merida is thirty minutes to the Gulf of Mexico and 3 1/2 hours to the Caribbean. We wanted colonial architecture; Merida is second only to Mexico City in that department. We needed an International Airport; a 1 1/2 hour flight to Houston ain’t bad!  We are only going to get older so good medical care was a must; Merida has some of the best in Mexico. Merida passed the test on having a thriving expat community while retaining true authenticity.
What exactly are we hoping to find?
Of course we dream of hammock siestas, fresh seafood, walking cobblestone streets, gawking at colonial architecture, standing in awe of Mayan ruins, cold beer, salty margaritas and our toes in the sand…….
Truth is, we expect cold showers, spotty communications, a language barrier, driving mania, power outages, culture shock, trash and homesickness.
Our greatest hope is to embrace a country and culture with respect and genuine curiosity.
Join us on our journey.............