This move has been the hardest thing I have done in my entire life – other than being born, maybe, though I don’t remember that! From selling the house on a market that softened right before we listed to letting go of my stuff to venturing away from a successful and profitable career. I already tend toward anxiety so this whole effort kicked that into overdrive. There have been tears and fears, there have been doubts, and then there has been the pure excitement of getting out of the rat race, trusting the Universe, and stepping of a cliff with the dearest, most amazing woman I know.
Getting out of our house felt like it would take forever (it took 6 months), then getting out of Austin felt like it would take forever (it took 7 weeks and 2 other houses), getting across Mexico felt like it took forever (a semi wreck held up traffic for three hours as we crawled along at 0 kph (that’s right kilometers per hour). But we got here and it is even better than I thought.
We live in a compound with 5 other apts, all inhabited by americans. The compound was called ‘artsy’ when I rented it through craigslist. I saw it and fell in love with the idea of an instant community. I chatted on email with the owner and then sent her $600 through paypal. I kept thinking – I hope this place really exists (Hi, I live in Africa and need your help…).
The neighborhood is a mexican family neighborhood with lots of tienditas (little stores) and we live next to an orphanage and across from a school so are surrounded by the sounds of girls playing and living their lives. (https://www.santajulia.org/).
Our neighborhood is quiet and up the hill from Centro, the main part of town. We have ventured down to eat at a little organic restaurant and store (overpriced because it is frequented by non mexicans), and to go to the mercado. I have very fond memories of the mercado in Juarez when I grew up in El Paso. So, I was looking forward to our jaunt down there. Unfortunately, times have changed. True enough we bought quite a bit of food for very little money but I was hoping for artisan crafts.
What we found instead was a bunch of plastic crap made in China. I did enjoy the numerous shrines to Mary.
After 4 days here I have already made plans to return to Austin to pick up my mom and bring her down to her assisted living center. We visited Casa Cieneguita yesterday and it is beautiful with great care for an affordable price. When I think about all the places she has had to endure in the states because of her health conditions I am grateful I can get her here and surround her with such amazing beauty and such loving care.
We have a found a holistic vet who makes food for cats – since we have a cat who tends toward diabetes this is so fantastic. I anticipate we will find everything we need here and more. Our spanish is improving daily and everyone is kind as I learn new words and stumble through the colloquialisms.
The city is full of people living their lives and as Pema Chodron says ‘just like me they want love, just like me they are doing their best, just like me they want the best for their families’. Please don’t ask me if it safe down here. When you find that on the tip of your tongue ask yourself is it safe where I live? Then take a good realistic view of your environment.