A WHOLE NEW WORLD
“You’re so passionate, you’re so personal and you’ve taken a lot of hits,” said one my oldest and closest friends, Tobijah, on the phone just now, when I spoke of my extreme comfort level here in southern Mexico, as I try to figure out if I want to stay.
“If it makes you happy, it makes you happy, and it is time for you to be happy, bro” he said, as I fretted about leaving the United States.
And there are reasons to leave. I do not recognize my beloved country these days, and it is getting worse rather than better. A lot of nastiness, a lot of focus on things that really do not matter at all. A lot of First World Problems. I suppose I am sick of it.
So here I’ve found myself for a few weeks now, renting a super nice condo in a super nice area with a super lovely woman whom I have known for a few years now. I had a traumatic experience living on Hilton Head and I was about to lose it…and she basically called me here.
And I am so glad she did. This place is the closest to paradise I have been. And cheap! Also, I appreciate all the concerned e-mails I have been getting about safety from friends and colleagues, but as long as you understand how to behave and be respectful, there is no danger, and you can make friends fast. People here are kind, hard working, and humble. I like humble. I need humble, because that’s another problem with my country. Humility and respect in particular have gone out the window.
I hang out and do my work at a few restaurants, my favorite being Dona Tona, where I have made friends with much of the staff.
I grew up in a Mexican-dominated community in Southern California, so perhaps there is a special place in my heart, but I cannot emphasize enough how cool they are here. And in a very short period of time I have made a surprising amount of Mexican friends— some of the sweetest people you’d want to know. Including ex-pats like this one wild-eyed British guy who is an ornithologist (my thing) and river guide (not my thing) and is amusing the shit out of me.
Still, I’m nervous. I’ve learned that I can do every aspect of my job from here with no problem whatsoever, and that’s good. I’m working hard on Spanish. So what am I waiting for? I don’t know, honestly. I still have so many questions about the ex-pat life, which I know will be answered. People who know me know I am extremely anxiety-prone, and way down here, totally out of my element, my anxiety levels tend to peak.
It’s just a whole new world. A WHOLE new world. I know it will be fine and I will figure it out, but boy at the moment how my mind races.
As Tobijah said, it’s time to be happy, and I am trying. Stay tuned. And American friends, please stop beating up on Mexico and Mexicans. These are our brothers and sisters, for sure.