As many of you know, I have recently moved to Cozumel, Mexico. It is a beautiful island just off the eastern coast of Mexico that has many of the perks one thinks of when considering a vacation. If your checklist includes turquoise waters, hammocks under swaying palms, friendly locals, and shopping galore then go ahead and put your list away, we have it all. Hailing from a mid-western town in America that is unable to boast of anything close to this, I am confident that I made a good decision. But, just like the child who suddenly realizes there is no Santa Claus, reality can come into any picture and taint it albeit slightly. How we decide to work with this new reality is what separates the proverbial wheat from the chaff.
As a former teacher, I have learned that there are three ways to learn material: visually, kinesthetically, or verbally. Yours truly is a visual learner. I bring this up because the photos I’ve decided to include with this piece were all initially rejected by me as too blurry, too dark, or just plain too flawed. But, as I was going through them again this morning, it came to me that there is still much beauty in them and that thought is what has brought me here. A few flaws, read “realities,” threatened to make me have a moment of second guessing until I applied this lesson. Let me give you a few examples.
My apartment is lovely. It is a two story unit that is part of a small complex located in a great neighborhood. I rented it from an island business (Cozumel Living) and their reps have all treated me quite well. The actual apartment looked exactly like the online photos, which, for this frequent traveler, is highly unusual and it has all the amenities I was told to expect. Kudos to them! The reality is that I became a bit under the weather and am finding it difficult to navigate the stairs to the second floor where both the bedroom and bath are located. And these are stairs with personality to boot. Tiny little steps that wind around like a top and my legs just say “no.” Now, this is certainly not something that anyone could have foreseen and certainly the easiest of my examples. As the great Buckaroo Banzai once said, “remember, wherever you go, there you are.” Truly a minor problem that will be resolved with little fuss.
Then there was the opening of my bank account. Once an easy task in Mexico, this time it took three forms of identification, multiple copies of legalese pertaining to my living arrangements, copies of utility bills, and three separate trips for the additional information that they forgot to tell me the first and second time. But, hey, this is Mexico and I do know to expect a few so-called inconveniences. After all, I am living in another country and do not speak the language fluently. So, this will be chalked up to dues that need to be paid to live in paradise without all the necessary skills.
This is also the time for me to renew my FM3, which is a form of residence card for those of us who live here. Monica Sauza, the woman who will be helping me jump the hurdles with immigration, is a joy. She was where she said she would be, did everything she said she would do, and even gave me an aloe plant to help ease my sun poisoning symptoms. Now that was an action that was above and beyond any expectations. Obviously she is all one could wish for when taking this step. Just wishing the process itself could be a bit simpler for all involved. As a side note, since I am from the U.S. I do wonder if the process has become more complicated since the initiation of the Patriot Act. Just a thought. My newest passport does have a computer chip, but maybe they all do? Whatever the case, I am glad I have someone with experience working with me.
As far as my other glimpses into the real world? There is the bike with the gears I can’t figure out, the phone that is telling me something I cannot understand, and the Chedraui guy who insists on calling me “abuelita.” And, yes, I’ve looked that up. But, and it’s folks like this who make all the difference, there’s also the guy who sells empanadas, along with other dishes, across the street from Chedraui. I didn’t get what I thought I had ordered, but what I did get was delicious. Living here does seem to always balance out.
I have to admit that, so far, it’s apparent that nothing that I’ve mentioned seems at all daunting once put down in black and white. True cathartic writing. So, I’ll pose a question, and the pseudo educational whining will stop after this, promise. Could this all just be due to my inability to go out and play? My recent bout of sun poisoning has created a need to stay indoors and, as a result, the sunsets go unwatched, my dog goes without walks, and the restaurants have one less patron. A few friends have stopped by, or called, but proposed jaunts to the beach, or downtown have had to be put aside until this body heals. In other words, none of the reasons I moved here can be currently enjoyed. Simply put, I may have aged in years, but certainly not in spirit. Whether childlike, or childish, I’ll let you be the judge.
A final note. It seems I am letting go of the role of tourist and settling into being a tenant. Guess that makes me quite lucky that I live here and I am not being inconvenienced, even a little, during valuable vacation time. Now, that does make the second guessing seem quite silly after all. Lesson learned………….Salud!