What’s it like to live down here?

mw 2Just a few days ago I was lingering on the dock of the Blue Angel resort here on the island of Cozumel.  I swim with a group of women in the mornings (the mermaids) and I like to stay behind a bit longer just to enjoy the ocean before going back to my little apartment with its rather limited view of a busy street and the side of a really big church.   While sitting there watching the waves lap the dock a couple, who happened to be 1505518_403753766436891_1416634126_nsitting in lounge chairs close by, asked me if I lived here.  I smiled and said, “yes.”  Then they asked me the question I hear the most, “what’s it like to live down here?”  Now, depending upon my mood, recent events, and my life, at that moment, I have several ways of answering.  When things are a touch iffy for me I just smile and say, “it’s wonderful.”   After all, they aren’t really asking about my life, so I spare them the details.  But, when everything is going well, and it sunset furyseems as if the one doing the asking really wants to know some details, I sit down and give them a bit more.   But, and here’s the point I want to start with, the one asking the question is in that tourist tainted “pink cloud,” whereas I live here permanently and that lovely little “pink cloud” has been behind me for a while now.   This is my home, and, just like everyone else, when one is at home life can get very real. Let me explain.

Cozumel is wondrous.  It’s hard to remain in a bad mood when you have IMG_3499 (2)endless options of strolling on lovely beaches, swimming in clear waters, or dancing at one of our many local, and free to attend, events.  I mean, come on, how bad can it be to not appreciate the many little things that the island has to offer?  But, I still have to pay bills, clean my house, get the groceries, go to the doctor, run errands, and pick up the poo left behind by each of my nity and pasita 3four dogs.  And, this is where I’m going to mention that I often wonder if I’m feeding my pack  just a bit too much. Sometimes it boggles the mind just how 003many (recycled) bags I use.  I digress.  Yes, even while living on Cozumel I worry about finances, wait for the water guy, and listen for the gas man.  No-one is folding my towels in the shape of swans, there’s no chocolate on my pillows, unless it’s left over from the Milky Way bar I ate the night before, and, no, not everyone speaks English.  Not by a long shot.

Now, I’m certainly not complaining.  With the winter weather I see happening p5in my former location in the U. S. A., I wouldn’t dare.  No longer do I have to drive on icy roads, pour salt on my walkway, or bundle up in four layers just to survive.   I cannot express my gratitude enough for the ability to swim in the ocean in January.  But, while applying for my permanent residency card I had, on a few occasions, questioned my sanity.  I’m living in a foreign country on a limited budget, with less ability to communicate than I’d like.   It can get hot as hell, and the pelican staremosquitoes are mutated versions who will lick off repellent just for an appetizer.  Compromise becomes the word of the day while shopping for groceries, and patience becomes the need of the moment while trying to pelican in flightask for a simple item’s location.  Patience on both parts, mine and the store employee who’s merely trying to help.  Oh, and about the location of items, if you want root beer, look in the liquor aisle.  After all, there is the word “beer.”  Sometimes merely thinking “outside the box” doesn’t work down here.  Sometime you need to throw the box out altogether.

Bottom line?  I’m not in Kansas anymore, nor am I in Ohio, California, New in the trashYork, or Florida, all states I’ve lived in.  Friends need to mule down Miracle Whip and Butterfingers, I don’t get mail, can’t drink the tap water,  and toilet paper goes in the trash can (I live in an older house with the older plumbing).  Not to mention I’ve been searching for a reuben sandwich and german chocolate cake for two years now. Oh, and, yes, we do have crime.  We are 90,000 strong at this point, with hundreds of thousands of tourists added to the mix annually, so, a poor man's facesome crime is to be expected.  Especially with the contrasts of the very rich vs. the extremely poor.   And then there’s the folks who handle my small account in the U.S. who can’t seem to wire monies correctly, which causes me to have no funds, nada, for days, if not weeks, at a time.  Clothes made for Mexicans do not fit me, at 5’3″ and 130 lbs., I’m considered an extra large.  That fact I learned after trying bathing suits on for over an hour in Chedruai.  Electronics are expensive,  taxes went up, and having parasites was my latest disease.  Nope, it’s certainly not Kansas.

mw 4So, in answer to the question “what’s it like to live down here?”   It’s wondrous, frustrating, delightful, vexing,pasita5 incredible, disappointing, invigorating, disheartening, humorous, maddening, and the list could go on and on.  But, would I recommend it?  Absolutely!   To quote a fellow expat (thanks, Zazzu), “life is great and everything is possible.”  And I couldn’t agree more!  Just remove the rose colored glasses before you get here.  The water looks better without them anyway.  Salud!

p.s.  I feel the need to explain that my pug was not my pug when she was dressed in the pink faux leather tutu.  She still belonged to my landlord’s daughter and I was asked to photograph her in this outfit for her birthday present.  But, it is “national dress up your dog” day, so I figured, why not?

12 thoughts on “What’s it like to live down here?

  1. That does a good job of summing life here up. What a good writer you are. Keep it up please we enjoy your articles and are glad to call you our friend here in Paradise.

  2. Many thanks, GREAT article. I have been here for 20 years and could not explain it better than you have! Perfect. (p.s., loved the article about the poo and the plastic)A fellow park goer, July

    1. thanks, July, glad you liked it, and yes, fellow park goer, although pretty darn early these days, folks tend to avoid the crazy lady with four rambunctious doggies, thanks for reading

  3. Well done! Have not been to our favorite place for 5 yrs. for various yrs. Maybe the knee replacement I have scheduled in February will make it possible before too long. I see so many complaints about the services, etc. about Cozumel and I wonder have those who are complaining took the time to check the island out before moving in. I live in Delaware and would not even think of moving to Florida without taking the opportunity to check the area out real well to make sure what to expect and who I could call on if I needed help. You did a great job of explaining living on Cozumel.

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