When we started on our journey in March 2017, we didn't anticipate being separate for so long. For us it was probably one of the biggest decisions we have ever made up to this stage in our lives. It seemed as if it happened really quickly too, and before I knew it, I was on the plane back to Canada, with a deep sadness that I hope to never experience again.
I was also very excited to go back to the country which has given me so much, surrounded by family, especially my children. It was an amazing 9 months of roller coaster feelings, two weddings and re-connecting with real friends.
When the time came to visit my Mexican home, I was more than just excited! I was also a little scared to be back in the place where I had spent one of the happiest years of my life.
The flight from Toronto Pearson to Mérida was uneventful . I walked out into a sunny warm Mexican day and searched the parked cars to find my Ford a little way off to the left. I approached the vehicle, where Herman was standing and we saw each other almost at the same time. I practically ran over and what did I notice right away? Xena was in the car! I got right into the passenger seat and she looked at me for probably 2 seconds, and then started these tiny little yelping barks and wiggle butt and all, jumped into my lap, where she stayed all the way home.
I felt at home right away, with some trepidation about how I would experience the simplicity of life while knowing it's just for a few weeks.
I was absolutely stunned by the new addition that Herman had built, the furniture he had bought and I absolutely loved all he had done!
Very soon, walking through town, I realized that Herman had made a lot of friends. Everyone was greeting him, chatting and he was communicating so well in Spanish. I felt a twinge of jealousy at how at home he seemed, but also proud of him to have settled into his life here so successfully.
We had an invitation from friends here in our pueblo for Christmas Eve; church, followed by dinner. I was very nervous to spend time with people I hardly knew. It turned out to be an amazing experience. We were welcomed in Church by Herman's good friend Juan Carlos, and we were able to participate, because they projected the words of the songs on a screen. The kids, who all hugged Herman enthusiastically on sight, participated in singing some songs and a nativity play, and then after the sermon, we were treated to a lovely meal by the congregation. Once again, I was reminded of why we fell in love with Mexico in the first place: the people. They welcome anyone into their midst and share freely what they have without question.
After the meal at church we were invited to Juan Carlos' in-law's house, where I met the remainder of the friends and family who had adopted Herman as one of their family. It was a wonderful evening, with more food and some dancing. We went home around 3:00 am and added another wonderful experience to our Mexican list.
We decided early on that I would prefer to hang around the house, relax and just talk or read, which is what we did most of the time. I ended up painting our living room, which is something I have wanted to do since we first bought the house, and now, after the months of construction, it was necessary. So I took my time and painted for a few days. I also enjoyed doing some gardening again and planted a few additional agave plants propagated from the original large parent plant.
The trees have grown so much in only 9 months and one of the palm trees out front has coconuts, so we had some coconut water to drink. It amazes me how much life is around us at all times, living so close to nature. Herman spotted a large black cat one night, which we believe is a puma. There are still large cats in the wild in the Yucatan, and when Xena hardly barks at something outside, we know it's probably a larger-than-a-house-cat relative, and she is kept safely indoors.
We visited with our good friends Jackie and Ray Ramos on Saturday, and it was as if I had never left, and we had a wonderful time!
We had a lovely dinner at the Mu Smoke House in Mérida, and I can recommend it to anyone visiting here. The service was excellent and the wait staff were proficient in English, which is always helpful.
We bought a washer, and had a lot of fun trying out the manual version, which reminded us both of our first machine when we were newly weds.
We finally figured out how New Year`s celebrations work in Mexico: you sleep until about 11 pm, then you get up, burn the "Old Man", shoot off fire crackers, visit friends, eat, dance, sing, share gifts to celebrate the first day of the year and go home.
We had our Old Man ready to burn, we had a measly bit of fireworks and we were outside our front gate ready to go into the New Year at midnight with a bang! Our neighbours all started coming out of their houses and we were lining up the old men on the ground in the streets, we set them on fire, and added the required fire crackers. Some lanterns were sent into the sky. Our neighbours' kids, two little boys aged around 6, came over to our burning old man, and lit their little crackers in the fire. They jumped back screeching with excitement as the little bombitas exploded. They shared some of their loot with us, when ours ran out, and we had a ball.
After midnight, when all the old men were burnt, the neighbours walk to each house and hugs are shared with well wishes for the New Year. No matter what age, you hug your neighbours and wish them well. We were invited over for food at one of the houses, but we already had an engagement at Juan Carlos' house, so we had to decline and left to make our 1 am appointment. We were again welcomed to this family gathering, and treated like VIPs. We ate, danced, and then there was a singing competition, which was a lot of fun. Herman took a spin on someone's dirt bike, and everyone was amazed that he could ride. We left around 4:30 am and spent most of our first day of the year, relaxing, reading, swimming, or napping.
So much of what I experience here is simple, but meaningful. I am very happy to say that even though I dread leaving and saying goodbye again, it did not consume my every waking moment. In fact, I hardly thought about it at all. I am excited about the last four days here before I return to work, ready for a new year with all the challenges that may bring. 2019 is going to be another amazing year!
|Mu Smoke House - Mérida|
|"Old Man" ready to get rid of the old year and some bad memories.|
|Getting some dancing in before a swim.|
|Panuchos before pre-New Year napping.|
|Old Man burnt.|
|New Year has begun and singing competition is starting shortly.|
|Front row seat.|
|Christmas Eve / Christmas Day Party.|
|Juan and Pamela.|
|Juan's lovely family - fourth location party on Christmas Eve - Santa just delivered the kids' presents. Live Facebook event for the grandparents who were visiting family in another part of Mexico.|
|Some of the kids who have stolen Herman's heart.|
|Luis and Cynthia.|
|Coconut water from our tree's fruit.|
|Angel - our neighbour's son. He and his friend shared their fireworks with us after we ran out.|
|I see a bike in our future...|
|From pool boy to bar man - I can get used to this.|
Even the rays agree.
|Working on the coconut to get to the water.|
|The trees have grown a lot, but it's winter |
here too, so the leaves are falling off.
|Happy to be here!|
|And finally seeing Xena again.|
|Red wine Christmas gift helped us celebrate.|
|One of the first babies I planted.|
|The before picture.|
|The after picture.|
|On the way...|
|My favourite room!|
|The indoor kitchen from the living room view.|
|My favourite picture - thanks Kelsey Briner!|
|The parent plant.|
|Herman's favourite picture.|