Sunday, September 17, 2017

Homesteading or Tiny House Living?

Living in rural Mexico

It is so different from anything we have ever done or anywhere we have ever lived. Culture shock does not begin to describe it. Overall I would say it is a good thing. Quiet, peaceful and yet busy. We do our laundry in a zinc bath and hang it out in the sun to dry. Such a simple pleasure after years of "automagically" washing and drying clothes because there was no sun. Always rushing to get the loads done in time for school and work.

Supplies

We can buy most of our food in town. Most of the construction material and tools we need are also found in our little pueblo. We usually walk to the market every second day around 10am and then buy fresh veggies. We buy meat from a meat franchise that has a branch locally. Prices are comparable or cheaper than in Mérida. In true homesteading fashion, I am making curtains for the bedroom and living with the mindset to re-use and mend before replacing.

Gardening

Herman started cleaning the garden from debris, one square metre at a time. We are re-using as much as we can and I have several projects on my to do list for outdoor decorating, alternative construction of walls and furniture and storage solutions. I have started a compost and most of our garbage can be burned on site, so we hardly have any waste.

My first attempt at a veggie garden from seed include tomatoes, zucchini, peppers and cilantro. There is really good soil here and the first zucchini plants have already come up after just one week. Hopefully the food won't get eaten by critters, but if they do, we'll fence it.

Practicing Spanish

We are spending a lot of time with Santiago and Viannay. Two young people who offered to help us practice our Spanish and getting used to the local customs. They want to practice English at the same time. From our two visits, we have experienced a definite improvement of our skills and hope to only get better each week. I am starting to think a bit in Spanish, which is a good step in the right direction. Herman and I sometimes speak to each other a bit in Spanish, but that's slow going.

Viva Mexico!

Yesterday was Mexican independence day. The school children decorate their schools but houses are not decorated. The day before Independence there are celebrations and at midnight fireworks mark the onset of "dia de la independencia". On independence day there are parades, traditional food, dancing and music. Our small town also has a bullfight scheduled for later today. Our new friends, Santiago and Viannay are bringing a traditional meal over for us later today, made by Viannay's mom.

Homesick

For the first time in my life, I am experiencing serious homesickness. I miss everything Canadian and especially miss Konstanz and Dominique. I have never ever ever felt like this, and I guess now I can empathize with others who I had thought, in the past, were just sissies. 
My parents have always moved around a lot when we were kids. When we were small and moved to Germany, the stage was set to be different. Now they have three kids in three different countries. Just imagine all the places they can visit for free.
As teens we often dreaded the long boring family Christmases. As adults in another country we (sometimes) missed those celebrations. When friends of our children's aunts,uncles, cousins and extended family members attend their milestone events, it made you pause. I think our children missed out on some traditions we gave up when we left South Africa. On the positive side, they appreciate these traditions with their current life partners' families and never have the pressure of choosing who to visit on these days. 😏 Now that we have moved away from our kids, are we taking away our chances of being part of our future grandchildren's traditions?
Then again, both Konstanz and Dominique have aspirations to travel and experience non-traditional lifestyles. Sometimes giving your kids confidence and teaching them to follow their dreams, bite you in the ass. If we live near them, it is not certain that they won't move away either.
Living outside your comfort zone becomes almost addictive, and once you reach that comfortable space, the yearning to feel the adrenaline of a new experience becomes a need that is difficult to suppress. Let's hope that we do reach a comfort zone here in rural Mexico and that for once we are content, and we don't have to feed the hunger for change again too soon.
In hindsight, I still wouldn't change my life choices.

This week's video: