Other times, your future kind of unfolds; due to unexpected circumstances, or to a string of situations that lead you to float instead of paddle down the current of Life.
Living in Mexico was not something on my planned agenda. Although it has been on Rose's agenda for some time. She was actually hoping to live in Costa Rica during the winter of 2020, but COVID cut those ideas short. I confess that it was not my first option to go live abroad, even for a short period of time; not because I love Colorado winters (I don't), but because I am the person who is trying to get re-established back in to a career after years of being primarily a stay at home parent. The idea of temporarily living in Costa Rica was appealing, of course, but not at the expense of further prolonging my return to life outside of just parenting.
But 2021 unfolded in an interesting and unexpected way. First, we put all of our stuff in storage at the end of May and traveled around the Pacific Northwest all summer. Then we returned to Colorado in September but decided to get a temporary living situation so that we could continue to travel a bit; back to Nebraska for Thanksgiving, then unexpectedly back again a week later because my father passed away, then two full weeks in Seattle for Christmas.
A very good friend of mine, who lives in Playa del Carmen, floated the idea of us coming down in the January/February timeframe. Again, I was a little torn. Yes, I absolutely wanted to go, and yes, I wanted to stay in Boulder and get life rolling again.
We agreed that we would take advantage of our current nomadic lifestyle to go for a couple of weeks, and then, on December 30th, an open space wildfire, fueled by 80+ mph winds, destroyed a part of Boulder county that we had lived in for almost three years. With our old neighborhood in ashes, or dealing with the consequence of all of those ashes, we decided that going to Mexico was our best option.
So we did.
1) After wiping my bottom and putting the toilet paper in the toilet my whole life, you would think that putting the toilet paper in the trash can, rather than in the toilet (with not so great plumbing), would be difficult to remember. But honesty, it has been surprisingly easy to remember. It only took me about 36 hours to break the old habit. I am more concerned about what happens when I go back to the States.
2) I don't think I will ever totally get used to the police pickup trucks with the roll bars on the back and the officers with machine guns standing in the back. Even though I see them driving around thirty to forty times a day. Likewise, distinguishing between the police in black uniforms vs the police/soliders in traditional fatigues vs the police/soldiers in gray/white fatigues, is a bit confusing. Sometimes they patrol 5th Avenue, sometimes they are walking down the beach. Sometimes they...well, let's save that for another story.
3) Because so many people from around the world live in and visit Playa del Carmen, it is not "cheap" by Mexican standards. Most things are less expensive than in, say, Seattle, but not that much less expensive than in places like Omaha, or Des Moines. Additionally, the Mexican fare here (really, almost any cuisine) is "decent but not great." I have cooked 90% of our meals, but I do enjoy going out for the ambiance and experience.