Have you ever considered retiring in Mexico? Have you wondered about daily living in a foreign country where you don't speak the language? What about hotels, hospitals, doctors, restaurants, banks, real estate and cultural activities? This is a diary of my daily life in Lake Chapala and other areas of Mexico. I don't speak Spanish. I am a single retired woman. I hope this blog will give you an idea of what to expect if you decide to make the move.
This is Maria. She took me out to a nice buffet at a fancy restaurant in Portland on Thanksgiving. Maria is my son's wife's sister. I don't know what she would be to me as far as a family relation is concerned. I do know that she is a very special friend to me. Thank you Maria for being your lovely self.
Oscar was the only dog aware that I was taking their picture. As soon as the camera is pointed towards him, he starts barking. He also watches TV and whenever an animal comes on he barks. He is a funny dog. He is a Blue Healer. They are all sweet dogs and they sleep all day. It is too cold to want to do anything else.
I have been shocked at hearing the stories of how some people treated their fellow shoppers on Black Friday. The pepper spray incidents, the muggings, the fights are all so sad. How can people get so caught up in their desire for things as to lose sight of their humanity?
Last night my son called me again from India. He is seeing some sad things, extreme poverty. He took the train and once he looked out the window and saw two children going to the bathroom in a dump. They were standing on top of a huge pile of garbage. Let's compare that quick scene to a woman so desperate for something on sale on Black Friday that she pepper sprays twenty other shoppers. What drove her to such an extreme measure?
I also have been watching the Hoarders series on television. I don't own a TV in Mexico. Since I am stuck in the house most of the time here, I have been watching it often. I am interested in how hoarders use things to comfort themselves. On one show the psychologist said that to a hoarder having to give something away is like the death of a loved one. THINGS have taken the place of people for them. They may want to have their loved ones back into their lives but they are unable to let go of their junk in order to have this happen. Many times they can't even get into their own houses because of all the junk they have collected. Often people don't start hoarding until something traumatic has happened to them.
When I watch television, I am very aware of how those commercials pound into us that we need to go out and buy. Buy, buy, buy. I also am amazed at how stupid they make the people in the commercials act. They jump up and down, do tricks and generally act like idiots. It would be funny if it weren't so pathetic.
I wonder if all this buying and hoarding has anything to do with fear of dying? Fear of the final ending? Sometimes I notice that I have gone out and bought another bottle of shampoo before the other one was empty. Then I have opened the second bottle before finishing the first one. After doing that a few more times, I finally notice that I have seven bottles of partly used shampoo in my shower. I do this with other things too. It takes me awhile to actually see what I am doing. It is like the hoarders living in piles of junk and not really seeing it.
A friend today told me that he gets anxious when he comes to the end of books. I sometimes do that too. I immediately need to start another book. Again, I feel in my heart that all this anxiety and hoarding and holding on to things is just a way to ward off our fear of dying. It is the final loss.
When I compare all my fears and the insanity of people pepper spraying crowds to the vision of a baby in a dump with no clothes on and covered in soot or two children squatting in a dump to go to the bathroom, I shake my head in wonder. Think of what the world would be like if we could all at once see everyone's reality. All the starvation and suffering. I guess we are protected from that knowledge to keep us from going crazy. How could a person even do a daily task like buying a bottle of shampoo with the weight of the extreme suffering of people all over the world? But maybe just a small glimpse of it will help to remind me that I am blessed to not be in poverty and not be living in a dump somewhere in India or any other country. And maybe making peace with death is also an answer. If we can be at peace with our inevitable deaths, then letting go of the daily deaths, endings and loses will be easier.
View from the balcony. At least today there is somewhat of a view. Since I have been here, there have been days when I couldn't see five feet out from the balcony. It is very cold here, at least from my point of view. Almost Thanksgiving and I am thinking of all the things that I am thankful for. Of course number one on my list is my family and their health. And my own health, relatively speaking since I still have aches and pains from all my injuries. (Last year at this time I was stuck in a chair in my little casita with my broken ankle.) And then I am thankful for my life in Mexico. Being here has made it clearer to me what a wonderful life I have down there.
There, it is sunny every day. I have friends and interesting things to do. I can afford to live there without having to worry about money... I could go on and on but I have mentioned these things so many times in this blog, they must be boring to the readers. And maybe people would think that I am bragging?
My son said to me before he left for India, You are living the life of a wealthy person. I had to agree. I have somehow been lucky enough to be able to live like a wealthy person and I live on a very limited budget. (My everyday life is where people go for their two week vacations.) So, if being here for a month does nothing more than open my eyes to the great life I have, it is worth sitting around in this cold house watching the fire in the fireplace.
My son and his wife are calling me from India and telling me about what they are seeing. They have been to some opulent temples and they have seen beautiful sites. But they have also seen terrible poverty. My son said they rode past a huge dump and saw people living in it. They saw a naked baby in there covered in soot. If that doesn't make a person appreciate his or her own life I don't know what would.
We have so much in this country and also in Mexico. I am sure that in Mexico City there are dumps like that but I haven't experienced seeing them. Thank God. It is so sad to think of the extreme poverty that most of the world suffers. Life is not fair. I am guessing that most of our parents tried to make us think that is was but reality teaches us some very cruel lessons.......
If I don't write again before Thanksgiving, I want to wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving Day and again I want to thank you for reading my blog. I should have put this up at the first part of this post, along with the other things that I am thankful for but I haven't forgotten the outpouring of love from readers. I feel like I have an extended family in cyberspace. Thank you......
Yesterday, my friend Gayle took me out to walk around the Sellwood area. She said it is one of the most expensive areas in Portland. It was nice to get out. I had been sitting around in the house for days, too cold to go out walking. I was very cold on our walk but I noticed that some of the people on the sidewalks were wearing shorts. I guess cold is a very relative term.
I have been spending large chunks of my days up here learning how to use the I pad that my son so generously gave me. I feel like such a dope because I have to ask him many times to repeat simple insructions. This post is being written on the I pad using an external roll up rubber key pad. I still haven't mastered how to put on photos. That will take a few more days of practice. My son an daughter-in-law leave tomorrow for India. They will be gone two weeks. I am hoping and praying that it will be a sucessful trip for them with NO major problems.
It is not as cold this morning as it has been recently. I miss Mexico but I love spending time with my my family. This keyboad doesn't always work. Slow going.....
This market is held on the Portland State University campus. Did I mention that it is COLD up here? I loved looking at all the interesting things, lots of root veggies, but I didn't buy anything. I couldn't get over the high prices.....
Is this little girl also a gaze healer? Am I? Are you?
I am overwhelmed by the huge stores here, by all the distractions, crowds, bright colors, lights and things to buy. Christmas decorations are already up in the stores. People are shopping in the malls and I feel disconnected from all of it. But I wonder how many others feel the same way.
I saw a one page ad in the Portland newspaper about the Gaze Healer. He will be in town for two days. Sessions cost a dollar a minute for this man to sit and gaze into your eyes. He doesn't bill himself as a healer but this is the line from the ad, " While Graco doesn't call himself a healer, hundreds of thousands around the world do."
This ad makes me wonder about the state of our world that we would even consider paying someone a dollar a minute just to gaze into our eyes. Are we that alienated from each other? Are all the bright lights and hype of modern society that distracting so that we can't gaze at each other? I already miss my simple life in Mexico. Sometimes too many distractions and choices just separate us from our own selves. At least that is how modern society affects me. Give me the simple pleasures. Let me gaze at people and be gazed at in return without a dollar a minute price tag.......