It is almost time for me to return to my home in Mexico. These days have flown by. I have met many people and heard some wonderful and some awful stories. Yesterday in the pool I talked with a man who said his brother had been kidnapped in Mexico City and the family paid ten thousand dollars to get him back. Fortunately, he was returned alive. I had just told this man that most of the violence in Mexico wasn't against the American tourists. His brother was an American tourist. No one was ever caught for this crime. They were told to just pay the ransom and forget about it. How can an experience like that be forgotten? Bad things happen everywhere as we all know, even just sitting in a movie theater. Safety is an illusion. We do the best we can to feel safe and then we have to leave things up to a higher power.
My son and daughter-in-law are driving to the beach for a couple of days. I opted out. I think they need to have some time alone for a few days. I hate car trips. And why would I want to go to a cold beach? The weather is going to be twenty degrees colder there than in Portland. I will spend this time swimming at the gym and obsessing over my suitcases.
What to take back to Mexico? Before I came here, I obsessed about what to pack. I wanted to take everything, all of Mexico for my family to see and enjoy. And now, on my way home, I want to do the same thing. I want to pack all of Portland into my suitcases to have with me in Mexico. I want all the advantages of both countries.
There is so much wealth here. The yard sales are gold mines for me. Unfortunately, I am also taking back stuff for many of my friends. Small things mushroomed into larger things and now my suitcases are already almost full. I even considered paying for a third suitcase. On U.S. Airways, the first suitcase is 25 dollars, the second is 35 and the third is 135 dollars. They really don't want you taking a third suitcase. So these next few days will be focused on what I have to leave here. I certainly can't dump things I have promised to take back for my friends. Next trip......I will sneak out of Mexico so I can have all this suitcase space to myself....... (I always say this and never do it.)
All this thought on THINGS is just a way for me to try to manage my anxieties. I won't be seeing my son and daughter-in-law probably for another year. (No more trips to Portland in the winter time for me.) It is easier to focus on not being able to take back that extra pair of shoes than it is to think about not seeing my loved ones for a year. This is the hardest part for me of living in a foreign country. No physical contact with my family. Sure, skype is a blessing but that can't replace actually being with loved ones.
When I get to feeling teary eyed about leaving them, I project myself into living here so I can be near them. I realize then that it would never work. There is no way I can afford the quality of life here that I have in Mexico. I think I suffer from seasonal affective disorder. I get terribly depressed when the sun doesn't come out. So, that isn't an option for me. I will just have to continue going through these separation anxieties and enjoy these last few days as much as I can. But at least after writing all this out, I maybe can remember WHY I get so obsessed about this suitcase packing and laugh at myself instead of taking it so seriously. I think the key here is FAITH. Faith that there is a power greater than myself, call that power whatever you like, but there is help. I am not traveling alone.