The life

The fifty mile diet is a novel concept. Consciously picking through the array of imported goods and selecting those that originated within fifty miles of wherever you live. Buy local is the progressive persons mantra and practically a religion in my home town in the pacific northwest. You can still technically acquire whatever you want or need, you would just do so knowing that when it is outside the scope of “local” you eat the karma that comes with the global market place. Farmers markets, pea patches, backyard chickens and eating what’s in season are also hugely popular in the name of being “green”. As are clothes lines during the warmer months. All of these lifestyle choices make people feel better about themselves, but they can still drive to Safeway or the food coop and pick up that extra item that really sounds delicious in the moment. And if you just can’t find the thing you want, Amazon offers one click shopping that delivers anything you could possibly desire, straight to your door. With all of the choices, the obvious solution to life’s many problems, is to just buy something to fix it! Couldn’t be any easier. Oh, that’s not working…? You know you can just get a (fill in the blank)! Well why don’t you just get a (____)? You know, they make blah blahs that would take care of THAT, and they’re cheap!

Now imagine that you didn’t have a choice. Amazon doesn’t deliver and the stores only sell things that were sourced locally (or in China as the case may be), because the local economy is so poor that it can’t sustain the high price of importation. Really dig into this possible reality. So many items you have become accustomed to suddenly disappear. Your natural toothpaste. Organic coconut oil. Essential oils. Books. Seeds. Quality clothing. You are not running around naked, by any means, but the only thing available to cover your body are disposable made in China sweat shop garments. Fabric that is purely 100% natural fiber has also disappeared, so making your own is not an option either. Cross-contamination is huge, you have to be vigilant and choose wisely. Safe food handling is unheard of as is refrigeration. The Wal-Mart is the only source of safe dairy products for miles. Are you ready to go vegan?  You have not only entered a world where there are very limited choices, but you have also become part of an economy that is barely scraping bottom. Your visa card or cash money are no longer viable tools to gain necessities, as your reserves have long since disappeared.

If you have survived this far, lets take a look at the water. First thing you need to know is that you can’t drink it. The large concrete tanks where it is stored are rarely cleaned. Birds, snakes and squirrels accidentally get inside and drown. Then this water flows through miles and miles of above ground pvc pipe to your home. Unless it doesn’t. You have to walk the line daily looking for leaks and disconnections. Sometimes a beetle will plug the hole. Perhaps a stray horse or machete cut your line… And maybe there’s just no water. This is a reality during the long hot dry season. The little river is an even less suitable option, but sometimes used out of necessity when the water doesn’t flow for too many days. This is where the women wash dirty dishes, diapers and laundry. So what do you do? Sure you can collect rain water 3 months out of the year. But the other nine months? Some people use microdyn drops. Or you can boil it, and constantly have a large pot of drinking water on the stove. And FYI, you still have to use that romantic outdoor clothesline during the three or four months of heavy rain…

Am I describing the apocalypse? Sort of. Some fictional land that survived armageddon? Nope. This is where I live, in the heart of a third world country. The fact is that many things just are not available here. Simple things that seem so normal. For people who have never visited a place like this, the reality is inconceivable.

I live on a nameless dirt road, in a house with no address, miles outside of a small village that does not receive mail. The nearest shopping area/city experience, is a 45 minute drive on a windy road that is full of hazards; donkeys loaded to the sky with firewood, motos, young children, unmarked topes and potholes that will swallow you if you’re not paying attention.

The lack of access here is confounding. When I want to buy dairy products, for example, I have to go to the city.  Buying cheese in our little town is asking for trouble, as these items are never refrigerated.  Eggs are salmonella in a shell. And if you wait until afternoon to buy your chicken, you can be assured that it’s been sitting out on a stump under a towell since early morning. Information and connection to anything outside of these hills is unnecessarily complicated. Usually I use the WiFi that I had installed at my mother-in-law’s house. Though this is technically the closest, most convenient spot, it is also terrible. To connect with my friends and family, or find information, I have to subject myself and my children to a battery of passive aggressive bullshit, that usually goes unnoticed by V or anyone else. She can cut you with a smile or stab you in the back and make it look like she was offering you something to eat. I keep my guard up and I always leave her home exhausted and in a foul mood. The other internet option is to wait for our bi-weekly trip to the city and use my smart phone to connect while driving in the truck through crazy city streets, with one hand on the phone and the other handling a wild toddler who would rather be climbing than sitting. No carseats. In this situation it is extremely difficult to focus and I usually end up dripping with sweat and covered in some kind of food by the time we get to where we are going. Not a great choice either, but at least it comes with more autonomy. In home Wi-Fi is not currently offered in my remote area, unfortunately, and so I make do rather than lose touch.

Receiving items by mail is expensive and unreliable. It’s excruciatingly slow, if it makes it to me at all. In the past 15 months, I have successfully received two packages by mail. One at a private residence and one at a DHL location, both in the city. Several other parcels have been lost along the way.

I am relaying this strange reality mostly to give you all back home a sense of what I’m dealing with and insight as to why these seemingly avoidable problems occur here. When you offer well intentioned advice on how to cope with these bizarre issues, understand that I am not shooting down all of your remedies because I am a pessimist or don’t think your ideas would be valid if I lived someplace else. But here… Everything is different. While part of me enjoys finding creative solutions and not strictly relying on westerner purchase power, I’m getting worn out. At some point, I just need something to be straightforward and easy. I need something to work. I’ve been teetering on the edge of sanity here for a while now, hoping that life will smooth out a bit. But with every solution comes ten more problems. For every $500 I have, I need $1000. It’s exhausting. Most days I just want to order a damn pizza and watch TV (neither of which are an option). Or ditch the kids and go to that Chinese buffet on the Guide by Costco. Get fat. Depend on unlimited convenience. Maybe the good old USA ain’t so bad after all. One click instant life… Yeah. Why not?

Garbage.

Litter. Microtrash. Basura:  Yes I have a lot of kids. Yes Mexico is inundated with cheap made in China crap. And crap foods. And though I am Anti-garbage, I am unique in my stance. People love garbage. Stuff that comes with lots of garbage, single use items and stuff so poorly crafted that it becomes garbage nearly instantly. There is NO landfill here. No place to hide it all away. The idea of built to last is a thing of the past. Zero-waste is just not a concept here. I filled a five gallon bucket picking up trash at my own house! And will probably do so again. What did I do with it? I burned it. This is a regular chore here… And most people don’t bother. They live with it. If you go to town early enough, you can see old women sweeping dirt and accumulated trash into corners or ditches. Sometimes you see men carrying ten bags larger than themselves filled with empty plastic bottles, because recycling pays a few pesos per kilo. Waste pervades and can be seen everywhere you look.

This is what I picked up at my house. I would never do this to a camp site, so what gives? Why the hell is there so much TRASH? Corners of candy wrappers. Juice straws. A broken wheel. Lollipop sticks. A sock. Bits of multicolored threads. Pop bottle tops. Action figure leg. Popped balloon. Shards of broken plastic. Hair rubberbands. Several plastic dishes. Crayons. Ends of a shredded rope. 1/2 of a styrofoam container. Random metal pieces. Bent wires. Small scraps of wood. Busted clothes pins. Remnants of half burnt garbage that blew out of the burn barrel. Torn pieces of kids art work. Tea bag. Toilet paper tube. Plastic bag. Twistie ties. Raspiditas (plastic coated disk with pictures that come with cookies here). Plastic yogurt container. Ripped aluminum tops. Cardboard single serve juice carton. Chips wrappers. 12oz plastic water bottle, Nestle brand. Tiny plastic spoon. Crumpled aluminum paper. Broken mermaid tail. AA battery. Basket handle. Unrecognizable shreds of man made crap……

I can’t handle it. Humans are disgusting. We should be disqualified.

Proof in Homeschooling

Proof in Homeschooling.

We are only two weeks in to our rebellious mexican homeschool adventure. The first day we sat down at the table to work with letters. Anahi took off on her own, writing up a storm. Inti would have rather been doing anything else. There was the dirt pile,  some chickens were roaming outside and there was a toy car under the table. After struggling to get his attention, it sadly dawned on me, that although he had attended  “school” here for six months, not only did he not recognize any of the letters but he didn’t even know how to hold a pencil. I finally persuaded him to try writing the letter “T” and only because “T” is for truck and tractor. He managed to rip a hole in the paper, spill juice on it and write three faintly legible “T”s before running away to play outside. Well ok, he’s three and it’s only the first day…

Feeling discouraged, the next day I went to the papeleria in town for new supplies. I bought paint, glue sticks, tiny scissors, every color of glitter, a big stack of paper and some googly eyes for good measure. I thought to myself “Fuck it. We will just do art. Art is important, right?” The kids were excited to see the pile of stuff and wanted to get started right away. This is the enthusiasm I was hoping for! So along with the crayons and pencils we already had, I left them alone to make anything they wanted. They sat there creating for over an hour.

The next day I decided that we could start making an alphabet book using the new art supplies. So I drew a giant uppercase and lowercase “A” in the center of the page, Anahi colored it in while Inti and I looked through their cousins old school work books and cut out things that started with the letter “A”. Later they glued the cut outs around the letter and embellished with glitter. Every day they each made a page for the book, had a great time and were learning a lot without even realizing it!

A few days later they asked to draw so I gave them each colors and paper and headed out to wash laundry. About thirty minutes later I came back in to check on them. Anahi was happily making her own book full of letters and princesses, and Inti was working away on a page full of rainbow colored “T”s! I couldn’t believe it. This kid wanted nothing to do with it just a few days before and there he was practicing away without even being prompted! This was the first clear sign that what I am doing is already working. They have both started asking me what letters things start with and like pointing out letters they recognize around town. We don’t do school work every day and I never make them if they don’t want to. If I don’t offer it, at some point during each day they will ask for it. They also show more interest in the story books we have.

The second thing that has been happening has to do with the people in town. V was quite sure that homeschooling would be extremely unacceptable here, which was a large part of his initial hesitation (more like rigid determination to stop me). Turns out he was mostly wrong.

I like to do my shopping in the morning before it gets hot. When the shop keepers see my children in town rather than in school, they always ask why they don’t have classes. My response is always the same, that I choose not to send them. At first the people are shocked, but then I explain why I think homeschooling is better and the consensus is always the same. They agree and applaud me for being brave enough to do something different. Many people even tell me about someone else that they know, usually in the states, that choose not to send their children to school either. By the end of the conversation, the people always say “Si! En la casa mejor! Esta bien” or yes, in the home is better, it’s good. There is surprisingly more support for my “crazy decision to pull them out of school” here than I ever would have thought. Thank God, but even if there wasn’t, I would do it anyway! Today they are in the field learning about farming as they help V plow the corn with horses. The best thing for me about homeschooling is that each and every day brings something different. I’m very glad I followed my instincts instead of listening to nay sayers or fearing the unknown.

Broken eggs, rain and waiting

Broken eggs, rain and waiting

I have been totally losing it lately. With an increasing sense of panic and dispair, I was constantly examining every possible escape route instead of enjoying my life. It felt awful and I have been hating Mexico and everything about it.

A few weeks ago one of the kids was collecting the chicken eggs and broke one inside the fridge. I have no idea how this happened, but it managed to get everywhere. I didn’t have time to clean it at the moment so I just left it there. The day passed by and I forgot about the egg until dinner time. I was cooking dinner when V discovered the broken egg. In his usual grumpy tone, he demanded to know why I hadn’t cleaned it. I told him I was busy and if he didn’t like it, he could clean it. So he shut the fridge. The next day was the same, I only remembered the egg when I was busy with something else, and did not clean up the mess. We had another confrontation in the evening and again, nobody cleaned the mess. I realized that this had become more than just a broken egg, it was a messy struggle for power.

Well, I let the egg sit there for most of two weeks, until the whole energy of the fight blew over. Then I went grocery shopping one day and decided to organize the fridge, as by this time it had become quite a disaster. I looked at the egg mess and kicked myself because I knew it would be hard to clean now. However, when I started scraping, it came off effortlessly in one big chunk! It sat there so long that it had completely hardened, making clean up very easy. I thought about the how the power struggle related to the egg. Waiting for some time to pass made both of the sticky situations much easier to deal with.

One day after too many weeks of stifiling hot, extremely dry weather, the air suddenly turned muggy. I could hardly move anymore or breathe. I didn’t think it could get any worse, but it did. Some property in a neighboring town was on fire, adding a polluted quality to the disgusting, dense air. This lasted for days and sent me over the edge. I knew I had to run fast if I was going to survive. Just when I was at my breaking point, the late afternoon sky began to thicken with what looked like rain clouds. The wind smelled like water and I could hear thunder rumbling behind the mountain. I didn’t believe it and sat in the arch watching. The sky slowly darkened and the wind grew cool, I felt myself wake up. Relief was blowing in fast. Eventually the rain began to fall and lightning illuminated the night sky. I went to bed with the windows open, listening to the rain.

I woke up with a surprisingly better outlook and moved through the day with slightly more energy. Late afternoon brought another storm, and again it rained most of the night. This water falling freely washed away most of the turmoil that had been grinding me. It was then that I realized that I NEED water. I need rain, moving water, refreshment, rejuvenation, the radiant life force energy that clean water brings, the trees and plants that live where the water is, I need LUSH. This dusty, hot, never enough water flowing, cracking dehydration was doing me in fast. No wonder I have felt so desperate to get to the beach!  That would be the largest natural body of moving water one could possibly take in.

For now, the rainstorm certainly took the edge off. Because I didn’t follow my panic and bail, I realized that what I was feeling was mostly about water, and that perhaps I just need to wait it out. And definitely find water when I feel that pressurized. This is one of the important lessons that I learned while sitting up all those times. Hold your seat. In other words, sit up and wait. Your feeling will change, your circumstances will change. Don’t sneak out the back door no matter how long Patrick talks… Just hold your seat, in a good way. Mexico is testing all of the things that I learned in those circles…. Clearly I have a lot to learn about patience and permanence.

Sharing is caring, unless it’s not.

Sharing is caring, unless it’s not.

I have been talking a lot of shit lately about the people here, their cultural beliefs and intelligence. I have been feeling completely disenchanted with the reality of rural mexican living and the ways of life here in general. Spending time thinking up numerous ways to flee, to a number of different locations, the overwhelmingly clear and persistent thought has been “not here”.

Given the current wave of criminal activity around the highways leading towards the coast, I ultimately decided that the smarter, safer plan was to head home for a month to visit family and friends. Though this plan is more expensive, I am fairly certain that we wont be pulled out of our car by men wanting to set it on fire to block the roads. Travel to and from the US is reliably cartel-free… the route we choose anyway.

So I went ahead and contacted all the folks we haven’t seen in a year to let them know when we were thinking about coming. All of the people who say that they miss us and would love to see us. After several phone calls, the general impression was that they all live very complex lives and would not have much time to spare for a visit. Not only that, but they all have very full homes and would not have any room for us to stay. This was disappointing to say the least. Unfortunately, the combined expense of round trip airfare, transportation, food and a place to stay (hotel or ??) is just way out of our price range. It appears that a quick trip home is not going to happen.

When we were coming to Mexico, first to visit and then to stay, we were met with a very different version of hospitality. They cleared out a room for us and made it up with sleeping accommodations. Though they didn’t have very much money or food, they always shared what they had with us. They offered us showers and coffee and whatever else we wanted. When we stayed for three months and my kids were destroying everything and causing major ruckus, they shook their heads and made plenty of exasperated comments, but never told us to leave. The few occasions that we spent a couple of days at a relative’s house, who have their own kids and no extra space, they rearranged all the furniture so that my kids and I could have our own room for the time we were there. Now we have been here for a year. Though my mother in law and I despise each other, everytime I show up at her house she offers me food, even when she hardly has any for herself. Even if its just tortillas.

Let me be clear here. I do not like many things about this place or the people in it. I would be quite happy if I never saw some of them again! I often long to go back to the states or anywhere else where I could hold an intelligent conversation. But the one thing that these folks have that my American friends and family don’t have is the ability to freely share whatever they’ve got. This is not always the case. I have seen my share of hoarding here. However, when it comes down to the wire, these people live with a lot less and share a lot more. And though I don’t always want to go, Sunday is always “family day”. They make time for getting together as often as possible. Privacy has never seemed to be the priority.

Where I come from, you have single family American homes and single family American lives… There just isn’t enough time to get together, but why? Most of you are not out doing manual labor, or inefficiently moving through a number of failing systems like here in Mexico. Life is pretty easy and streamlined compared to this chaos! There is more down time, more freedom of choice and the truth is, you fill your lives with what you want. You even tell yourselves that all of your choices are necessary. I did. Everyone has a car and a telephone. Everyone is connected to the internet and nobody can see beyond what is immediately in front of them. At the risk of offending everyone that I love stateside… That is why I left. Your lives are too full and too seperate. It makes me sad and I miss you all. I used to wonder if the space my family occupied in your lives would fill up with so many other things… Well it looks like it has. But I guess that’s life and we keep on living, don’t we?

Viva Mexico!

So what now…

Alternatives. Choice. Expanding consciousness. Energy. Forward motion. Intuition. Freedom. Clarity. These are all unfamiliar words to the people who live here.

It has become very clear that I do not want to leave Mexico. At the same time, I know that I can not stay in this tiny town for the rest of my life, or even the rest of this year. I need to get out of this energy and shake off everything that’s trying to stick to me.

I’ve been soul searching and have come upon several realizations. The first being the energetic shift that happened when I wasn’t paying attention. When I decided that I wanted to move to Mexico with all my kids, I was imagining us living as global citizens. Raising my children internationally was a creative and meaningful way to cultivate education, information, cultural awareness and experience. I felt the limitless potential ahead of us and this is precisely what directed me to follow this seldom chosen path. What has shifted so profoundly during the past year is that the expansive feeling has been replaced by a constricting, stifiling downward motion that eventually led to feeling trapped with zero hope of encountering any of the things I was looking for. As I was busy trying to learn how to get along here, the liberating feeling of following my dream and living internationally was replaced by the invisible hunters snare of actually being a disempowered rural mexican woman. I felt like I had been hooked and was being dragged about by whoever was holding the pole… In this case it was the all encompassing energy of depravity as experienced by the people who live here.

This all bubbled to the surface when I started clearing energy and asserting my freedom of choice. When I began doing the things that felt right for myself and my family, instead of following along with the cultural norms, I was met with everything from resistance to total outrage. I clearly understood that I have zero support or recognition here. I am being hammered by negativity at every turn and am living surrounded by people who are haphazardly manifesting everything that they do not want with absolutely no idea that they can do anything differently. I am constantly fighting against people who are telling me that I’m wrong or that I can’t. I just don’t feel like this is working.

Another important realization that arrived at exactly the right time, is that I am in no way obligated or stuck. I can do whatever I want, even with all these kids. This home that we have been creating here does not necessarily need to be a permanent location that we never leave. It could very well be that I have made an excellent, stable home base. A centrally located jumping off point for the array of incredible beauty one can explore in Mexico and central America. Travel is relatively inexpensive and we are already here… I realize this idea is even more off the beaten path, but it sounds like a very realistic alternative to giving up everything and going back to the states…

Having expressed this idea to V, he was even more discouraging and negative than when I quit tortillas and decided to homeschool. He wants absolutely nothing to do with it and feels like we should just leave. I know I would regret simply throwing in the towel and walking away. However, leaving for a month here and there, but staying within Mexico is not only more financially possible than going back to the states, but I would be able to finally enjoy the beauty all around me that was drawing me here in the first place. When the adventure felt like it was reaching it’s end, we could come back refreshed and recharged, ready to root down again, rest and be here.

It’s disappointing to me that this place has turned out to have so little to offer. And that my community and partner offer so very little in the way of support. There is probably nothing that I can do about that outside of accepting it or moving on. It’s a very good thing that I am intrinsically creative and resourceful or this could be the end of the Mexico chapter. Perhaps a change of scenery and a dose of like mindedness will go a long way in making this small town-small mind mentality bearable for a while before being called to the next exploration destination. And it’s entirely possible that I could find a community of people that I really enjoy and decide to stay… Who knows. What I do know is that I will never be able to settle for a life that I just don’t love. And the only one who can change it, is me. Keeping an open mind is the first step in creating the change you want to see.

The way out…

The title of my blog is The Way. After spending several years preparing for this epic journey, and having lived in Mexico for a little over a year now, it is at this time, with careful consideration of the unanticipated reality compared to the idealistic dream of living in rural central Mexico… That my conclusion is that it may be time to find The Way Out!

The cumulative sum of what I have discovered in this small pocket of the world, leaves much to be desired. As I have noted earlier, it is no longer the “old world” but is also not exactly the “new world” either. Some leftover relics of the old world still exist here, but they are mingling awkwardly with clumsily selected fragments of the new world, and this most unflattering mixture is not serving the community well. We have people who are dressed for a day at the shopping mall, living in the dirt and cooking on the fire like indios. We have easy access to diabetes and Coca-Cola and obesity but no access to health care or education regarding diet and nutrirition. We have the beginnings of a throw away society but with no money and no land fill the people are just making an enormous mess. I can’t take it.

The school has turned out to be the greatest disappointment of many. I can do rural, I can do poor but I can not do half assed. Upon walking into the kindergarten classroom, the first thing I notice is the tiny tables and chairs. Then I see the alphabet hanging on the wall, and notice that many letters are missing. The numbers on the opposite wall tell the same story. It would not be difficult or costly for the teacher to draw the missing letters on a piece of paper and hang them up in the empty spaces. However, there are also no art supplies and no books, so I suppose they have bigger problems to worry about. We bought two uniforms at the beginning of the year because these were required to start school, but halfway through the year the uniforms became optional for some reason and everyone stopped wearing them. There are many days that the teacher shows up late, and many more when she doesn’t show up at all. Parents stand outside the gate for an hour or so waiting before they eventually give up and walk home. In the seven months that my children have attended school, they have learned nothing academically. What they have learned is troubling. All the signs and societal cues, both subtle and not so subtle, point to the alarming reality that education is not valued here. At all. They pass students on to the next grade whether or not they have learned the necessary skills, knowing that that ultimately they will find a shit job with a menial wage and nothing really matters. The only book I have ever seen in people’s homes is the bible and when asked, nobody even reads that because reading is considered a huge waste of time. Not one person who I have met here is a life long learner. The internet, which can be found in one of eight cyber stations in our tiny village, with it’s unlimited access to information is used only for Facebook and YouTube. The desire to seek and learn and create is effectively hammered out of the youth at such an early age, from every possible angle, that by the time they’re an adult they don’t even realize that there are new ideas and information that they could be seeking!!! 

Well I do not accept that reality. Nor do I accept the “reality” that just by virtue of being a woman, that I am damned to a life of cooking and washing and serving. There is much more to life than manual labor and though I enjoy cooking on a fire or making tortillas sometimes, it will never be the end all be all of my daily existence. I am in no way obligated to these tasks and do them purely by choice. That’s a tough pill for folks here to swallow.

Well one day it happened that I decided to exercise my freedom of choice and put a stop to all the things that were causing me to feel unnecessary stress or unhappiness. In the name of self preservation, I declared that I was going to stop making tortillas. I may as well have declared war on this entire culture and way of life! The fact is, I spent most of a year trying to learn how to make these tortillas and they never have turned out exactly right. It’s been a tiring, frustrating endeavor that just no longer felt worth the effort. Tortillas are reasonably priced if we were to buy them in our town, and my mother in law makes five kilos each day wich is more than enough for her family, guests, animals and us. So despite the massive disapproval, my tortilla making days are over.

Now that I have cleared several hours each day, I have time to deal with the school issue. The same day I announced there would be no more tortillas, I also cheerfully announced that there would be no more school. I’m taking the bull by the horns, so to speak, and educating my own children in my home, myself. Back in the states, this is called homeschooling, and it is a viable, acceptable option that is often supported by many communities. Well that is not the case here. Considered another extremely radical move, I am rocking this multicultural boat so hard that I’m beginning to wonder if we might fall out! After arguing my points on education, what it is, what it means, and why it’s so important, I realized why the people unquestionably accept this shotty level of “education” for their children. It’s because they themselves are so uneducated that there is no possible way that they could teach them anything even if they did have time between all the daily chores that are required to survive here. At the risk of sounding incredibly naive, this realization hit me like a ton of bricks. I have always had choices. I have always been well educated and have always had access. Even when money was scarce, I was never mentally tapped out.

On the surface, it would be easy to say that I sound like the typical, arrogant American expatriate. Without looking any deeper, one could assume that my biggest problem here is that I’m missing American comfort and convenience and regretting that I can’t send my kids to a top notch school. It goes far beyond this. The social pressure, cultural obligation and lack of resources have been preventing me from living authentically. Much of the pressure to conform comes from V himself. After living in the US for twelve years, he is trying to find his footing again and wanting to make it good for us here. He does not want to rock the boat, he wants to keep the peace with everyone, no matter how conflicting their views.

The biggest difference between me and most of the local population is not money, it’s not the American logo on my passport, it’s that my mind is free! I want my children’s minds to be free also. Though I have spent the last year attempting to learn the ways of this place, it’s time for me to let that all go. Social graces and cultural expectations will never come before the well being of my children. The comfort of someone elses ego will never trump my own intuition and I will never be able to become what I am not. Whether or not I stay in Mexico… Only time will tell. For now I’m backing off and taking some time to reevaluate. I want to see what life could be like here if I did it my way, instead of compromising so much of what’s important to me. And as luck would have it, the tropical ocean is only four hours away and seems like a great place to clear one’s head. So instead of bailing out on Mexico all together… We’re mpst likely heading to the beach!