What is it that makes a place home?
We arrived in Mexico nearly two months ago.
To me, it feels like we have been here much longer, and Mexico feels like home.
I love waking up snuggled between Beave and Maustrappe the cat, listening to the morning orchestra of birdsong, woodpeckers, neighbour’s rooster, and the local cowherd with his distinctive shouts. When I open my eyes I am greeted by a million shades of green through the haze of the mosquito net over our bed. Our house now has all that we need (other than power, but that’s coming).
Our biggest challenge in the house is refrigeration. To that end we bought a small chest freezer, which we plug in when we run the generator (about every 2 or 3 days) and we bring bags of ice back from town. It works like a big cooler box, and keeps our milk, cheese and other essentials cool. I’m looking forward to having a fridge once the solar system is installed.
Every day we make progress. It’s a very rewarding way to live, knowing that poco a poco (little by little) we are building a sanctuary, for ourselves, for the wildlife and vegetation of the forest, and for the people who visit.
I cried the day we had to cut some trees down to make way for the sun. We feel very strongly that our place is to protect this slice of nature which we have the honour of shepherding, and to fell those strong, graceful beings was heartbreaking. Don’t get me wrong, it is part of looking after the forest, and had to be done. Losing those trees makes space for the rest of the jungle to thrive, and we will be using the wood on the land, but still it hurt.
I feel everything very strongly here in the jungle. I think it is because we feel the impacts of every action so clearly and visibly. In corporate life I often felt like much of what we were doing had little to no impact, it is hugely motivational to see the results of one’s actions – seeing the pool water clear after adding chlorine, green shoots resulting from planting seeds, and people greeting you by name because you took the time to introduce yourself the last time you crossed paths.
The other night we were walking home and when we reached the streams, there were hundreds or maybe thousands of fireflies all around us. It was one of the most magical moments of my life. Walking down the stream, being led home by blinking fairies all around us, I felt like I would burst with happiness. The reason we were walking at night? Because our truck, which we depend on to get down the 1km dirt road, started making terrible grinding noises, an it is now with a mechanic being fixed. The truck upset me much more than it should have. A combination of annoyance that we have just spent a lot of money buying a 4×4 and having it fully overhauled, and fear that the cost of repair is going to blow our very precarious budget.
I need to learn to feel freely and completely, but not let the emotion overtake me or bring down those around me.
Beave and I spend so much time together that our moods have a much greater affect. If one of us is happy, sad or angry, the other can’t help but feel the consequences. It makes being upset even worse, because you know that it is not just yourself who is suffering from it. However joyful moments are fully enjoyed. There are two sides to every coin, and we spend a lot more time being happy than sad.
I am grateful every day that Beave and I are so well suited, for otherwise this crazy undertaking would not be possible.
In the past two months I have learnt a lot about our new country.
1. The people are incredible. Both Mexicans and those who have chosen Mexico to be their home are welcoming, kind, friendly, cheerful and generous.
Our neighbour Rogelio greeted us the first time we drove past his ranch with a big smile, and he has been the one person who has most helped us. We are incredibly fortunate to have him as our friend and neighbour. (I’ll write a whole post about him soon.)
We’ve met many people in town, and now any time we walk down the main road we run into friends. We have found favourite hardware stores and restaurants, and are greeted with huge smiles as soon as we walk in. In Las Varas, a town about 40 minutes North of us, our friend Jesus, who owns a couple of delicious taco restaurants, will drop everything the second he sees us, and take us to the best place to buy whatever it is we need, be it a new water tank, or a 20kg bag of oranges to put our new orange squeezer to good use.
2. Things happen in their own time and space here. Patience is a requirement. Lines and queues are a way of life, and it is normal to spend over an hour buying paint, or applying for a tax code, or getting a chequebook. The thing is, it’s okay, because time moves more slowly here, and everything gets done eventually.
3. While the cost of living is significantly less than in the UK, things still cost money. (Shock of the century, I know!) I’ve been writing down everything we spend, so that we can predict our expenses and figure out how much income we need to break even. Our savings have been going down very quickly, but that is what we knew would happen with all the investments we have been making in the buildings, solar power, vehicles and the cost of the land itself. We do however need to ensure that we’re finding opportunities to secure an income. So much to think about!
I have no doubt that buying La Colina was the right thing for us to do, and despite the few moments of upset, I am full of anticipation for what the next two months and beyond will bring.
It is wonderful being home.