By Cheryl Weaver from the December 2011 Edition
OK, so the beautiful Christmas Tree is up and lit and the first thing you see when you walk into “Comercial Mexicana Plaza” and the stores are brimming with decorations, reminding us that Thanksgiving is just around the corner! Having come from 27 years in the mountains before moving here last January, it is quite an adjustment to welcome this holiday with palm trees, balmy trade winds, and a suntan instead of trees ablaze with Fall color, the crackle of that first fire in the hearth, and the frosty chill in the air that says winter is coming.
Be as it may, I look around me and think of how marvellously THANKFUL I am to be here. Most every morning I wake up to a glorious sunshine day, an expanse of ocean that humbles me, and the morning sounds of a productive and hard-working EMPLOYED society. My home is very different from what I left but very much me and I’d just as soon stay in all day as go out. The company I keep are good people who accept me as I am (though they’re entitled to their opinion) and more interested in smiling with me than considering what they can get out of me. Alone time is a given, is respected and cherished. I appreciate the seat offered to me on a crowded bus by a smiling teenager who really means it; the taxi driver who doesn’t increase his fare to stop at Kiosko so I can use the ATM; the clerk who bends over (when I can’t) to retrieve the paper I failed to notice I had dropped; the harried bus driver who patiently explains, in slow simple Spanish, directions to the nearest “Papeleria” — basically, a kind, personal society to be living in.
I chalk up my good health to the years of living right before I got here, but the fresh vegetables, meat without preservatives, and the diversity of foods I have added to my diet insure that I’ll be around a little longer. I like that. Cooking is a culinary adventure. I delight that no two days are the same, and that to “wing it” much of the time is a luxury I’ve never had. I enjoy so many choices of how to spend my time — places to go, things to do, people to see. It is so refreshing to be glad to be alive, sincerely grateful for each mundane day. How many times did I feel that way back in the States?
Doing without many times has had one of three effects: Either I get resourceful, stop and evaluate if it’s that important, or end up with a whole new appreciation for something I probably took for granted in my former life. The latter takes some of the sting out of some unpleasant things left behind (and we all remember those!), the first is good exercise, and focusing on what is important puts priorities in order. That is not to say I do not miss fresh cranberries in planning Christmas dinner with all the trimmings but it means I can make do just as well with a new recipe calling for canned ones and I doubt it will ruin the meal.
Years ago, I had planned on being a Snowbird — live in the mountains July – November and here in Manzanillo December thru June. I would have it all……well, “Best laid plans….” as they say…..and what destiny brought me is living here full time. But I have decided that I have the best of what life has to offer where I ended up and I am deeply grateful that by God’s Good Graces I have an opportunity to enjoy Mexico as my home and My Adventure. I regret nothing about moving here. Yes, I have ups and downs, small victories and disappointments, good days and bad. But I would have those no matter where I lived. Back in the States, bad times resonated and like ripples in a pond, seemed to echo over days and weeks, and I struggled to face each day with a fresh outlook, ending the day with the uplifting “Film at 11:00” news Broadcast. Here, most of the time, the next day “wipes the slate clean” with a new chance to enjoy being alive.
Mexican people can teach us much about putting things behind us and looking to the future for what will make us happy. God knows their history has taught them how to do this. They celebrate Thanksgiving here, every day.