So. I don’t think I told you that I’m going to Mexico.
Tomorrow morning. Bright and early. Or, actually, dark and early, because I have to be at the airport by 4:30 am at the latest. But who cares; I’m going to Mexico. In November, which everyone knows is the second most depressing month of the year. I suppose it’s patting myself on the back, but it’s also honest to say that this was excellent planning, time-wise.
Mexico is a home of my heart.
I moved there from Dublin when I was 23 and tired of the rain. I brought one of my best friends from home and convinced the guy I liked, the one who would eventually become my husband, that he should come along too.
I didn’t have a plan. I had a tourist visa and thought I might stay for a few months.
But there’s a black hole of time in Puerto Vallarta, and the concept of what “a few months” means starts to blur.
I stayed for three years. I was sometimes very rich and sometimes very poor. I experienced the worst health problems of my life before or since. I fell easily and happily into love, the way it feels natural to when the sun is shining. (The first time I fell in love, it was in a rainy place, and it was an angsty kind of love.) I learned the horror of the season of the termites. I worked in timeshare and I taught ESL and geography and history and literature. I wasn’t especially good at any of those jobs, but they taught me a lot of things. My work was often part time and I spent a lot of time alone.
When I was alone, I would wander. I would talk to old ladies near the cathedral to practice my Spanish. I would trade used books at the Page in the Sun, which, for the first two years I was there, was the only place to buy english books. They were books left by tourists, so I read a lot of detective and lawyer novels and chick lit during my Mexico years. I would go to the Molina de Agua, an old hotel in the centre of Vallarta where they would let locals use the pool if they bought a drink at the poolside bar. I would buy Fantas and spend the afternoons in the sun. (This hotel has since been torn down and replaced with a gigantic condominium complex that blocks out the sky. This is tragic.) I would teach myself dozens of ways to cook beans and rice. I would go the the island and poke around the market and watch the cats. I would go to the beach and walk and walk and walk.
When we left Mexico, we were ready to leave, which is the best way to leave anywhere. It’s terrible to tear yourself away when your heart is still clinging to a place. Leaving when you’re ready though, it gives you the luxury of a lovely nostalgia rather than a broken heart.
Still, every now and then, I like to visit. And so, tomorrow!