Thursday, April 18, 2024

Feast or famine: getting ready for the snowbird exodus

No doubt about it, the expat enclaves in Mexico are full. 

Restaurants, charity events, the charming cobblestone streets in Centro Histórico, grocery stores, the mercados, the theater and all the beaches … “We” are everywhere, in great numbers. 

It happens every year at this time, and although it’s exciting and contagiously fun, it’s also a little bittersweet. It means we’ve reached the high point of our seasonal cycle, and the pendulum will soon start swinging back in the other direction.

If you live in one of these towns or cities, you know what I mean: people begin leaving, or making plans to leave, setting up last lunches and get-togethers, buying things to take back up north, getting their properties ready for the summer ahead. 

As one-who-stays, I’m already planning for the summer months too, albeit in different ways. I’ll have my air conditioners cleaned and checked, put the extra bed covers away and start getting ready to change my schedule so that shopping, outdoor exercise and errands are done early in the morning rather than later in the day, before it gets too hot. 

Reading is a big part of my summer life, and I’m thankful to those who bring new books when they come and then leave them here for those of us who might not travel back and forth so much. Yes, I have a Kindle, but I always prefer a real book experience, if at all possible. 

I just finished Willa Cather’s classic, “The Song of the Lark,” originally published in 1915. It’s a sweet, simple story of a young farm girl gifted with a beautiful singing voice, and her struggles to learn more about music and get the training she desperately wants. Seeing her natural talent, a music teacher encourages her to go to Europe to learn from the best. “But how?” she asks. 

“Nothing is far and nothing is near, if one desires,” he tells her. “The world is little, people are little, human life is little. There is only one big thing — desire. And before it, when it is big, all is little.”  

This month, in between everything else you’re doing, I hope you find time to sit quietly and think about your own desires, your own dreams. Because, really, what could be more worthwhile or valuable to think about, to plan and direct one’s energy toward? 

Those, more than anything else we do or say or accomplish, are what makes us exclusively and distinctly “us,” and what satisfies our soul like nothing else. And for most of us, whether we’re snowbirds or full-timers, moving to Mexico was one of those dreams that’s now been realized. Are we better people for it? I’d say yes — unequivocally and joyfully yes.

Janet Blaser is the author of the best-selling book, Why We Left: An Anthology of American Women Expats, featured on CNBC and MarketWatch. She has lived in Mexico since 2006. You can find her on Facebook.

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