Six months ago I wrote a blog post trying to imagine what my life would be like in six months,
It was called Check back in 6 months for those who don’t want to read the whole thing, this is how I imagined my day, today in fact December the 11th
It’s December, coming up to Christmas(of this I can be certain!) We will be in a rented apartment in a small town, we may have sourced some sort of tree, branch maybe, and a string of fairy lights. I will go off to my teaching job in the morning, introducing the topic of Christmas and traditions around the world. At lunchtime (I finish work at lunchtime in my new job) I will walk through the small town and get some groceries, I will spend the afternoon on the balcony marking, preparing lessons. I can’t imagine my view, at the moment I imagine street traders and crowded shops, Colombian voices,mostly women with latin temperament, for some reason, I can’t hear any men. From the other window, I can see mountains in the distance and goats wandering on a rubbly path.Continue reading Checking back
We made a long and bumpy bus ride down the country, but up in the mountains to St. Cristobal de las Casas (SCC). After a couple of short stops in Campeche and Palenque, I was ready for a week in one place again.
The bus ride was long and winding, and I had a lot of time to think. Although we had only been away for three weeks, it is very different to being on holiday. Knowing you are not going home anytime soon and that this is your life, at least for the next half a year, makes for a very different experience.
Before I came away I had written about my anxieties about leaving friends and particularly my sons. I miss them, but chatting on Messenger and Skype is actually ok and it doesn’t hurt like I thought it would. However, the biggest surprise is the feelings I have around helplessness. A strong word, but I can’t even ask for directions to the bus stop yet, let alone find my own way from point A to point B. Not knowing local customs and practice is a difficult thing to manage and heightens anxiety and lowers confidence. I went to a public loo the other day and someone gave me some loo roll as I went in, everyone else gave her 5 pesos, so so did I, but I really wasn’t sure if it was for before, during or after later, with wet hands, think it was for after!
So, although I am loving Mexico, it’s not easy getting tongue tied when someone rattles off some Spanish and waits for an answer, or being given magazines in the hairdressers and only being able to look at the pictures! You kind of forget all of the things you had to do and achieve, in order to experience this adventure. Continue reading Dreadlocks and Dreamcatchers
We are travelling around on the bus, it seems quite grown up to be able to pull together a route from the internet and then actually do it. I really enjoy planning the route, researching, aka Googling, to see how long we might stop somewhere and finding places to stay. At the moment I love Airbnb and ADO buses, they make everything possible.
We found a lovely looking old colonial house in Merida, just off the Paseo Montejo. The pictures looked amazing and so we decided to book a week there. At just over £30 per night, it seemed affordable, although as time goes on I think we will reduce what is affordable! For now though, it looked perfect.
After a very basic stay in Valladolid, a pleasant enough apartment, but with none of the windows looking onto the outside, I was looking forward to more pleasant surroundings. We bought bus tickets and a couple of hours later, Ygnacio was showing us around Casa Mango and we were settling in for the week.
The house looked tiny from the outside and after a bumpy taxi ride down many, many side streets we lugged our cases in. Only then were we able to appreciate the hidden depths of the house, the high ceilings and thick walls, together with the tiny garden and the mini swimming pool under the avocado tree.
After so much planning and preparation, so many emotions and such anticipation, this was the perfect time to relax and take stock. So we took it slow, relatively. Continue reading A week in Merida
Well we are here, finally. After months, possibly years, of preparation we are finally here. I can’t explain how difficult the exit was, leaving everything felt really hard, especially leaving J,J,& T but someone said to me,” it’s only the mothers that feel it not the children”and that really really helped how I was feeling.
So we landed in Cancun, it’s a bit of a dive, I knew it was going to be and we’re only here for two days, so instead of fighting it, might as well jump right in!.
Within about 2 hours of landing, I was lying in a small pool surrounded by palm trees with the sun shining and for the first time I thought, it’s going to be ok.
The hotel is a little like the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, it’s not crumbling, but the rooms are like little bungalows off twisty staircases and rickety landings. When I walked across the landing before my room an old lady was watering her plants with a watering can, and couple were chatting as they lay in their hammocks and the stress began to fall away. After a swim I sat at the table in my room and started to write my travel journal (on paper with a pen!) and I felt like I really had started an adventure. This is in stark contrast to how I had been feeling over the last couple of days, when I felt like I was going to do 6 months in prison before being allowed home.
So this trip will be an adventure. Feelings will turn on a sixpence and in order to win the battle of emotions I need to learn how to ride the waves.
The evening was perfect, after a fairly long walk, we went into downtown Cancun (which seems to centre around a giant bus station) and found a restaurant that contained all of Mexico. We sat at a table where a Mariachi band played right in our ears, we ate fajitas, I drank margaritas. It was over the top and cheesy – but sometimes you’ve got to jump right in!
I keep one of those time-capsule diaries, you write a couple of lines each night and there are five years to each page. Since I booked my flight, what I write seems more important, because who knows where I’ll be when I write today’s entry next year.
It’s the funny thing about craving spontaneity and adventure, you spend a lot of time wanting to know what it will be like. I try to imagine where I will live, how I will feel, what a typical day will look like, will there ever be a ‘typical day’
When I look back at this, in six months time I wonder ,where will I be writing it from, where will I have slept, how will I be feeling.
Sometimes your brain is at odds with your heart. My heart says ” I’m leaving my children” My brain says ” my children are no longer children”. Both are right and it’s a daily (hourly) fight.
My three boys are in their twenties now, living independent lives, being good, grown up people. I have a good and healthy relationship with all three. Mostly our interactions are typed through Facebook Messenger, but we keep in touch, we chat occasionally on the phone and I see them to varying degrees from once a week to every couple of months. I pride myself on my ability to let them be adults and my resulting ability to be an independent person at the age of 50. Continue reading You can’t hug on the internet
The planning over the last year is all really falling into place. Nearly completed my training as an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher, told my family, seen the estate agents, sold my car and started the packing.
When I started to push around the idea of leaving my job, renting my house out and living in another country, I don’t think I really believed I was actually going to do it. I talked about it wistfully, maybe endlessly, but I still didn’t have to do anything.
I remember having two steep learning curves in my life, neither took place at school. The first was when I had my first child, goodness knows how I kept him alive, by the third I knew what I was doing. They all, thankfully, turned out very well. The second was when I set up a company, which grew quickly and is going today; I learnt a huge amount in a short space of time.
What I have discovered is that when I stop learning I get bored. So in the last twelve months I have started to learn two new things, Spanish and Teaching English.
Just over a year ago I quit my job. What a short sentence!
Behind it lies so much. I wanted to quit my job, before I even had it, about 20 years before actually. In my early twenties I didn’t want to be regular, normal or routine, I had ambitions of being free, seeing the world and having great adventures. I didn’t feel lost or lonely, I just felt excited. I was 22, sold my house (yes I bought a house when I was 21), left my job and bought a one way ticket. Except I didn’t really go, while I was getting all this ready, I met someone, fell in love and a developed a new ambition, funny how your life can turn on a sixpence Continue reading Jumping off a ladder!