For The Love Of Mexico – A Winter Balm –
Winter is settling in early this year in Minnesota, my home state. As I write, snow is accumulating in the yard, and the date is only mid-November. I never have been opposed to the cold, even to brag about it as we like to do here in the north…that is, brag about it when convenient and smart-sounding, say, at a gathering of friends over stout beers. “Keeps us hardy!” we like to claim as we toast to health. But a Minnesota winter settling in translates to the cold hard fact: 5-plus months of frozen ground.
Now retired, my husband and I reflect on those decades of our work lives when we just accepted winter, focused intently on our jobs, raising our kids. Commuting on that frozen ground all those long months of winter was just a fact of life, what you do. Bundle up.
But now when winter is settling in, we view it mostly from inside our house and car. “No need to get out in these conditions!” we agree. Our gear from winter sports has long since been outdated, and regardless, skiing and skating are dependent of course on enough snow, enough ice…too complicated and definitely not daily exercise routines. And a simple walk outdoors skirting icy patches can be hazardous. They say that seniors are just one fall away from a broken hip…and we all know what happens next. “How can we stay active in these frozen months?” is our common complaint. We know staunch Scandinavians who figure it out, but that’s not us.
This was our new reality in retirement without our jobs to keep us on the go over those frozen months. So it was that a dozen or so years ago we happened on to a new way of life for winter months – we opt for Mexico. So close and yet so far, Mexico offers us an escape just one border away to a consistently warm climate. Our Pacific port city of Manzanillo happens to share the same latitude of Hawaii. Coming from our hard landscape in the north, we can be immersed again in warmth and colors and smells of the earth. Our bodies relax. We get on the move again. Our social calendar is full with outdoors-everything.
And as we soak up the physical comforts, we have an added perk: Our brains are busy too. We learn a new language, and ever-increasingly important, we learn the rich culture of Mexico. The family values, the music, the inspired foods, the festivals, the complex history – Viva Mexico! We live it, if for only those brief winter months. Like an immersion class. Then we strap on our watches again and head home, relaxed and enriched.
Great material for a book, you say? Absolutely and in process – my working title is “Mariachi, Running Off To Mexico…on Beach Property, Retirement, and Crossing Borders.”
So begins my blog “For The Love of Mexico.”