When I decided to come to Mexico one last time, it was not without reservations. Perhaps not trepidation, but some hesitation. I have not been here on my own since my stroke in 2017.
I looked carefully at the things that worried me did my best to avert problems of the small sort. I couldn’t help with disasters. They would occur or not.
By the time I left, I think my husband was the only one who was worried about me. My Children had all expressed their confidence in me and as I constantly repeated to worrywarts, “I’m too old to die young and I’ll be doing what I love.”
…beyond that, I have travel insurance.
Traveling through TSA at LAX had been a nightmare on previous trips – even with wheelchair assistance and even with my assertive and competent daughter. So I bit the bullet and took a more local connection and an O-light-hundred flight with an LAX pass-through.
I couldn’t have wished for a softer landing. Although my plane was horribly delayed and my normal ride left the airport feeling as if he had made a mistake, another friend was there and I rode happily with her. As an added perk I heard all the news in English so I wasn’t confused about any of it. (Although saddened.)
Part of my concern about the trip was whether I would enjoy my village as it now stands. Things have changed through the years and life is not what it used to be here. Some of it is happening all over the world. Instead of community with everyone gathering on the front steps in the evening; there are now televisions, cellphones, and internet that all but the huddling groups of teenagers inside.
Somewhat unique to village life in Mexico is the reality of the cartels. Their activity touches on every aspect of life and sometimes death. Obviously, it is not a subject for discussion, but the effects can be seen.
Life is not what it used to be for me either. I have spent many years in Mexico with dozens of children on my porch drawing pictures, reading books, and and working jigsaw puzzles. I always met little ones when they were comfortable to come with their older brothers and sisters.
Since my stroke I could not do what i used to do. And some of the children were a little frightened of my limitations. The youngest generation is unknown to me. Could I have one last gathering of children enjoying the simple pleasures of drawing and jigsaw puzzles as it was before the modern era of cell phones.
Now to the joy – What are welcome!
Within 24 hours I have been greeted by every person I know. They were surprised that I was alone, smiled happily and offered any support that I may need.
My family here welcomed me lovingly. There is new baby who is cherished by the entire family. Every time I go by, a child rushes to provide me with a plastic lawn chair so that can enjoy her. I love that the father snatches her quickly from the bed and presents her proudly.
My new doctor-ordered dietary restrictions were accommodated without complaint by Chayo at my first dinner on the street. She served a delicious vegan quesadilla (sin queso) with a variety of fresh veggies I have never before been served in Mexico. The next morning I was surprised by vegan breakfast for above any expectations I would have at the finest restaurant in the US. My food worries are over if I don’t ask too many questions (such as how the beans were cooked)
One evening at dinner, I felt small arms around my neck and was joined by three children I didn’t remember. When I told them I had forgotten many names in a year. They surreptitiously pointed out children – saying their name quietly. (I asked them to spell out their names graphically for me so that I would remember.) I apologized to the couple who had joined me at the table for my lack of attention.
After a wonderful reunion with my favoritos,any worries I had about the village children were allayed. I don’t know as many children but I am still accompanied by young escorts whether going to the beach or events in el Pueblo. i have found that I need only tell any group of children that there are ojas* y crayolas a mi casa and I have a porch crowded with children working on rompe la cabezas and a houseful of artistas.
Another wonderful year! Te amo, Barra.
*sheets of paper