Sunday, February 22, 2009

from milwaukie to melaque

The farewells are beginning.

This afternoon I had dinner with three friends I have known for over fifty years. Stephanie lived across the street from me from third grade until I left for the Air Force. Colette lived up the street. Jim lived on a side street.

Jim and Steph married forty years ago this year. Colette and I were in the wedding.

There is something special about people who have known you that long. Artifice is a wasted resource. We know who we were and who we are.

James Thurber referred to a land where "time lies frozen there. It is always Then; it is never Now." That seems to be far more the way that parents see their children -- all through their lives.

But old friends are different. When I tell them that I am interested in adventure, not comfort, they understand the point. Of course, I like some comforts. I always have. But I also like doing (and saying) whatever will get a reaction.

That is why I was a bit concerned to hear Stephanie say: "He will be back in six months." Her comment bothered me on two levels. First, she knows me as well as anyone (even though she does not understand why anyone would voluntarily separate himself from his family). Second, her comment sounds far too similar to several that Michael Dickson has hurled over the past year.

Our three-hour dinner conversation was everything I could hoped for. We reestablished our friendships -- and I felt the bit of pang one should feel when possibly seeing friends for the last time.


Islagringo said...

They are correct. You WILL be back in six months if you start thinking that way. But since you are dedicated to moving to and travelling in Mexico, I doubt that you will have even scratched the surface of your new adventure in six monthts. Even with the "manana-let's-take-a-siesta-now" attitude so prevalent down here, time has a way of just flying by.

Larry Lambert said...

Hi Steve

I wouldn't fret too much over your friend's comment. As you approach departure, you're going to discover a growing number of people that will never understand. Your parenthetical note near the end should tell you why. It goes along with "but what do you do all day?"

A lot of it goes to expectations that we have for ourselves, rather than what other people have for us. They can't conceive, so how could they understand? There is also an element of fear on their part. As our time approached to head south I discovered just how many of our friends and neighbors were terrified at the idea of stepping out and doing anything different. It just wasn't in their comfort zone, so they rejected the whole idea.

Be true to yourself and give it a chance. You haven't mentioned much about lists lately, so I suspect you're already starting to lighten your load.

You're going to start learning two things pretty soon. "Go with the flow," and "it is what it is."

Life is good!!

Larry Lambert, Mazatlan

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter what others say..what really matters, is that you are living and doing what you like. Six months in Mexico (winter) and six months in Salem (summer) would seem to be an agreeable lifestyle. Summers by the ocean can be stifling, of course you could always go inland to higher elevations and beat the humidity without having to return to the U.S.. It is, after all, your choice.
Bueno Suerte!
Detroit, Mich.

jennifer rose said...

Steve, Steve, Steve. It's not as if you were moving to Southeast Asia. You're only moving to Mexico, which is closer to Salem than New Hampshire. Islagringo's made a good point. So, too, does Miguelito Dickson.

It's not unusual for those left behind to make the kind of remarks your friends did. You're going to have to decide whether to take those remarks at face value or to simply go your own way.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,

I wouldn't be too worried about what people say you will or won't do in six months. What's important for your retirement is that you're doing what YOU want to do.

If you spend six months in Mexico and then decide it's not for you, well, so what? It would be stupid to stay there hating it just to somehow be consistent. And it would be a terrific shame to have never had the adventure either, even if you do go back.

On the other hand, I wouldn't plan on leaving forevermore. Go back to Oregon, visit your friends, stay a spell in August when Melaque will no doubt be sweltering. Then return south or whatever. Who knows? Maybe in a couple years you'll decide to move to Thailand... or Detroit.

That should be the beauty of retirement. Do whatever you want.

Looking forward to further posts on whatever happens,

Kim G
Boston, MA
Where as a former Californian, I can well understand having picked up and moved all. And I'm still hankering for warmer climes.

Babs said...

What is this "I felt the pang....when possibly seeing friends for the last time" Geez Steve you're moving to Mexico, not the moon.
On the other hand, I find that I DO see fewer and fewer friends when i do go back for visits. I long ago stopped trying to explain myself to anyone cause 90% of the people in my world think I'm totally crazy to be living and traveling along in Mexico. I just "let it go".
If you don't get an FM-3 you WILL be back up there in 6 months to renew your FMT, ha, but not for good, I don't think........

Anonymous said...

Hello all, I live at Km 70 on the toll road between Rosarito and Ensenada, if anyone knows where that is...We have a seasonal B&B here but, since it's almost all family and friends that stay with us, we have seen little impact.

Tourism is definitely down, as is to be expected. This area is getting the brunt of the narco wars. A few of the local restaurants that usually stay open during the off-season decided to close for the winter...we will see if they open back up.

I saw little of the impact of tourism in the past as we are in a gated community on a bluff with no drive-through traffic, whatsoever.

We buy fruits and vegetables locally at a small town also off the beaten path but for other staples and necessities, we shop in San Diego once a month (Trader Joe wines!)

So, we don't miss the tourists but I do recognize that it's tough on those dependent on the trade. But being in Northern Baja is different than being in the interior in that it's easy to get here for a day trip. So, not much commitment required to just drop in and, so, the tourists will come back in time, if not in the numbers like when houses were pouring money.

And, yes, the Real Estate boom here is over just like it is everywhere else. The difference is that I don't see it ever coming back to Baja because the factors of the USA economy that enabled it here are gone forever. No more liar-loans or house-equity funded ATMs in the USA.

I'm OK with that, the pace of life here is receding back to what it was back when I was just a kid surfing up and down the coast and camping on the beach. That was the 70's and me and my fellow surfers were the only ones who had ever heard of fish tacos.

Even the Trump-backed condo project here went belly-up! The bad part of the crash here locally is the condo tower skeletons that are grim reminders of a now-dead era.

But, you know, I didn't come here for the tourists and I don't know anyone who did. Real Estate is cheaper now for those coming here to live, so that's good. And speculators are gone, also good in my opinion.

So, what's the down side? The land rush was an anomaly and those of us who live here knew all along that the economy of the years between 2004 to 2006 was not sustainable and all we're seeing now is a return to normalcy.


American Mommy in Mexico said...

Does it matter whether you stay or go back? I agree with Frank.

The adventure is that you are going after MUCH thoughtful planning.

The beauty is the journey not the ending place.

There is no winning or losing. No right or wrong. No failure or success.

Cynthia and Mike had an amazing experience in Mexico and ultimately circumstances sent them north. I am guessing they feel enriched even though they stayed less time than expected.

Focus on the Journey my friend. Each of us has an individual definition of what is right for our life.

I have conculded that the real adventure for us has been leaving our comfort zone. It could have been anywhere in the world that was different from our normal life. Mexico just happens to be the place where all the variables lined up for us. Maybe the next place will be somewhere different!

Calypso said...

Hombre - I wouldn't worry about the predictions of others - even if they know you very well.

As for my amigo Michael - he seems to take a certain pleasure in goading you a bit - I think it is mostly to insure you get here - a challenge of sorts rather than a prediction - I would be flattered. He is a good guy.

Come on down - you will be a terrific addition to the fracas.

Steve Cotton said...

OK. I admit it. I was being far too melodramatic for a move to Mexico. It isn't as if I had been elected vice-president and was never to be heard from again.

Islandgringo -- You are correct. I doubt I will even have my feet on the ground in six months.

Larry -- Good point. A lot of my friends think that Mexico is Cabo and Cancun. When they visit, they are never outside of the tourist envelope. They will never understand my ability to put up with dodgy utilities. And then there are those who simply do not want me to leave the area.

Frank -- I think I have my arrangements in reverse. My first 6 months will be on the coast during the summer. I know how hot it can get. But I am more interested in the adventure than in the winter.

Jennifer -- Great to hear from you, again. I have said several times that I may discover that 6 months in Melaque may turn out to be enough. There are always other spots in Mexico -- or Central America -- or wherever. That is why I am renting, rather than buying. Or, at least, one reason.

Kim -- If I learned anything while living in Europe, it is that no matter where I travel, it is easy to get back to Oregon. And, at some point, I may want to do that.

Babs -- I have had a tendency to live my life in compartments. When I am done with one experience, I put a lid on the box and store it on a shelf. There is no reason for that to be any different. But the big guns are out in my church to get me to stay. A retired minister is trying to match me up with a sister of one of our officers -- in the mistaken belief that a single man is somehow handicapped. I should be jumping on the next freight train to Mexico.

Anonymous -- Thanks for the Baja update.

AMM -- I shall enjoy the adventure. This post turned out to be a better idea than I thought.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,

My husband and I were told the same thing when we moved from San Diego to 2000! For the record, it's now January of 2009.

You will do absolutely great in Mexico, if for no other reason than your positive attitude. Aviéntate, mano!

Alee' Robbins

Anonymous said...

Did I say January? Jeez, and I've only had a couple sips of my Cabernet Sauvignon as I hungrily await my pasta dinner!


Colette said...

It was great to see you again. Old friendships are special because no matter how much time passes between visits, it's so easy to renew the connection. We just hope your last sentence isn't how it ends.

Steve Cotton said...

Calypso -- Michael is often correct -- even when letting the air out of my tires.

Alee' -- It will be a great adventure. Great to hear from you again.

Colette -- Fun it was. And dramatic endings are always the best.

Anonymous said...

steve, it's great that you've kept in touch wit those old friends. i'm still in touch with my best friend from childhood. we've known each other for 46 years. we met in rochester n.y. shortly after our families immigrated from cuba. she now lives in deerfield beach, so unless she is out of town, i get to see her whenever i go to miami. i've also kept in touch with a dear friend from high school and some from college-it's great having them in my life, even though there are thousands of miles between us.

you are setting off on a great adventure, and as someone said, you have a very positive attitude. i know you will do great in mexico.

take care and see you in a few weeks. time is really flying.


have a great day!


Anonymous said...

Here's hoping 'Micheal from Zapata Street' goads you right into finding your very own "Senora Guapa"....
You have posted the
rhetorical "maybe that's why i'm still single" too many times to count. me thinks you protest too much. Go and find her!
Texas City

Laurie said...

Steve, sometimes friends and family say things because of their own need. I have heard those kind of comments too. Sometimes they are only trying to keep us where we are for their own benefit. And Mexico is not so far away. You may be back in the US for visits, even extended visits. Who cares? My sister and I had a heart to heart about my time in Honduras a few months ago. She wants me to come home to be with her I think. But she was saying I was not going to last for long in Honduras, and I should start planning my return. Of course I am not. But the sentiment behind the words was actually quite nice when I really considered the motivation for the words.

Michael Dickson said...

Steve, I have never said you would be back in Oregon in six months. That is, however, about how long it will take before you realize you belong in San Miguel de Allende.

Steve Cotton said...

Michael -- Funny you should say that. After my experience yesterday I started wondering if SMA may be the place for this budding David Niven. Then I realized how many comments I have placed on Richard Lander's blog. If I visit I willed be railed before I am run out of town on it.