When I said Mexico, the reactions ranged from interested nods to bewilderment to outright horror.
I have said it several times, but I think I need to say it again -- if, for no other reason, to remind myself why I am in Mexico.
I have never been interested in retiring in comfort. I wanted to add some adventure to my life.
So, I added these two factors to my list of where I should retire:
- Factor # 8 -- daily learning to survive
- Factor # 9 -- facing mountains of difficulties; and being repeatedly crushed
I realize that not everyone wants a lot of drama and adventure in retirement. They are happy to be safe and comfortable surrounded by family and friends. How do those lyrics go? "Some people sit on their butts;/got the dream, yeah, but not the guts."
Like Mama Rose, I am not one of those people.
I joined the Air Force because I wanted a job where I could appreciate simply surviving to live another day.
I opened a law practice right out of law school with a law school classmate. We had no business experience. No client base. No money. But we survived and thrived.
I lived in Europe for three years and learned some skills in dealing with new languages and cultures. More than anything, I developed a passion for living in new countries.
My mantra for moving to Mexico was that I want to wake up every morning and not know how I am going to get through the day.
And how is that working for me?
As it turns out, my transition has been a bit more cosseted than I expected.
I am currently house sitting. That means I stepped into a house that was in full operation before I arrived.
I did not need to negotiate with the telephone company to install a telephone and internet. No unpaid bills for me to pay off before service could be restored.
The young man who delivers bottled water to the house already knows the owner's usage pattern. Mine is similar. The day I need the bottle, he arrives unbidden.
The propane gas man seems to have the same sense. I had barely switched to the reserve tank two weeks ago, and there he was outside of the gate. No need to call for service.
I don't even need to worry about paying the electric and telephone bills. The owner pays, and I reimburse her.
As a result, I am not developing very many survival skills in my current living arrangement. A lot of the headaches that expatriates face in Mexico are simply not on my plate.
The biggest hurdle I have faced was finding a veterinarian for Professor Jiggs, with all the angst that went along with his transition to the heat -- and trying to figure out how the human food chain worked.
So far, not much of an adventure. But it has been a sweet transition.
I added that second factor (facing mountains of difficulties; and being repeatedly crushed) because I believe that we learn far more from failure than we do from success.
During one of my college courses, we were required to write a short biography of someone in the class we had known for at least a year. The fellow assigned to write mine started: "Everything comes easy to him."
I thought of that sentence this past week. I may not be able to learn easily, but my life has been almost charmed. Good things do come easily to me.
This retirement is one of them. For the past two months I have whinged about some rather minor issues. And none of them has adversely affected my life in Mexico.
One of my major concerns about living in Mexico is in the process of being fixed. My language course is starting to turn me from a bumbling tourist into a bumbling expatriate. I feel like a walk-on character in a mediocre play. My lines are minimal,. But, at least, I have some lines. If all goes well, I might even end up as Murphy Brown's secretary.
And then there is the amazing Professor Jiggs and his Merlin impression. But that is going to be the center of tomorrow's discussion.
That brings us to the question of how Melaque measures up to these factors.
I did not plan it this way, but Melaque may actually have made the "adventure" factor an easy transition. And I was spared the death of a thousand Dorothy Parker cuts in the more carnivorous expatriate enclaves.
If I want a crushed life, I may need to move somewhere else.