Tuesday, June 30, 2009

offering and accepting a hand

And here ends my list of factors for choosing a place to live in Mexico.

I should have not left these two factors until the end because they certainly are not the least important:

Factor #12 -- offering help to others graciously
Factor #13 -- accepting help from others

I credit my mother and grandmother for teaching me the underlying truth of the Biblical assertion "it is more blessed to give than to receive."

Keeping excess leads to greed. Giving beyond our excess teaches us that there are values higher than the material. Giving out of love, rather than compulsion, honors the humanity of others.

The easiest way to turn a truth into a cliché is to write about it, rather than to take action.

One thing I knew I would miss in Mexico was my relationship with the Salvation Army. As an organization, it embodied the truths I learned from my mother and grandmother.

The Salvation Army is active in Mexico, but the closest corps to Melaque is in Puerto Vallarta -- a four drive away, one way. There is no possibility of being as active there as I was in Salem.

As an alternative, I have already found local organizations (including the church I attend) that offer assistance to the community. And I will be active in those groups.

But I wanted to spend most of the space for this post on that second factor: accepting help from others.

I added it at the request of a former work colleague, who has gone through some big changes in his life. He told me that the most important lesson he learned is that, when you go through troubles, there are always people willing to help. The trick is to accept that help.

He knows me well. Like him, I have been taught to suck up trouble and get on with your life.

The result is that we end up isolating ourselves from people who are ready to give us a helping hand. Sometimes, just a hand of encouragement.

When I originally put that factor on the list, I was not certain how it would apply to Melaque.

I now do.

During the past two months, I went through one major "move crisis" when Jiggs was starting to fade because of the trip south. I honestly wondered f I had made the correct decision -- to move to Melaque, to move to Mexico.

I ended up receiving help from a source I would not have anticipated two years ago. A number of readers posted comments or sent me email that may have not taken much time to write, but the sentiment made all the difference to me.

Several of you have made similar observations in the past. When you try to explain how close you have become to people who are the equivalent of electronic strangers, most people react with indulgence or bewilderment.

All I can say is thank you. Because of you, this trip south is turning out to be the time of my life. When I was in need, you offered a hand, and I accepted it.

And that has made all the difference.

So, there they are: the 13 factors. How do they add up? Was Melaque a wise choice? Should I choose another spot?

My conclusions will soon follow. Yours are more than welcome.


Islagringo said...

I've almost always found that when people say "if there is anything I can do..." that they never mean it. That mindset changed when I entered the blogosphere. When bloggers say it, they really mean it. To outsiders, it is a strange relationship, almost incomprehensible, that bloggers have with each other. I don't claim to understand it. I just accept it and love it for what it is.

Darrel said...

From my point of view the logistical help received from the owner of the house you are sitting, and bloggers like new beginnings and sparks made your transition into life in Mexico a lot easier. Encouraging and discouraging words from others who have “been there, done that” have also helped to stabilize the emotional and decision making process. NOB you spent a lifetime nurturing connections and building a circle of friends and advisors. Challenges that arose in Salem were easy to master because you already had the connections and resources. All the simple things like where to get a haircut, where to shop, where are the best restaurants and who is the best mechanic, have to be relearned. The best way to learn who, what and where in Melaque is to ask for help from the “been there, done that” crowd that you have access to. This blog is your most useful tool. USE IT.

Nancy said...

I have read many places that it was feared that the internet and computers would isolate us from each other...that we would sit in our houses typing away and lose the ability to make real connections.

But actually I think it is the opposite...my world has expanded in such a wonderful way thanks to blogs, bloggers, and so many new friendships.

But it is hard to explain to people sometimes!

1st Mate said...

Steve - As far as accepting help and/or moral support, it's probably easier for us females. Especially those of us who have raised kids.

Regarding whether you should choose another spot, I'm wondering if two months is adequate time for you to make that decision. I suggest you keep an open mind. If you decide too soon to go elsewhere your mind will be distracted by your next destination and you might be less likely to make lasting friendships where you are.

Calypso said...

Agree with Islagringo who has been working hard for the people in my area (go figure).

As to helping you with a conclusion - waaaay too soon. You have been there 8 weeks. I don't think anyone can arrive at this kind of a conclusion at this point. I could say be patient. ;-)

Constantino said...

There are tons of things to be done in every little pueblo. All it takes is asking and finding the right person. I am positive that your skills could be utilized by someone. Not your professional skills though, I mean your life skills from the north. Heavens' they don't need more legal beagles down here.

Anonymous said...

I do not have much to say about living in Mexico or retire in that matter.but I feel,I got to know you little by reading your Blog....
I wish you the all the best!
min Va

Jonna said...

I'm not so sure that it is too soon to start looking around and evaluating where you are. I felt that the greatest benefit we had in moving here was the many years of driving all over the Republic and it's neighbors to the north and south in our RV. We could stay as long as we felt like and move anywhere that looked interesting. I always pretended I was living wherever we were parked, it was fun. It also quickly showed me whether I would want to really live in a place, it didn't take long to figure out. We returned often to those places that I enjoyed "living in" and that made our eventual choice an easy one. I knew what the things were that made me content or made me want to move on. By now, you have the 'feel' of Melaque. The good will perhaps get better (certainly the weather will move closer to perfect soon) but the bad may also get worse. It just matters if the balance is right for you.

BoBo's Mom said...

Listen to Jiggs....Live in the Moment!!

Jan said...

I think you should give yourself more time. The thing I love most about Mexico, besides the generosity of the people is the spontaneity. We have lived in three different places and they have all been special and we've taken a lot from each one. It's really the country and circle of friends and new adventures that will help you decide. Re: your later blog, I love the mechanics here. We have never been disappointed. I think you might need to relax, don't overanalyze, don't put yourself on a time table. Good luck to you Steve.