Tuesday, June 16, 2009

the 13 suggestions

"So, Steve. Is everything in Mexico as perfect as you thought it would be? Are you ready to admit it is time for you to come home?"

The dreaded telephone calls have started already.

I left Salem two months ago, and some of my friends now expect me to tell them they were right and I was wrong.

OK. I admit I fed that attitude a bit with a few of my posts that made me sound as if I were in way over my head.

But the quick answer is: I never thought Mexico would be perfect. That is why I retired here -- knowing a lot of its blemishes.

And, NO, I am not returning to Oregon.

Rather than have this little dialog turn into a talk radio glandfest, let's take a little more analytical approach on what I have learned during the past two months. It certainly is not the final exam -- not even the mid-term. Let's just call it a pre-test.

Last August, I wrote a series of posts grading my July scouting trip to Melaque. Several months earlier, I had developed 13 criteria to pick a retirement spot -- or, at least, the spot where I would start my retirement.

I summarized them in
not quite the end of all things. They were:

  • university nearby

  • archaeological sites within driving distance

  • central location for other archaeological sites

  • warm, sunny days; cool nights

  • new acquaintances -- some with a love of food

  • the challenge of a new language

  • time to read; time to learn; time to rest

  • daily learning to survive

  • facing mountains of difficulties -- and being repeatedly crushed

  • long walks with Professor Jiggs before breakfast and after sunset

  • living outside of a car

  • offering help to others

  • graciously accepting help from others

I would like to spend the remainder of this week looking at those criteria. It may give me a better idea why I am doing what I am doing.

And I know that each of you will have some pithy comments to add.

Time to slice open this "same life," and see how it is doing in this "new location."


Unknown said...

Great post, Steve! I have lived in Honduras two years. My family is now starting to inquire about my return plans. My friends understand my vocation a bit better. But the family ... they are always expecting that I will throw in the towel. Don't give up. It's all part of the journey. I found another helpful suggestion I want to follow for my third year: say yes more. Yes to social outings, yes to new adventures.

Islagringo said...

Can't wait for this series. It will be interesting to see how you grade each criteria. Or if they have even stayed the same.

Anonymous said...

Why do I have the feeling that I'm getting messages from an adventurous philosophe of the Enlightenment?

Criteria? Assessment? Are we structuring the new rational life?

Where is your Rousseauean personality in all this?

You have only your chains to lose.

Then you watch, it'll snow.


Jonna said...

I'd forgotten that list. The odd thing is that Mérida fits every criteria, maybe you should spend some time over on this side of the Republic.

Holly said...

Great blog/response Steve! Life is an adventure. If individuals walk into ease and perfection, then what is learned? Where would be the adventure? I congratulate you on: 1) taking this risk that many wouldn't; 2) embracing the daily challenges and being open about the struggle; 3) not giving up on what you know you want. More individuals could learn from you, including me when it comes to #1. I look forward to your blogs everyday.

Steve Cotton said...

Laurie -- I agree. Saying "yes" is an important component. It is hard to have an adventure without accepting the challenge.

Islandgringo -- I am just as interested in how it turns out.

John -- I always like slathering a thick patina of analysis on every issue -- just before I allow my glands to guide the decision.

Jonna -- Mérida probably flunks the "cool nights" factor. But so does Melaque.

Holly -- Thanks. If Carrol had not pushed me to take the first step, I would probably be sitting at my desk today giving out more confidentiality advice.

Calypso said...

Steve - the first time you return to Oregon will only reinforce why you left.

Not sure how cool nights fits into Merida's reality??? But, I have to agree about spending on this side of the Republic ;-)

Jonna said...

Actually, Nancy and I have been comparing the temps between Maz and Mérida and I'm rather amazed but it is cooler here at least at night and the humidity is lower. We still have no AC and while there are some hot afternoons, the nights have been easy sleeping and fine.

Jonna said...

Well, who knows whether you would like it or not. What struck me was that it fulfills all of those 11 things. It is a cosmopolitan city with incredible architecture and history and we are surrounded by archeological sites. Music, food, art and culture abound and it is flat and definitely a walking city. Beaches are 20 miles at the Gulf and about 150 miles to the Caribbean. You have to like the tropics though, we are definitely that. I used to be amazed when friends from Houston said how much more pleasant the weather is here, now I see that our summers are easier than the west coast as well. It does seem that Steve's requirements show a tilt towards a less rural and more cosmopolitan life, we shall see.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

I have to agree with Jonna, Mérida fits your criteria perfectly. I find the nights cool. in my opinion we have 5 months of perfect days and 7 months of perfect evenings. Of course, it isn't a place where I would want to work outside, but it's pleasant enough under a fan and in the shade.

Steve Cotton said...

Calypso -- "Cool" is probably a relative term. To me, "cool" is 55 degrees and below. I doubt I will find that anywhere but in the mountains.

Jonna -- I have learned that I can sleep in a bedroom where the temperature is in the 70s or low 80s, but no hotter than that. But you are correct -- rural is probably not the best match for me. Otherwise, I would have returned to Powers.

Theresa -- You make a good point. I spend most of my days around the house.

Babs said...

I'm zipping my lip until you have written this. I see about 3 out of the 11 have ben fulfilled - it will be interesting if you see more.....oops, I didn't zip it shut enough, did I?

Steve Cotton said...

Babs -- Maybe a little more than that. After all, I am the eternal optomist.

Mic said...

Food For Thought....I presently live in Alaska (while dreaming of Mexico :-)

One Spring, husband & I went to Newport Beach CA to pick up a boat. We were on or near the ocean allot and I thought I would DIE OF FROSTBITE OR HYPOTHERMIA - both at high noon & at night. Wore all the clothes I brought with me in MANY layers. It was ferociously COLD. Temps were reading in the low 70s - brisk winds.

Came back to Alaska and in the same week, temps were in the low 40s - calm winds - and it was like a heat wave - and we live on a lake and close to the ocean. Everyone was out running around in tea shirts - not even jackets....us included - who had just froze our buns at 70 degree temps.

God's Truth - No Exaggeration.

So you can't read temperatures from other places and know what your comfort level will be for sure at a certain temperature until you experience it. I'd take my clues from people who live full time in the area and follow their lead in dress & activity....and count on faking it 'til you make it if the location is otherwise acceptable.

It's also been my experience that it takes MY body approx. a year to acclimatize. When we moved back from the PI (17 degrees N. of Equator) to Alaska , I was taking a winter sauna with a friend after we'd been back for 6 months....she was dripping sweat and my skin was dry as a bone - not a drop of sweat forming.

Jackie said...

This doesn’t really have much to do with your post today but I wanted to tell you I thought of you early this morning as I drove across the Morrison Bridge into downtown PDX. Right smack in my face was “The World” docked along the sea wall. I had heard a caller on the radio saying that there were bridge lifts for a cruise ship heading south on the Willamette. Then right before I got to the bridge another caller said that it was The World. This was obvious to me when I saw it. That is one huge ship to be docked in PDX. It has been here before but I don’t think that I knew what it really was back then.
Curious as to how much the apartments sell for? You have to email them for information. I guess if I have to ask I must not be able to afford the 6 bedroom penthouse or for that matter a luxury studio. LOL!
Rentals range from $1,200 for a luxury studio to $4,750 for a luxury residence for two people per night depending on the season and travel dates. Those rates include dining, select beverages, port charges and gratuities.
Probably not a vacation I am going to be booking in the near future.

Steve Cotton said...

Mic -- Temperatures can certainly be relative. 80 degrees in Bend is comfortable. 80 degrees here (in the summer) can be draining. Of course, I am happiest with gray skies, drizzle, and 55 degrees. I guess that is why I stayed in Oregon so long.

Jackie - I looked into purchasing a suite on The World. That was going to be one of my retirement options. I came to the conclusion that I needed a million dollars, and I had better be willing to lose it in the inevitable "neighborhood association" dispute. But it is a nice dream.

Ron said...

I find myself agreeing with Jonna and Theresa, but I have been to Merida in the winter and to other parts of the Yucatan in the heat.

I had planned to see Melaque, but we chose to head to San Miguel and Guanajuato instead - enjoyed San Miguel and loved Guanajuato

I look forward to this series, as I did to the series on the house

Steve Cotton said...

I am rather interested in how it will turn out, as well.

GlorV1 said...

Just stopped by to read your post. I don't have anything to say, it's all been said and besides I know nothing of living elsewhere but here where I am at. Just enjoy each day. Take care and hello to jiggs.

Steve Cotton said...

Gloria -- Always nice to have you drop by.