Leaving Mexico 2014

It will soon be time for me to pack up and move out of Mexico. We’re talking so soon….30 days (ish). I have mixed feelings on the issue of moving, as I always seem to have when leaving a country or workplace. I guess it’s natural. I have enjoyed my time here so much. Mexico is a hugely interesting place, with a vibrant culture, weird and wonderful customs and people who make you feel like you’ve known them a lifetime. I’m not going to lie. I will miss so much of this life. I adore the school and the kids that I teach. I love the heat and the extremes of weather that we have here. I’ve met some wonderful people who I will miss dearly and I will never forget the time I’ve had here.

It hasn’t always been easy. This last academic year has been the hardest I’ve ever had to face in my role as a ‘strong, confident, independent woman’ but I have learned so much, mostly about me and how I approach situations.

The big one is I’ve learned the power of saying ‘no’, without an explanation which is something I always struggled with in the past. I felt I had to make an excuse if I didn’t want to do something or go somewhere. Now I just say no and have discovered the ability to sit with that even if it feels a little lonely or uncomfortable at times. I’ve learned how to use my energy in a way that is productive and valuable for me. I trust my gut now more than ever, it is so rarely wrong. I’ve also have such a clear idea of who I want to spend my time with in a personal capacity. In the past there were people who made me feel uncomfortable or who I didn’t enjoy hanging out with. Because of my inability to say no I would have just gone on and spent time with them anyway, regardless of how it made me feel. Over the course of this year and my new found ability to say no, I made choices that felt positive for me. It started with an offhand comment from a colleague at a party, basically slagging off my family because apparently it ‘isn’t normal to spend time together without a row,’ which meant we were weird. It was a small moment, which came on top of a hundred other moments which made me realise that I didn’t enjoy the company of these people and what’s more I didn’t need to spend time with them. In the new year I minimised my time with those who made me feel less than amazing and I have felt so much better for it.

I’ve learned how tough my body is and how a balance between body and mind is so important. I battled a term of bronchitis, before Christmas, which resulted in a broken rib and also more recently dealt with being whacked by a car as I was out walking. Through all of this I only missed 3 days of work. And truthfully I wouldn’t have missed them unless I was under doctors orders not to move from the sofa. One of the bosses at work described me as a ‘warrior’ when it came to fighting illness, so I guess I can admit that I am kinda tough. ‘Life is tough but I am tougher’ has become my motto over the last few months. But on the other hand it isn’t really being tough though because if I fall apart at something so minor as being hit by a car then how am I going to cope when the real big stuff comes along? This is all training! People are suffering through much bigger dramas than me right now. There are families battling serious illness, depression, and unemployment, there are so many racist and sexist attacks, the news is filled with drama every day. I’m just doing what needs to be done. Besides I’ve got classes to teach and books to mark and a job to do. It will be done. I can’t fall apart because there’s no one here to catch me. I have to rely on myself and it’s easier for me to keep going rather than to pick myself up after a fall. Everybody is different and I am trying to listen to my body and do what needs to be done to get through this situation. I’m trying to eat well and rest. I’m also trying to honour the body’s need for junk food. If I want ice-cream I’ll eat it. I’ve spent too long in my life worrying about weight and diets and the ridiculous standards that we press upon ourselves. It doesn’t change what’s on the inside. The inside is what matters. It doesn’t matter if the body is beautiful but the mind and spirit are weak and ugly.

On that note I’ve been trying to meditate, it’s something I’ve never done before and to be truthful it’s something I’m finding very hard to do. It’s difficult to switch the brain off and I’ve been slowly trying to ease mine into submission. I’ve been doing some guided meditation in the hope that I can chill out and also to help me sleep. Since being hit by the car, I’ve been more than a little jittery. I find it hard to control my mind. It’s always dashing off and thinking about the 101 things I’ve got to do, and the other 101 things I was meant to do yesterday and just didn’t get around to it. People assure me that it takes time and that it’s a slow process but it’s totally worth it in the end. I hope so.

And so now we’re down to the business of packing and sorting out my life. I haven’t gathered many possessions while I’ve been here and those I have I’m giving away. I don’t need all the stuff I’ve got. I’ll leave with the same number of suitcases that I had when I arrived. I’m taking a small number of handcrafted Mexican trinkets home and the rest will be in memories. This time here has given me a glance into a life that I never really thought was possible before. It’s let me see into a culture of another country but also into the type of lives people build for themselves when they are far away from their hometown. It’s given me ideas for what kind of life I want to have for myself, it’s sharpened up the definition of ‘A Perfect Life’. All I gotta do now is figure out how to get it.

Week Twenty-Eight

Went to see the pyramids this week. They were absolutely stunning. I’ve been lucky enough in my life to see a few places which put into perspective how small and insignificant we really are. I’ve seen Ayres Rock up close and personal, I’ve driven through the Rockies. I’ve stood at the edges of the Giant’s Causeway and Peggy’s Cove and marveled at the vastness of the ocean…or something like that. I’m happy to add the pyramids at Teotihuacan to the list of places that took my breath away.

I really enjoyed learning about the history of this place. Its name means ‘birthplace of the gods’ and it wasn’t just a random city, it was one of the largest in that period first built in 100BC. It even had multi floor apartment style structures to accommodate the large population. There is some debate about the destruction of the city but it is thought that they dwellings of the elite were attacked in some form of internal revolution rather than an outside attack….maybe it was the introduction of the Mexican bedroom tax.

This is from the Pyramid of the Moon, you can see the Pyramid of the Sun in the background and you can also see the Avenue of the Dead:

 Image

I’m pleased to have gone there and it did wonders for my Spanish. I haven’t really spent much time travelling by myself and it was really good just to go out and explore without worrying too much. I know somewhere in the depths of me I have enough Spanish to survive a road trip, I just was never that confident before. This trip though proved that I can do it. It’s a wonder what a few simple phrases can do. There are loads of street vendors all the way around the pyramid site, selling jewellery and pyramid based sourvenirs. My stock phrase was “Lo siento, no tengo dinero. Me gustaría poder comprar algo, pero yo soy un pobre maestro en Querétaro.” (means “I’m sorry i have no money. I wish I could buy something but I am a poor teacher in Queretaro.”) The sellers were so nice after that! They wanted to talk about where I came from, how I ended up working in Queretaro, if I’d teach them English etc. All amazing stuff when it comes to practicing my weak language skills.

Can’t wait to see what next week’s adventure brings!

Reading Info:

Start I am America and So Can You! By Stephen Colbert

Finish The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura