Steven Wright, American born actor and writer, commented: “I just got out of the hospital. I was in a speed reading accident. I ran into a bookmark.”
“That is a good book which is opened with expectation and closed in profit.” Amos Bronson Alcott, born in 1799 American educator and writer.
A good writer, lets say in the case of The Historian (June 2005), sets the reader up for a good read. Within moments of opening The Historian and reading simply the preface, you are prepared to believe in the truth of the narrative. With just a few well chosen words the adventure begins and, though you know it is a work of fiction, the historical on-point dialogue makes you eager to read more. Oh, that Elizabeth Kostova had written another book was oft my lament until January of 2010 when her book The Swan Thieves was published by Little Brown. I have not as yet read The Swan Thieves but look forward to it.
David is on his second or third reading of this absolutely fabulous book. I believe it is one of the best works of historical fiction I have ever been fortunate enough to read. It is amazing what well-placed words and true emotion can do for the avid reader or, for that matter, someone who is simply looking for a good book with which to enjoy a summer solstice.
One of the remarkable things about living in Mexico is that people, like me, are forced to slow their pace down. It is worthy to note, this is not what I sought when we decided to move to this tiny village rich in the history of ancient Mexico. Of that I am sure. As far as David is concerned it is my sense he wished to remove himself from the commercialism of his profession and allow the artist within, long suppressed by the need to accomplish, to flourish. When you work many hours, many years, under much stress you are often too spent at the end of the day or week for that matter, to expend any time or energy on the part of your personality that would allow the artist to escape.
Quite frankly traveling and living in Mexico has taken me out of my “curds and whey” type of life. I brought along my proverbial baggage: guilt, remorse, shame, pride, accomplishments, failures, wild times and boring times. I certainly breached my comfort zone. There is much time here. Time to think about what was, what happened, what could have been, what should have been and what is. Well spank me cross eyed, you really must try to find a place within yourself where all can come together in harmony. Good luck with that. Harmonious living has not always been a moniker of the US style of life and most certainly has not been within the realm of my thinking. Be prepared. It takes strength, I never imagined I had, to live here. Yes, a lot of it has to do with the fact that it is all new and certainly much different then what I am used to. It also has to do with the fact that while living my life I did not, as many do, think about how I would feel about what I was doing once I had time to think about it. If that makes sense.
We first arrived here with our psyche’s set on US time. There were many adventures awaiting us. Simply watching the sun rise or set was in itself an adventure. Certainly getting used to how things are done here, was a journey of sorts. Obviously, command of the Spanish neither of us had used much since our high school days became a time consuming need.
The village, in all its ambiguity, loveliness, ancientness, dare I say it oddness was a constant source of amazement, humor and, quite honestly, at times, frustration. We wanted to accomplish so much, immediately, as we were operating at the pace we’d both operated at for so many years. What do you mean they close the store from Noon to 4:00 p.m.? What’s that all about? What do you mean you’ll be there at the arbitrary 11:00 a.m. to install this, set up that, repair these things and then never show? Why, when we call to find out what is going on, do you simply say okay, can we set it up for tomorrow at, lets say, 11:00 a.m. does it reduce us to laughter while you sit on the other end of the phone patiently waiting for these gringo’s to reply?
And the mobile unit, which now sits – often – in the same place on our driveway it has sat for days. How can anyone get along without jumping in the car to run hither or yon? Real easy here. No, its not our acquiring cobblestone legs – it is the reality that “things” are just up the block, on the corner, a few blocks away, somewhere on the carretera. Most of the things we really “need” do not require a car. We can walk. We can tote. We can navigate cobblestones intrepidly now without much thought. Okay, that might be an exaggeration but we are getting better at it.
Consequently dear reader this is an adventure in a different, charming, passionate, strange, enchanting and sometimes difficult land. It is also an adventure into myself and that is the most fearsome, discombobulating and treacherous journey for there are things about me I’d rather not know. All your dreams come true if you have the courage to pursue them.
The point of this essay is this, whether you are looking at visiting, thinking about retiring, or simply enjoying hearing about what we are or are not doing down here, Mexico has its own pace. Putting aside all the documentation necessary to visit or live down here. Putting aside the language which may or may not be a barrier. Putting aside the cultural differences. Putting aside the foreign medias portrayal of all of Mexico as if every village, town or city was a border town. Mexico is a good read, if you will. There is much to see and, quite honestly, there is much we can learn from the Mexican people and their culture.
Elizabeth Kostova blended the history and folklore of Vlad Tepes and his fictional equivalent Count Dracula using the stories her father had shared with her as a child blending historical fact with fictional character and characters. The adventure of daily living in a country with regions that embrace a rich history of conquest, passion, strength, religious control and the tenacity and spirit of its people is real and it is now in this small Village of Ajijic. If you are up to it. If you are open to both the new and the old. This is a journey you might have been meant to take. As for me, I’ve always ignored the warning, never test the depth of the water with both feet. I’ve got both feet here in Mexico and I’m still afloat! Viva Mexico!
[I’ve revisited some of the photographs David took when we first arrived here in 2009. Enjoy]
Picture of a village on one of our first trips to Guadalajara after moving here.
Papaya tree in our back yard.
Lovely home in the Village of Ajijic captured in August of 2009.
Another picture from August of 2009 of a shop in the Village of Ajijic.
A float in the Mardi Gras parade. Don't ask...we're not sure why!!
One of the many beautiful pictures, from our mirador, David has taken of the mountains above our home.
Visit the BoomerstoMexico Photo Store at http://boomerstomexico.com/mexico-photos/ , to see more of the beauty of Ajijic Mexico in photographs.