Welcome to Mexico!
By Victoria Schmidt
Driving through the rainy streets early this morning, I watched Lakeside slowly come to life. The night-long rain followed by a small thunderstorm in the early morning brought a small land slide to the western edge of Chapala. I always marvel that we don’t have more of them this time of year. But the landowner was already cleaning it up and pulling debris back from the road. Thankfully there wasn’t much.
It is interesting looking at the storefronts when they are closed. They look desolate. No cars parked helter-skelter about the area, no oncoming traffic from both lanes, no pedestrians and stray dogs running across the street. It was absolutely quiet. My only concern was not splashing water on the occasional pedestrian.
As I made my way westward, more people were appearing, no doubt negotiating their way to work. I see a bakery truck being loaded and imagine the baker up at 4:00 a.m. baking the bolillos for delivery. The buses are beginning to move in and out of traffic, there’s a taxi behind me. I pull over and let him pass. I’m in no hurry, but he sure is. The traffic lights are well timed, and I was able to cross town with little delay. I arrived at my destination early, and was able to procure a parking space across the street. As I awaited the opening of the establishment, I observed the traffic increase in volume. A biker peddled past wearing a garbage bag as a raincoat and it fluttered behind him in the wind.
Across the street, two women were waiting under an awning for their boss to open the door and let them in for work. A family of three huddled under one umbrella. The mother in front, the father carrying a newborn baby draped over his shoulder with a blanket keeping the young one warm, he carried the umbrella in his other hand. Soon the rain began to lighten, and the clouds began to recede.
Glancing at the mountain, I could see the sun warmed mist crawl the incline toward oblivion. I remember watching the raindrops dancing over the lake creating designs in the water. Thinking back to our previous home in the states, I remembered similar early morning jaunts. There the city was almost never quiet. The hum of traffic passing on the interstate was a constant. There was no time for reflection or observation, just time for parsing the daily traffic.
How lucky we are to live here in Mexico. The pace of life here invites time to appreciate all that we have. The rain has magnified the colors. Yet even in the dry season, Mexico explodes with other beauties to behold.
I cannot remember the exact moment when my husband and I began to consider making this move. I guess it takes a certain kind of person to pick up their lives, move them to a foreign country and begin anew. Many of our friends and family thought we had lost our minds. “They’ll last six months.” Someone declared at our goodbye party. That was over nine years ago. I’m not sure where all the time has gone, for it seems like only a moment ago, we were leaving the confines of our state border, and driving across several states, and then crossing the border into Mexico. I’m not sure what inspired us to first entertain the idea of moving here. But we are so happy that we have no plans to return. Because once we arrived, we knew we were home.
Column: Editor’s Page
Victoria Schmidt came to Mexico with her husband, in 2007. She is a graduate of Moorhead State University, Minnesota and graduated Cum Laude with a BA degree in Radio, Television and Film. At 23 she was hired at multi-national media corporation, where she worked 10 years as their Director for Operations and Finance. She then ran her own business consulting company. She has won multiple community service awards. Writing has been a passion of Victoria’s since Junior High. She has been active in the writing and publishing business for over 40 years and has been a columnist for the Ojo del Lago since 2008.