Welcome to Mexico!
By Victoria Schmidt
I love Mexico. It speaks to me in a way that no other place has.
Random sights I see remind me of the variety of life that has assembled here in Mexico at Lakeside. Just from today, I see two horses standing outside their fence grazing on the weeds with what may be their owner who is against the tree in the shade napping. That’s one way to cut the grass.
Traffic slows as the truck ahead of me is being pushed across two lanes of the carretera as an elderly man crouches in the drivers seat steering the car.
Waiting outside the abogada, an aged Mexicana wears a scarf, and jacket. Her right arm is in a sling and her life written upon her face. She pulls a wire with her meager morning purchases across unyielding gravel. I sit inside my air-conditioned car in comfort.
At the dog groomers, I wait inside my Mexican automobile with my little adopted street dog waiting for my husband and our other dog. I remember that there weren’t so many dog groomers when we first arrived in Mexico. Outside my window a car washer on his bicycle stops by to say hello, asks how we’ve been.
“No work today.” He says. “No money for babies, no comida.”
“Lo siénto” I say shaking my head.
“Otro día” he says as we wave goodbye. I am ashamed as I sit there waiting for my dog to be groomed while his kids have little food. I haven’t been washing my car as much now that our home has a garage and we don’t live on a dusty road. Maybe I’ll take it to him soon.
This was the second car washer of my day. The first stopped me as I was just going to grab one thing from the store, and had no time for a car wash. That car washer, an older gentleman, noticed my headlight falling out, and he straightened it out for me even though he was earning nothing. He takes pride in his work, even if it is “just’ washing a car.
The beautiful young woman who works at the laboratory fills out paper work for a lab test for my ailing husband. She scoffs me and warns me to take more time for myself. I told her I would when she does. “Yes” she answers in perfect English. “Maybe we go for chilaquiles soon.” I leave the lab, and as I get into my car, she is behind me with more specimen cups. “For next time.” She says. My heart fills with the warmth of another small gesture of kindness.
Dropping off a few things at home, I see the staff giving one of our housemates a beauty treatment. There was a female nurse working with the resident’s hair, and a male nurse working on her toenail polish. I was in too much of a hurry to snap this precious photo. We live in a home for people with disabilities, mostly dementia. This particular woman rarely knows where she is or what is going on, but they try so hard to make her feel special. Maybe if she was not so ill, she could appreciate this beautiful portrait more.
The only “Mexican Stand Off” I’ve ever been in is at intersections where people will wave me through, and I wave them through, and they motion to me again. Eventually one of us will relent. Twice that happened today.
Since the first day we stepped foot on Mexican soil, we have felt as if we have finally come home. ¡Gracias a Dios!
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.