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Where Have I Been? U.S.A. Bound!

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Over the last few months, I have been implementing a huge change in my life. For the last six years, my husband and I have been living in México most of each year. We initially moved to Ajijic, Jalisco, where the climate is close to ideal. Unfortunately, it was like living in Little America, rather than México, with so many expatriates from Canada and the United States. After two years, we took the plunge and moved to the mountains of Pátzcuaro, Michoacán.  We spent four years there in a quiet, rural, gated community, learned a little Spanish, and enjoyed the culture and the kind people we encountered.

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Ajijic, Jalisco, México–our “yard” was a tropical garden

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Our house in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, México

We are now in a different season of our lives. A four day trip with two dogs in tow, twice a year, has become increasingly difficult physically and more stressful. If you are following the news, you know that the trek is also fraught with dangers from cartel activity and random acts of violence. Mexican drivers are generally untrained and adhere to their own set of rules. My husband and I are both licensed to drive ALL vehicles in Mexico including semi-tractor trailers, merely because we paid a fee. A bribe was not involved. On our last trip  north, we witnessed the aftermath of several different accidents involving multiple trucks. It was sadly clear that some drivers would not be retuning to their families—ever. Road hazards include often unmarked and unexpected speed bumps called topes on the highway, drivers converting a two-way, two-lane road into a three and a half lane road according to custom, and small herds grazing unfettered. Due to these dangers, as well as the increased potential for criminal activities, the general recommendation is to not drive at night.

So now, we anticipate winters in Farmington, New Mexico, and summers in Chama, New Mexico. To travel between houses we have a two and one-half hour drive rather than four days. We can enjoy either house whenever we choose, dependent only on snow conditions. We are already getting involved in local activities that in México we would not have participated in due to language limitations. Great shopping is available seven minutes away rather than one hour. We feel free to drive to restaurants and civic events at night.

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Farmington, NM

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Chama, New Mexico

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Chama in the summer

We enjoyed our time in México and the everyday challenges of living in a different culture and communicating in a different language. We will miss friends we made in Ajijic and Pátzcuaro. It was not easy to arrange the movement of some possessions and decide what to leave behind. We also wanted to return with some mementos of México to decorate our new home.

I don’t know what the future holds for us. Perhaps more community and church involvement, excursions in the Four Corners area to explore ancient Native American cultures, motorcycle trips from our two home bases, time to explore our hobbies and, after life settles down a little for us and for some of the countries we would like to visit, maybe some trips abroad. Argentina has terrific Italian food!

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The border

I did a happy dance and a cheer as I crossed the international border and felt the immediate relief of having survived the journey and the elation of being home again. It was an oddly different feeling from returning to the U.S. for a few months as in the past. “Welcome home,” the border seemed to say: home, sweet home. 

To my fellow bloggers:

I was more or less (más o menos) without Internet for a month during this transition. Internet was installed for us about a week ago. I have over 600 emails to deal with, and I have only rarely been able to post on my blog. Even my reading has slowed way down. Please forgive my absence, and be patient as I try to establish a new normal at the same time that I review books I have already committed to. I am looking forward to reading your posts and reviews again. I will still occasionally write posts about my experiences in México and my views on education. 

As a bellwether for my productivity in the immediate future, I should note that I started writing this post a week ago. Much to my frustration, life has not settled down yet as we still have purchases to make, installations to schedule, and so many decisions to make. I must declare, however, that all of this is easier in my home language, and I am enjoying that change. 


17 Comments

  1. Welcome home🍵☕👵

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sending lots of positive thoughts. Welcome back. Glad too hear from you. I hope all settles soon. Thank you for sharing some of the hardships and pains as well as the beautiful photos. You’re so strong!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a shame it has become so unsafe there! Glad you made it back safely!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cozynookbks says:

    Linda!! Thank you for sharing this post with us. It’s a shame when external forces beyond our control have to dictate our decisions in life. It’s too bad you couldn’t stay in Mexico. But it sounds like you really appreciate things here at home, too.
    Your pictures are absolutely inspiring! 🥰
    Hoping all the best for you and your husband as you settle back into a routine here in the U.S. 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    • lghiggins says:

      Thank you! I’m glad to see you are able to be back in the blogging world. I hope this means you are feeling better and life is settling down for you too. Without going into all the details, I will share that God led us out of Mexico through various promptings and changes there and into Farmington. When we came to the U.S. for our summer, we prayed about our future asking God–stay in Mexico or leave and when? where to relocate if that was the pull? live just totally in our little cabin in Chama? Waiting was required, but God closed doors on four houses in various ways before we found the one we bought. At that point I immediately had a PEACE about both the move from Mexico and the house we found. God was so good in guiding us to the decision that was best for us. 💜

      Liked by 1 person

      • Cozynookbks says:

        Thank you, Linda. There’s still much going on in my life, but like yourself, I have to put my trust in God and do all I can to let the peace that can only come from him wash over me and keep me calm so that I can deal with the things that are causing me anxiety. (Sorry for the run-on sentence.) Sometimes the hardest thing is being patient while waiting on him to answer my prayers; I give him stuff and then I tend to want to take it back before I give him time to answer me. Human imperfection at work.
        I’m so glad you were guided in the direction that worked best for the two of you.
        Thanks for your comment. 💜

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Wendy says:

    I can’t tell you how I wondered about you and the unrest over the border. So glad you are state side and settling back in!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. carhicks says:

    So glad that you are happy with the changes you have had to make. I have always worried about ex-pats in Mexico and am so glad that you never had an issue while you were there. Good luck with all the new experiences you will have and the new friends you will make Linda.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lghiggins says:

      Thank you, Carla. It will be different not having to try to figure out how to say something before I speak. There are a lot of expats from Canada and the U.S. there. When we first went six years ago, it felt safe for expats, but not so much now.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Dianna Padilla-Harris says:

    Welcome home Linda. I have a sister in Navajo Dam named Ana so we know the area. I am glad your home as I have been thinking of you with all that is going on in Mexico it is so sad that the country has been taken over by the cartels. Glad that you are safe and sound. Dan and I are doing well. I completed my first year of retirement in August and love it. Not missing working in the schools at all. We will be in NM in September spending time with family and friends. Please send your info and maybe we can connect. We will be up in Navajo Dam for a few days and Chama as well for the train ride. Love to catch up with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for sharing this. I’m always curious about what’s going on with bloggers whose writing I enjoy so much. Your new areas look gorgeous. Hopefully things are starting to settle down and you’re able to finally relax and enjoy it all!

    Liked by 1 person

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