20. July 2010 21:55
What is it that keeps me so totally enthralled with life in central Mexico? Of course it’s the climate, and it’s the advantageous economy which allows me to live better for less, but far overshadowing both of those things is the adventure of experiencing something new nearly every day of my life.
Where’s the adventure in my ordinary-looking life? It’s in the little things – the details – the ironic everyday experiences that wry, unusual, odd, thought provoking and touching when I stop to take a closer look.
Sometimes that means it’s the way things are done:
- Workers mixing concrete on the ground – like they’re making a giant pile of pie dough
- The auto body guys who work in a nearby alley and produce perfection with hammers and an outdoor paint job
- The guy who climbs trees barefooted and uses only a machete to trim out branches
- Homemade ladders made from scrap lumber – not OSHA approved
- Electrical entrances that would cause US builders, inspectors and fire marshals’ nightmares
More often it’s the people – just being people
Other times that’ means seeing wives riding “sidesaddle” on bikes with their husbands, great-grandfathers and their tiny progeny taking halting steps to the corner and back every afternoon, entire families sitting around a table and singing old Mexican songs, a small boy whispering a secret into an even smaller girl’s ear, and the way local residents express their deeply-rooted faith and devotion.
There have been times when I’ve seen that seemingly endless connection of spirituality expressed in processions bearing images of patron saints or revered virgin figures.
I’ve seen the outward practice of religious beliefs in the elderly women who struggle with canes and walkers to walk to church every day for Mass every evening.
Most recently I spotted an example of that deep faith during the recent patio construction project. (You read about that endeavor – and how my simple job grew in to a big deal job in another recent post, “The Great Patio Project.”
Jose seemed to be the “new guy” in the crew. He was one of the mason’s helpers, an unusual position for a man of his age, and with his apparent health challenges. I wondered how effective he would be when I saw his shuffling gait and the slight to moderate tremor in his hands.
As the days passed, I couldn’t help but keep noticing Jose – he had the biggest smile when he greeted me in the morning, the first back after lunch, the one toting the extra big buckets of sand or rocks – he was determined to show that he was doing his share of the work, and more.
What I couldn’t miss was the cross he’d painted on the front of his straw hat. Whether it was a symbol of his faith or a sign of protection he wore it well -- especially with this T-shirt with the words, “French Riviera” splashed across his chest.
Judy King is publisher of Mexico Insights—Living
at Lake Chapala, a monthly online magazine for people interested in Mexico's Lake Chapala region,
in the state of Jalisco.
Judy, a 19-year resident of Ajijic on Lake Chapala's north shore, conducts weekly
newcomer's seminars and shares her expertise about Mexico in her ezine at www.mexico-insights.com, and in the "Mexico
Lindo" column of the Lake Chapala Review.
Judy also is a speaker for local organizations and visiting tour groups about
the Lakeside area about Mexican customs and holidays.