Friday, May 28, 2010

Being Away: What I Miss

I am up north in the States right now. I am not a snowbird; I have lived year-round in Mèrida now for a few years. I typically make a couple of trips per year to
el norte to visit family and friends, including a spring visit in May or June. This time some other family business came up, so I am away longer than I would be on a normal visit.

Being away from Mèrida for an extended period makes even more evident to me why I prefer to live there. I enjoy visiting the States, especially Alaska, and always have a good time, but very quickly I begin to miss the things that make Mexico feel like home to me now.

Here are a few of the things I miss when I am not in Yucatàn:

Waking to birdsong as the sun rises.

Getting up when I feel like it (which usually is fairly early because I look forward to the day).

Shaking off sleep with a cool swim and hot coffee before breakfast.

Feeling no pressure to have a plan for the day and live by the clock. I only put on a watch (if I can find one and the battery is still working) when it's time to take a trip north.

Eating when I am hungry and not because "it's time to eat."

Breakfasting in the shade of an aromatic, flowering tree.

Truly fresh fruits and vegetables, and morning conversations with the vendors at the market, a five-minute walk from the house.

Working at things I choose to do because I like to do them, not at things I have to do for the money or because someone else thinks I should do them.

Coffee and conversation (or a few games of backgammon) with friends at a local cafe.

The delicious and affordable restaurant options within a few minutes' walk of home.

The friendliness, security and peacefulness of my neighborhood.

High ceilings and ceiling fans, which make living in a hot climate comfortable without air conditioning (most of the time, anyway). There is something about the soft whir and cool breeze of a ceiling fan that enables me to go to sleep anytime I choose, morning, afternoon or evening. I never suffer from insomnia when at home in Mèrida.

The tile floors found in many older buildings here, including my house. They are more beautiful, cooler and cleaner than carpets. I'll never again live with wall-to-wall carpeting.

Peace and quiet at home. I don't have a TV and forget how stressful (the constant bombardment of noise) and depressing (negative and meaningless content) television can be until I spend time where the box is everywhere and on constantly.

Being able to go to the countryside or the beach quickly. It's all close by. If the mood for a getaway strikes me, I am "in the sticks" or feeling the sand between my toes in no time.

If I keep thinking about it, I can go on extending this list, but that's not the point. The most important thing that I miss is something that is harder to put down in words. It is the feeling of the place, the way my heart is when I think about Yucatàn from a distance, and the joy and comfort I feel when I arrive home. It's the "there" there. That's what I miss the most. It's all of the things I listed above, and a lot more.


  1. It is the feeling of the place, the way my heart is when I think about Yucatàn from a distance, and the joy and comfort I feel when I arrive home.

    I am in Tulsa now, trying to dispose of this ridiculous quantity of stuff we've accumulated over the years. It frequently gets me down and I have moments of despair when I think of the process before me. It's an ordeal, something to get through before I can once again experience the delights you've set out on your list.

    I have an almost physical craving to be in Yucatan right now. I keep up with my friends down there via facebook, and I am deeply envious. I talk to Mike twice a day and I can hear the birds in the courtyard, hear the waves on the sand. Life is so short, and I want to spend the rest of mine down there, in that beautiful place, experiencing life as you've so well described it. thanks for this, too . . . lynette

  2. I went through much the same process as I made ready to move. It actually took me several years to get completely down here. It was a huge relief to get rid of stuff. Once you get going, you wonder why you didn't do it a long time ago. Dump your shit! Don't think too much about it. Give stuff to people who need and will use it. Don't agonize. Keep a few treasured and symbolic things. It feels really, really good to be rid of the rest.

  3. I'm looking forward to experiencing some of that in Oaxaca!

  4. Very well said, Marc. I enjoyed reading your blog today. It spoke to me on an inner level.

  5. What a wonderful post! My heart feels the same way about Banamichi and I haven't even made the final move yet. Just getting ready to in one more month! Yeah :)


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