I want you to do an exercise with me. Image your friend placing his kind hand on your shoulder, and looks you in the eye and he tells you to do the following:
“Take a deep breath in……………….deep breath out…………………deep breath in…………………deep breath out.” Next he says to you “Reeeeeellllllllllaaaaaaaax, deep breath in……………………deep breath out………………….. reeeeeeeeeellllllllllaaaaaaaaax”.
Why am I doing this you ask? Well you see, we have had many of our new friends do this exercise with us over the last month we have been here. They are teaching us a new way a life, they are teaching us to relax! When we first got here, we just needed to know everything right now, we needed a cell phone, we needed a car, we needed to know the ministry schedule, the list goes on and on. We came from a very organized and busy life. We knew what was going on every single day, we knew what to expect, we knew where everything was. So when coming here, we didn’t know the answer to everything right away, it was stressful for us. But the truth is: if you just reeeeeeeelllllllaaaaaaaaax (tranquilo in spanish), things will eventually fall into place. It’s a hard lesson we are learning. Johnathan and I both move very fast and methodically. Our friends from work can attest to that (can we say OCD?).
My brother and I were just talking about growing up, how our dad was a go go go person. He got stuff done and he got it done quick. He was hard worker. As an example, Justin and I were reminiscing and laughing about when we would go on road trips my dad would warn us there were no bathroom breaks. We didn’t have time to stop. We would ask him why couldn’t we stop? “We gotta get to the hotel” he would say. For what, we don’t know, he was just always a fast mover, get on to the next thing. So naturally I am like that. I have to get my grocery shopping done as fast as possible, I have to go get gas as fast as possible, why?!? So I can just get back home and do nothing?!?
So, I am learning to slow down, take my time, not be in a hurry to get onto the next thing, whatever that may be.
We are enjoying the simple way of life. We are getting used to sharing a cell phone. A cell phone is just a cell phone here, it is a means to call your friends or family. It’s not a device that is meant to be looked at every waking moment, it’s not on a short leash, most people don’t even have voicemail. (Including us) You do not see people walking about staring at their device, they are looking up talking with friends, smiling, waving to people, seeing life. It’s like the old days, it is very refreshing. Kids play outside, have very few toys, no devices and are content.
It nice to not be worried about stuff. For example, material possessions and things we have worked really hard to acquire in the past. But it’s not the focus here, we drive a beater car and have very few things. You spend your time with people outside, not inside watching TV. Every night is like a party outside, music playing, people talking and singing. One of our favorite nights is Sunday night. It’s Cozumel night in the town center. They have different shows every week. Dancing, bands, singing. All the locals show up and spend time together as Cozumeleños. Below are a few videos I shared on insta-stories over the past several weeks.
Lets talk about driving. Two words: friendly chaos. It’s crazy, you could potentially wipe out an entire generation of a family and their dog that is on one moped if you are not careful. There are two traffic laws, you must stop at stop signs and red lights (but this seems rather optional at times), and you must wear a helmet if on a moped (unless they don’t make one small enough for your baby). Thats it! No seatbelt rules, no car seat rules, no close all the doors of your van rule, no kids in the backseat at all times rule. It’s more like how many kids can you fit in the front seat at one time. The driving is fast moving yet no one is angry or honking their horns. People let you in, people take their turns, people are friendly. Just watch out for those mopeds coming in hot on your right side. Please enjoy our video we took yesterday. It was not a very busy time so you do not get to see the full glory of rush hour, but we shared the highlights of our 15 minute drive around the town.
We are having fun trying new restaurants. We go out to eat about once a week since we are on a strict budget. Most local restaurants you can get away with eating for under $5.00 USD easy for both of us. But once again it’s a lesson in relaxing. You drink your horchata, you eat your tacos, then you relax. The server will not bring your check until you ask for it. It is expected you take your time, you enjoy your meal and your surroundings. You are not in a hurry to leave. You could sit there for hours, not order anything more and the servers are as happy as can be because you are enjoying and relaxing. We are not accustomed to the hours for dinner that people eat. Most restaurants are open for breakfast and lunch from 6:00am-4:00pm and then close until about 7:00pm and then open for dinner. When we had our friends here we decided it was almost better to go out for breakfast and then cook dinner at home since we could never find an open restaurant at the time we wanted to eat. So we have some more adjusting to do in that area.
All in all we are feeling right at home here. Like I mentioned before we are learning a valuable lesson we will take with us wherever we end up after here. Slow down, relax, take time to be with friends and family. Don’t let the devices distract us from what’s really important.
Breath in…………………breath out…………………reeeeeeeeeellllllllllllllaaaaaax.
Author- Brandi Paxton
Videography- Johnathan Paxton, Brandi Paxton
Video Editing- Johnathan Paxton
Music- youtube cover band for Willie Nelson “On the road again” in spanish