On Saturday, my best and oldest friend gave birth to a baby boy. And while I am more than happy for her, I am at the same time very sad not to be there, not to be able to see the baby. (Oh gosh, that immediately makes me think of Seinfeld! …I was hence tempted to entitle this post “The Bubble Girl”.)
It is those days that I become aware of how remote I feel. Though I am not farther away from home than I was in Seattle, I feel like living at the end of the world here. Of course, there is the time difference. While in Seattle, we were 8 or 9 hours behind Europe, now we are only 6 or 7 hours behind. So in Seattle, I could do all my phone or Skype calls in the mornings and then head out, whereas here, my phone calls happen in the middle of the day which makes it more difficult. But that’s not it.
There is a reason why people come here for their holidays to unwind. It seems like time doesn’t exist here. Partly because there are no seasons. It is hot all year round more or less. Some months are hotter than others, some are wetter than others, but basically, it is the same. And while you KNOW that it might be Christmas or Easter or whatever, you don’t FEEL it. Those festive holidays happen elsewhere. They happen to my friends and family, and I stopped being part of it. My parents sent us an Easter card, it hasn’t arrived yet. It might arrive in time for my birthday this month – as my calendar reminds me. Because I start to forget what month it is, so I constantly need to check my calendar for birthdays. Last week, it was my brother’s birthday. Back home I knew that his birthday was around the corner when I saw the first cherry blossoms and dandelions. Here, everybody’s birthday is during hibiscus and bougainvillea season.
Time is just drifting away in this tropical ambiance, and we seem to be floating through the year without even noticing it. My husband still reads German newspapers while I try to be good and at least read the Seattle Times, but honestly, it doesn’t matter much anymore. Life is so different here! When people in Germany complain about healthcare or education, I find it amusing because in comparison to Mexico, Europe and the US are paradise! I cannot relate to people’s problems anymore, it seems, and at the same time, they cannot relate to ours.
Our friends and family who have never visited have no idea what life is like here. You can write about it, tell your little tales on the phone, but you have to experience it to really understand it. And while most people dream about a get-away like this (for their vacation mainly or their retirement), I dream about the urban life – and hop on a plane to Seattle whenever possible. Everything in our life seems reversed: For us, being in a city feels like a holiday, while being at the beach is the everyday life. Yes, it can be paradise, and I sometimes have a guilty conscience for not enjoying it the way I should. But sometimes I feel like I want to shake off this holiday laziness, get a clear mind, get back on track and be a city girl. It’s tempting to drift into the manana state of mind – and it takes a lot of patience if you don’t.
So there we are, floating around in our Mexican bubble, trying not to lose the grip on reality. And trying not to lose the closeness to our friends. I only wished, they would try as hard as we do. But uh well, maybe manana.