Are you where you are or where they are?
Andrea Aguilar is an American expat in Merida. She and her husband, George, are sharing their experiences in a regular column for TYT. Here is Andrea’s latest post.
Some former co-worker-friends of mine are on a trip in Europe right now. I am glad they were able to make this trip happen and wish them the best. Yet, when I saw their pictures of London and Paris on social media, my desire to go back there revives. “Do I want to travel more? Do I want to go to Europe again? Am I jealous?”
Yes, I would like to return to Europe again, but I also remind myself that we reside in a foreign country, with opportunities to continue traveling. Exploring different parts and places in Merida, as well as, trips to other states in Mexico. An expat-friend Jerry, who also did a lot of traveling in the U.S. and Europe before deciding to move to Merida, once told me, “Merida felt more international.”
You can stroll on Paseo de Montejo with its French influence of the Champs-Élysées. Visit charming cafés and some are French-owned, an Irish Pub, or a German bierhaus/biergartens. There are more places here that I probably don’t know of yet.
Sure the days have some structure when you get settled, and I find that is necessary too, but there can be many ways of infusing the desire of travel into your week. My friend Martina in Germany has started treating Sunday as a holiday, an idea I love. She goes on outings to new places or events, usually involving nature, culture or art, and recently posted that she chose, “writing with her windows wide open, and an international singer-songwriter concert in the evening.”
We have plenty of daytrips available in Yucatan. I guess I am trying to question what is the desire behind this reaction to what I see on social media (which is another can of worms,) but I think the grass always seems greener somewhere else. The truth is – the grass is greener where it gets watered.
What if we water where we are, with some curiosity, research, and a little creativity?
Often while walking in the city I look for something interesting I hadn’t noticed before (and occasionally post photos on social media too.) It’s also a good way to try and keep your mind present. It does continue to be an adventure every time I leave the house, from getting caught in an afternoon downpour without an umbrella and trying to walk home crossing flooded streets, while the rain stings my eyes. I’ve also attended local events and met really great people, which adds to my favorite part of living here – all the new amazing friends and acquaintances.
Thinking about this also gave me new motivation to get serious about learning Spanish because it will be empowering to communicate effectively here, as well as in many other Spanish-speaking countries.
(PHOTO: Andrea Aguilar)
Remembering to continue embracing our opportunities in Merida, a place that offers so many ways to not only travel and learn, but situations for ‘character-building,’ and chances to choose to overcome self-limitations. It puts gratitude and inspiration in their rightful place, and I decide to be sincerely happy for my friends, even if I sometimes wish to be ‘there’ too.
Andrea Aguilar is an American expat. She spent a year traveling the world with her husband while they searched for a new community to call home after having lived in San Francisco for 20 years. Her interests typically include yoga, writing, reading, and once she leaves the house, discovering a new adventure. Follow more of Andrea’s adventures on her blog andrea*poem, or Instagram (andreapoem).