A year and a half ago a friend says to me, “You know I think you’d really like Guanajuato.”. We were at a concert and I wrote the name of the city in the back of one of my many journals, alongside some recommended book titles and TED talks.
By February I had followed his advice and was sitting on a rooftop terrace in Guanajuato, cultivating an absurd fantasy about living there with my family… as if life as an artist/writer couple weren’t enough hurdles.
Wandering the maze of streets, I walk up to a middle aged gringo who is sipping a fruit smoothie with his twelve year old son. I risk bothering him and pull up a chair and ask him a million questions about his year of living in Guanajuato (GTO) with kids. He mentions the artist who lives around the corner.
A couple of emails later I meet Dean, a Canadian painter who lives in GTO with his musician wife Marie. As fortune would have it, they are hoping to go away for six months, but they need someone to look after their dog.
Six months?? I consider the painting studio and the papaya tree in the courtyard. Okay, sure, we can do six months.
My greatest fear at that time, as I spent my holiday running around looking at schools and alternate home options, was that we wouldn’t do it, that we’d come up with a million reasons not to: our financial future, security of the country, would it even be fun after the first two weeks?/who knows/don’t risk it.
Well, the wheels are in motion and we are moving to Mexico for six months. Since my initial burst of adrenalin, there was a month of convincing Jake to do a little detour to visit GTO while he was headed to LA. I anxiously awaited his thumbs up. How could he fail to fall in love with this city, a fabulous school for our kids who might become bilingual, and the wonderful home with a studio that hopefully, maybe, might be available.
Forget how we could afford to pull this off. One life, I kept telling myself.
A logistics list too long to contemplate.... And then there is the fun parts…finding Latinos who will come and have dinner with us and teach us how to say things like “Please empty the dishwasher”.
Meanwhile, when I listen to the radio it would seem that the economy is collapsing, and we are told that worldwide chaos is imminent. Anxiety and What Ifs come easily to me.
But whether times are affluent or on a downswing, security is something we all keep hoping for and it never arrives. My friend Julie, while chatting about monks, raises her index finger and reminds me that, for the monks, this is but one of tens of lifetimes.
I inhale and something in me relaxes. I think of the cheerfulness of people who seems to have so little, perhaps because they have no_thing to lose. And also of those of us whose lives seem enormously secure and yet can’t enjoy it. These things tell me to press on, stick my neck out a little further, and hopefully do it with wonder and faith.
As for fear, well, that part is a given!