Monday, September 27, 2010

It’s Not You, It’s Me

It was almost one year ago that the thought of moving to Puerto Vallarta entered my mind. I was tired, stressed, and unhappy. I looked back on the years when we lived in PV, they were happy times. Plus I still have family there. Family members who are perfectly content to live by the beach and enjoy a peaceful existence. So why not leave? Maybe what I needed was to return to my roots.

It took a while for me to get there. My initial plan was to go at the beginning of this year, but circumstances being what they were, I didn't get to PV until July.

It didn't work out.

From the moment I arrived I felt sick. It wasn't enough at first to deter me from staying. In fact, I came to Phoenix and went back to PV within a week. I wanted to make my life work over there. Partly because people told me I couldn't, partly because I wanted that life that my family members have. Sure, life is hard. But life is hard everywhere. It is my argument against the people who come here looking for "a better life," there is no such thing. Had we stayed in Mexico when I was younger I probably never would have left. I'd be there now, living a life that may or may not resemble the one that I currently have.

Would I have a high-paying job? It's likely. I am fluent in English and Spanish and I can learn to do anything very quickly.

Would I be married and have kids? I don't know. I believe those things are more related to fate/destiny, and if I don't have them here, I find it unlikely that I would have them there.

So if things aren't so different, why did I want to leave? Well, PV is the only "home" I have. I've moved every year of my life (except since I came to Phoenix) but that's where my grandmother lives, and my family. It's the place where my mother was born. It's the only place where I want to go to church. It's the place where I want my ashes scattered after I die. I have a direct link to the people who built that city. I can walk down the street and people will recognize me and wave.

So I picked up my things and went back. I fixed my papers so that I'd have no problems getting a job. But things weren't okay. The sweltering heat combined with the intense humidity made it hard for me to breathe each day. I lost my appetite and my strength. Part of it had to do with the schedule. Breakfast was at the lunch hour, lunch was at the dinner hour, and dinner was at the time I went to sleep. To top it off it rained EVERY SINGLE DAY. I'm talking thunderstorms here. Pounding rain, bright lightning, and crashing thunder. At first it was beautiful, it was peaceful. Then it became a headache. Nothing could be done during the rain. Sometimes not even watch television, because we disconnected everything from the walls.

All of this could have been bearable, after all Phoenix is no picnic during the summer. Just ride out the months and wait for fall.

Unless, you get sick.

Yes friends, I got sick. Not in a way that demanded emergency medical attention, but in the way that makes you say "enough is enough". First, I got Salmonella from handling a bad chicken (I believe it was a mild case, since I didn't get all of the symptoms). This led me to FREAK-OUT and spend more time on WebMD than anyone should. I was ready to leave the moment I was diagnosed but the doctor reassured me that I would be fine and that the American doctors would give me the same medicine that he was giving me. I don't know if that's true, but our family doctor down there is a very calm man who explains everything to you in a way that is relaxing. It took about a week to recover and once I did I hit the beach for some exercise. We planned a party for the Bicentennial celebration which I was really excited about. The plan was to prepare tostadas, eat, have some fun, and then go to the plaza (damn the bomb threats) and scream to the top of our lungs VIVA MEXICO!

Not so much.

The day of the Bicentennial both of my feet got bitten by a mysterious bug and as the day progressed, they swelled to the size of a grapefruit. BOTH OF THEM. Had it only been one I could have limped to the plaza, but noooo. I was so upset I didn't even watch the celebration on television. I sat pathetically on the sofa as everyone else went to the balcony to catch the fireworks, if I had been alone I would have crumbled to tears. Thanks to my doctor sister-in-law my hobbit feet returned to normal three days later. Just in time for my throat to get really sore and reduce my voice to a whisper.

Say it with me: Enough is enough.

Despite my grandmother's pleas, I hastily packed my things, bought a bus ticket, and came home.

It hurts to have left. I wanted to stay, I wanted to make it work. Those of you that know me and have heard or read of my little adventures know that I have tried to leave Phoenix many times, yet keep coming back. Some of those returns have been forced by powers beyond my control. Was this another sign? It might be. It also might be that I've changed. Perhaps five years in the same city have cemented themselves inside of me and made me unable to adjust to anything else. Puerto Vallarta hasn't changed. Sure, there are more condos, more people, and a handful of Starbucks but it hasn't changed. It is still the small town I spent part of my childhood in. Unfortunately, I don't think adulthood will have the same luck.