Autumn

I did not know when I left my house in Villa Obregon six months ago that I would not be returning. I did not pack up my Christmas ornaments, my journals, my kids’ favorite books. I did not say goodbye to friends. I did not give away extra pots and pans, tupperware, or clothing to my neighbors in need. I stood on the curb and kissed my husband goodbye, telling him we would see each other in a few weeks in Virginia. I took a last glance at the plants on the balcony, leaves lit by the just rising sun, and wondered how many would make it through the sweltering summer and how many I would need to replace upon my arrival home in six months.

Six months have passed and our lives are on a completely new path now. We are staying in Virginia where Ben can work a solid job that will pay our debts. Where we can take the kids to the library and watch them experience snow. Where we can enjoy the crisp fall weather, wear wool socks, grow vegetables and own chickens. It is so much of what we have been dreaming about. We knew that we were coming up on the time to leave Mexico. We knew from the beginning in 2011 that we would not be there forever, that it was a time to enjoy and that one day we would go back to four seasons and chopping firewood and frost on the windowpanes. I have longed for that life.

But I have also loved our life in Mexico. I love the ocean and the beach. I love the people we have served at our cafe and the friends we have made around surf boards and restaurant tables and yoga mats. I love that my kids both learned how to swim and can handle a boogie board in the waves. That they have seen the briny miracles: a whale tail slap the water, dolphins dancing in waves, baby turtles crawling out of their sandy nest, the sun rise and set over the ocean. I feel those miracles make up some of the marrow in my bones and I love that we have shared them. It is hard to walk away from that goodness.

I will be the first to say that our life in Villa Obregon was far from ideal and I am glad that we are moving on. It is not how I wanted the move to happen and there have been tears and sleepless nights as we struggle with making this decision. On hard days we wonder if it is the right decision. I think it is.

These days my little family piles into our minivan and drives to look at potential houses to make a new home in. We go to fall festivals and truck pulls and rodeos. We play on playgrounds and hike around the woods. I am slowly accumulating winter coats, boots, fleece lined jeans. The kids ask once a week if it will snow soon. We say goodbye to Papa in the morning and hug him in the door in the evening light. Ben and I talk about living in America again and how we can stay involved with the poor and the immigrants. The days are cool, we have had plenty of rain and grey skies, and the giant wolf spiders are getting cozy in our closets and boots. We hear the geese honking and watch little yellow leaves fall from the trees. Autumn is coming. There is goodness here.

 

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In the afternoon…

while my kids nap I often read or nap or cook. Sometimes I make a cup of coffee or iced tea and sit and search the web. I catch up on world news or email friends. Here is some of the other stuff I’ve been enjoying:

LensCulture’s Emerging Talents

Why I Hated Christian Women’s Ministry

Famous Thinker’s Daily Rituals

I love to read about other people’s rituals and am constantly refining and adapting my own and my family’s routines to fit our life in different seasons. I think it is valuable to look at our daily activities as ritual instead of schedule or a to-do list. Day to day changes can throw me off kilter if I am too set on sticking to a schedule! But if I look at the day as a series of rituals – coffee and prayer, breakfast, kitchen and plants to care for, snacks, play time, lunch, naps. . . – then I can move from one thing to the next in a kind of rhythm instead of a jerking start and stop. I am more willing to set everything down for a book or a bike ride or a conversation with a neighbor if I am aware that the purpose for that moment is an experience of life and people instead of a project list with check marks beside each line!

Failed first attempt at the Green Mango Pickle but I am going to try again! As soon as the sun comes out… we have had an amazing last few days. Rain, rain, and more rain. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen this much rainfall! We have had consistent, pouring rain for days! The temperatures have cooled right down. I’ve worn my jeans three days in a row, and often a light sweater as well! Ok, you’re right, it’s about 76 F at the coolest but, hey, that is pretty cool after the temps we’ve been having here! I love it. We are eating soups and baking bread and making pots of tea. Ben has turned the espresso machine on for cappuccinos in the afternoons. Oh glorious Autumn! I thought we would get none of you, but look! You have appeared for at least three days and I will enjoy every moment! I won’t even mind the water dripping in multiple places in my bedroom and upstairs in my kitchen because I get to lay in bed with a book and the door open listening to the rain falling outside and from upstairs I get to watch the huge waves build and crash, the crosswind blowing the spray wild.