Friday, November 11, 2005

I Love My Life in Chacala

I love my life in Chacala, but not every second of it. Someone just commented to me in an email thatafter reading this blog, they couldn't tell if I liked living here or not.

I LOVE living here, and here are some of the reasons:

1. I can wear shorts and cotton short-sleeved shirts and rubber flip-flops everyday. Everyday except once or twice this year when the mosquitoes were bugging me while we were playing cards in the evening. Last winter there were three or four weeks where some of us played cards most evenings with English and Spanish speaking kids and adults. The rule was supposed to be that Spanish speakers spoke English and English speakers spoke Spanish, but it wasn't a hard and fast rule. Then we had hot chocolate and treats some nights. Very fun, but some nights were pretty buggy right after sunset. And I don't feel any particular pressure about clothes here, which is very nice for me. Some local people dress very well on occassion, but it doesn't seem to be a big deal. People wear all kinds of things.

2. It is easy to go five or six days without spending a cent. The only thing to spend money on around town is food and pop or drinks (for those that want drinks) when you are hanging out with people at one of the restaurants or on the steps at one of the stores. I only eat out maybe once every other week, and that is very cheap. Fish, etc for about 40p.

3. The local people are very comfortable to be around, and friendly and nice to me. I get lots of visitors and I like it alot. When I am walking somewhere around town (to the beach or someones house or the store or whatever) it always takes forever because everyone is so friendly and there are always things to talk about.

4. People help me with my horrible Spanish and only a few people let me know that I really should settle down and learn good Spanish instead of kind of faking it.

5. I am learning lots of new stuff about life, and also about plants. Gardening and plants are very different here and I am learning alot. I am learning about being patient and letting life happen around me without kidding myself that somehow I am in charge. In Chacala it doesn't matter to me very much that my memory is not very good.

6. I don't need or even want a car here.
There is good local transportation and lots of nice people who offer me rides. There are lots of adventures just waiting for me every day. If I did everything I was invited to do I would be busy every second. It's a nice feeling. Even though I like lots of private and quiet time, I like knowing there are lots of things to do.

7. I love the tropical climate and flowers and trees and butterflies and birds and fish and dolphins and whales. (I have to say, I hate some of the bugs/spiders, and don't think
I will ever get used to them.)

8. I never watch TV or listen to the radio and very rarely get mail. There is a phone at this house and I probably make and get about 3 calls a week. max. I love using the internet and helping local landladies find renters. Makes me feel good.

9. I have lots of time to draw and make things and read and lots of privacy to write. I almost never have any commitments or things I have to do. Except for birthday parties, dinners, christenings, fiestas, etc etc etc, and those are voluntary and not required.

10. I can swim any time from morning to night. I can walk home in my wet clothes and it doesn't seem to be an issue. I don't have to wear a swimming suit, just shorts and a shirt are fine. We go on boat rides to other beautiful beaches and lay around and eat and swim and look for sea shells and find fruit trees and whatever.

11. If I don't have cash or enough cash on me it's not a problem. Just bring it later. And for the last year or so I get good deals on stuff like flipflops and other tourist kind of stuff. Like a piece of fabric for my bathroom door. The store people say it's less for me because I am a Chacaleno now, which makes me feel really good. Even if it's just a salespitch.

12. But I do feel very comfortable here and never think about what other people expect. I just do what I feel like doing. Local people seem to just accept me and it feels very nice. the ones that don't ignore me so i don't know about it. Works for me.

13. There is cheap and deliciously ripe fruit all over the place.

14. I am seeing babies and little kids growing up right before my eyes. And I often know their parents, aunts/uncles, grandparents, siblings and cousins too. I get invited to birthday parties and get to hold babies and lots of little kids come up to me, and call out to me and know my name. I think in the US I was very lonesome for kids and a neighborhood where everyone is often outside and you run into people you know wherever you go.

15. I am too tired to go on. But I just wanted to make it clear that I love this life here. I think I am the happiest I have ever been. I wake up and do whatever I feel like doing. Everything is flexible and there is no pressure. Except to get moved out of this house and into another house, but that's only twice a year. I can live with that.

Email me at if you want to know more about Chacala. Or look at Chacala if you are curious about Chacala.

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