Friday, February 03, 2006

A Really Long Vacation

We live here, I guess. It seems like we only "sort of" live here.

When we decided to move to Mexico for the school year, my idea of it was total immersion in the language and culture. A year is a long time. We would have our own place, Ray would be in school and we would get to know people in the neighborhood and through the school and through whatever activities we became involved in.

Most of that has happened, though not to the degree that I had imagined. Our year is actually eight months. We have our own place but it is a rented apartment and we are missing a lot of our "stuff". Dave doesn't even have a screwdriver. We have uncomfortable furniture and minimal cookware. There is no hardship involved in this situation; it just makes life here a little less our own.

Ray is in school and we have become friends with some of the other parents. We have had dinners together, gone swimming and we talk on the phone once in a while. But our friendships have boundaries because we are only in Puerto Vallarta until April. I think if we "really" lived here, the friendships would feel less temporary. Dave and I have also failed to learn as much Spanish as I had hoped. This is town filled with English speakers. I am not proud to say it but I have taken the path of least resistance and have slackened dramatically on my study of the language. I learn a bit more here and there, but mostly I get by with what skills I had to begin with.

We have not really involved ourselves with any groups or activities here that would connect us to the community. We thought "something would come up" but nothing really has. We pal around with Dave's parents, we take care of the house and take care of Ray, we go to movies and buy groceries and walk every day for exercise and we are actually busy enough. It is just that our lives seem to run alongside the lives of people who live here and don't intersect with them all that much.

I think the real difference is working. I lived in Zambia for a year and a half and I didn't feel this same sort of funny disconnect. I worked there and I got to know the people at work. It was quite different than this experience. This feels like a really long vacation.

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