Mexico 2023: First Light

I am a morning person. It has always been the time of day when I feel most energized, focused, productive and creative. Beyond these concrete benefits, I also find it simply extraordinary to witness the rising of the sun. The start of a new day.

Before the sun peeks over the horizon, we can see what is called first light, caused by atmospheric refraction (which is also why we can still see light in the sky after the sun sets). Here in Puerto Morelos, first light occurs about 30 minutes before sunrise. It is my cue to head to the beach for my daily sunrise walk. Often, it is also when the most spectacular light shows take place.

First light also has a practical function. It reveals things we couldn’t see just moments before, and alters how we perceive others. It allows us to identify landmarks, calculate distances, and avoid hitting potholes or, in my case, tripping over boat lines anchored in the sand. It gives us perspective and, particularly when I’m alone in a foreign place, it gives me a measure of security and comfort.

Before this time is the darkest hour. Most of us are familiar with the proverb.

And so we get to the real reason I’m dragging you through all of this: Since arriving in Mexico over three months ago, I feel like I have mostly been stuck in that hour.

I’ve been meaning to write a blog post for weeks now. Along with a slew of other goals I’d set for myself for my time here, I committed that I would write at least one post per month. And, right along with that host of the other goals (perfect my Spanish, re-re-re-start my meditation practice, etc.), I have failed.

Turns out writing without worrying about what readers might think is every bit as hard as I remember it to be. I freeze at the keyboard because I imagine nobody wants to hear that it’s been rocky and frustrating and lonely trying to get settled here, and that despite how it might appear on social media, I have not in fact been spending every waking moment lounging in a hammock strung between two coconut trees, gazing at the ocean. As one person (perhaps disappointedly) voiced to me when I hinted at my struggles, “It’s not what we imagine when we think of life in Mexico.” Precisely.

And so I have struggled largely in private (and here, a thank-you to those who have helped to shoulder said struggles, as well as helped me to keep them in perspective. I am very aware that this isn’t Ukraine, and I’m not Viktor Frankl in 1942. But a reminder every now and then never hurts).

But then the calendar turned to 2023, and the first day of it turned out to be nothing short of magical. The whole town vibrated with joy, and it didn’t start at first light; it was carried over from the night before. It — these people — lit me up, and it felt like a sign of things to come.

I can see more clearly now. I have better perspective. The five frustrating trips to the immigration office to try to obtain my temporary residency without the assistance of a mediator or lawyer are behind me, and my card is securely hand. For this accomplishment alone, I am tremendously proud.

The apartment I was at first depressed about I am finally starting to enjoy more, and even like, as I add my personal touches to it. It is light and bright and a block from the ocean, with sea breezes that I welcome in to ruffle my curtains and my curls.

Mimine, my cat I brought with me from Canada, is suddenly living her best life at 19. I am tickled that she has gotten to see both the Danube and the Caribbean Sea in her adventurous lifetime.

I’ve made a couple of new friends who might turn out to be genuine ones, and not just the fair-weather beach-vacation kind.

I am awed that on any given weekday, a 90-minute break between meetings is just long enough for me to be able to whip down to the beach and play in the briny turquoise ripples. I hurry home and attend my next video meeting with sand still clinging to my feet.

I drift around town on my beach bike, letting the humidity-free air of the winter season dry my hair. I purchase a perfectly ripe, hand-sized avocado here, some fresh-from-the-nest eggs over there (if you don’t get to Maria’s little vegetable stand before 8 am, the eggs are usually all gone). I chatter away with locals in my imperfect Spanish, and for the most part, we understand each other.

Maria only had 7 eggs this day. I took them all.

Every day, the soundtrack of Caribbean Mexico swirls through me: blasting reggaeton and barking dogs; fruit sellers peddling sun-sweet papayas over their loudspeakers, interrupting the staccato conversations of exotic birds. And behind it all, the ocean.

There are still dark corners where things lurk (aren’t there always a few?). I am paying more rent than I can afford. My credit card still doesn’t work properly here. And I have no plan whatsoever beyond October 31, 2023.

But for now, I’ll just keep looking towards the horizon.

3 thoughts on “Mexico 2023: First Light

  1. Hey Baby D! I have been looking forward to your first blog from Puerto Morelos. It is not easy picking up and moving to a new place, especially another country! Good on you for following your dreams! It takes a while to adjust to the new way of life, it sounds like you are making progress. Keep up the morning walks on the beach by the awesome ocean, and the beautiful sunrises, the island music, and new friends! I am looking out the window at a snowstorm
    today, no sun, windy and cold! You are in the right spot!
    Remember the song, “Don’t worry, be happy now, every little thing’s ‘gonna be alright”. Dias soleados por delante!!
    🥰 Love 💕, hugs, Mommacita

    Like

  2. Hey Baby D! I have been looking forward to your first blog from Puerto Morelos. It is not easy picking up and moving to a new place, especially another country! Good on you for following your dreams! It takes a while to adjust to the new way of life, it sounds like you are making progress. Keep up the morning walks on the beach by the awesome ocean, and the beautiful sunrises, the island music, and new friends! I am looking out the window at a snowstorm
    today, no sun, windy and cold! You are in the right spot!
    Remember the song, “Don’t worry, be happy now, every little thing’s ‘gonna be alright”. Dias soleados por delante!!
    🥰 Love 💕, hugs, Mommacita

    Like

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