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2022 Feb

Blowing Bubbles

Peggy reflects from far away about what really matters.

Some of you may have heard that Peter and I decided to try the remote working life for a while and are spending the spring in Mexico’s heartland, enjoying warm, sunny days and colorful Mexican culture, not to mention fabulous food. We had an opportunity to rent a nice home in a small village and said, “Why not?”

As I write this, I hear roosters crowing outside and the thump-thump of Zumba music as local ladies work out at the open-air playground nearby. My office is in the second story of our home, and through my window I see a dormant volcano, its steep slopes covered with rocks and dusty shrubs. We live near a reservoir, and throughout the day, cows and sheep and horses come to drink. The animals’ sounds—baaa, baaa and mooo—remind me I’m in a strange land.

We’re about 15 minutes from San Miguel de Allende, a smallish city in the state of Guanajuato that has a thriving ex-pat population. There are tons of restaurants, art galleries, and cool markets to explore. Plus the local ex-pats regularly plan activities and excursions, so something is always going on, it seems.

Peter and I have been taking it easy, acclimating to the high altitude—around 7000 feet. We love taking walks in the village and surrounding countryside. Being here is giving us a chance to slow down and appreciate the moment. We’re seeing the most spectacular birds and butterflies…and more stray dogs than we can count.

The villagers are so friendly and always greet us with Buenos Dias or Buenas Tardes and a smile. Many of the houses in the village are only partially finished, but due to the warm climate, people still live in them and patiently wait until they have enough money to buy their next supply of building materials and continue construction. There is poverty here, but I’m amazed at the cheerful spirit of the villagers. For them the main thing that matters is family, which is truly the backbone of their community.

Peter and I have lessons to learn, and one I’m already discovering is how important family is in our lives, too. Since we are separated from our kids—and my one and only grandson—I’m realizing that being close to family is what feeds my soul. I’m not counting the days until we come back to Virginia—there’s so much here to see and do. But being here is helping me understand that what matters most in life aren’t the material things we surround ourselves with—the vacations, the fancy cars, and brand-name clothes. It’s blowing bubbles with your grandson, sharing recipes with your daughter-in-law, and feeling supported by those you love.

If you haven’t taken the time to appreciate your family recently, make sure you let them know today how much they mean to you and give them a big hug. You’re lucky to have them!

Peggy Sijswerda

Peggy Sijswerda is the editor and publisher of Tidewater Family Plus magazine. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Old Dominion University and is the author of Still Life with Sierra, a travel memoir. Peggy also freelances for a variety of regional, national, and international magazines.

Website: www.peggysijswerda.com

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