Finding balance

I immediately feel spoilt writing this blog, but I’m going to write it anyway.

 I feel spoilt for already missing Mexico and looking up flights to go back on my lunch break. I love London, I do. This first month has been wonderful. But it’s been wonderful in a different way.

Mexico was unpredictable, spontaneous, and constantly surprising, which is all very refreshing stuff for a girl who is used to planning every last detail of life (even by the very name of my chosen career, event planner…) so, as you can imagine, Mexico where nothing can possibly be planned for was a lovely change.

Although living in Mexico was not practical for long term life sustainability, it’s definitely something I recommend for every woman who lives vicariously through their lists and Outlook calendars (like me).

Allowing myself to be completely consumed by the tropical life gave me a new perspective on life. I allowed myself to get fat, and lazy. I got too much sun and I drank too much beer. I ate too many tacos and spent too many lazy days lying on the beach just because I can. I let my calendar collect dust and I left e-mails unreturned.  I wandered through un-planned areas and had un-planned adventures and I don’t regret a second of it.

Coming to London was our compromise between giving up our opportunity to travel and have adventures in life, and handing over our souls to western society’s expectations of us, (Or, to the ‘man’ as they say).

It’s not hot, sunny, beachy and tropical, but it’s 1 hour away from Paris, and a cheap flight away from destinations I’ve always dreamt of seeing. The job isn’t weddings and sand, but it’s practical, a good step in the career ladder, and pays enough for a nice flat in a nice neighbourhood, and affords us a few holidays a year.

That being said I believe we have found an excellent balance between, Mexico, and Canada.

It’s stable and practical, while still allows us to travel and have new adventures.

And, I do have to admit, it’s really nice to have an office to go to, a real paycheck to look forward to, and the financial stability to plan trips to Europe.

But Mexico has a special place in my heart and I still believe that no matter how much of the world I experience,  there’s no place quite like Tropical paradise.

Finding my own way

Yesterday, I quit my job in rentals.

Without going into detail, and in the interest of keeping everything anonymous, there was a situation that forced me to really think about what I want and what steps I need to take to be successful here in Puerto Vallarta.

I have no regret and I am glad that I tried something new and I met some really great people along the way.

I am focusing a lot of where my strengths are career wise, and what my best attribute are that I can share and contribute to society.

No matter how many different avenues of careers I try, and as you know, I am always trying something new, I always find myself back in the same 3 areas: Weddings, events and fundraisers. Or to summarize that, just events. Planning them, bringing an idea to life.

I love doing all of these things, they are all familiar, yet challenging and I can spend a lifetime in growing and improving myself, which for me is very important for my happiness with my career. New challenges that force me to grow not only professionally, but as a person. I would never have moved here in the first place if I was okay with a non challenging 9 to 5 job that won’t take me anywhere.

I don’t want to be type-casted in my own life as being or doing one or two things. I want to create a life for myself that is versatile, adventurous, unique, new, and always pushing me more and more to be better at everything I do.

What I do know so far is that I am going to be doing my own weddings and other events, which is something I have wanted to do since the beginning, but have approached the idea very slowly, and with much caution. I always knew that when the time was right and when I was truly ready to make the leap, that I would just know.

Considering everything that happened with this recent..change..I believe that was the go ahead for me to find the entrepreneurial spirit and passion that I left behind in Calgary. There are a few integral people in my life here that have really pushed me to be a better wedding coordinator, and have taught me the fundamentals of destination weddings, as well as people who have constantly reminded me that I can do anything I put my mind to and will always succeed when I put my heart into it. (you know who you are, and thank you for all your support). So, all that being said, here is a mock-up of the beginning stages of that project. Okay I know that is just a logo but it’s pretty and it’s one little baby step in the right direction.

Poco a poco as they say around here. Things like facturas, accounting and banking are all still things that I haven’t even began to scratch the surface of. I am first focusing on a business plan that makes sense for me and that reflects my goals as an entrepreneur. Once I complete that, I will get into the nitty gritty, one step at a time.

http://www.miamoroccasions.com

I am going to take my time is bringing this project to life, and I am going to keep all my past experience in mind with everything, what worked, and the many things that didn’t work. This time around I want to really dig into my creativity and improve my processes.

I think these changes that happen in life, are always a gateway to something better, and a sign that I am not on the right track, and an opportunity to either get back on track, or create a new track that will take me to exactly where I want to go.

Aside from the events and wedding, I want to really focus on my Spanish, and have even (drum roll please) found a bit of a love for cooking these days. Also, I want to learn how to scuba dive, explore more of Mexico, and plan another trip to Canada.

I have also been working on a Fundraiser for the local cat shelter, it’s going to be a Salsa and Margarita tasting, with an auction and live music! It’s been a fun little project and just makes me feel kind of fuzzy inside that I can do a small part to help a very important cause around here.

I am also reading Tim Ferriss’s 4 Hour work week again. This is my favorite book and the one book that I read over and over again. It reminds me of what’s important to me, the life I want to create for myself, and also reminds me of why I am in Mexico, and what I came here to do!

L

A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have _Timothy Ferriss

Happy Easter my friends!

Its Easter Sunday today. I woke up this morning and had a bit of a sombre moment upon realizing this is the second holiday that I have spent this year without my friends and family. Yes I know they are probably all ‘lucky girl, living in Mexico!’ and yes of course I am fortunate and grateful, but there is no amount of sun and beaches that can replace spending holidays with family.

So, I called my grandpa, and I also called my sister, who was having Easter in Moosejaw with her other side of the family. I spoke to my niece for about 3 minutes, but couldn’t hold her attention for much longer as she was amidst a very intense Easter egg hunt. And well, given those circumstances, I’m surprised I got that much time out of her!

Speaking of my sister, she is moving to Victoria! I swear there is a move-to-the-water movement happening lately, who doesn’t want to live on the Ocean! So, I am so excited for her, and listening to her get ready for the big move totally reminds me of B and I 6 months ago, selling everything, having no idea what the future holds. But, my sister is more organized than that. She’s got everything planned! Eepp, so exciting! I am so happy for her, because she has been talking about moving to the ocean for over 10 years, and I am so proud of her for following her dreams and just going!

But I miss my family, and I miss having a big Easter dinner with them. Even if we decided to celebrate Easter here, we do not have an oven, and would not want to turn on an oven regardless, as it is so hot.
I love Mexico, and B, and my life here, but honestly, I gave up a lot to come here, and holidays like these remind me of that.

In Puerto Vallarta, thousands of Nationals are celebrating Semana Santa, or Holy Week which marks the last week of lent leading up to Easter Sunday. The streets and beaches are absolutely packed, and very few gringos are seen here. It’s the Mexicans vacation time, and a very sacred holiday to them. Which, of course means a crazy amount of partying and a vibrant display of their religion (like, when Jesus and his band of followers carried the cross through the city yesterday!)

Also, I started a new job last week! (yes, another one.) After 2 months of relaxing, I figured it was time for me to start making some money again. So, my friend Poncho (who also found us this great apartment!!) posted in Facebook that they were looking for a new ‘agent’. This company does vacation rentals, real estate, concierge, etc. I have absolutely no experience in this field, and have been looking to gain some experience in something other than weddings! So, I have been doing this for 1 week, and so far, it’s going good. The hours are flexible, and I have some good friends at the office that answer my 30 questions a day! However, it is a commission only job, which admittedly does require a certain amount of optimism, luck, and faith. So, I’ve decided to give it at least a few months and see where it goes. My friends at work seem to be making good moola, so I don’t see why I can’t do that too!

Also, it’s getting VERY hot down here! The kind of hot where you can’t walk on the beach barefoot without burning your feet, and the kind that makes you lethargic and uncomfortable being in the sun for too long. And, this is only April!! I can’t imagine what we are going to do with ourselves this summer! So that being said, we have been spending more time inside, in the water, and in the pool. Thank god for the pool! I am definitely starting to see it as more of a need than a luxury here.

I need to get off the computer, and go out to do something fun! We may not have Turkey, family or Easter Eggs, but there is always the beach, the markets,  and the sunshine. And I suppose that’s not so bad.

Also, here are some of my favorite recent pictures (since I haven’t been blogging very much lately!!)

Showing off B’s awesome photography skillzzz! This was taken in our garden out on the Terrace last week. B was practicing for an upcoming photo shoot! (And me taking the opportunity to be a total diva, haha!)

This was a few weeks ago when my friends came to visit! This is Jenn and Krysta, they are so sweet! There is something so romantic and beautiful about this shot!

This is Jenn and I kayaking in Las Animas! We may look like we’re doing a great job, however this was about 30 seconds after we drove right into a large boat, haha. Awful.

This was taken on Las Animas beach a few weeks ago. That is Jenn, Krysta, Colin and D’arcy, who all visited us from Canada. We had such a silly amount of fun with them! We had a private sailboat for the day and stopped for lunch and margaritas! What a perfect day!!

This is probably my favorite shot from that trip! That evening, we sat on the balcony, drank wine, and spent hours laughing about so many ridiculous things. And I think this picture looks like GAP poster or something. Haha. Such. Awesome. Friends. I love you guys!!!

This was taken the day after my birthday a few weeks ago in Bucerias. We spent the day drinking beer on the beach, and enjoying the waves and our boogie boards! I love this shot of B and the big wave!! We played in the water for HOURS, what a great day!

This picture was taken the same day. HOW SEXY IS B!????

This is Jenn and I with my good friend Esman. This picture was taken at Andeles, which is probably the best spot to be on a Friday night in Vallarta! This was taken after too much tequila. Things got a little messy after, haha.

B took this picture the day we went out on the sailboat. This was at about 10 am in the morning and this mommy whale and the baby were jumping and playing for at least 20 minutes!  What a great picture!!

And lastly, our kitty Mittens!! (And her favorite toy!!)

Starting over…again

I am re-designing my life. Yes, again.

Last time I wrote, it had been over a month since I had written the time before, and I was not sure what to write. So, I wrote about the only thing that I knew to write about at that time. I talked about how after everything we came through to get here, that I was working at a resort, and planning weddings and working very long days, and dealing with very difficult staff and even more difficult brides. I wrote about how it ‘wasn’t so bad’ and how ‘at least I am making money’ and really struggling in my words to justify what I was doing. I had a hard time writing it, and typically, writing comes very easy to me. I know when I have a hard time writing, that its not really coming from the heart.

So in this blog, I am going to be completely honest. Taking this job was a huge mistake. I left Canada for a change of pace, for a different life, to explore a country and a culture that is new and different. I have always been overly ambitious and have always strived to get ahead career wise, to be better, to make more money, and I have always done this regardless of the hours it took or the work that I had to put it. I have always been an over-acheiver type because of my underlying fear of being a failure. And no matter how much life I was missing out on I could always find joy in the fact that I could call myself ‘successful’ in my own mind.

Coming to Mexico was about letting go of my attachment to success, to money, to my more and more attitude, and freeing myself from the constant pressure I put on myself. It was about slowing down, and really taking the time to enjoy life and the little moments. My mentor Tim Ferris says ‘Life really doesn’t have to be so difficult”.

About a week ago, I coordinated a wedding of a bride and groom from Calgary. The bride and groom that I had spent so much time on were happy and drunk as ever, which is always a moment of temporary relief for me. The couple were frolicking around with their nieces, nephews, friends, parents and merrily indulging in the joy of having all their loved ones in one place. I looked at the photographer who was also standing there watching the wedding, waiting for the perfect moment to shoot, and I said to him “Do you love what you do?”. He smiled and said “Of course I do. In this industry you have to love what you do, because its more than a job. You actually sell your life to the hotel. So, you have to love what you do, as it is your whole life”.  I started at him speechless. Right then it was the last song of the night for this wedding, and everyone at the wedding swayed in a circle around the bride and groom as they slow danced in the middle. Looking like the luckiest, happiest most loved people ever. I grabbed the vase that needed to be returned to the florist and almost ran back to the office. I felt like a large ball of sadness was growing inside me, like I was ready to explode with emotion. I could feel my face getting red and my eyes filling with tears. It was10:30pm at night and I had just completed another 13 hour day at work. I have never felt as lonely and defeated as I did in that moment. I took a cab home and B was waiting with Pizza (with added bacon and cheese just the way I like it), a fresh bowl of salsa and a tall cold glass of Chardonnay.

A few days later I was fortunate enough to get off at 6pm and was able to catch my sister on Skype. I can tell my sister anything. And that night, for the first time I told her, honestly, how my life in paradise has been. My sister knows me more than anyone and always knows the right words to say at the right moments. “Why did you move to Mexico?” she asked. And thats all she needed to say. That night we drank wine and chatted all night, almost forgetting the virtual distance between us.

B and I are super nerdy and made a spreadsheet of all the things we want to do with our lives, and all the things that we want to do in Mexico, and in Pv. We spent almost every night in Calgary talking about all the great things we were going to do with our lives, then we would put the ideas in our spreadsheet named “Our new life”. I looked at this list for the first time since we moved here. My contributions to the list were things like “do yoga on the beach”, “explore new towns”, “learn how to cook Mexican food”, “go boogie boarding”, and “read on the beach” and “Enjoy simple moments”.
When I looked at that spreadsheet I felt so angry with myself for doing the exact same thing I was doing in Calgary.

What was the point of all this???

Yesterday morning I nervously creeped into my bosses office and said “Can we talk?” which came out more quiet and mouse like that I had hoped. My boss is the ultimate career woman. Fierce, smart, savvy, gorgeous, and seems to actually love her work. I sat down and said “I don’t know how to tell you this. I’ve been thinking about my life..” and then somehow awkwardly went into the part were I decided to stop rambling and just say “Soo, Im not going to work here anymore, I am resigning”.

She said she was disappointed, followed with the ‘its your life’ speech.
The last thing she said was “Well, one day you will know if this was a good choice or not”. Although I nodded in agreement,    I was more sure of my choice than ever, and I knew with full confidence that this was absolutely the best choice I could have made, and the best choice I have made since I moved to Mexico.

My last day at work is in 3 weeks and after that I am going to do what I came to Mexico to do…live.

That is after my week in Calgary that I have booked. I think a little R&R time with my friends and family is a really great start to my new life.

Dream Weddings and me.

Thank you Nancy for reminding me to start blogging again!

Today is Christmas Day, and is the first time in a long time that I have really relaxed. Why?
1 month ago, I got a job as the Wedding Coordinator at a nice resort near Mismaloya. I have been working 6 days a week, anywhere from 8-12 hours a day and do anywhere from 1 to 3 weddings a DAY!  I have an assistant, I call him Es. He is fluent in English and Spanish, and he loves teaching me Spanish. I help him with his English quite a bit too. Es is 24, fabulous, kind, gay, and has a real passion for weddings.

Many of the employees at the resort do not speak English, and many of the vendors that I (am supposed too) work with on a daily basis do not speak English either. So, as you can imagine, that makes things super fun for me!
Es does all the internal communication and I deal only with the English speaking clients and the few English speaking people at the resort. (Which is actually far less than you would think, especially considering that there is an English teacher on the resort, available to teach FREE classes everyday! And still, most of them cannot speak one word of English).

The first few weeks at the resort were a grueling exhausting experience as the last wedding coordinator had just left over 200 something brides hanging and didn’t tell one of them that she was leaving the Resort! So, every single one of them were in a complete state of panic when I started. Awesome. So as you can imagine, the past few weeks my whole life has been about work, which to me is pretty sad, no matter how awesome the job is. The Mexicans work very hard for little money. After 1 particularly horrible week where I worked 14 hours a day 6 days a week, I was miserable, overworked and had never ever been so exhausted. There were over 300 emails in my in-box all the time, the number growing everyday, and the emails getting angrier and angrier. My days were filled with trying to keep up with the 2-3 weddings that were happening a day, weddings with brides that were angry even meeting me, as the woman who planned their whole wedding with them abandoned them.

After that week I started to question everything. What am I even doing this for? Is this really worth it? I forgot all my reasoning for wanting to live and work in Mexico. I felt naive for thinking it would be good for me to experience something new, something different. I missed Canada more than ever and felt so stupid for never really appreciating how easy life was up north. It was the worst week of my life. I cried 3 times that week. I completely lost it on one of the waiters who apparently was having an equally bad week and yelled at me something in Spanish. I went home defeated, and looked up flight prices to Calgary that night.

As it does in Mexico, word got around fast about how miserable I was. People at the resort talk about me a lot anyway, as me being there has caused gossip and controversy from the beginning. Even the owner of the resort had heard about all of this, and he is Canadian like me, so naturally, he decided that this was unacceptable, and that his new Canadian wedding coordinator must be happy. The following Monday I called in sick. I felt like I could never go back. I didn’t want too. I hated it.

I’m not sure why I went back on the Tuesday. Probably because I didn’t have my FM3 yet at the time and I decided I was going to let them get that for me before I left. The management pulled me aside after that day, and that day changed everything. I have a coffee machine and I only work long hours every second week now. And even then I never work more than 12 hours a day, which amazingly is not too bad to me now. I am taking Spanish classes at the resort everyday and learning Spanish very quickly! I got my FM3 and they took care of all of the paperwork for me. And Es took on far more responsibility so I could catch up with emails and make many angry brides happy again.

Now, I have an empty email box at the end of the day, and I leave my work at work. I have established quite a good relationship with over 100 brides, and the weddings are getting easier to manage.

I’m still not sure if this job is something I want to do long term, but for now, I am happy. I enjoy the little things more now, and I try to get out to the beach at 6:20 to watch the sunset everyday. I completely take advantage of my days off by discovering new beaches and catching up with B, and working on my tan.

It’s not what I had imagined for my new life in Mexico. I’m not volunteering for PEACE, and I’m not doing yoga everyday and I’m not reading on the beach everyday. But right now, I am making decent money doing what I love, and anyone living in Mexico knows that is pretty rare.

So, that is my life in a nutshell right now. It is now boxing day and today we are heading to the Botanical Gardens!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year all!!

xoxoxox
L

I have a very savvy idea..

I love being in the 20 something category. In your 20′s you have the freedom to try things that you couldn’t do in your teens, as no one would take you seriously, and you would never consider doing in your 30′s, because you would have too much to lose should you fail.

Being 20 something is all about trying things, finding out what works, and normally doing this by first finding out all the things that don’t work.

What doesn’t work, as learnt in my 20′s:

1) The 9-5 cliché illusion of security. This doesn’t work simply due to the fact that I simply am not going to survive like this for the next 40 something years.  I was not meant to sit at a desk all day. None of us were, but some of us are just more considerate of society’s expectations than others. I am actually losing intelligence by sitting here, unchallenged and zombie like all day.  My vocabulary isn’t even, um, good anymore. Must…stimulate my mind.

2) What else doesn’t work. Rising to the top in one of the sexiest careers known to the western woman, and doing it in competition with the fiercest, most determined and rich women in the country. “I’m going to be a wedding planner”. Oh good. Not overnight. And maybe still not even 4 years later. A good source of additional income and a good side project, yes. But unless you have a strikingly impressive start up budget, and you’re more connected than the Manhattan Amtrak system, then your chances of keeping up in this industry are actually quite slim.

Other things that don’t work include crying in front of a police officer in an attempt to avoid a ticket and having enough energy to keep up with your 2 jobs and social life while living off Chinese take-out and whatever’s on sale at the local wine market. It doesn’t work.

Anyway, I’m going to try something new. This may just work. There is a possibility that it will go strait into the list above, but I’m willing to try, because quite frankly I don’t feel I have much to lose at this point.

So, it’s a Business. Savvy Lifestyle Assistance. Our services include Virtual Assistance and Concierge Service. And then the tag line is something like “Explore life. Leave the rest to us”.  (Which I adapted from my sister, but the rest was completely my own creativity).

My virtual assistance would assist busy entrepreneurs and busy folk in general in their everyday tasks from appointment making, invoice sending, purchase orders, data entry, flight and trip planning, etc, etc.

Whatever I can do to make people’s lives easier, and more mobile.

And, here’s the best part. They benefit because they don’t have the resources yet to hire a full time employee. And I benefit because it’s (mostly) done online and I can be mobile as well.

It is brilliant, non?

It’s fully in the works, so I’ll keep you posted!

Could this be my big break? Could I really work from my laptop in Mexico?

Time will tell, I suppose. Wish me luck!

Silly me

After a few days of pondering and discussions with B, I have come to the conclusion that the ‘job offer’ in Mexico, is nothing but an savvy entreprenuer playing on canadians desperate to get out of Canada.  See, what she does is get’s you to bring in business for her catering and events company, from your area (Canada, US, europe, apparently the whole world is this womans office) and then you happily hand the business over to her taking a 30% cut, in pesos. You don’t just keep the money your self (because you need money) and keep the business to yourself (because you need business) but you do the ground work, and when you finally catch a sale, you give it away.

Of all the people who have gone before us and done this, noone has ever said it would be easy. Actually, I bought B an e-book for our 3 month anniversary, and the first line says “Anyone whose planning on moving to mexico it a little bit crazy”. I’m staring to really understand that. And if they weren’t crazy when they started, they must have been when they actually made it.

Tim Ferriss say’s that mediocre dreams, create a medicre amount of exctement, and BIG dreams create a  BIG amount of excitement. Therefore those who dare to dream big actually have a better chance of making their dreams come true than those who decide to play it safe, because they actually have the excitement, aderalin, and passion to make it happen.

But nothing worth having is easy to acheive.  You have to fight for the good things in life. And if nothing else, we learn, and we grow, and isn’t that what life is all about?

Trabajo por favor!

I have not the slightest idea how to start the hunt for a job in a foriegn speaking country. Let alone one that isn’t exactly known for it’s fair and honest practices when it comes to making money, or anything money related at all. It’s not like Canada down there. HR procedures is not exactly a term they are familiar with.  In Mexico, it’s a whole different game, from what I gather, which is why I have made for myself 3 basic rules to abide by when job hunting in Mexico. Here they are:

1) No one cares about you. No one wants to give you money. They want to get the most out of you, for the least amount of money and there is no HR department around to help you when you feel that it’s not fair. Actually, that word, doesn’t exist. I will not be fair. Be okay with that.

2) They’re probably struggling too. Going in with demands won’t work because even those who live quite well out there still do not enjoy the luxuries that we have in Canada. Being high maintinance, demanding benefits, weekends off and a ‘call-in-well’ day, will never fly down there.

3) I have a soul. And I would like to keep it. So any timeshare, sales, presentations, or any job that entails ripping off hard working innocent tourists is not an option for me. If I’m starving and sharing a bunk in a hostel with a guy named Pablo, I’ll reconsider rule number 3.

So, here we go! I am currently speaking to a catering and events company (that I won’t mention the name of,  incase they’re involved in some sort of dangerous underground operation, and well, it’s mexico, so you just never know). This said company is looking for an Account Executive who can bring in business from other countries. And it pays in pesos. And it’s only commision. We’re not off to a good start.