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!!)

We moved to Mexico this week, and this is how it went…

The View from the Balcony!

View from the Balcony 2

The pool in the back

So, we’ve been living in Puerto Vallarta for 5 days now, and it’s been an exciting, scary, and intense and overwhelming experience. Everyday is a learning adventure as we try to soak in the country, the city, the language, how utterly complicated and FRUSTRATING international communication can be, spending every waking and sleeping moment together, learning about Mexicans, with their kids, their dogs, their roosters, and their general all around mexican-ness.

The local people are friendly, but much louder than us Canadians. Music comes with the package, its everywhere you go, at home, at the market, at the beach, music is everywhere, I love that. The Mexicans are VERY family oriented, and respect means everything to them. I love that too because it reminds me of the way it was in England. Sure they all drink, stay out late and party like it’s 1999 in a regular Tuesday night, but family is everything, kids experience it all with them, and life is not governed by the police, but rather governed by their love for life, their culture, and their family and friends. They are more than happy to help you speak the language, and will try their  best to communicate with you IF you show them that you are trying, like really trying. So generally its best to sound like an idiot because it shows them that you are humbly making an effort in their country and their language, and that is great because of the whole respect thing around here. It’s everything to them. But them again you get the odd english speaking salesman posing as something totally random and unrelated that speaks your language, and oddly cares about your life, and your situation. Funny enough, the english speaking ones are the ones you have to really watch out for. The ones that care enough about your money to learn your language, ask if you’re married, and ask if you live here and more ridiculous specifics about your life, that they hope will eventually lead you to a timeshare presentation, possibly two with the promise of lucrative business.

I’d actually never seen a cockroach before this week. Ever.  I was blissfully unaware of how disgusting and revoltingly barfy they actually are in life. So I have encountered many in the past few days, which really reminds me of what a prissy little girl I can be at times, especially during cockroach times, especially when cockroach time happens during pool time. ESPECIALLY when cockroaches happen during dinner time and most off all during bathroom times. During long bathroom times that can’t be avoided and they scurry around instilling such an immense amount of fear and disgust into you, that long bathroom times become very short bathroom times.

The buses here are very hot, very fast, VERY cheap, and very frequent. So are the cabs. Which is a bit ironic considering everyone’s supposed to be on ‘Mexican time’.  But then again, this is actually how busses should be. Getting the 300,000 people in this small city around to where they need to go when they need to go there and quick and cheap. Until now in my life, I’ve never understood how easy and sensible this concept is. Back in Calgary, a car is an absolute mandatory aspect of life, unless you actually enjoy waiting an hour in −20 degrees. I love the buses, I LOVE them!

Being a resort town, this place is usually a great big party. The tourists are celebrating a break from their lives, and the locals are celebrating life in general. Celebration is everywhere. And it’s not just grown-ups, it’s kids and dogs in tow all around baby, toddler, family friendly fun that excludes no one.
There is always something to celebrate, something to sing about, always a good reason to dance. But then again at times, it’s peaceful, serene, and a whole new sense of calm and quiet blankets the city. Which is always a welcome change.

B and I have had the pleasure of discovering a new culture and a new country together, which is challenging at times, exciting at other times. Not only do we get to do it together, but it’s also us, without friends, without family, without anything in the world except for the internet that is familiar to us. This has resulted in some moments that are so sickly romantic and beautiful that I couldn’t even describe them to you. It’s also resulted in emotional and teary breakdowns. Of course those are all mine. But what I have is him. No Grandpa. No sister. No best friends. No work or work friends. No business (yet), no weddings (yet), no anything that has defined my entire life for the past 18 years. There have been tears, and there have been ridiculous giddy moments. But then again, I’m emotional, and this is all very new and very scary.

On a less dramatic note, we found our own apartment! It was probably the 7th place we looked at and I fell in love at first sight! It’s got everything, a lovely view, a roof-top patio, a cozy little balcony, a lovely open concept living room and kitchen, AND B was able to convince them to trade in the double bed for a Queen size, which for him, was the selling feature. It’s colourful with local art and has a traditional and old mexican feel to it. I can tell we’re going to be very happy there. I can just see us now on the balcony, sipping coffee in our Pj’s, soaking in the rays, eating supper on the roof-top patio watching the sunset…I mean don’t get me wrong it’s nice staying with friends, but then again there’s only so long a girl can live out of a suitcase or any real independence for, even living in paradise.

Our day’s have been filled with long walks, afternoons in the pool, market meandering, trying new restaurants, exploring the area, and finishing off the exhausting days by the beach, watching the waves.

I’m definitely suffering from home sickness, and I suppose after 18 years of me and my family always being together, this is going to happen.

But I came into this with an open heart, an open mind, no material possessions, and a desire to discover, to learn, to create a brand new life. And that’s exactly what I intend to do.

Hasta Luego Amigos!!

Lost and without Blackberry

I’m a typical girl in the sense that texting and BBm’ing with my friends is an important part of my day and my life and my happiness. We go back and forth all day long and fill each other in on anything and everything and I love it. It makes me happy and provides me with little breaks of laughter and smiles during an otherwise stressful or boring day. Without my Blackberry I feel isolated and lonely and sad and anyone who has lived without their Blackberry after having one for years will tell you know awful it is! I’m not even being a drama queen. It’s been 1 day and I’m already wondering what’s happening in everyone’s life, and even a teensy bit missing those e-mails delivered right to my purse from Wedding Bells magazine and Visual Link Spanish.

Last night I sold my phone plan to Chris in Ontario. That was the last of my independence to be sold on Kijiji. My reliable and awesome car, my SLR that I absolutely loved with everything because it was my first ‘semi-pro’ camera. My guitar that I never really learnt how to play, my IKEA furniture, my lamps and books and movies and shoes and cute winter clothes all went out the door with my job, my car, now my only real connection to my friends who are my whole world, and any future plan in Canada, all gone.

I have to say with 3 more weeks left to go and absolutely nothing (but B) left in my life, I’m feeling an overwhelming sense of emptiness. Which by the way is supposed to be simmered by the ocean breeze and palm trees, but right now, I don’t have that, or anything else. I am in a state of limbo, I have nothing left, and it just SUCKS! I don’t think I’m going to really see the value of all this sacrifice until I see a friggin palm tree and the ocean.

Today at lunch B and I headed down to the Mexican Consulate where they gave us the nod and the go ahead, that we didn’t technically need, but we did need. In a way that we needed the Mexico professionals to tell us that we are on the right path. (Not that we’d have time to deal with anything this late in the game even if we were on the wrong path). Oh but they did tell me that I’m going to have to mail my birth certificate to the England embassy and have it legalized. Which may perhaps hinder progress in the beginning, but then again, perhaps a few weeks on the beach while I wait for my paperwork may not be such a bad thing.

22 more days and saying goodbye to more things

Yesterday was a mad cleaning frenzy around here as our landlord let us know that there he was going to be showing our place. We were at first stunned, and looked at each other with blank faces, not quite sure what we’re going to do with this maze of a box city. With about 5 hours of sifting, sorting, stacking, sweeping and suds, we turned our place into a haven that she fell in love with at first sight! Looking around at our beautiful place does make me a bit sad. It really is a stunning and charming place, and I love it here. I’ve always had a trendy adorable little apartment near downtown Calgary, and have become accustomed to a very cozy and convenient life here. I can’t imagine what a culture shock this move is going to be!

We still have a TON of stuff to get rid of. Camping gear, ski’s, roller blades, an entire kitchen, half my closet, way more than half of my shoe collection (don’t remind me), and a massive box of Christmas decorations and ornaments that I have a very unhealthy attachment to. We had a pile of free things outside a few days ago, and in a moment of fearless bravery, I marched right out there (passing B with a smug girl power face) with my big box of Christmas decorations and ornaments and threw it in the “FREE” pile outside our house. As I walked away I saw out of the corner of my eye a young girl approaching the big pile of things. In a second of sheer panic, I picked up my beloved box and ran for the house. B smiled at me as I hugged my box of Christmas memories like a little kid. I looked out the window at the young girl playing with my nutcracker wood man, looking pleased at her new free find. NOOOO I left that out there!? I must have missed it in a rush to get everything back in the house! She frolicked away happily, moving his arms and legs like a happy marching nutcracker. My sadness melted away watching how happy she was with her new toy. I smiled to myself at my accidental good karma.

Reducing your life to two suitcases is much harder than you would think. My attachment to things has been completely demolished as my things leave my life. And my day to day comfort has been completely shaken after quitting my job and selling my car. I have to keep reminding myself that this is only the beginning and life is about to get far more challenging, infuriating, exciting, in many ways easier, more peaceful, and everyday life as I know it will be a new and unpredictable adventure.

The not so fun side of moving to Mexico

Okay I haven’t written in a while. I also haven’t done my nails, cleaned my house, read a book or done yoga in a while either. I’m exhausted. We have a pile the entire size of our house in the living room giving our once charming little home an empty storage locker-esque sort of aura. How is it that the more stuff we get rid of, the bigger our pile gets! Seriously, how does that work. Perhaps because we’ve sold most of the things in the house that are meant for putting other things in, so there is no place for those things anymore. Like, the books that went on the bookcase, the random trinkets and decor that went on the coffee table.
Luckily I have taken next week off and will dedicate that whole week to sorting through this monstrous pile of things that no longer serve a purpose in my life. Well, now that I think about it, they never really did.

I quit my job last week, I gave them 5 weeks notice. Some were supportive, excited, thrilled. Some were apprehensive and sort of turned their noses up at the apparent absurd idea. Some couldn’t even pretend to smile and look a little bit like they thing it’s not the most ridiculous thing they’ve ever heard though. When I spoke to my good friend Seung-Ah about all this she said “That’s because they live in a well”. She is so wise.

We also bought one way tickets last week. For the unbelievable low price of (drum roll please…) $232 each!!! I was so over the moon thrilled to get such cheap flights and even more thrilled when I paid off my visa the other day! Although, the excitement was quickly replaced with complete knee trembling terror, this is really happening. We are really selling everything and moving to Mexico.

Some days I don’t know weather to be excited or to throw up. Most days I go through a rainbow of emotions, which don’t sit nicely with the unbearably busy schedule that is consuming my life these days.

My full time job just got even more full time as it’s setting in that I am leaving and there are many lose ends to tie. And, I can’t leave my files in a mess for my dearest co-workers to pick up, so, work is to say the least, a zoo right now.

I’ve had 2 weddings in the past month, one with a terminally ill groom (so take ‘everything has to be perfect’ and times that by ten), and one that is today actually, with a very lovely, yet OCD couple. It’s my last wedding of the season, and I just keep telling myself, I just have t make one more day absolutely perfect for one more Calgary bride, and then I can focus on getting closer to my life in paradise.

And then of course being that we have told everyone in our lives at this point, our calendar is quickly filling up with dinner parties, shopping at the house visits, sleepovers, family plans, out of town trip with out of town friends and plans and plans and more plans with friends and family who are hanging on to every last bit of time they have with us.

And then of course there is the logistics of moving to another country, banking, insurance, the car, the house, closing business here, getting FM3 paperwork together (and mostly just guessing what that really means) and things like heath care, money shuffling and sorting and saving and perhaps I shouldn’t be mentioning this, but all this, within the first 6 months of our relationship which is all supposed to be romance and love and cuddli-ness, well, you can imagine how much time and energy there is for that sort of thing. Suffice to say, it’s taxing on both of us, and at times I find myself scrounging up every little ounce of energy I can muster up to give him the time and attention he, and our relationship needs. But like everything else in my life right now, I’m doing mediocre at best in that area.

My friend Jenn says “L, just get there, everything will work out. Just get there”.

I have smart friends, and they always know the right thing to say to me.

1 more month. I can do this!!

International relocation, is it really that complicated?

Can we actually get a one way ticket to Mexico? How can I get a job before I get there?

Can we really get an apartment for $300/month? I mean, really? But that wouldn’t include air conditioning, right? What about mold, you know black mold, the dangerous kind, doesn’t mold love the heat and humidity? And who would I even talk to about banking down there?

Wait, if we’re planning on riding bikes everywhere, won’t that be kind of…difficult, I mean I’ve seen the under developed road infrastructure there. I haven’t been on a bike in a few years. Not since the last time I fell off my bike, scraped my knee, and hobbled all the way home, fighting back the tears. I was 25 years old. Could I really ride a bike in Mexico?

After far too many hours of over-researching and semi-obsessing over every last detail of our upcoming move to Mexico, I am starting to question the value of all this ‘homework’.

I’ve been reading similar articles that give repetitive and text book like advice,(that always start off with ‘you’re crazy, but if you insist, here’s what you need to do…”)  sometimes I’ll come across a humorous personal experience about an individuals personal journey, which I totally appreciate, and in a rare case I will come across a writer from Mexico that gives me the no BS version of their story, these ones are my favorite.
Their stories are usually quite short though because it’s normally a quick coles notes version of their story followed by “But that was us, this country is unpredictable and no one can really give you all the answers, you just have to take one day at a time, and figure it out as you go”.

That’s a refreshing and idealistic take on things, sure. But, I’m an event planner. I plan things. I really plan things. I went to school to learn how to plan things even more meticulously than I already do, processes that streamline my planning strategies with the most professional of planners. Get it, I plan stuff.

And being that I am currently in the process of planning the most monumental thing of my life thus far, I have to admit I’m having a difficult time ‘letting go’ and ‘figuring it out when we get there’.

I feel like if I don’t plan round the clock like this that I will lose control, and everything will go haywire like crazy. And we’ll be sitting here in Calgary trying to figure out where we went wrong.

However, on the other hand, I don’t really have any control. Perhaps I’ve just given myself the illusion that I have this all under control. But, is all my ‘homework’ really going to help me when we get there?

What if I just trusted that things would work out, then I could spend all that time actually preparing, like learning Spanish, packing and selling my things.

Perhaps researching things so much isn’t the way to go, because how could I ever find out on the internet what it’s really going to be like?

There’s no way. This is one thing that google cannot sort out for me.

Perhaps I should just let go, focus on what really matters, take each day as it comes, and trust that the universe will provide us with everything we need along the way…

Why, you ask?

We’ve now told his family, my grandpa, and most of our friends. Most people know by now, except my sister, because we’re super close and I’m waiting for the right time, and our bosses, for obvious reasons.
Apparently, people we haven’t even told are telling other people. Apparently, we are now the focus of all cheap gossip happening around here.
So, there’s a common question that keeps occurring, time and time again, every time we tell someone. They all squint their eyes in confusion, and ask the same question. Why? Why would you do something like that? Why would you leave? Oh, and another one is What are you going to do down there? But mostly the consensus is ‘I’ll support you when you can help me understand WHY you would do such a thing”. We spend an exhausting amount of time trying to justify to our confused loved ones about, why. Which is difficult, and it’s always a different answer, which I supposed makes us look a bit unstable, perhaps confused ourselves.

Asking “Why are you moving to Mexico” in my mind is kind of like asking someone “Why do you want to have a baby?” or “Why are you getting a divorce?”. Is there one or two answers that these people can give you? No, because there are so many reasons, so many that the most suiting answer to the questions is “Why not?”.

So, here it is, the list of 40 reasons why are moving to Puerto Vallarta. In no particular order.

Because….

1) We are adventurous people and we want to experience something new
2)  We have both always wanted to live in another country. It’s been a dream we’ve both had since we were just little
3) We love hot weather
4)  We cannot stand Calgary winters. They are painful, and miserable, and last for half the year here
5) We don’t have kids, or a house.
6)  We love the beach
7)  We want to learn about other cultures
8)  We love snorkeling
9)  We want to learn how to speak spanish
10) We want to learn how to scuba dive. And not in a tank
11) I want to do yoga on the beach in the morning
12) We are young
13) We love the slow pace of life
14) We love Mexican food
15) Everything is cheaper down there
16) Everything in Calgary is ridiculously overpriced
17) We want to meet new, interesting people
18) We want to travel through central and south america
19) I want to plan destination weddings
20) He wants to practice photography somewhere beautiful
21) We want to live a slow and simple life
22) We love sitting on the beach
22) He loves swimming in the ocean
23) We want to get rid of everything and start over
24) We’re in love and we want to experience something amazing together
25) We want to have good stories to tell our grandkids one day
26) We don’t want to live in a big city
27) We have so much to learn, and don’t believe we can do that in Calgary
28) We are a little bit crazy
29) We made friends on our trip down there, and they inspired us
30) It’s just really beautiful there
31) It’s only a 3- 4 hour flight away from our families in Calgary
32) It’s one of the safest places in Mexico
33) We love how yummy and cheap the beer is there
34) We love that the people there aren’t obsessed with having more
35) We have a place to stay until we find an apartment
36) There are lots of job opportunities for people like us there
37) Life is too short to stay in one place
39) Because we want to0
40) Because we can

So there you have it. Who could argue with 40 perfectly rational and logical reasons why we are moving to Puerto Vallarta.