Returning to Canada

May 3, 2012 by

www.JamesAndShilo.comJames has always loved escaping to the tropics. I was  a mountains girl when I met him but have since learned to enjoy the sun, sand and surf (usually under an umbrella!).

Three hundred and sixty five days x 3 years = 1,095 days that we spent longing to move to the tropics, consistently taking baby steps and moving our dream into reality. Now, here we are living our dream in Cerritos (the beach district) Mazatlan, swimming in the ocean, walking on the beach, savouring sunsets and not doing winter for the first time ever!

This fall was our inaugural drive down to Mexico. We are officially snow birds! Part of those enviable, elusive  groups of people who disappear at (or before) the first signs of cold weather and reappear all tanned and smiling once spring is safely on its way.

Someone asked us, “What do you do with all of that extra time on your hands?” and my response is, “what extra time?!?!” That old adage “Wherever you go, there you are” is true here as well.

Similar kinds of things that filled our time back in Calgary fill our time here – phone calls, emails, meeting people, attending social and networking events, having fun, taking Taz for daily walks, making shakes, business and Mastermind conference calls and more. We are just choosing to do it in a warmer climate while adding some new and fun activities to our schedule – walks are on the beach instead of our park off 22X, and I apply sunscreen and sunglasses instead of winter coat, gloves and boots and we’re constantly making new friends.

Time is flying here. Many of our new found friends are preparing to leave and making next year’s plans, booking reservations and/or making rental aarrangements. We too have found a new place to rent in the fall when we return. We paid our deposit and got a receipt (very important!). Soon the end of May will be here and it will be time to go “home”.

We have heard from friends and also read suggestions from the local magazines about what kinds of things to stock up on before returning to Canada. Things like:

  • Vanilla (or vanilla beans to make your own vanilla)
  • Chili/lime seasoning
  • Turtle cream
  • Cheap prescriptions
  • Mexican blankets and/or nick-nacks for friends and family back home

www.JamesandShilo.comThere are also key activities that I need to do ~ like transferring all of our friends’ contact info from napkins, the corner of random sheets of paper and off the back of business brochures into our Outlook contacts, as well as the business services and restaurants that we’ve enjoyed.

There are practical things that we, as “newbie” snow birds, arriving back in Canada don’t have much of a sense of. So, we’ve been asking those seasoned snow birds around us.

The lists of what to do to “summerize” your place looks different if you own a place down here, than if you are renting.

Lots of our friends have commented that returning home can be tough, since they are leaving close personal friendships, a strong community and their love of the people of Mazatlan behind. My friend Bonny cried and cried as she said good bye to her favorite band at her favorite Sunday event. As one person said, “feelings of being safe, relaxed and “very welcomed” inspire enthusiastic plans to return.” The amazing culture and events, arts and crafts, adventure and social activities combine with Mazatlan’s sweeping ocean vistas which has already inspired many conversations between James and I  (and others) about our return in the fall… returning sooner, staying longer and one day being in Mexico full time.

For some of our friends, leaving is eagerly anticipated as they return to family, being home in their community and beginning seasonal projects like gardening and enjoying the lifestyle they love. James and I are really looking forward to seeing those we love and attending a friend’s wedding, but I am surprised to discover that we no longer have a strong calling to return to Calgary. Having sold our house and purged all of our household belongings (except for a few items at Linda’s and at Darlene’s – we haven’t forgotten about those, I promise!!! LOL) is a big part of that. With all of the detaching we have done, we are flexible and can make anyplace we choose “home” for the time that we are there. It will be nice to go back to cooler temperatures though {grin} – it’s getting hot here and the humidity is rising more and more with each passing day, it seems.

There was some consistent advice for both arriving and leaving Mexico that’s worth mentioning here:

  • Have your documentation organized, including copies of everything like your passport, stamped tourist visa (FM3), medical records, travel confirmations, a prepared customs declaration list and receipts, recent (within 10 days of departure) letter of good-health from the vet for your pet etc.
  • “Emery says” to only drive during the daytime while in Mexico and ensure you have a well-mapped out route to and from (we stick to the toll roads).
  • Having Taz in the vehicle with us has its safety benefits too (even though his bark is worse than his bite)!
  • Taking quality meals and snacks in a cooler bag helps deter unhealthy snacking while driving.
  • And always have a flash light (with batteries) and lots of bottled water on hand in the car.

www.JamesAndShilo.comEven though the time has been flying, there are still many precious moments to fully enjoy before we leave. We’re going to the Angela Peralta Theatre on the Square tonight for a Beatles concert(!!) and Friday in the evenings for some great chamber music presentations. Dinner with friends at some of the great restaurants we never got around to visiting during the winter season here. More freshly squeezed orange juice and cheap hair cuts (I am getting my eye brows done today!) in Centro. Coconut popsicles and delicious hour-long massages in the Golden Zone.  Not to mention sunsets, watching the dolphins and walks on the beach.

Living the reality of our dream here in Mazatlan this winter has been a great first chapter of our new snow bird life, and James and I are looking forward to the unfolding of next winter’s adventure here as we leave the Cerritos beach behind and try the new experience of living in Centro (where everything is within walking distance, including the fresh open air markets and different beaches). Our new identity as a “snow bird” is a most welcome one!






*Inspired by an article in the May edition of M! Magazine