I was very fortunate during our move to San Carlos in that I had women who were here before me, transfers with their husbands, ready to welcome me into a close circle of friendship and support. Once my husband accepted his new position, things moved so quickly, I had little time to process that I would be leaving many dear friends and family in Fort Wayne. I knew I would have adjustments to make moving to Mexico, and I did not consider how much I would need new relationships or how much they would help me with many of these changes.
I appreciated immensely the invitations to breakfast, guided tours, directions, tips, and comfort offered by these women who also left friends and families behind. Throughout my first year in San Carlos, we shared many experiences together and grew to trust and depend on one another. Unfortunately, contracts expire. Two friends rotated back to Fort Wayne within months of one another. Another began spending more time with her family in Tucson. Rather suddenly, important parts of my days in San Carlos were gone. Aside from missing the friendships, I selfishly wondered if I would now have enough to do. Would I become bored? Feel isolated? Could I stay busy and feel fulfilled?
I had grown more than I realized in a year. In many ways, I am busier than ever. I have nurtured new and equally special friendships and continue to explore and enjoy San Carlos and Guaymas. There are still plenty of places to discover and connections to make within my community. Most importantly, however, are the moments I have spent developing a relationship with myself.
I have made time for activities I take delight in and practice them daily. I devote hours to researching the customs and culture of my new country. I study the language and seek opportunities to practice my listening and speaking skills. I bought a map of Mexico and have challenged myself to learn the names and locations of all of the states. I collect shells. I read. I write. I exercise. I volunteer in my community. I am now patient enough to try projects that had frustrated me in the past. I do things that scare me.
These are not shallow pursuits. I have been given a gift of time; time to explore who I am and what is important to me. Time to try new things. Time to learn to be comfortable in my own skin. Time to be gentle with myself. I am learning how to just be, no matter what is happening around me. I find joy in everyday moments. I practice gratitude. I am not as negative toward myself or others. I am not overwhelmed by my daily life. I am not measuring time the way I once did. I have given myself permission to slow down.
I have always appreciated my alone time. Today, however, these occasions are not escapes from a hectic workday or the barrage of self-imposed obligations or “have-to’s. They are quieter and calmer. I am finding deeper meaning in my life and greater peace.
Yes, I miss my old friends. But I could not be happier with the new one I have made in their absence.