I’m coming up on a year as an immigrant to Mexico. A full year drinking in the beauty and the kindness, the colors and the unhurried ways. Reveling in the sacred lake and her white pelicans. Walking out my door for all my daily needs, using my own body for transportation. A year of absorbing the common cultural courtesies of greeting passersby on the cobblestone streets, of making friends with other immigrants and with my Mexican neighbors.
At the one-year anniversary of emigrating from my original culture, I notice that I have breathed into my days a new and gentler rhythm. I have seen myself change. I no longer live so much ahead of myself, only planning a few days at a time. I make plans with friends spontaneously, more often in person on the street than on the phone. Then, instead of counting on things happening as scheduled, I count only on something wonderful happening– whether it’s the thing I expected or a surprising something else. I am becoming more patient with myself and others. As I immerse in a culture of patience and affection and acceptance, I find myself growing in compassion.
I am immensely grateful to live in Mexico, where the values and expectations are ones with which I have wanted to align myself. Mexico has been my Teacher and her lessons have changed me. Her challenges have morphed into opportunities. Her humility and authenticity has chastened my sense of entitlement. Living outside of my native country for this past year has lifted and widened my perspective. As an immigrant, I have become more a global citizen than a resident of a single place. Even while my days are simpler, my concerns reach further in the world.
I sum it up for myself in the word, presente, translated variously as real, actual, true, or present. To me, it signifies an integration within myself. Mexico has put me present. Present for my interactions with others, present for my own emotions and experiences, present in my daily activities. As es. Doy gracias!