It’s easy to feel a million miles away in the mountains of Michoacan. The stunning scenery from the terrace of our beautiful Home Exchange house – whether it’s the morning clouds slowly dissipating to reveal the mountains or the evening sunset with glowing streaks of orange outlining the same mountains – is other-worldly.
Walking the streets of Pátzcuaro, though they are starting to feel familiar, has constant reminders that I am far from home. The many words on menus that I still cannot decipher despite feeling fairly confident in Spanish. The strange bugs we find on the walks down the hill to town that must be from another planet. The steep, steep cobblestone streets that seem impossible to climb or descend, but somehow we do.
And the rare reminder of danger, such as when our “combi” (van-bus) came to a halt on a steep one-way street with a police truck facing us. We sat in silence along with our fellow passengers – a brother and sister, a young couple with their toddler, and a few others – and watched as a squad of police quietly jumped out of their truck, maneuvered stealthily past the narrow space on either side of our vehicle, rifles raised, in search of a suspect. Once we exhaled from the initial shock, Vicky Ann asked if this was normal. It’s the first time in five trips to Mexico I’ve ever seen such police activity and I can still honestly say I feel very safe in Mexico.
A million miles away, but yet so close to home. A text, phone call, or video chat instantly brings news from home – happy, sad, and mundane. Grandkids perform their antics on the screen in front of me, a photo of a new baby, last-minute wedding preparations, heavy conversations about a sibling preparing to die. These moments transport me to another world, a million miles away from this beautiful town in the mountains of central Mexico.
Vicky Ann and I thoroughly enjoyed the movie “A Million Miles Away” the other night, thanks to a recommendation from her sister and brother-in-law. We were moved by the story and excited to see that it started right here in the state of Michoacan. One theme that is evident throughout the movie is the strength of family in Mexican culture. That theme is even more prevalent every time we leave our house and walk the streets of Pátzcuaro. Multiple generations walk around the plaza, shop, dine out, and spend their free time together as a family.
Even when we feel so far from home, it is comforting to be in a place of friendly faces and loving families.
For those who are interested, here’s a little more about Vicky Ann’s first week in Michoacan.
Something about having Vicky Ann here has opened up a whole new world of shopping for me. She is willing to walk down any street, however treacherous, to find the next bargain. Our favorite part of shopping, though, is talking with the friendly vendors and their families.
Home is really never far from our minds as we offer up prayers for loved ones. We went to church and had the most delicious tacos cooked by the friendly church guys outside.
We joined a group of expat hikers on a lovely walk. It was interesting to learn about their lives and what brought them to Pátzcuaro, some more than fifteen years ago and others more recently. We also learned about the best places for pizza, tacos, and coffee!
We had two days in Morélia, staying at another stunning home thanks to Home Exchange. The hilly capital city was quite an introduction to Mexico for Vicky Ann, but she took no time to adapt to her new surroundings. Each day, we marvel at new sites feeling a million miles away from home and never too far away at the same time.