Greetings and Hoppy Easter friends!
|Much to the relief of our kids, the Easter Bunny does indeed come to Mexico|
How fitting to arrive back in San Juanico for Semana Santa. Like a phoenix rising from ashes I feel a certain sense of personal resurrection. We are beginning to feel somewhat normal after the madness of our car accident. The weeks after the accident were a whirlwind; surgery and an exhausting get away that was an adventure, but didn’t allow our family the rhythm that we needed after the trauma of the accident. Each day I have more strength and mobility in my wrist and more clarity and closure regarding the accident.
As I composed my last post from the beds of multiple hotels, I wasn’t sure if I should actually go public and publish. I was still licking my wounds and living in a fog of disbelief, but I am so grateful that I did. It was very healing to write about it. The support I received was overwhelmingly wonderful and exactly what I needed. It gave me more hope for the future of social media. It also made it easier for me not to relive the whole thing in detail with people. “Go read the blog,” I would say, “It’s all there.”
We have been here a day, and life already feels more normal and peaceful in San Juanico than back in California. This is a bit funny, because the Semana Santa fiesta is in full swing and the town is partying late into the night the entire weekend. The beach, which is usually empty save some seaweed, shells, and a random person here and there is packed with hundreds of people. The aroma of tacos and camp fire and the sound of rancho music has taken over this little town. There are tons of food concessions, bars, trampoline bounce houses, carnival games and a stage with a dance floor of sand. Barefooted girls are getting spun and dipped by their cowboy hat wearing partners. The food. My goodness! I don’t know which was my favorite; the ceviche, tacos, tortas, or churros! You’ll have to ask my husband; I am pretty sure he tried two of everything there was to eat!
The beach is full of friendly faces enjoying the event. Most are camped on the sand. The band is playing in the background as I sit here and write.
What a lovely place this is.
I must say, Mexicans certainly do know how to have a good time. Or as five-year-old Lola says, “Mama! Mama! Mexicans sure know how to potluck and picnic!”
In my opinion, I would say that the ability to have a good time is doubly true of the friendly people of San Juanico. Even the nurses, who helped us at the hospital in Guerrero Negro after our accident, spoke of San Juanico in a dreamy awe struck way. One nurse said in Spanish, “they say it’s very beautiful and tranquil. With beaches and wind, and that the people are so friendly there. I must go!”
This charming place has a magic of its own. How lucky we are to have the opportunity to learn, recoup, and recharge here!
What I love about living here in San Juanico is that it’s smaller and so much more calm. Instead of going through the mindless motions of my day, like I do in California, I find myself fascinated and curious about how everything is done here. I am learning a lot about living and while I have traveled and even lived in Mexico in the past, I am seeing life here with an entirely new set of eyes. I am trying to understand myself and others better and I feel that life is slow enough that I can process things in a more restorative way. I think so often we get wrapped up in our Western lives that we are unable to fully process things. We are always on the go. We work to survive, consume and fit as much in as possible. Everything comes at us at warp speed and it’s really hard to take it all in.
From the weekly farmer’s market to Easter break, the events in this town are delightful. La Festival de La Primavera leaves me smiling every time I think about it.
From what I have gathered, the Spring Festivals are most often put on by local schools throughout Mexico. Here in San Juanico, the kids and I participated in one wildly fun community parade and affair!
It all began three weeks before the event, when I reread a sign wrong and thought that I was attending a little dance at the kid’s school, to only realize that I was five minutes late to a meeting that was planning a Spring Festival. The moms talked at warp speed and I tried to process it all. Costumes, decorations, food, a stage and a desfile. I thought to myself, didn’t I look the word desfile up the other day…what did it mean again? Well, I slowly began to form a picture of what this event might be like as I started asking questions. I had a hard time believing that they could pull off their ideas in just three weeks. With four costume changes, the dance numbers alone sounded complicated. Meanwhile, the kids joyfully reported how much they loved their daily dance lessons.
The day of the parade brought a pueblo full of little eagles, tigers, lions, butterflies, and bumble bees who buzzed the streets with children’s delight. They danced with the wind as they awaited their parade chariots. The floats were little more than trailers towed by rusted pickup trucks, but they were transformed with creative decorations, blaring music and the festive spirit of the people.
I am accustomed to sitting and watching parades from the sidelines, but here in the little pueblo of San Juanico, the entire town strolls along with the parade. What fun it was listening to the music and walking with the procession as the salty air came off the ocean. So much laughter and joy!
As the parade ended we all gathered in la Salon Civica, where concessions offering pizza, tamales, pozole and many other flavor bursting foods were being sold to fund raise for the schools. Each school took turns performing dances and songs for the crowd. When the performances were done the children frolicked in festive encumbrance while everyone helped clean up.
We were embraced by the community and we embraced the experience. The kids danced their hearts out and gobbled tamales. I was so grateful to be there.
The end of the week brought us Zoe’s fifth birthday. Once again the Salon Civica was filled with friends and family. The common theme here is food. Zoe’s birthday was no exception, we were served dish after dish and Zoe had her own personal sugar coated table full of treats of countless variety. I love attending these events because I always learn something new. On this occasion, we learned that birthday parties provide two piñatas; one for the girls and a second for the boys. My wild three-year-old boy had a heck of a time waiting for the boy's piñata! And let me say, the kids here know how to work a piñata! They really went after them gusto!
And so there it is. The community and events here are fabulous! We love living here and are so very happy to be back and already falling into the swing of things. The children have one more week off for Spring Break before we fall back into the rhythm of school life here. Summer will arrive before we know it and we are hoping that many of our friends (this means you!) will join us to experience some of the magic of San Juanico. The kids are thrilled to have both their grandma and grandpa in residence! Grandma has helped create the beginnings of a fairy garden the past couple of days and PopPop and Jesse are building a tree fort!
My viewpoint, has once again shifted since the accident. It will be really interesting to see how it changes who I am in the long run. I felt that I was on a really clear path before the accident, but now I have to rebuild and reassess things. That prospect is actually really exciting.
I reflect daily on the miracle of car seats. My children would not have survived without them and I believe that my choice in seats kept them extra safe. I am astounded by the compassion and generosity I received from Diono car seats. Late night, shortly after the accident, I tearfully messaged Diono via their website and thanked them for saving the lives of my kids. They contacted me the following day and continued to check in with the physical and emotional welfare of our family every few days. They also replaced our car seats with brand new ones and used our story as a safety story on their website. https://us.diono.com/safety-stories/.
I have never been super into car seat safety. I turned both kids forward facing just after a year because they got car sick. I did do a lot of research and chose Diono because they seemed like the safest on the market. I am SO happy that I chose them. We have other car seats that we use as backups and our five-year-old has an inexpensive booster seat that, much to her chagrin, we rarely use because I know the 5-point buckle is safest. For me, it's Diono for life. After this accident, I am now a car seat devotee. The irony of my previous posts on fear, safety, and paranoia are not lost on me. Sometimes westerners do get it right and when it comes to car seats, I now herald, “safety first!”
I had the most interesting conversation with the PR person from Diono. I was telling her how no one in San Juanico uses car seats. She responded with a, “that’s crazy!” And my answer was, “it's simply the way it is.”
I think the reason they don't use car seats is based on three circumstances. Number one is lack of knowledge and education. The second is that they can't afford them and third is that the pueblo is isolated and access to purchase car seats is limited.
I do know that towns people here are asking me about the experience of our accident and I am advocating the importance of car seats.
I am hoping that I can get readers like you to donate gently used car seats for the families of San Juanico. My goal is to collect thirty or so. My hope is to get enough to donate to all the kids in the Jardin class and possibly some infant seats. I can also purchase Cosco Sceneras for around $40 if any would rather donate money. https://www.walmart.com/search/?query=cosco%20scenera
If you are interested in donating money toward a seat or donating a used seat, please message me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will be sure to send you individual information and photos about the families you are helping!
Thanks so much for reading my blog. Your support after our crazy accident has been incredibly healing! And thank you for considering donating a car seat to this sweet pueblo! It’s as simple as checking your garage for a spare, asking your friends if they have an extra car seat collecting dust in their garage, or skipping going out to sushi for lunch and donating $20-$40 instead. Your donation will save lives!!
Hasta entonces, mas tarde...
Have a beautiful day and Happy Easter!