Twelve years ago, on January 5th, 2005, I came to Sayulita, Mexico for the first time. I had never been anywhere in Mexico before but in mid November, 2004 I put in a request to the Big U(niverse) to give me a sign telling me where I could go for two months in January and February and I gave the Universe a deadline: I needed to know within 24 hours. Sixteen hours later the answer came through a friend of a friend (who had no idea I had put out a request!) The answer was: Sayulita, Mexico. I knew that it was the sign I was waiting for because in October I’d had a couple of dreams about Mexico, which had bewildered me at the time since I had no interest in Mexico at all! Sooooo I heeded that sign, booked my ticket right away and found an amazing place to stay for my two months there. I remember that when I said goodbye to my friend, Aleta, she said: “Lady, I bet you don’t come back to Canada!” I was totally surprised. It hadn’t occurred to me that I might MOVE. Whaaa?? No no no. Nothing like that. I just need some time away alone to see if I want to stay in this ten year relationship or not. That’s all. The sign had been given and on January 5th, 2005, I was off!
I’d only ever been to the tropics once before in 1990 when I went to Thailand. So, of course, when I stepped off the airplane and the warm, humid air hit me, I was instantly reminded of Thailand. I thought: hmmmm….this is pleasant….! It had seriously never occurred to me to live in the tropics. I loved Europe and hoped that I would one day live there again.
Our airplane was late so we arrived after dark. I had met some people on the airplane (unusual for me) and they were all going farther north than I was, to La Penita, so they urged me to come with them in their big taxi van. I did and I was sooooo happy I did! I got the front seat and the window was open and the warm breeze was a-blowin’ (at night! How is that possible!? In Victoria there are maybe 3 nights in the summer that one doesn’t need a sweater or jacket!). I’ll never forget the feeling of freedom and excitement that I had on that hour-long taxi ride through strange Mexican towns and then through the winding jungle road. Two images stand out: a random cow with big, gorgeous horns walking, untethered at the side of the road and an unattended fire blazing up on the shoulder of the highway….both delighted me deeply…where was I that this could exist? How wonderful to be in a place with little control, little regulation. I could feel myself expanding…
We turned off the highway to Sayulita and I got my first glimpse of the town I was to make my home – unbenownst to me at the time! It was dark but the streets were alive with people and all the shops and restaurants were WIDE OPEN to the elements! Aesthetically, it wasn’t France (ha!) but there was a sense of relief of not having to live up to a certain standard of ‘what is beautiful’…I was feeling more free by the minute…The taxi van pulled over and let me out in the middle of town. I knew where to go – just down a block to the Sayulita Property place where someone would be there to meet me and take me to my rental. As I was crossing the street with my big suitcase, just a few seconds in to my arrival, I saw someone I knew!! He knew me, too, and came over and greeted me. Turns out his birthday is the same as my current-at-the-time boyfriend (weird!) – he wasn’t a friend but a customer at the cafe I’d worked at from 1995 to 2000. I thought that was rather auspicious….30 seconds in a brand new foreign town and already I feel comfortable because I know somebody! Ha! I left him and walked half a block to the property place which was dark and closed up. Out of the shadows came a wrinkly old, stooped, brown, shirtless Mexican man. He knew no english and I knew no spanish. We assumed we were the right people, though, and he heaved my suitcase into the back of his white (shockless – I was soon to find out) pick-up truck. And off we went! Farther and farther and farther out of town. In the dark dark night. NOW….one would think that I might be starting to feel a little fearful…after all, here I am with a strange man in a strange land in the middle of nowhere…but, for some reason, I had no fear at all…it all just felt RIGHT and I knew it was right. It even felt fine when he got lost! Ha! Like we were old friends (though pretty much silent because we were unable to communicate!) who had just taken a wrong turn by mistake – no problema. So here we were in the middle of the jungle at a dead end road! He was saying “Camino”, which I knew was Path or Road and then he was saying “Lampara” or something like that and gesturing to the floor under my feet. I reached down and found a flashlight and then illuminated the path for him so he could do a 14-point turn to get us out of this tight spot. Haahahah sooo funny. Soon, we were on our way again…and we pulled into a place with silhouettes of little casitas here and there. We started looking around for my casita and soon some people came out of theirs to help us. They were from New York and when I said something about my casita having Wireless Internet they both laughed: “Out here??!! We’re in the jungle!” I felt a little ridiculous but muttered, “They promised me there was internet….” and really, I trusted that they wouldn’t lie to me but, yeah, we’re in the middle of the jungle and clearly those people did NOT have internet. You see, I still had to work while I was here, Monday to Friday, so it was imperative I had internet. (I did have internet – mine was the only casita that got it!)
Eventually we found my casita and in I went. Instantly a cat hopped in through the pane-less windows and greeted me. Another good omen, I thought. I inspected my abode….it has a wonderful porch with an outdoor shower and toilet and sitting area. In order to commence the beginning of a brand new adventure I immediately got out my Jamesons whiskey, poured myself a drink, and settled in on the
uncovered porch. It was dark. There were noises in the trees overhead. The jungle was alive with strange noises, in fact. What the hell was that in the tree above me? A monkey? Noooooo….what the….? Debris rained down on me. I moved over. Oh and, wow, the other sound was the roaring ocean. OK, so here I am…in Mexico in the dark…by myself….I’m going to be here for TWO months….I started to feel a
glimmer of anxiety, a shiver of fear…was this a good idea? Then, in the next instant, my wiser inner voice said, “Enjoy the excitement of not knowing! Enjoy the Mystery! In a few days and weeks the mystery is going to be GONE….so enjoy this feeling right now…it is sheer Excitement!” So I did. I relished it. Bathed in it. Steeped in it! ???? And, the bonus is that, in actual fact, the mystery never left! Sure….its lessened but I am still having ‘firsts’!! And, the amount of Firsts in the first 3 years was unnnnnnbelievable.
The next morning I woke up to a gloriously sunny, warm day and made my coffee, scalded milk and honey and put it in my Paris bowl and made my way down to the beach…everything was illuminated now in the light of day and I got to explore where I was going to be for the next two months! The boulders called, and being a boulder-on-the-ocean-sitter from way back, I sat on a boulder, drinking my coffee
while occasionally being sprayed by a particularly dynamic warm wave. Pure Heaven! I spent my mornings this way and worked at night. Writing, taking photos, dreaming on those boulders and in the lounge chairs under the palm-roofed palapas on the beach…This was exactly what I needed!
After two stellar months I went back to Victoria with the idea that I’d like to come back to Sayulita once a year – yessss, that would be nice. No thoughts of breaking up or of moving to Sayulita entered my head….until Day 3 of being home. Then, it happened. The break up. Then, the idea that I could go back to Sayulita and live there while he took his time moving out of the apartment. So, one month later I was back in Sayulita living in a fabulous casita that was owned by a new friend, Belle, that I’d met through my first friend in Sayulita, Caroline!
By the end of May I had fallen completely and utterly and madly and passionately in love with a local Mexican…My experience with him was out of this world. Like nothing I’d ever imagined to be possible. He blew my mind. My friends back in Victoria called him “Jungle Boy” after they’d heard some of my breathless stories about him.
One of our first outings was to go snorkeling at night. I had been snorkelling just one other time in my life and I could barely remember how to do it. I remember the gentle waves coming in on the rocks south of Los Muertos beach…no one else around, just the two of us….me stumbling around in my awkward flippers in the shallow waves, trying to get my mask and snorkel on, being given an underwater light and then…whoosh…following him into the warm, dark ocean…Ahhhhhhhhh…it was like a dream! The World just dropped away….all I could hear was my breathing and the crackling of life in the ocean…the ocean undulated, it was warm, dark…the ocean itself was breathing…then, he swam over to me and put his arm around my waist…I stopped flipping and he guided me through the water…flashing his light at fish and lobster to point them out to me. I let myself be guided. Relaxed totally. Felt completely safe. Then, he left me and dove down down down and speared a lobster and put it in his net. Next, he showed off and snuck up on one and caught it with his hands. Yes, I was wow’ed. Later, during another night of lobster-spearing, when he’d shown me the phosphorescence in the sand and water, I turned my light off and then waved my arms back and forth and the dark water lit up with hundreds of tiny stars…..it was like being a part of the firmament….beautiful!
As in an Enchanted Dream World we went on Adventures, as we called them, a few times a week…I’ll never forget the first time I saw him climb up a tall tall palm tree, sit on top of the coconuts and twist them until four fell to the sand below and then proceed to open them WITHOUT tools. Yes, without tools. And each time he’d get us coconuts from a tree he’d open them a different way.
We’d go hunting in the jungle in the night. He’d bring me back javelin (wild boar) and wild rabbit to make into French wine-based stews….once we stopped driving along a country road bordering fields and he picked up a few rocks, threw them one at a time at a group of ducks that seemed very far away, and actually made contact with a duck with his second rock and killed it. It became stew. (I cried a bit, yes I did, but he never knew) Whenever there was a fruit tree along the side of a country road we’d stop and he’d get some fruit down for me to try: mangoes, limes, passion fruits, guaybanas, guamuchiles, strange wild papayas, fresh shoots from parrota tree seeds, lychees…or we’d stop to see, close-up, and hear the racket being made by hundreds of cicadas in a wee grove.
One particularly magical night was the first night I’d ever seen luciernigas. We’d been at a secluded beach all day long and at dusk we started to drive home…we drove over a cement bridge that actually had the river water flowing over it by about six inches. He decided that we needed to rinse off our salt water bodies with dulce agua (fresh/sweet water) which we did. (it’s so hot in the summer that being wet in your bathing suit is the most comfortable thing to be in!) By the time we’d finished getting all sweet-watered it was pitch black so we decided to sit on the river bank. It was completely dark with no lights around and then….it happened….across the river bank was a large dark tree…and in front of it and all around it were thousands of glittering, sparkling, firey, fire flies!!! It was the most beautiful sight I’d ever seen!! Just magic! Always, it felt like Nature was pulling out all the stops just for us…
We’d drive into tiny pueblos in the middle of nowhere and get invited in for lunch to a couple’s one room shack with a dirt floor…we’d talk to people for hours at their houses about the strange things they have seen (spirits, UFOs), we’d catch camarones in the rivers, we’d cook up fish or collect ocean snails and cook em up in butter over a beach fire, we’d frolick in the warm ocean like children and throw rocks in the air, we’d move boulders around to make comfortable seating areas in the water during
summer season when you just wanted to sit in the ocean all day long, we’d play beach hop-scotch or beach golf with sticks and a ball, we’d climb mountains, him machete-ing the way for us and slicing a vine down so we could drink the water from it :), he’d do tarot card readings for complete strangers in small pueblos, we’d walk for hours in the jungle to find a gorgeous waterfall, we learned to surf together, a turtle once crawled up from the ocean (much to my surprise. I was like “Is that boulder MOVING??” It was dark ???? ) and laid her eggs just five feet from us (it took about an hour)…it was like a dream those first few years…
And then (I swear, I am going to finish this!) we found land for me! This had been something I’d desired all my life…all I really wanted was an acreage with fruit trees and to design and build a house (or renovate one) The cost of doing this around Victoria, BC Canada was pretty prohibitive for me – it wasn’t going to happen…so, at the age of 38 (the age I left Canada for Mexico) I’d pretty much come to terms with the fact that I’d probably never have an acreage with fruit trees or build a house (although I had designed many over the years!). Well….the big U ended up pointing me to Mexico (where the cost wasn’t prohibitive!) and, through my hombre, eventually pointed me to my land and to my fruit trees and to a house I designed and that is 3/4 built (!), in May of 2008. Isn’t that amazing??
It feels like such a STORY. Yet, it happened to me. With me. I don’t know. I remember feeling so HAPPY that Life could be so magically, wonderfully, SURPRISING! It startled me. At fourteen years old I remember thinking: “Oh Life – how are you going to be interesting? If I always know what I like (and I do: Sagittarius Venus) then it’s always going to go in one straight line! One direction!” That’s funny, isn’t it?
My true and deep desire for an authentic foreign experience clearly informed the path that the Universe offered me…but, consciously, it was a total surprise! At 38 I felt quite old…and it was the feeling that I was going to die if I didn’t make a change, that propelled me to take a two month working vacation to be alone and figure things out in a foreign country.
I feel like I was ‘called’ to Sayulita….like my future was pulling me, saying, “Come this way…hey! Over here! No no, don’t go there, come HERE. Yessss, that’s right!” The dreams of Mexico and the brown-bodied male who kissed me so passionately in one of those dreams from October 2004, my plea to the Universe for a sign (I had been internet searching for places in France or Italy to stay and nothing was gelling) and then receiving the Sign and then trusting that Sign (it was backed up by my dreams, after all!) and then actually following its command! I often wonder what my life would be like right now if I hadn’t put out that intense plea to the Universe for a sign. (or if it hadn’t been answered by Kary!) Where would I be now? On one of my many life path possibilities, no doubt!
Ooooh LIFE. You’re crazy and fascinating and challenging and exasperating and heart-breaking….and beautiful and magical and delicious and exciting and…a Mystery. Yes, you are. A Magical Mystery. And I love you.
Here’s to wonderful Surprises!!!
If you’ve read this far – wowwwwww – super-love to you!!