I just moved to a new town a few hours away from the U.S. border in the blazing hot Mexican desert. This will be my new home, the place where I will settle down and hopefully have kids.
I’m a big city girl by definition. I’m also a hybrid between Mexican and American cultures. I was born in Mexico City (a city of 22 million people) and lived four years in the Midwestern United States as a child. Later my family went back to Mexico, where I got an excellent education in the American-style private school system. I went to college in Mexico and took the time to live in France and Canada for one year each for college credit. I love languages and have a love for all things French. After finishing college I decided to go to grad school in New York City, where I stayed for 13 years and the place I called my “real home” ever since.
In New York I worked for the United Nations and as a philanthropy/fundraising consultant for large international charities. In the last four years I have increasingly devoted time after working hours to become an artist and yoga teacher. In New York, I also started a non-profit for children in locations with no artistic education access. Now, after being a big city executive there for those 13 years, I decided to marry a Mexican cowboy from the northern Mexican desert. The wedding happened only a few weeks ago! I’ve just unpacked from our honeymoon.
I refer to my new husband as my Mexican Tornado. This word reminds me of the dust tornados that come through here from day to day. Just like them, my new husband can swish by me just like that, coming in and out of our home like a whirlwind in his cowboy hat and driving his pick-up truck. He is in a frenzy all the time going to and from our house to the family ranch and fields of crops that he manages, or back and forth from meetings as he expands and re-invigorates the ranch after its decline due to his father’s old age.
He wasn’t always a cowboy. He devoted the last 10 years of his life to high level executive positions in Mexico City. How life brought a New York City executive-turned artist/yogi and a Mexico City executive-turned-cowboy together is beyond me. Suffice to say that the universe made it so. We met and dated in grad school in New York 13 years ago, after which we stopped seeing each other for almost 10 years. Life brought us face to face again at a school reunion in 2010 and the rest is history.
And now, here I am, in this dusty Mexican town. I call it my “five-minute town,” since you can easily drive anywhere within five minutes. Our town has no movie theater. Luckily we have bank branches. (I was very surprised!). We have two supermarkets with local Mexican products, five restaurants (one bad seafood place, three good steak places and surprisingly, a good sushi place), several little taco places and holes in the wall, one private k-12 school, one private k-6 school, a couple of public k-12 schools, one small branch of the state university (thank you God!!!) and one track and field public sports complex. That is it. The main economic drivers here are crops and cows; the best steak in Mexico comes from these parts, hence the steak restaurants. There is also a lot of dust everywhere.
Due to the lack of entertainment, people here spend their afternoons and evenings at home, with the family and with each others’ families. There are barbeques almost three times per week. Social life is family life. There is nothing else. Family includes little grandmas, aunts, cousins, little kids, far-away extended family and close friends.
In this blog I will relate to you my story of a modern international woman living in this dusty, little male-led corner of the world, as I maneuver through set gender roles, women in my new family that have never left this town, curious people that are watching what I do at all times, and a lovely mother-in-law that calls me five times a day when she isn’t dropping by. I understand her, since what could possibly be better to occupy oneself in a five-minute town than being part of the life of a new international and modern gal that, luckily for her, has just become her daughter-in-law?
I call her the Progressive Woman since she let my husband (then fiancé) and I sleep in the same room for several nights even though the wedding was still three months away! This was quite an enormously progressive leap for her 75 years…even if the Mexican Tornado and I are almost 40 years old. But we still had to hide the sleepover from society. Progressive Woman, apart from being the REAL head of the family, is awesome. I think there may be more power to women here after all…we shall find out.