Garbage Collection Resolved

When you move to Mexico you might be surprised that you can’t just put your garbage can out on the street and have it picked up. In most places in Mexico you have to personally take your garbage to the garbage truck when it comes by. For this reason someone on the garbage collection crew rings a bell, loudly informing people that they need to gather their garbage and come out to dispose of it.

Each city is different, but that’s the general plan. A second option is to take your garbage in a personal vehicle–if you have one–and throw it away in a dumpster. In Cuernavaca our garbage collection was relatively random as far as day and time of collection was concerned. Then we began to have major problems with garbage–and if you live here you’ll know that that is an understatement. As part of these problems garbage collection became even more sporadic and quite infrequent. In our family we survived the crunch by having my husband take it to a dumpster on his way to work.

Suddenly the city had the problem resolved. A new company began to take over garbage collection in the neighborhoods. Much to our dismay they removed the dumpsters all over the city. It became my job to listen for the garbage truck and run out to throw the garbage away. No easy feat with a toddler in the house! I was getting quite wound up about the whole thing because the new bells were quieter and I couldn’t hear the truck until it was already in my street, giving me all of 60 seconds to get my son in the stroller, the gate unlocked, and charge out, garbage in one hand, stroller handle in the other. What if we were in the middle of a diaper change?

Well I stressed and groused and asked a neighbor to shout at me when he heard the truck working its way through our neighborhood. He told me he heard the truck and I’d come out and the truck would either have already left or would take 20 more minutes to come. There I’d be, standing in the hot sun with my son and my garbage. As if that weren’t enough, sometimes I had to leave on garbage collection day and would have to leave my garbage with a neighbor. That’s when the solution began to form its self.

Apparently others were having the same problems I was. In fact, I’m sure they were because I saw people running and shouting to each other when the truck showed up. People in my neighborhood NEVER run and never shout. Everyone walks and speaks to eath other in conversational tones. Mexicans rarely make a show. People began to pile their garbage up at the bases of trees and posts in the morning of collection day. One day my neighbor helped me to take my garbage out and that’s what she did. She piled mine right on the pile. Later that day it was gone. I hadn’t even heard the truck!

Ahhhh. Relief. Now all I have to do is take my garbage out to the street in the morning on collection day.

What Has Changed in Your Life Lately?

It seems like it’s hard to change our lives. Doesn’t it always end up being the “same old same old?” I realized the other day, that since moving to Mexico 6 years ago, my life has changed in many small ways. In a lot of ways I’m closer to being the person I want to be. There’s nothing like moving to another country to make you try news ways of doing things and to make you experience new ways of seeing things.

A Focus on Emotional Health 

One example of this is that my concept of health has radically changed.  The change has come about through a series of gradual steps, so I didn’t notice until yesterday when a friend mentioned that an acquaintance had developed painful calcium deposits on his bones. I instantly thought of all the stress and anger in his life and jumped to the conclusion that if he were to reduce the stress in his life and increase the joy, the calcium deposits would probably melt away. My friend gave me a clinically-based series of possibilities about calcium fixation in the body. I realized that a few years ago I wouldn’t have been able to get beyond the clinical view point either. But why would his body fix too much calcium in the first place? Where was the lack of harmony coming from? Aparently my time in Mexico has allowed me to focus on my emotionial health.

The Ignore It/Deny It Health Care Method 

Another thing Mexico has taught me about health is that sometimes we fixate on it too much. Here in Mexico people can’t afford to be sick. They can’t afford the time off work; they can’t afford the cost of medications and doctor visits, so they just live with minor discomforts until they get used to them, they go away, or get so bad they have to deal with them. I’ve participated in this ignore-it/deny-it health care method and while it’s not healthy, it does make me less of a whiner.

A Broader Community of Friends 

I’ve had opportunities here in Mexico that I would not have had back in the U.S. Just being a “foreigner” makes me part of a community of people from all over the world. I have an Italian friend who is a silversmith and Reiki master, a Canadian friend, an American friend who knows all about early childhood development and teaching disabled children, and my Mexican friends tend to be world travelers. I took a dance course similar to pilates from a retired professional modern dancer and learned a lot about ballance, strength, coordination, and timing.

I’ve quit watching TV entirely and I read a much wider range of books than I used to. This being due to the fact that I read anything my family in the U.S. sends to me!

What has changed in your life lately? If you decide to work, live, or retire in Mexico you can count on your life changing in unexpectedly wonderful ways.

Poverty Syndrome Is Getting Me

When you live or retire in Meixco it is important to either keep your expenses quite low by owning your own home, not owning a car, eating at home, and/or living in un-popular regions or to have a high enough income in dollars to fully cover the lifestyle you want to live. Mexico is famous as an inexpensive place to live, but if you can’t live or retire in dollars your limited earning power can make it feel very expensive.

For single people on an adventure it’s lovely to face the challenges of living on your earnings in Mexico. For retired people the lifestyle can be a real improvement over what you would have in the U.S. or Canada on the same pension, but to support a family can be more difficult. Currently, we are living on my husband’s income while I am a stay-at-home mom (my meager earnings from this web site are enough to keep me working on the project, but not enough to really improve our standard of living). I’m starting to understand parts of poverty mentality.

Here’s one way this poverty mentality is working on me: If I were to return to work, I’d increase my effort level greatly. I’d have to iron clothes, do hair dos, get up at a certain time in the morning, shower without fail, cook meals at night to prepare lunches, etc. If I were to run out of water or experience any other of the plethora of challenges that crop up in Mexico I wouldn’t have the time to deal with them calmly and patiently, not to mention my patience level with our little son. Since I’d be doing all of that for less than 1,000 U.S. dollars a month I just don’t get motivated to go out there an get my nose to the grindstone. It’s easier to just stay at home and try not to incurr any costs.

So I tell myself that I’m using my time wisely to lay the foundation for an illustrious career as an author.