I Bailed on Mexico for Thanksgiving 2007

You have to make your own Thanksgiving when you live in Mexico, so this year my son and I bailed for the U.S. My tummy is full of home made pre-Thanksgiving apple pie as I write this blog entry.

I’ve been missing Mexico, though. I miss the way people interact with my son in Mexico. Often people give him the cold shoulder in the U.S. In Mexico people share their sticky, choking hazard candies with him when he cries. In Mexico men talk to him in line at the bank. In Mexico women coo and smile at him. In Mexico EVERYBODY takes a moment to shake his hand and say hello as part of the greeting ritual that happens naturally among adults. It puts him at ease and makes him feel welcome.

I’ve been trying to encourage him to still greet people here since it is natural for me and not awkward as it was when we first moved to Mexico, but often the adults don’t expect it at all and the whole thing flops. Oh well, a few days of turkey, stuffing, and time with his grandparents and aunts won’t ruin him. It’s nothing a day back in Mexico won’t fix.

Migration

Live in Mexico and Experience Bird Migrations in a New Way

One of my favorite things now that I live in Mexico is experiencing the bird migrations that happen in the Americas in a new way. Mexico creates this wonderful bottleneck in the path over land from North America to South America and the birds bunch up here. I’d love to participate in a bird count some day, but for right now I’m just experiencing the new arrivals to our yard. Our landlord has lots of trees in his yard and so do our neighbors but the most important factor in attracting the birds is that we live on the edge of a very steep ravine. The water in the stream at the bottom of the ravine is quite polluted and choked with plastic refuse, but since the sides of the ravine are so steep, people haven’t cleared them and there are a wide variety of tree species represented.

Just this last week I saw a vireo-like bird with a black eye stripe hopping among the branches of the nispero tree outside my kitchen window. Seeing him was like seeing an old friend. I see that type of bird every year at this time. Today I saw a precious little yellow bellied bird doing the same thing in my landlord’s lemon tree. It was good to see one of these little guys back, too. In fact, this afternoon as we sat eating sweet mandarin oranges so juicy their nectar trickled down our wrists, we watched them for quite a while. They were both out there working the branches for nutritional insects while a gentle breeze rustled the leaves all around us.

I can’t identify them based on the two bird books I have with me. In fact, if you plan to do birding while you live in Mexico, you should do some research on bird identification guides for Mexico. It’s something that I haven’t taken the time to do, but I do know they are hard to find and are often incomplete. Sometimes guides for the U.S. and Canada portion of North America will do the trick but you have to have West Coast, East Coast, Central Plains, Rocky Mountains, you-get-the-picture guides because birds from all over come through Mexico not to mention all of the resident species! Planning how to organize a guide useful in Mexico must be a real head breaker. I think I might do it by habitat type and time of year.

How exciting it must be to plan your retirement in a whole new migratory corridor! Mexico is for savoring.

Tip Your Mailman Once a Year When you Retire in Mexico

November 12th is el día del cartero (mailman’s day). This is the day that you can give him a little extra to show your appreciation for bringing you your mail.