A Slight Change of Plans


In Guanajuato. Mexico. Again. I’m back after spending three months here last spring. This wasn’t where I was supposed to be. In my grand plan of plans. I was to be in Frankfurt right now, likely in my apartment, watching some TV or getting ready for bed, retreating cozily from the German winter, as opposed to drinking a late morning cappuccino, in a coffee shop with its doors and windows splayed wide open to the sun-filled, warm Guanajuato air. I was to be six months into my Frankfurt job, settling into life in Germany once again, exploring, solidifying new friendships, plotting spring and summer adventures throughout Europe. Not here. Not at a cafetería in the narrow passageways of Guanajuato. As plans go, you could say my most recent one went a little awry.

As I sit here at my high-top, two-person black, metal table, the sound of a blender can be heard to my left, behind the bar. The barista mixing up a frozen drink for one of the customers. Ahead of me, outside the front door, a parade of blue-striped, white minibuses loudly and slowly squeezes its way through the one-way, narrow street, each bus carrying passengers into Guanajuato from the west and toward the center of town. The street is so tight I feel I could reach out and touch the red-stone building on the other side.

It’s been five months since my last blog post. Not a good sign. Rather, it’s an indicator of the state of my life over those many months. I’ve started. I’ve begun several posts since then, but they’ve all remained undone. Files on my computer. Good intentions but failed attempts. My lack of creative output, of a desire and capacity to write and publish for an audience, is likely met with empathy from other writers or artists of any kind reading this who themselves have fallen into ruts of disenchantment or apathy or the general inability to create. Writing posts such as these is typically a joyous, emotion-filled thing. A way to share my thoughts, my ideas, my life. A way of sharing the good times, the struggles, the awes. When I’m feeling stressed, depressed, anxious, numb…writing for an audience is among the last of the things I want to do. 

So, my life in Frankfurt, you might be thinking, was filled with stress, depression, anxiety and numbness? Yep. It was. Wow, that sounds like fun! There’s really no disguising it or masking it or trying to deflect from it. My life in Frankfurt was a challenge, explaining why, once again, I’m currently residing in Mexico. Now, to be clear, my time in Frankfurt was also filled with fun, discovery, bike riding, football watching and beer drinking, so by all means, it wasn’t a complete and utter wash. I did have fun there. There was much good with the bad, but my sitting here in Guanajuato right now, rather than on a couch in Bad Soden, is proof that the bad, in the end, far outweighed the good. There’s a lot to explain, a lot to write about, regarding my time in Frankfurt and my eventual decision to leave, and I do intend on telling some of that story in future posts. But in way of summation for now, suffice it to say, things did not work out there as I’d hoped.

Roughly five months to the day also marks the date in which an event occurred that rocked my world and that heavily contributed to my mood and lack of interest in writing for months to come. My mom, Nancy, passed away. On August 27th. Just one week into my new job. I received the news of her death the morning of the first student day at my new school. It was shocking. And awful, of course. My life quickly became radically reorganized, and the stress of rushing back to Minnesota, planning her memorial service, moving out of her apartment and beginning to organize her affairs – all within about 10 days – then rushing back to Frankfurt to begin a brand new job, behind the enormous, proverbial eight-ball, was immense. I mean, beginning a new job in a new country is fucking stressful enough in the best of circumstances. This blew that out of the water.

Writing this, as I am, is difficult. I think, because it’s been so long since I’ve written, that the process of putting this post together is that much harder. It’s like this post has to be a somewhat perfect synopsis of my feelings and a succinct explanation of what I’ve been doing since late August and why it’s taken me so long to write. I’m not just writing about the experiences of my last week or two. I’m writing to try and encapsulate my general thoughts, moods and experiences into one post.

However, here’s how I see it. And here’s what I actually want to do with this post. More than anything, I’m dedicated (hell-bent?) on at least getting a post – this post – out there. The longer I wait, the harder it will get. The more I think I need to write a perfect post, the greater the chance a post will never get written. So, like the mole hill that became a mountain or the snowball that became an avalanche, I’m hoping that, at its least, this post will serve as the writing that gets my juices flowing – that the next post, and the next one after that will get easier and easier. That’s the goal, and that’s the hope. Writing begets writing. Right? Write! HAHAHA

I suppose perhaps a logical question at this point is, “Why Guanajuato?” Not, “Why did I leave Frankfurt?” Again, I’ll get to that in more depth in later posts. But, “Why Guanajuato?” Well, as I said, I came here for three weeks late last winter, in an attempt to practice my Spanish, escape the Minnesota cold and have some fun living in a different culture and hopefully hanging out with some cool people. All of those things happened, so while I was in Frankfurt this past October, and while I was strongly considering resigning from my job, I began plotting a realistic, positive, possible Plan B. Guanajuato was one of the first places that came to mind. It seemed that it would offer much of what I was looking for, and in a way, an existence that was the polar opposite of the one I was living out in Frankfurt. It would be sunny and warm, I could work on my Spanish, I’d be literally surrounded by people, I could take things slowly and at my own pace, the stress would be negligible and I could use the time to reflect, process and plan for what would come next in my life. I made the decision in November to rent a place here through the middle of April. Long enough to experience the unique and colorful way Mexicans celebrate Semana Santa and Easter, and long enough to escape most of the harsh, Minnesota winter. So far, so good.

My days to this point have been filled with Spanish classes at the local Escuela Mexicana, reading, journal writing, walks through the city, yoga and exercise, chats with housemates in my shared housing “home,” cooking, and shopping for food at the “muy cerca” Embajadoras Market. Nights have been filled with “intercambios” at various bars to practice my Spanish conversation, dinners with friends old and new, strolling the always bustling city center, live music and sometimes just hanging out solo in my apartment, content with the notion that the next day I’ll wake up, able to do what I want, when I want and enjoy the kinds of things that fill me up, as opposed to those that stress me out and tear me down.

This past week I hung out quite a bit with classmate and friend, Michael, who I met here last year. A fellow Princeton Tiger, him from New Jersey and me of course from Minnesota, we had a lot of good times eating out at small mom and pop taco places, getting street food together, hitting up a couple of intercambios in the evenings, a cooking class at the school, in which we learned how to make chiles rellenos, and, on Saturday, joining other fellow students from the school on a little outing to Ex Hacienda San Gabriel de Barrera just outside of the city. This is a silver production facility (1600s-1700s) come grand Spanish estate (until the 1800s) come gardens, museum, hotel and event center (mid 1900s to present). It’s a gorgeous, super tranquil place, with around 20 gardens, each set in a different theme or according to county of origin. Later that night we joined other friends Marta and Caroline at a spoken word open mic 20 minutes walk away at a different old estate organized by housemate, and birthday girl, Kate. With a nice cocktail ahead of time, and followed by some tacos el pastor at a place Michael and I had been to earlier in the week, it proved to be quite a fun night.

Well, my cappuccino is finished, and it’s time for me to move on with my day. The post is officially done and published! Yay!!! I did it!

Later I have some Spanish homework and yoga to do. (I’m trying to keep my daily Yoga with Adriene streak alive.) I’ll also grab a few things at the market later today, maybe go for a walk, and likely just have a quiet night in tonight. Michael has already flown back to New Jersey, and I could stand a few quieter nights to myself this week. Here’s to hoping my next post doesn’t take me five months to write. As always, if you read this, and if you’ve managed to get all the way down here to the very, very bottom, please do me a favor and let me know. Nothing fancy, nothing long. It’s just nice to know who’s been reading. Thanks and nos vemos!

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