Hola, Normal

 by Molly Williams   

This year, I really can’t wait to be here. I know I say that every winter, when my skin is paler than the snow before we drive on it and mush it into ugliness, and the mornings are dreary without birdsong. But this last year has been particularly bleak. If the months prior to November were filled with rancor and anxiety, the months since have been one long study in continental disbelief, punctuated by outbursts of horrified incredulity tinged with panic.

Of course I don’t speak for everyone, and I understand many don’t share my views, but this year it does seem as though the political process has involved just about all of us here; it has been nearly unavoidable, and inescapable, at work, at home, in social situations. I have friends who won’t watch the news out of fear of what may happen next, and others who can’t look away for the same reason. On both sides of the spectrum, ranges of emotion rarely before displayed in my beloved and extraordinary land of the free are bouncing off the scales.

And when I am oh, so fed up with it all, I turn to a wonderful FB page I discovered a year or so ago, where nothing ever changes. On it, delightful friends and locals in Puerto Vallarta exchange sunset pictures, post notices about where to find the most delicioso tres leche cake in Old Town, search for a lost doggie, advise as to the recent changes in taxi fares from the airport so new arrivals will be informed, and generally make life here in our little paradise just that little bit more perfect. There is a continuing search for the perfect table for the balcony. Often people are trying to find an affordable short term rental (me too! So I dream along with those posters.) Politics is strictly forbidden (heaven!) and as it is a private page, anyone being too negative is booted. Would that I could do that in my real life!

    This site makes me happy, when I am away from PV. It reminds me of the people here, the sounds, the aromas, even. Frequently someone has found a wallet or a camera, or lost one, and voila, it is returned intact. Really? Only in PV, honest cabbies.

 I could take a slice out of it from last year, or the year before, and it would be the same. That is my tonic. It makes the news fade, the daily onslaught of yuck feel so far away and unnecessary.

Refresh my soul, oh continuity of normalcy!

I know that when I arrive smiles, kindness, generosity and humor will greet me. The ugliness of the north will go to its corner, and it can sulk, forgotten in its own lonely company, while I enjoy discovering a new restaurant that our friend Jose Luis suggests or wander safely through a neighborhood I haven’t seen before. Thank you, Puerto Vallarta, for being the same, for welcoming me, for the eternity of the beach and the cobblestones, and the friendliness of your people, and for letting me know that you understand I don’t share the mean-spirited rhetoric coming from others’ mouths.

Connections among people and between cultures are what will move us forward, not building obstacles between us. Relationships are threads woven one at a time, little by little, until we are all interconnected into a colorful patchwork. So for this year again, Puerto Vallarta, and this year more than ever, hola, and gracias for your friendship.