Paradise & Parenting: To Our New Residents

It seems like there are new residents moving to our fair city each and every week. I am on a Facebook page for expats, and nearly every day someone posts that they are ready to fulfill their lifelong dream of living in Mexico. They are selling everything they own except the Keurig. They are giving away anything with a fleece lining, chuckling the whole time. They are packing up their Chacos and vegan sunscreen (the handy Facebook group told them they won’t find those things here). They are just tossing it all and moving to downtown PV.

If any of these things describe you, you are most welcome. Of course you are! Especially if you are nice and you either do not drive or you drive a very small car that only needs about half a parking spot. The car thing is negotiable; the niceness, not so much. But we are happy you’re here.

You probably got here in January or so, and you have been thrilled with the move ever since. We call this The Honeymoon Period. We’ve all had ours with Vallarta, and it is a fantastic time in your life. All your friends are posting pics of their roofs falling in due to snow weight, while you are sitting on the beach drinking mai tais while they clean your condo’s pool. That might be an exaggeration. MIGHT be, I said.

The first months are all about finding your way around in a new city, making several slightly serious language errors (don’t describe yourself as “caliente” for example, if you find the temperature hot. Just trust me), and making the necessary digestive adjustments in which you stay close to a toilet with a sturdy flushing lever. While these things can be inconvenient and uncomfortable at times, they make for great anecdotes over ribs at El Rio BBQ on a Friday afternoon (once the digestive issues have settled down).

Once you get to the end of May and into June, like now, things start to heat up (and El Rio BBQ closes for the season). And that’s when you begin to wonder if maybe life is quite as fine in Vallarta as you thought it would be. Oh, I’ve read all the upbeat posts on the Facebook group, and I know most of you are too intimidated to complain. No one wants to respond to the beautiful sunset photos and the “I love summer in PV!” posts with “THANK YOU SUN FOR FINALLY GOING DOWN AND GIVING US A BLESSED BREAK!” or “You must also love sitting inside the oven while you are baking, how nice for you.”

You don’t have to pretend for me. You have a safe space here, because here you will find another sympathetic soul who doesn’t handle heat well. I make the most apologies to people during the months of June to November. I am here to commiserate and also to offer some suggestions on dealing with the surliness you may feel.

You need to ingest and submerge in bodies of water. Find water and stay in there as long as possible. Drink a lot of beverages with ice cubes in them. If you drink alcohol, you must double the water intake because a headache and heat is not going to improve a less-than-sunny disposition.

If you don’t like paying the sky-high electricity bills that come with A/C use, you may want to try the misting fan or the large floor fan. Or stay in Costco until they tell you they really have to close for the day. I mention Costco because the A/C is fabulous plus you can pretty much eat for free if you take a few laps around the sample stations.

If you are going on outings, go early in the morning and get back inside by midday. As a mom who has spent many hours with sweaty children draped all over her on a blazing beach, I know what I am talking about.

By the way, you did NOT make a mistake in moving down to what sometimes feels like the surface of the sun. You are in Mexico, you have your Chacos, your Keurig and your vegan sunscreen. You have all you need and more. Enjoy the summer up to your neck in salt water, drinking icy agua fresca and taking siestas every afternoon. We call that the good life, because it really doesn’t get much better (at least until November).