Buenas Dias from Mexico; I wish I had this office space in Chicago! But no, this is the house I used to live in, when I was a married woman living in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico, with my Texan then-husband, Reed Burns. It is a glorious gift to be back here after all this time and I am grateful for each day here as I not only do my part to heal this once-rocky relationship, but also take time to explore the things I never made time for when I lived here all those years.
This town is a wild explosion of colors, culture and people and it really is a wonderful haven for artists and those you prefer to live outside the American box. I first came here 1999 to explore the scene after a friend of mine that I had met during my two months at Escalen came down here to teach yoga. I was working a big corporate gig for AT&T at the time in Chicago, so I could only visit for five days, but that was enough for me to decide I wanted to spend more time here. When I returned to Chicago, I focused my time and efforts on taking a two month sabbatical in San Miguel de Allende to teach Gabrielle Roth’s Five Rhythms dance class; a style of dance I had been studying for a few years in Chicago and had taken a two-month workshop at The Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. Little did I know this two-month sabbatical would become my life for the next several years. Still to this day, my heart and thoughts are a part of this magical, colorful town.
I arrived in San Miguel for my sabbatical in June of 2001. I rented a house with my friend who was teaching yoga and soon after, I began teaching the dance class at Bellas Artes and had such an incredible time; I was living the dream! About one week later, I met the most crazy and hilarious Mexican named Juan Nieto and decided I didn’t want to go home. 9/11 hit and my fate was decided; I did not want to return to America.
I flew to Chicago in October, flew to New York to see my friend Andrew and to see how he was doing; I even walked as close as I could to Ground Zero; a very solemn and moving experience. Even now it seems like it was just a dream, to be that close to such massive destruction and radical emptiness. I’m not sure it was such a great idea to get that close, but what did I know? I still have the cross I bought at one of the only stores that seemed to be open so soon after the attacks. I returned home to Chicago, put my stuff in a storage unit and off I drove to Mexico all by myself, with my zippy Honda Civic jammed to the gills with what I thought would be important to me in Mexico.
It took me 3.5 days to drive from Chicago to San Miguel. It was….. in a word…. SCARY. Crossing the border is scary. Driving through the mountains of Mexico is scary. Stopping at the very few gas stations is SCARY; I even once had to stop at a hand-drawn sign gas station because I was out of gas. A gaggle of boys walked up to my car and started looking in it as some kids used a funnel to pour gas in my tank; I looked up and said, “please help me get out of here.” I handed one of the kids some pesos, got in my car, sped off like a BAT OUT OF HELL.
It’s not scary like this anymore to drive though Mexico, but there are different scares; the drug wars and their escalating violence have dumped out into the highways and public venues. I would not drive through Mexico today but back then I did it about three times by myself. Never again. The scariest incident was probably when crossing the border at Laredo, a bunch of guys ambushed my Nissan Pathfinder and dumped black oil on the windshield and then all jumped on my truck to rock it — and they ROCKED it. I screamed as I peaked through a tiny portion of the windshield and hit the gas. They eventually jumped off and I drove with the black oil on my windshield for about 20 miles; until I felt I would actually take my foot off the gas pedal and stop to wash the window. Terrifying. What was I thinking?
The San Miguel de Allende I live in now and over the past few years was very different from my beginning years here. The relationship with Juan lasted about two years and then I was a starving artist. Mostly starving. I then met a big laughing Texan who I found sitting in the streets one day, and his name was Reed. I had no idea who he was or what he was all about, but I immediately loved his kind eyes.
And now here I am visiting him as his ex-wife but one of his closest friends. My life has changed drastically since we parted ways in Corpus Christi, Texas in 2008; I’ve often wondered who that girl was that was unable to accept happiness in any form. It is only now that it is starting to make sense to me and if possible, I want to make amends for that girl and her short-comings. I was not a bad person; I was just messed up and unable to be at peace in the world — no matter what I had in front of me. I believe I always preferred the struggle — but had I been told that, I would have flown off the handle in rebuttal.
This is the most non-crazy I have ever felt in my life — and I like it. Being back here in San Miguel has given me a chance to make amends and how wonderful is that? I have been punishing myself for years for being a lousy wife and now I can do my part to be a better person to myself and those who love me. I don’t know that there will be a next time for me to see Reed, so I am making the most of this time here with him, in his home, in San Miguel de Allende.
When I first arrived in November, I celebrated with him and our friends and made a glorious Thanksgiving feast, but soon after I realized this was not who I am anymore, and so I have resumed my search and exploration of the higher vibrational side of life. Reed looks at me funny now, but I suppose he always has. I am peaceful and enjoy creating a peaceful environment — even in the middle of his outrageous chaos.
I am going to stay a while longer. It’s 25 degrees in Chicago and 75 degress here in Central Mexico. I’ve done the math and decided to stay, xoxo.