I had an interesting dream last night.
The whole dream focused on me shopping for new earrings. They had a pretty good selection, but none of them were really what I had been looking for. I was poring over all the choices carefully, but there was always just something about each pair that wasn’t “it.” They were either the wrong size or wrong shape. Some beautiful ones were hanging droplets, but I wanted studs.
In my dreamscape, it took an incredibly long time to search through all of these various pieces of jewelry. I ended up waking before finding a selection that I liked enough to buy.
It made sense initially. Before we left Budapest, I had my other ear pierced. Last night I saw my calendar reminder that the piercing had been in long enough that I can change to a different set of earrings.
The source seems obvious, right? While normally I’d proclaim that interpretation a slam dunk, something else has been going on in the background.
We’re back in the UK doing a series of house sits. Being back in England has reminded me how much more enjoyable something as simple as grocery shopping can be when you know the language. During travel, going grocery shopping is part of the adventure. Especially if you want something seemingly simple like cream for a sauce. Will it be in the dairy section or on the shelf? Practically every dairy product has a cow on the container or a spoon filled with some type of cream, but it could be yogurt, sour cream, clotted cream . . .
When you’re living somewhere long term, though, sometimes adventure gets, well, old. Sometimes you want just want to go to the store and find exactly what you’re looking for without spending 15 minutes with Google Translate since the poor store employee has no clue what you’re asking for.
And sometimes even Google surrenders and admits it has no clue.
After spending the last 7 months playing the Schengen Zone game, I think it’s fair to say I’m just sick of dealing with visas as well.
After falling in love with Budapest, I paid attention to my feelings as we returned to France and our very brief stay in Romania to pick up our luggage. We both continue to be deeply enamored with Budapest. Even though I still love Paris, I have to say Budapest has replaced it as my #1. Tigger says it’s his top choice as well.
It’s nice to be in agreement on a location. Sure makes choices easier.
However, there is “Let’s stay there for a few months,” and then there’s “Let’s make it our base.” They are different experiences and a very different mind set. Adventure versus comfort.
There is also “What about winter?”
I feel like our search for a base has been very much like my earring shopping dream. We’ve had so many absolutely wonderful choices, but none have really been “The One.”
Budapest was extremely close. I could even ignore its winter, and for a while Tigger agreed. We both looked forward to returning.
The longer we’ve remained rooted in our house sit, though, the more time I’ve had to ponder. The allure has faded as I’ve contemplated the visa hassle we’re in for. Budapest is still my #1 city, but at this stage I just don’t know that I want to go through all the visa complications and the language ones.
Mexico has continued to call us back. It definitely isn’t “the perfect choice” either, but we do love and miss it. Even though we’ve spent a lot of time in Mexico, Tigger has not experienced a lot of the country. He has only seen the Yucatan, which is very different from other regions of the country.
During our travels, we have often avoided areas heavy with expats because we wanted to experience more of the local culture. For long-term, though, having a solid expat community can actually be a bonus, especially if there are expat families with teens.
This was one problem I had with Budapest. There were plenty of families with little kids, but finding an English-speaking teen was a big challenge.
We have a good friend in San Miguel de Allende (SMA), and I know there are lots of expat families with teens there. Yes, Tigger will learn Spanish and make local friends as well, but he needs friends he can easily communicate with while he’s learning the language. And he also needs some friends who are a bit more culturally close to him.
Mexico grants us 6 months, and I’m fluent in Spanish, so that knocks out the two biggest complications.
It’s also easier being gay in Mexico than in Hungary. That is something I do need to factor in as well.
Our plan is not set in stone (Duh!), but for now the idea is that in late December/early January we’re returning to Mexico. We’re going to give SMA a shot and see how we feel. We may end up in another part of Mexico, or we may return to Budapest. Or something else. But right now having 6 months on arrival, being in a place I already speak the language (and Tigger has retained some Spanish), being around English-speaking teens for Tigger, getting to spend more time with a dear friend, and having a more temperate winter is a winning combination.
Are you surprised our plans have changed?