Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Our own Mayberry

We are humming right along. There is a nice, if simple, rhythm to our lives here in Loreto. I get up early to get Allison off to school, then Robert and I either work-out at the hotel gym or play tennis. We try to get out on our boat at least once a week. We take a long walk every other afternoon before sunset. Sometimes we follow the golf course to the tennis center, sometimes we walk closer to the ocean.

We visit with friends, work on little projects around the house. I read, surf the web, take naps on the terrace, think about what to make for dinner. Twice a week I take Spanish lessons in town. There is no stress whatsoever in our lives and we are grateful. I watch the news from the U.S. and it seems our country is falling apart. It makes me anxious and angry. I feel helpless to fix it. The problems are so big. The one thing I can do is create a sweet life here. Here, in Loreto Bay, everything is on a small scale and fresh. From here, we feel removed and protected. Are we escapists, I wonder? Should I feel bad about feeling so relaxed? Naaaaahhh.

All this will come to an end eventually. Eventually, I'll want Allison to go to school in the States, to get a better education than she could get here. And I want her to grow up feeling like an American. I love America for better or worse. But for the time being, this is a wonderful way to live. It's small town living with an exotic twist. Every day presents something for me to marvel over, do a double-take over, or just shake my head in astonished amusement. I do worry though, that my sense of wonderment will give way to complacency. How surprised can one be at the sight of cows and horses and burros on the highway every morning?

Allison's Spanish is improving. We and another family hired a local teacher, Natalia, to work with our children every day after school. She comes to our houses and helps with homework. Today they gathered around our table on the terrace--not a bad setting for school.

We parents work together to enrich the children's education by holding after-school classes. Doug Brown teaches world history or geography; I'm doing arts/crafts. All of us pitch in one way or another. And of course, the outdoor environment holds endless possibilities for exploration and adventure. The kids get to fish, go clamming, build sandcastles, ride their bikes all through the neighborhood. And they do something else, which rarely, if ever, happens at home in the suburbs: They stop and visit with adults. Most homeowners are here for leisure, so they have the time and the inclination to chat with our kids. It is not uncommon for Allison to drop in to say hello to Sherry and Tom. She'll visit with their dog, Chewy, and the parrots. Earlier, when Dee's dog had puppies, Allison and other children in the neighborhood regularly stopped in to cuddle them and chat with Dee. Ariel has invited children to her house to paint with watercolors.

There are just as many working adults, too. Allison is familiar with a great deal of the Loreto Bay staff and the other independent professionals by name. Daily, she gets little glimpses into the world of landscapers, maintenance men, architects, hotel staff. She gets to see Peter draw design plans in his office adjacent to our house. She watches workers laying pavers or setting water lines. She watches people at work every day all around her. So when I fret about the quality of her education I remember that I need to factor these elements in. Whatever is lacking in formal learning, is certainly balanced by the bounty of offerings right outside our door.

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