My Life in Mexico Is a Roller Coaster Ride

A slow motion image of an upward roller coaster ride, indicating the challenges of living in Mexico as an expat.
I moved to Mexico three weeks ago, and it’s been a roller coaster ride! Thrilling, terrifying, funny, and confusing, all mixed into one giant new reality...

My life in Mexico has been a roller coaster ride. Thrilling, terrifying, funny, and confusing, all mixed into one giant new reality where I struggled to find my footing.



From staying in a haunted house to being nailed in shut by some creepy intruder, to the subsequent police investigation, to a stranger who offered me a ride home, then insisted on taking me to his house instead, my life in Mexico has been stranger than fiction.



Even though my phone plan promises unlimited data and roaming in Mexico, I have zero signal outside my house. Compounded by my rudimentary Spanish, I’m often stranded in unfamiliar places, unable to find the stores I need or my way home.



I once made three attempts to locate one store. When I finally stumbled upon it, the shopkeeper told me they were closing for the afternoon siesta!



Every day logistical matters crowded my mind. How to figure out the bus system to get around? Where to buy groceries, shower gel, and toilet paper? Who could fix the rooftop lock? Lying in bed, I wondered if I could ever find the peace and calm I’d envisioned before coming here.


an image of sunrise
Sunrise by Ivy Ge

One morning, I went up to the rooftop to investigate the strange noise I’d heard overnight. Nothing was unusual. The surrounding houses were still dark with sleep. I laughed at my overactive imagination. How poor sleep affects one’s ability to see things for what they are.



Then I saw it. Partly shielded by the tall trees in my neighbor’s yard, accompanied by the clamoring chorus of roosters, stood the most generous morning sun. I watched its infectious glory spread across the eastern sky, and wondered if I had missed the silver lining in everything.



A few days later, I made some friends: one German artist who happened to be an excellent navigator, a retired English woman who’d lived in many countries helped me fix the broken zipper of my favorite backpack, and a straight-haired Mexican neighbor with the nickname Chino (curly) gave me his number to call if I found someone messing with my front door again.



Even the wandering street dogs stopped barking at me with such ferocity that it once made me feel like a fugitive. Maybe it was a sign that I’d settled in this small town known for its cobblestone streets and festivities.



Buenos días (good morning), I say to an older woman on my way to the Wednesday tianguis (open market). She smiles and replies, buenos días.


a bunch of pink lilies in a blue vase atop a Mexican-styled dining table.
Pink Lilies by Ivy Ge

At the market, I stop by the flower stand and admire the gorgeous and fragrant pink lilies. For weeks, I’ve watched other patrons walk away with their bundle of beauty, debating if I should splurge, too.


They cost about half of my weekly grocery budget, but I decide to buy this time.


The lilies last about fifteen days, the flower vendor says, skillfully trimming the stem length to fit my vase.


Once home, I place the lilies on my dining table and can’t stop smiling. How instantly and miraculously they brighten my room. And my outlook on life.


I’m here to stay, I tell the lilies.  

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Dr. Ivy Ge

Dr. Ivy Ge

Doctor of Pharmacy, author of The Art of Good Enough. She writes to inspire women to design their own fate. Her writings and interviews have been featured on MSNBC, Thrive Global, Working Mother magazine, Parentology, and The Times of India.

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