You Asked, I Answered: Part 1

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What was the turning point/last straw/kicker that made you and your boyfriend seriously sit down and go, “OK let's do this”?

There were several motivators in our move to Mexico. First of all, after six years in Portland, I was over it. Waaaaaay over it. I enjoyed living there, but my time to go had come (actually it came about a year before I left) and a move was certain. I also absolutely abhorred my job, and as anyone with a full time job knows, being miserable forty hours a week is simply no way to live. The job market in Portland seemed perpetually grim, but more than that, I just didn’t want to be in Portland anymore. Now, I understand that many people would have started looking for a job in San Francisco, secured one, given two weeks notice, packed up, found an apartment and lived happily ever after…or at least until it was time to go somewhere new (I’m not really the “settling” kind). Rather than doing that, my boyfriend and I decided to take a break…from everything. After all, we had been working non-stop with the exception of a vacation here and there, one of which brought us to Sayulita. Like so many others who visit here, we fell in love with this small beach town and laidback vibe, and by the end of our two-week vacation we had already fallen into a happy routine. We returned to rainy Portland and office life in a cubicle, and it just occurred to us: we wanted more and we didn’t want to wait until a fabled retirement to get it. As cliché as it sounds, all we have is the moment, and I just didn’t want to waste it. We started saving, visited Sayulita one more time (during the high season) to see if we still felt the same about living here, and then made it happen.

I was so happy on my last day of work, I twirled my way to happy hour!

Did you set a time limit for yourself?

We didn’t set a time limit for ourselves as much as we planned to go for as long as the money lasted and we were happy. This was never going to be a permanent move, and the money has lasted pretty much as long as expected.

Were you scared of leaving your life in Portland and of getting left behind by those whom you left?

As much as I was over Portland, I was still sad to leave. Six years is longer than I ever thought I’d stay in one place, so I can’t say I didn’t enjoy my life in Portland and I have many amazing memories of my time there. But it wasn’t my goodbye to Portland that broke my heart; it was all the goodbyes to friends that did it. I’ve never been the girl who has a million friends; I much prefer to have a close-knit group of friends. It seems I attract similar types, so the friendships I have are strong and loyal, and luckily for me, those aren’t the types that are easily broken by something as small as the 2500 miles between us! No, my friends are the kinds who say, “Sweet, you’re moving to Mexico? When can I visit?” (But only after assuring me that Portland could never be the same without me.)

It was so much fun showing friends like Kate , Erin and Leana around town!

What did you do with all your things? Did you put them in storage or bring most of it with you?

I packed away 99.99% of my belongings in Door to Door storage units, which are now in a safe, temperature controlled environment. Door to Door was an appealing option because I already knew I wouldn’t be returning to Portland, and moving services are offered. Having the containers waiting for me in San Francisco when I arrive sounds so much better than flying to Portland, unloading the containers, loading everything into a U-Haul and driving it all down. I absolutely hate moving and am all for making it easier! Now who wants to come help me unpack?

Funny story: When the pods were delivered to our house in Portland, my boyfriend was totally convinced that we could pack everything into just one of them. Granted, we did sell almost all of our furniture and other large household items, but one container? That was just crazy talk, and as soon as we started loading my handbag and shoe collection, it was more than clear that two were definitely necessary!

How did your cat feel about the move?

I love that I received a question about Marley! Thanks, Emily! Marley flew to Mexico in the cabin of the plane with us and was his usual sweet self on both flights. (Much like his mama, he slept most of the way.) We landed expecting to get in a cab and be in Sayulita in less than hour, but getting here proved to be much more difficult. Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while now may recall that this area was hit with floods  in September. The bridge that would normally take us from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita was submerged in water, leaving it completely impassable. Once we got out of the airport, we took a cab to a boat, a boat to another cab, and then a cab to another cab…all in oppressive heat. Marley’s patience started to wear thin on the boat, and he really wanted out of his carrier. I couldn’t blame him, so I leashed him up and took him out. A kitty with blue eyes caused quite the stir on the boat, and Marley enjoyed all the attention until he was splashed with a bit of water. At that point he just buried his head into me and stayed there until we got to solid ground. Poor little guy!

Since then, Marley has been quite happy with his life in Mexico. We get to spend so much more time together, and he gets a healthy dose of sun everyday when sitting out on our patio. The warmer weather has also improved his health. Marley is epileptic and while our feline neurologist insists the notion is crazy (“the brain is a black box”, blah, blah) Marley’s frequency of seizures has historically increased in winter, particularly during times of sudden drops in temperature. This winter Marley has held steady at the frequency typically observed in summer. So, I’d say Marley is both happier and healthier than he was in Portland. (Aren’t we all?)

Have a question for me? Please leave a comment and let me know. I’ll continue this series until I get through them all! Thanks to everyone who has already submitted questions! 


Grit and Glamour said...

Santina, I loved reading these answers and learning more about you (and sweet Marley!). Wishing you all the best as you make a new life in San Fran.

So I do have a question...what line of work are you in? Or shall I say, what do you want to "do" when you settle in San Fran?

Emily said...

Marley is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo cute, i want to steal him!!
I'm glad i got to hear more about his adapting to Mehiiiiico. ;)

erika sheffer said...

Haha I am such a crazy cat lady so I appreciated the question about Marley too :) I am moving from Virginia to Miami in June. It's kind of freaky but I know I just want to be somewhere new! It's so encouraging to see how your move has been and how much you've been loving Mexico!


Vanessa said...

Wow, that is so amazing. I would love to do that one day with my boyfriend.
My Heart Blogged

Jennifer Rubin said...

I really enjoyed reading this post. Last summer, my partner and I travelled in Guatemala for two months. It was such a nice break from our school/work/hectic life in San Francisco. I would very much like to move there. How long are you planning on staying there? And how the visa situation work out? Thanks for posting. Maybe I will just move down south as well.... xoxo jenny at

Santina said...

It's not always easy to follow your heart, but it's definitely always the right choice!

From your tweets, it sounds like you had an amazing time in Miami! We both found somewhere we wanted to live while on vacation - warm weather, the beach, good food....what more could a girl ask for? Good luck with your move! I can't wait to hear about it!

Santina said...

Marley really is so ridiculously cute; I feel like my heart could explode when I look at him. Even people who don't like cats love Marley. No one can resist those blue eyes!

Speaking of stealing him, when our house was broken into that was my biggest fear (or that he was hurt)! I've heard of people's dogs being stolen around heartbreaking. Can you imagine?

Santina said...

Oooooh, I'd love to go to Guatemala. I've heard it's a great place to learn Spanish because people speak so much more slowly than they do here!

I've been in Mexico since September, and I will most likely leave in May...nine months. As for the visa question, I think I'll include that one in my next post of answers. Thanks for the question, Jennifer!

PS - Grab your partner and move to Guatemala! :)

mrfreddysmom said...

I just discovered your blog... nice pictures you have and you
are beautiful! would you like to exchange links with me? just let me if you have added mine so I can add yours. thanks!

Elle Sees said...

i've always wanted to just up and move to a foreign country, so i'm glad you did it!

brunetteblogging said...

So fun to read :) I always enjoy reading stories of people who made a big change in their lives :) Good for you that you had the courage & guts to move!

Frances Joy said...

I'm loving this post, and I'm glad to know that we're not the only ones who've travelled with pets. Looking forward to the next installment.

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