Adios Mexico, Hello Home

Santo Domingo at sunset

After six weeks in Oaxaca, Mexico, my husband and I arrived home yesterday. We always have mixed feelings when we end a trip; sad to leave the people, sights, and sounds we’ve enjoyed on our travels; happy to get back to our home, friends, and our familiar routines.

Once I’ve had some time to organize my pictures and re-read my travel journal, I’m sure I’ll have a few more blog posts about our experience. But first, while the trip is fresh in my mind, here is what I already miss about Oaxaca, and a few things that I’m happy to enjoy now that we’re home, sweet, home.

What I’ll Miss

Friendly Faces. The people in Oaxaca – both the native population and the expats – are warm and welcoming. Most people smile as they pass, often saying Buenos Dias, Buenas Tardes, or Buenas Noches, depending on the time of day.

Wonderful Food. Oaxaca is known internationally for its delicious cuisine, and most of it is very affordable.

Chili Relleno served with squash blossoms… yum!

Walkability. We didn’t have a car and didn’t miss it in the least. Just about everywhere we wanted to go, we could walk. Bonus: despite the copious amounts of food we consumed, we both lost a few pounds.

Free, Live Music. It was a rare day that we didn’t encounter music on the streets or in the parks. A well-known singer performing for a large crowd in an outdoor auditorium, a symphony orchestra playing in the central square, a band playing dance music, a guitar and maracas trio, students practicing their drum and bugle music; music is everywhere in Oaxaca.

Celebrations. Weddings, quinceaneras, birthdays, anniversaries, who-knows-what saint’s day; they are all joyously celebrated. And, often, everyone is invited – maybe not to the actual service, but once the celebration spills onto the streets, the more, the merrier.

Art. It’s everywhere. The churches and historical buildings are gorgeous, museums and galleries are abundant, homes and business are brightly painted, murals adorn many of the walls, and local artisans display their creativity in shops and on the streets.

Wouldn’t you love to come home to this mural every day?

Colorful Money. Pesos put our boring greenbacks to shame.

Pretty pesos

Exchange Rate. Right now, the dollar is very strong, and our money went far.

Weather. Mid-seventies to low eighties during the day, cool – but not cold – in the evening

Laundry Service. Our apartment didn’t have a washer/dryer so we took everything to one of the many lavanderias around town. For 20 pesos (about a dollar) per kilogram, they washed, dried, and folded our clothes. They even folded our underwear… I never fold our underwear.

What I Love About Being Home

What’s Familiar. Our house, our neighborhood, our friends, our food, our routine.

What’s Easier.  Being fluent in the native language, drinking water out of the tap, being able to put toilet paper in the toilet.

Wherever we travel – whether around the United States or to another country – we love to embrace all that is delightful and unique about the places we visit. And, whether we are gone a few days, a few weeks, or longer, as sorry as we are to say good-bye, we always appreciate returning to that special place we call home.

Author: Janis @ RetirementallyChallenged.com

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

64 thoughts on “Adios Mexico, Hello Home”

  1. After reading the overview of your vacation town Oaxaca< I can't wait to see your follow-up. My first impression is that the town is a beautiful and affordable place to visit.

  2. Welcome home, Janis.
    I hate to break it to you — but this post solidly confirms it.
    You are going to need to quit retirement and become a professional photographer. Your photos are absolutely stunning!!
    I look forward to seeing more of your photos from this trip.

  3. Welcome back, Janis! It sounds like you had a very positive, exciting, and special time in Oaxaca. What a beautiful, artsy, and welcoming place it is. I miss it as well, just reading your first post! A change in scenery and culture is always a nice change, but I totally understand how glad you are to be back in your gorgeous home and familiar city as well. Thinking back about our time(s) in San Diego, I think I miss that more than our time in Oaxaca!!

  4. I have enjoyed Oaxaca in the past as well. Interesting colonial architecture. I also found the archeological site at Mt Alban very interesting. Everywhere I go I. Mexico I love the people.

  5. I look forward to further posts about your trip.
    A few years ago, a couple of friends were seriously considering a move to Mexico, to join the expat community – so far as I know, they haven’t taken the plunge. Is it something that you’d consider?

    1. We’ve met many expats on our various trips to Mexico and they (for the most part) seem very happy with their decision to move there. I think some start as part timers, then decide that they prefer the lifestyle – and cost of living – to what they had in the US or Canada. Although the idea of living out of the US (especially now) is an attractive idea, I think we’ll probably stay put… at least for the time being.

  6. Hi, Janis! Happy to hear that you and your husband had another delightful stay in Oaxaca and are safely home. That “re-entry to reality” period is always rough – catching up on laundry, groceries and mail – but I do love the feeling of walking through the door and knowing that I’m Home. That from a confirmed, road trip loving traveler. Looking forward to your follow up posts!

    1. I think we’ll be playing catch-up for a while. It’s amazing how much mail can pile up over six weeks, especially during the holiday season. Fortunately, most of it is junk and can be tossed. The hardest adjustment I’m having is with the weather… it was in the eighties when we left home in mid-October. Now, brrrrr.

  7. I looked up Oaxaca, and it is quite a way south, but it sounds like you have a found a favorite place to really enjoy and relax. That mural is handsome and applause to the artist. Yes, no matter how much you enjoy a trip, it usually is good to get home, well, except for having to cook. 🙂

  8. Look forward to reading more about your time in Oaxaca ~ have heard and read so much about that region. Well, primarily the food! Your photo made me want to be there ….

    A decade back this is how we ended up moving to Nicaragua! We took a trip, fell in love, bought a place, restored it and started spending all our holidays there ~ so much so that every tine we got back to Chicago we realized we missed it more than we enjoyed returning home and that we wanted to experience living there and making it home (for six years).

    Peta

    1. We talked to a lot of expats that had a similar story. Often, they lived where it snowed and started to just spend each winter there. I’m not sure we’d do that but I have to admit that it’s tempting. We don’t have snow here in SoCal, but it’s a lot colder here than it was in Oaxaca!

  9. It looks and sounds like you had a wonderful time. I’ve never been to Oaxaca, but have been to the Yucatan Penisula, and a couple of other popular tourist cities.

    I’d miss not having someone to do my laundry, cook, and clean, but it would be nice to be home with all my stuff.

    How did you like your new camera?

    1. I did much the same thing when I was young… I wonder if we ever ran into each other? Even though we were on “vacation” (if there is such a thing once retired) in Oaxaca, there is a difference traveling while an adult vs. when young and carefree. For example, there were no bills or home maintenance projects facing me when I returned from Hawaii at 18. 😎

  10. Hi Janis,
    I had heard that there are a lot of expats in Oaxaca…there must be reasons why…possibly some of those that you already mentioned.
    Can’t wait to see more of the photos; we are always looking for new places to visit.

    1. Hi Nancy! Oaxaca is really an interesting city. Lots of art and color, also there are several villages in the surrounding valleys that specialize in a specific craft: weaving, pottery, embroidery, alebrijes, etc. Also, tons of historical sights if you are in to that… and fabulous food. Something for everyone!

  11. It looks like a six-week stay in Oaxaca is a win-win – you could do a promotion for the tourism board with your plusses. I will look forward to all your colorful photos, doors or otherwise … we got a preview of coming attractions with the sunset over Santo Domingo – that was gorgeous!

      1. Yes the pace is luxurious isn’t it Janis I visited Spain in 1974, along with family friends – she was born and lived there until her 20s. Every afternoon you had to plan around a siesta and “shutdown” … I look forward to seeing your photos and impressions.

  12. Six weeks! I’m married to a homebody who has to be talked into taking overnights and weekend getaways. 🙂 But it all sounds wonderful, Janis. Good on the both of you for doing what you both love. Welcome home! – Marty

  13. Hi Janis! Welcome home…although it didn’t seem like you were EVER coming home. Six weeks! I’m totally jealous. And yes, I remember Oaxaca well but was only there for a week. I’ll have to pick your brain about the longer stay and/or whether you exactly the same the next time around…then again, maybe you’ll be putting that in your next post??? ~Kathy

  14. I can see why you enjoyed your time in Oaxaca so much! It does sound like a wonderful place to visit, and even to live in. Still, there is always something about going back home that warms the heart….

  15. It looks like you had a fabulous time Janis. It is one area I will most probably never venture too, so I do enjoy reading about your take on Mexico. Isn’t it great that everyone can enjoy the wedding celebrations, very generous and community-minded culture by the sounds of it?

  16. I always get the same feelings as you when we return from a trip – sadness that the adventure has ended, but happy to be in familiar surroundings once again. One thing we don’t have to worry about any longer – that dreaded going-back-to-work feeling!

    1. I know, right? I remember vacillating between wanting to squeeze every minute out of a vacation (and arriving back home the night before I had to go to work), and coming home at least a day before, so I had time to relax and decompress. Now, it doesn’t matter. Yay, retirement!

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