Knee Deep in Paradise

It’s no secret that I love the Caribbean coast of Mexico. But it’s ‘that time of year’ down here, when the humidity and temperatures threaten to rise above my enthusiasm for the place I currently call home.

I’ve heard rumors about it being one of the hottest Julys on record, and I haven’t needed to quantify that theory formally because my core body temperature has already confirmed it.

This, however, is nothing new to me.

This time last year we were house sitting in La Penita de Jaltemba on the west coast which, we believe, was more humid than the Yucatan.

Tyrhone almost died from the humidity last year, but I kinda took it on as a challenge.

No matter how hot it gets during a Mexican summer, I do actually thrive more in heat than I do in cold. It’s just that this year there are a few factors which are adding to my ‘Summer Insanity,’ not the least of which is that our car A/C decided to quit. After several visits to the auto clima shop over the last two weeks, we were only able to get the compressor replaced today (hence me now sitting at a delightfully air conditioned cafe as I edit this).

As we are currently house sitting in Puerto Aventuras, a gated community ten miles south of Playa, I am spending much more time in my car. We live there, but my life (and my heart) continues on in Playa, with yoga classes to attend and people to meet and cheap tacos to eat.

I also run a recovery meeting in Playa on Sunday nights, which basically means I open the doors, get the A/C cranked and make the coffee.

Perspective is everything, so I know that mine needs constant vigilance.

Just so you can see just how spoiled I am being, this view from the luxurious apartment we are currently house sitting is my prize for spending extra time in my car. No, I don’t expect you to feel sorry for me!

View paradiseBut this heat, it does warp my perspective, causing me to question what I am doing at times. My old default of wanting to be somewhere other than where I am has been rearing its head, which is just my ego wanting me to miserable.

Thankfully, I know it’s tricks. Through writing, talking, meditating and a healthy sense of humour, I am able to expose it for the fraud it is.

Good friends help immensely.

My friend Justin was recently here for a month, and it was such a welcome change in the routine to chat it up with him late into the night at coffee shops and taco joints around Playa del Carmen.

Unlikely friendsI first met Justin here in Playa at a Christmas lunch in 2013, and though we couldn’t be more different (he – a chain smoking republican from Oklahoma, me – a yoga loving liberal), those differences do not prevent us from enjoying each others’ company and may actually be the reason I found myself in fits of laughter that I haven’t experienced for a while.

He even came to a yoga class one day, which almost made me fall over in shock. Of course, we had to take the obligatory photos of him for the ‘folks back home’; turban encased and green juice swilling, having ‘been converted’ by a single class of Kundalini.

JustinSince he used to live here, I knew I could comfortably talk to him about some of the things which were wearing on my zen. He listened intently, swatting cigarette smoke away with a flick of his Cartier-clad wrist, before replying in his thick southern accent:

“Guuurrrrl, sounds like you are what I like to call, ‘Knee Deep in Paradise.’ When you live through a summer here, you’ll understand what I mean.”

That was IT.

I didn’t even need an explanation.

That statement summed it up perfectly.

A few weeks before, I’d been talking to my friend Wendy whose house we are looking after. She was (justifiably) concerned about the mildew situation of her closet down here.

We were discussing how this ‘Summer Insanity’ I am suffering must be a scientifically measurable condition; something to do with the barometric pressure affecting the brain… or something.

Like I said, I have managed to keep my sense of humour around to see me through the summer blues, thanks to a community of people who well and truly ‘get it.’

Another friend of ours recently moved to Puebla for a year, and at her ‘hasta luego, no adios’ dinner she was expressing her mixed feelings about leaving Playa del Carmen after living here for more than twenty years.

Someone asked her why Playa del Carmen casts a love-spell on some people and spits out others. She replied very matter of factly: “It all depends on how you treat her. If you focus on the negative things, that’s what you’ll see. If you appreciate the good things, that is what you will receive more of.”

Pretty much sums up how life works, really, not just summers in Mexico. I may be ‘Knee Deep in Paradise,’ but honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Knee Deep in Paradise — 15 Comments

  1. I LOVED this post, Sarah! Loved the way you unwrapped the story, loved the phrase “knee deep in paradise”, loved the sentiments you expressed. I totally understand feeling squirrely and footloose after a chunk of time in one location, and I think there is this part of us—this part that defaults to striving and yearning for more than we have—that we need to always keep in check. I know Playa is a soupy swampy mess right now because of the heat and humidity, but I’m very excited that in just over a week (!) Tony & I will be there to get sunk in up to our knees as well! xoxo
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..Driving the Tequila TrailMy Profile

    • Thank you Steph!!! It’s funny, because I had the BEST day here yesterday. I dropped my car off at the shop at wandered through the Colosio, a very local neighbourhood which you will be pretty close to, via the central market, which isn’t very big but still cool to see, to CTM (your future neighbourhood!) and my favorite fruteria, then to my favorite cafe to do some work. Then I had a sushi lunch (it happened to be 2 for 1), then a much needed hair cut and a long overdue pedicure. Then I caught a taxi back to the shop with the NICEST taxi driver who I actually understood and was able to have some semblance of a decent conversation with due to his patience and kindness. The car wasn’t ready, so after waiting with a few other air conditioning-deprived people for a while, it was back into the Colosio in search of dinner. I haven’t actually eaten in the Colosio before, and I thought, “When Steph and Tony come we can check out a few of these places,” and then stopped myself and realised I was being a creature of habit, always going to places I know instead of trying new ones. I walked into a cocina economico where the football was blaring and had a delightful meal of enchiladas rojas and a jamaica. They served the best spicy salsa and basically it was the most wonderful day I have had in a while because I was going with the flow and appreciating all the color, chaos, life and beauty around. Just wanted to share that with you because it made me excited for you guys and the adventures you will have here. See you soon! xxx

  2. A wonderful post Sarah but I actually enjoyed your response to Stehp’s comment most! I think it’s such human nature to fall into looking into the negative and strive so hard to search for the positives in any situation instead. It’s not always easy, (although, a secret, no one feels sorry for you for a summer in Playa when you show yourself lounging in a hammock IN THE CARIBBEAN :) ) but life is so much more enjoyable when we just go with the flow and allow the universe to guide us. Glad you’re getting that a/c fixed and that you had such a marvelous day!
    Rhonda recently posted..Searching for Answers at PaquimeMy Profile

    • Hehe, yes, everything can change in a day! No matter where we are in the world, our perspective always determines our happiness. That day of roaming around Playa was so invigorating for me. The sights, smells, sounds and colors of the local neighbourhod where people were going about their lives inside hair salons, tiendas, clothes stores and markets brought me so much joy and reminded me of why I love it here. Oh, and having my A/C back is awesome too!!!! XXX

  3. Reading this too late at night and loving every minute of it…, miss you and Tyrhone and am grateful to have your perspective.

    • Miss you too!!! During my day in the Colosio while waiting for my car I passed a fruteria called ‘Wendy’ and I wanted to take a photo for you but felt like a weirdo tourist so I didn’t… next time! XXX

  4. Here in the UK the weather is bad all year around, so we just have to accept it and go with the flow, but I do get surprised when the summer finally arrives and we get few days over 25 degrees C and so many people complain about how hot it is? It just makes me chuckle. I loved this post Sarah, you are so right that we need to constant remind ourselves of having a positive mindset and enjoy what we have in the present moment, stop to smell the flowers, appreciate the gift of another day ” knee deep in paradise”!
    Gilda Baxter recently posted..South of Brazil – Canyons and WaterfallsMy Profile

    • Ha! Yes, I remember those days from when I lived in London… though I gotta say, when it gets hot in the UK it feels so much hotter… especially on the tube!!! Perspective is such a shifting thing, I have to always keep mine in check and try to recognize how lucky I am xxx

  5. Oh gorgeous! If I could apply one adjective to this post, it would be ‘vivid’. Look at that picture of you lazing around in the ocean!! I’m fairly sure that’s your version of my “blissed out in the snow” picture!! And as for that sunset along the coast – just wow. Sometimes our own reality can be so seductive <3
    Tim UrbanDuniya recently posted..Villa Romana: Lygon Street’s saving grace?My Profile

  6. “Tyrhone almost died from the humidity last year…”

    Yes! This is me! I’ve lived on the west coast my entire life and now we’re living on the east coast near Washington, D.C., which was once swamp land. While Abi embraces the heat, it pretty much sucks the life out of me and I count down the days until fall. When we lived on the west coast I never understood the concept of it’s 95 degrees but feels like 105. I so get it now!

    Keep swinging in that hammock and try to stay cool. You make me smile.
    Patti recently posted..The Spanish Tortilla ~My Profile