9:45 a.m. Nov. 9, 2016 … The day after election day
There is so much I want to say to you. First, I have to write about the most important news! I’ve been in remission from advanced-stage ovarian cancer for an entire year! I’m feeling pretty good. Some people with advanced-stage ovarian cancer never even get into remission, so I know that I am one of the very lucky ones. I’m really concerned that it might come back since it does 70 percent of the time, but as Andy often says, “Someone has to be in the 30 percent, so why shouldn’t it be you?” Maybe it will be me. Remember when I was bald as a baby’s bottom?
Chemo made me bald. I felt like a bad-ass walking around bare-headed.
Having cancer was brutal on so many fronts. But it does feel good to not think about it coming back every minute of the day. Some days I don’t think about it much, but other days I feel really scared and I can’t let it go. I think this is how a lot of people feel. Attending Day of the Dead festivities in Patzcuaro gave me much to ponder about death and dying. More about this in a minute.
Like many people I know, I’m pretty distraught about the election results, but I’m trying to focus on being grateful that we live in a democracy and that people have the luxury for voting for who they want to vote for. I’m surprised more of my friends haven’t shared that same opinion on Facebook. I’m just so, so sad that our country is so divided, but I’m happy that I’m not in the U.S. to feel this rift day in and day out. That’s a big blessing, I think.
Early this morning, after I found out about the election results, I started wondering what will happen if soon-to-be President Trump repeals the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). What will I do about health insurance? What will Andy do? Will we be able to afford insurance? Will we go back to a system where applicants can be denied for having a pre-existing conditions? If this happens, I’m screwed. Will I have to move back to the U.S. and return to the workforce to get health insurance? Will Andy? I’m scared. I can’t dwell on this, though. I have living left to do. Sunsets to see, warm oceans to swim in, cold beers to enjoy. I just can’t focus on all this negativity! It’s not how I want to live my life. I have so much to be thankful for. I’d much rather focus on that.
So now on to the positive. I had such a great time at Day of the Dead in Patzcuaro. I felt really happy to be celebrating alongside so many lovely indigenous people. We had an amazing time visiting their cemeteries on our nighttime tour, from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. It was super cool to see so many people celebrating the lives of their loved ones, instead of mourning them. (On Noche de Muertos, many families sit graveside all night long and welcome the return, in spirit, of their loved ones. The graves are lavishly decorated, and it’s also cool that people bring the dearly departed’s favorite foods and drinks to the altars, as they’ll be hungry and thirsty when they return.)
When my time comes, I’d love it if people would celebrate my life, instead of mourn me. I’d be so honored if people would come to my graveside once a year and celebrate my spirit (and bring some good beer and vodka for me). Maybe it wouldn’t be so hard for me to die if I knew my life would be celebrated instead of mourned?
The whole tradition is great. I love the fact that in Mexican culture, death isn’t something to be feared. When I was visiting the two graveyards on our Night of the Dead tour, a true sense of peace and calm came over me. It was kind of surreal. I want to keep that feeling inside me because it helped me feel no so scared of dying. It made me feel like it could be and would be OK, right? Anyway, it was really awesome. Aren’t these photos great? I had so much fun getting my face painted (which many, many Mexicans do in celebration of the holiday)!
In other news (back to the election), I now really feel like an outsider in Mexico. I feel like the average Mexican will judge me because I’m American, and they will think I don’t like them and that I support building a wall. Obviously, nothing could be further from the truth, but walking down the street now feels funny. I feel like people are judging me. I decided I had to tell others that not all Americans feel like Trump and his minions do, so I posted the following on the Facebook page “On the Road in Mexico.”
“I am not celebrating the decrease of the peso against the dollar. I want Mexico to have a strong economy for all of its businesses and for the extremely hard-working citizens who reside in this amazing country. I want to pay my landlords a fair price for my lovely rental and I would gladly pay an extra dollar or two for a nice dinner out. I do appreciate the good value living here provides, but at what cost? If you are a Mexican resident reading this posting, let me publicly state that I love your country, I love your people and I respect and appreciate how warmly I have been received since I moved here in May. Please do know that you are valued, loved and appreciated by many. I am so honored to be a guest in your country. I am sorry the next U.S president and some of my American counterparts feel differently.”
Mostly expats go onto that page, but people seem to appreciate the posting and a lot of them have made nice comments.
In other news … Life with mom is good. So far it’s been fun living in the same town with her after all these years of living 2,500 miles apart. She’s giving Andy and me plenty of space to do our own thing. Sometimes I wish she wanted to do more stuff. I’ve asked her to go swimming with me in the pool at her condo complex three or four times, but she always says no and I can’t understand why. It’s a nice pool! It’s hot. Why doesn’t she want to take a dip? And she’s not a fan of going out for coffee, either, something we love to do. But today she did join us at Zihuatanejo’s newest coffee shop, Quattro. She seemed to like it. We went for a pedicure this week and it was fun. I like when she comes over for dinner and when she cooks for us on the one night a week we stay the night over at her place. She’s a much better cook than I am and whatever she makes always tastes great. A few nights ago she made a fantastic shrimp and coconut milk stew. Tremendous.
I guess that’s all I want to say for now. Thanks for listening. I gotta split. Mom has a friend in town whom I haven’t seen in years. We’re all going out for a nice dinner tonight and I’m going to meet her new husband.