A year ago today, Scott and I took off in our overloaded Jeep Cherokee for San Pancho, Mexico. Last night as we drove home in the peace and quiet of a kid-free car after a fabulous Italian dinner, we reminisced about the beginning of our time in Mexico. Scott said that looking back, it seems like it was only a bad dream. Don't get him wrong -- he has lots of fond memories just like the girls and I do, but those first few months with the heat, the humidity, the overabundance of mosquitoes in Casa Sophia, the multiple cases of Dengue Fever, the extra hours he was putting into his job from the cave of an office on the house's ground floor...it was a lot for him to live through. The year was redeemed after Scott got over his horrible case of gout in November and December, and he spent the next five months enjoying most of what San Pancho had to offer. Well, at least as much as one can enjoy while still working ten hours a day.
I, on the other hand, had the freedom to do what I wanted with my time in Mexico. And so I spent a lot of it on the beach with my dog (or dogs, depending on the day). My worst memory, though, from the first few months, was the smelly foam mattress that we slept on in the master bedroom upstairs. It was probably the most comfortable bed in all of Nayarit, but I got the feeling that foam was not meant for tropical climates.
Our first few nights in bed, we tried to figure out what that awful smell was as we laid there in a starfish pose without sheets trying not to drown in our own sweat. Eventually we realized that the smell was other people's B.O. emanating from the hot foam mattress. The smell of the sweaty people who had slept in Casa Sophia before us. Disgusting, I know. Eventually I figured out how to unzip and remove the canvas mattress pad. I avoided it for a long time for fear of not being able to get it back on the mattress. Underneath the pad I found a disintegrating vinyl cover around the foam mattress. Ahhh...so that was why every time I moved in the bed, it sounded like a baby crawling around in old plastic diapers. I ripped off enough of the vinyl to get rid of the torn pieces and replaced it with some clean but old bath towels, hopefully to form a breathable barrier between other people's sweat and ours without causing us to sweat more. I washed and replaced (with more than a little difficulty) the zip-up mattress pad and, I have to say, going to sleep that night felt like the first time in a long time that I'd slept without a crowd of strangers in my bed.
Those first few months were filled with new cultural experiences, but also with the new experiences that go with living in someone else's house -- always a challenge. Luckily with the cooling weather, things improved and our time in Mexico turned out to be an amazing, memorable, fun year.
But right now, I'm happy to be home.