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My First Year In Paradise

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My First Year In Paradise

My First Year In Paradise……..
(Warning: may contain swearing and TMI)

That first year was like nothing I had ever experienced before. I had done it. I had given up my “old life” and pretty much all my possessions. I started something crazy and exciting in a new country, a new town, with new people, a new life! Every single day was an adventure!

I arrived in Bucerias, August 12 2012. It was the middle of summer and the heat was incredible! Nothing like I had ever felt in central Alberta. But I loved the heat and the humidity and the laziness of this quiet little town. All I wanted to do was recover from my old life, so that’s exactly what I did. I walked a lot, mostly because I was afraid to drive, lol! I explored, napped, read books, drank beer, ate tacos, rode Mexican buses, sat on the beach, admired the ocean, and just melted in the summer heat. It was glorious! I was in heaven and in no hurry to do anything!

But there were still things that needed to get done. For starters, I entered the country illegally. That needed to be addressed! Somehow, someway, I missed the stop on the drive down, where I was supposed to get the entry visa. No Bueno! Thankfully, some wonderful new friends set me up with their lawyer and he got it figured out. He drove me around, did all the banking, dealt with immigration and in a couple of weeks he handed me a temporary resident visa! Sweet! Problem solved! Then there was the issue of finding a place to live. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t live in a hotel forever! With the help of some other new friends, I found a tiny little studio apartment, 2 blocks from the beach, with a great outdoor patio to paint my heart out. Another problem solved! The whole year was pretty much like that. There wasn’t a single thing that I couldn’t make happen! The Universe wanted me here, I just knew it! Life was glorious. My new friends and I, helped each other navigate our new lives. We drank too much beer on the beach, got too much sun, had dinner parties, met more new friends, and we volunteered at our local community center to teach english to little kids. I had even rented a fabulous second floor studio space in the middle of the Bucerias Art District to paint in. I had quickly outgrown the patio that I was using as a painting studio and needed more space. It was huge! I could paint on at least a dozen canvasses at at time. It was open air and looked over the main street. Each morning I would walk to the studio, and sit on the little balcony and give thanks to the Universe for my amazing life. By mid afternoon, I would usually hear a shout from the street, “It’s beer-o-clock!!” It would be my friend, Irene. She had a gallery down the street. The crazy summer heat told us it was time to stop working and enjoy a cold one. Those were my days….it was like a dream.

Each and every day I was in absolute awe of my new life. I never imagined it could be this good! My friends came to visit and I got to share my magical life. You know how a really happy dog likes to lay on their back in the grass and roll around with their tongue hanging out? Well, that was me! That is how I felt, every damn day! I was delirious with happiness! Just before the year was up, I decided it was time to make a trip back to Alberta for a little visit with my long lost family and friends. I was welcomed back with open arms and everyone wanted to hear of my adventures. In between all the welcome back BBQ’s and parties, I decided I was due for a trip to the doctor for my annual physical. I was actually excited to see my doctor! The last time he had seen me I was a complete wreck! I was fat, stressed and close to a nervous breakdown. Now I had color in my cheeks, a sparkle in my eye, a hop in my step, and was down 35 lbs! I had never felt so good! The doc figured, I was at “that age” and should have a mammogram along with all the other poking and prodding. That’s when shit got real.

I had breast cancer.

To be continued………..

Tracy Bonin
Canadian artist, living the dream in Mexico