|Cucurpe, a small town in Sonora Mexico, where I spent a lot of time.|
When I left America and came to Sweden to live and experience life here I was filled with confidence and a spirit of an "I can do anything if I try hard enough" sense of being. It is something that I have cultivated over many years growing up in Mexico and in America.
|A little ranch house where I spent some time. Some years back I took John, our son, to see where I lived in Mexico.|
Since living here for going on 4 years now I feel that it is harder to keep that confidence and spirit alive. It is difficult to put a finger on it. Why is this? I have come up with some possible reasons. Again, these are my own personal thoughts based on my experience.
|The ranch with many memories.|
One reason is living here in another country where I don't speak the language, I don't know the rules, the culture is different, my immediate family and close friends are not here all contribute to this loss of spirit. Maybe it is not lost, but it is certainly much harder to maintain. It is akin to working without a "safety net". This is to be expected in this situation. Although I was not prepared for it. Of course, I should have known or thought about it.
|My uncles' ranch where I spent many summers.|
Another reason is specific to my experience here in Sweden. There is a sense of "fear and cautiousness" that I sense and feel in many of the people here. It is like a subtile cloud hanging in the air here over everybody. It is this heaviness in the air that affects everyone and makes it harder to maintain this sense of confidence and "can do spirit". It just takes more determination on the part of the individual. It seems to me.
|The main house.|
There are many rules and regulations here designed to keep people, animals, the environment, etcetera, safe and to maintain uniformity. There are also many departments of authority here that insure the rules and regulations are followed. There are also many organizations and or unions of people. All of these have an ombudsman to handle complaints and conflicts. Everyone here is encouraged to have a say in all matters. Everyone has a voice and it is very easy for people to bring complaints to the authorities.
|A nearby canyon we used to go to on horseback and explore.|
This has created a fear that people live with and have gotten used to. For most it is an underlying and subtle fear in their DNA of "following the rules", "can I do that?", "is their a rule I might be breaking?", etc.
|The old road we used to take to get to Cucurpe.|
Some examples: When we first moved here our neighbors were fearful that we might not like horses and that we might complain to the authorities. I have also heard so many stories from people I know about how their neighbors complain about this and that and being reported to the authorities. And as a result they live in fear of annoying a neighbor, breaking a rule, or doing the wrong thing. There are classes you must take to be able to do this or that. Students have a union. They can report their teachers to the authorities.
|Me in the foreground wearing the hat.|
Suffice it say that there are many rules and laws that are there for your own good and society. I have often seen this subtle fear or awareness of breaking a possible rule in conversations with people and or not doing something because there are too many classes to take or too many rules to be aware of. A swede I spoke with in the park one day told me that there are so many rules here that you have to break some of them some of the time.
|The grandkids in grandmas house. I'm the kid on the couch 2nd from the right.|
It is this cloud that hangs in the air here that together with the added obstacles of being in another country makes it harder to have the "can do attitude". Books can be written and probably have about this. There is too much to say and to many examples to go into.
|My uncle Raul, his wife and 7 kids. They lived in Cucurpe in house with a dirt floor..|
|Some local cowboys.|
I will continue to struggle and walk the high wire without a net and make it to the other side. "Don't look down". What an adventure and what an experience. It is what life is all about. It is what makes life worth living.
|My uncle stopped in a small town to buy empanadas from a little girl.|
|We bought all her empanadas.|
The reason I decided to put these pictures of my life in Mexico here is because this experience, this life in large part has made me who I am today. All my cousins and I at a very young age survived this life.
Playing in the dirt, riding horses often bareback, drinking milk straight from the cow, being teased and bullied by the older cousins, and more, all this we lived through. There were no safety belts, no rules, just life.
This past is what I draw strength from in order to get through tough times or when I am feeling down or beaten. It is just life.