Or how it all got started...
How I decided to learn some Spanish and live in Mexico on my own began on a plane ride. My seat companions on the flight to what would become my new home in Mazatlán, a medium-sized city on the Pacific coast side of Mexico, inspired my inaugural blog post.
This time I was flying through Tucson. The flight had been incredibly easy. (Blog tip #1: Avoid flying through Mexico City, an airport which almost gave me a stroke on my last trip).
Beside me, in front and behind me were a party of older gentlemen, probably in their late 60’s and 70’s from Fort Worth, Texas who were going to El Salto to fish for black bass.
They obviously enjoyed one another’s company as they bantered about fishing lures and shooting their 44’s. (If you don't have time to read Moby Dick, read this story about people who are in love with bass fishing at Lake Salto).
My elderly seat companion made jokes with the flight attendant. The expression on her face and her banter revealed they’d known each other for years. He clearly was flying to his home-away-from-home, so much so that he knew all the staff on the flight.
I'm from southwest Oklahoma originally. Within fifteen minutes their Texan accents felt like the first few minutes of a class reunion. Anyone from that part of the country will tell you that that is how long it takes before your accent comes back like you never left. I don’t even try to fight it anymore.
Between conversations with his posse, my seat mate was just friendly enough, the perfect travel companion. A snatch of conversation here and there with me, a request for a blanket, offering me a pen for my customs form, and a hilariously sincere offer to steal a drink for me from the beverage cart were only momentary distractions from the on-going dialogue with his home boys.
I liked these guys. They were still interested in one another. They were enthusiastic and laughing. You could sense there'd been losses and personal tragedy. One was in a wheelchair. They were rolling with the punches.
Kerry Baker is a partner with Ventanas Mexico, and author of the "Interactive Guide to Learning Spanish Free Online," a curation of the best free Spanish tools on the web, organized into lesson plans.
She also recently released, "If Only I Had a Place: An Aspiring Expat's Guide to Renting Luxuriously in Mexico"