After we made the decision to head back to Mexico and have our baby there, things fell into place as they usually do once intentions become clear. We found a great family to rent our house, and Mark had so much work thrown his direction that he was able to be choosy about what worked best for our family. As he packed up for one last job in Stanley, Idaho, he simultaneously packed our car like a sardine can. We kissed him goodbye and caught up with him a few days later in Stanley.
Finalizing the packing and cleaning the house was a huge chore for my 5-months-pregnant self, but it had to be done. It felt really BIG to drive away from Missoula, just Owen and I, knowing that when we returned we’d be a family of four. We made our way to Mark’s hotel and spent a couple of nights there waiting for him to finish. Mark’s schedule is always kind of insane when he’s working, and this was no different. Awake before dark and home after dark, he put in long hours doing hard labor with just enough time at the end of the day to eat, shower and go to bed. So by the time he’d finished his job, he was pretty tired. And I was raring to go.
Before we’d left Mexico in April, I’d been told by the head of the ‘artesanos’ that if I didn’t return in time for the first market of the season, my spot would go to someone else. “And everyone wants your spot,” he said cryptically in his thick, Chilean accent. I’d nodded back at him, wide-eyed.
I. Would. Not. Lose. My. Spot.
So that meant that we had to book it down to the border to make it back in time. Mark’s project had gone over by a day or two, and there was no time to spare. He was tired with no desire to rush, while I was a wound up pregnant woman about to move to Mexico. We clanged against each other for the first day or two on the road. Actually, I just clanged against him.
When we finally crossed the border into Mexico and arrived at the visa office, we were right on track to make it back in time for the first market. But then it all went to hell when we realized that we didn’t have our car registration. Who doesn’t have their car registration in their car, like, all the time? Us, apparently. Our nomadic lifestyle had caught up with us, and neither of us could recall what we’d done with the registration. I had a vague, dim memory of possibly throwing it in the trash after peeling off the sticker and putting it on our license plates. The visa office didn’t care about our sticker—no registration, no car permit. Adios, amigos.
At this point, all of my exhaustion, anxiety and freakishness came to a head, and I burst into tears in the parking lot. Then Owen started crying. It was no bueno. Some locals saw the commotion and asked if they could help. They offered to make it happen for us. We just needed to give them some pesos, and they’d meet us at the OXXO convenience store right down the road with our paperwork. We hesitated for a second, thinking that maybe this would be the quick fix that we needed. Then a police truck rolled into the parking lot, and our helpers all scattered. One of them chatted with the police and returned to our car to ask if we wanted to do it. “No, gracias,” was our reply. Seemed just a tad too sketchy. So back across the border we went. We got a hotel room and arranged to have our registration overnighted from the fine people at the Missoula County Courthouse. We rested. It was glorious to be forced to slow down.
Once we had the registration in hand, things went more smoothly in every way. Except we’d had our car A/C fixed right before leaving Missoula, and it wasn’t working. As we headed into southern Sinaloa with our windows down and sun beating in on my side of the car, I wondered if I might die of heat stroke. All of the sudden, the heat became too much, and I begged Mark to pull over ASAP. He pulled over under an overpass, and I jumped out and dumped water on my head as if my hair were on fire. Since the sun was only beating down on my side of the car, I took over driving for a bit to get a break from it. Thankfully, the sun hid behind the clouds for the rest of our trip to Sayulita.
We arrived in the dark after our longest and hottest day of driving and pulled up to Tacos on the Street to eat. We called my new friend, Leia, who I’d only met online, to get the keys to our place. I’d met her on a Facebook group called Sayulita People when I was asking around about having a baby in Sayulita. She’d responded with great info, and we’d developed an email friendship. I brought her some things down from the States, and she’d checked out our house in Sayulita to make sure it was okay to rent. She was hugely pregnant and due in 2 weeks when I met her for the first time on that hot and humid night.
We found our place in the dark and opened the gate. It immediately felt amazing and like we’d hit the jackpot. We peeked inside and all let out huge sighs of relief. Yes, we could live here. It would be just fine. It was laid out like a studio, with a half wall separating the living area from the bedroom and one king-sized bed for all of us. But it would work.
During the first week, the mosquitos found Owen and were well-fed. The ticks found Rosie, too. It became the norm to pick up to 40 ticks off of her per night. Owen’s scratching led to the common (here) and annoying staph infection on his legs. It is a pain the butt to deal with, and all the tea tree oil in the world won’t beat it. Believe me, we tried everything. As the staph infection peaked, so did a fever and crazy rash. It came on in the middle of the night and had us worried, so we took him to his new pediatrician the next day.
It ended up being just a common (to here) virus, but the whole welcome-back-to-sayulita-here’s-a-staph-infection-and-scary-rash experience had me seriously questioning what I’d gotten my pregnant self into. To say that I felt vulnerable is an understatement. And if I’d known in that moment what was coming down the pipe, I’m fairly certain I would’ve packed my bags and headed home.