It was one year ago, when I worked for a French tour operator as a kids’ entertainer in all-inclusive hotels. My company sent me to a different location every 6 months, and I really liked my job even if it was difficult sometimes. I was far away from my home, friends and family. I had to work long hours and be in a good mood all the time. However, it was a great way to travel around and to make some money, because I didn’t have to pay for rent or food. Importantly, it was not a boring job.
My company had decided to send me to Mexico – it was completely unexpected and I was so excited to board a plane to a new continent. During my first month at the Riviera Maya, I fell in love with this country and also with my then-boyfriend. When people ask me why I liked Mexico so much, it’s something I can’t really explain with words – I was feeling at home in a place so far away from where I was born. I lived not far from Tulum, 40 minutes from Playa del Carmen, in the amazing and beautiful Riviera Maya near to the mysterious Caribbean Sea. During my stay there, I was able to visit Mayan temples and the impressive monument of Chichen Itza. I swam with turtles, dolphins, rays and so on. I saw pre-hispanic and folkloric shows, visited Cancùn and ate some tacos at 4 o’clock in the morning, danced the salsa and the bachata in the street – and I had my heart broken.
I liked the Mexican way of life and how people are attached to their cultural heritage. I realize how much their culture has an echo and a brilliance all around the world. I know that it is a country filled with violence and I feel sad, because the media always focuses only on that part of Mexico; even though there is much more to Mexico than that! Most of the time I met friendly, generous and gracious people. I felt like my life was easier here, as if I was living in paradise.
After six months, my company wanted to send me on to Italy for the summer season, but my ex-boyfriend asked me to stay in Mexico with him, find a new job and be happy together. Sounds like a romantic movie, doesn’t it? It was really difficult for me to make a choice though, because after a few bad experiences I made a pact with myself: a boy would never decide what I do with my life again. That was my line of conduct; but rules are made to be broken sometimes, and after a few days of hesitation, he convinced me to stay.
I wanted to visit others places in Mexico to explore more than the touristy Riviera Maya. Mexico is a huge country with a lot of different faces, so we travelled around the Puebla area and to Mexico City. The ambiance was different but more typical. I had the chance to meet his family and live with them for a month in a small and cute city called Atlixco across the beautiful volcano Popocatépetl.
I learnt a different culture and a different lifestyle; it was interesting but a bit confusing as well. I realize the level of comfort that I had in France and I felt shame that I had complained about it sometimes. Some old habits I’d had suddenly seemed to silly; for example, how I always wanted to buy more clothes I didn’t need, trying to find happiness in consumerism. Through my experience in Mexico I was able to understand how easily life could be rich, and that my happiness doesn’t depend of how many things I own.
After our road trip we moved back in Playa Del Carmen as it was easier to find a job in the touristy areas. Speaking English, Spanish and French, there were a lot of opportunities for me – but alas, my working visa had expired and I had to wait at least two months for a new one. The hardest thing was to find an employer who wanted to take care of my papers. If you plan to relocate to Mexico, know that while it is not impossible, you have to be patient and perseverant.
Regrettably for me, I was not well-prepared enough. My bank account was almost empty, and my relationship was going downhill. I realised that we were just too different. He was also lying a lot and had a weird definition of loyalty and support. We had big fights because I couldn’t find a job and I blamed him for it – after all I had quit everything for him. Eventually, I made the decision to let him go. Suddenly I was alone far away from my family and friends, so I moved back to France – money issues aside, I just couldn’t stay in Mexico any longer because my heart was broken.
When I think about it today, I don’t regret my choices. I was in love and I took a risk for it. I followed my dream. I left my comfort zone behind, which always teaches you valuable lessons. I had to deal with challenging situations and I learnt that was wrong to blame someone else for my decisions. I know that some things are just out of my control, and my expectations are not always fulfilled. I’m thinking a lot about this failed relationship, how I grew with it and how it made me stronger. I learnt to follow my instincts at all times, and make choices only for myself. And even if things did not work out as planned, I will always try to move on.
This is a guest post by Charlotte Caselles.
Charlotte Caselles was born and raised in France. She studied art and photography at school, and has lived in Greece and Mexico. She enjoys Latin culture and her next goal is a road trip by herself around Latin America. Follow her adventures on her