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Mazatlan: 10 Days


I walk down the street that the base is on, and turn left on the Malecon, crossing the busy street to get to the boardwalk that lines the ocean. I pass the small stand on wheels with the man who sells coconuts, and start to jog. I have not tried any of the coconut stands yet, but I am told that they put a hole in the coconut and you can drink the water out of it, and then they’ll scoop out the coconut meat from the inside and sprinkle it with salt, lime and chiles. The people who have told me about this say it’s delicious. I have plans to try it, but the juice stand up the road has made me sick twice now, probably from the ice made from tap water, and so I’m laying low for a few days as far as Mexican food stands.

I jog lightly, passing the opening in the wall that leads down to the beach, and then passing a beautiful old building named La Casa Marina. With creamy stucco walls, a second story wrap around veranda, and a red tile roof, it sits on some cliffs overlooking the ocean, and it used to be a sort of military barracks for sailors. In the very back of the building, at the highest point of the property, an old cannon sits pointed out over the tide pools toward the trio of islands that sit calmly in the Pacific, about three miles out.

I’ve been talking with some of the other DTS students about kayaking to those islands. The base has two kayaks, and there are supposed to be some hiking trails on the middle island. It takes about an hour and a half to get out there.

After La Casa Marina, I am starting to break a sweat in this intensely humid climate as I set my sights on the next landmark of my new morning route: A huge fountain with leaping dolphin statues and massive nude statues of what I think is Poseidon and a woman – whomever Poseidon had the hots for in Greek mythology. They are standing on a nautilus sculpture behind the dolphins as though behind a chariot. Mazatlan has a huge share of these Greek statues. Most of them stand up over the ocean on their pedestals, looking out at the ocean with dramatic body  language.

I stop in front of the fountain to stretch my calves and quads, and then keep going.

Our family is slowly adjusting to our new routine.

We have been here for 10 days.

We get up around 6:30 each morning, give or take, and I try to go for a run while Derek and the kids wake up. The Malecon is pretty safe for solitary runners during daylight hours, and very public. Even so, I hear my mother in law’s fearful warning to me the morning we left for Mazatlan: At least bring some pepper spray when you go running!

The breakfast bell rings at 7:30. We have classes for much of the morning, and then in the afternoon there are work duties. For our family’s duties, I am helping out in the base office with some administrative stuff and also with their blog.

There are a few hours each day for free/family time before dinner, and we have been trying to address these with a mixture of spending time with the rest of our DTS team and being involved in whatever fun they are up to, as well as letting the kids have down time in the pool or at the beach, etc. While we are in classes in the morning the kids work on their independent schoolwork, and then on breaks we work on the other subjects with them.

I am glad I brought a lot of good books for them to read, because they are getting a lot of reading done. Sometimes one or all three of them will come into class with us and sit in the back and play with the Kindle or read a book. The base staff doesn’t mind at all if we do this, and they’ve gone out of their way to extend a full-family welcome to us.

Even so, the adjustment has been a little more difficult for us than I was anticipating. From sharing a room with our kids and not having any privacy, to no AC during most of our waking hours, and the cold showers and necessary precautions we must take when brushing our teeth and doing anything that we would have used tap water for in the States, it is a lot of little adjustments to things we have never had to change until now, making them big adjustments in reality.

So yesterday morning when one of our DTS staff asked if anyone needed prayer for transition, I raised my hand and the tears began to flow.

I didn’t sleep at all the night before, having gone to the juice stand with a group of people and then drinking 30 or so ounces of (delicious!) coconut, pineapple, mango juice that promptly made me sick all night long. Good times.

This last week has been exciting and full of adventure and promise, but also, completely overwhelming.

Lots of little kinks to iron out.

So I’m just being honest and vulnerable here. I love Mazatlan. Love Mexico so far. Love the rich, warm culture, the young people we are learning with and getting to know and serving with, and we are grateful for the amenities that we do have, such as a kitchen, and two really great balconies from which we can see the ocean, and the apartment that is full of windows and light. Glad to be here. Meant to be here.

Doing great. No ledges to be talked down from.

But definitely in the middle of transition.


5 thoughts on “Mazatlan: 10 Days

  1. Hi Jillian. The water issue is a big one. We had to get used to that as well. We never drank anything that was made from the water. Greg and I tried to brush our teeth with the water, but started getting sick. Stephen wouldn’t do it and he never got sick. 🙂 It’s hard when the people offer you something, but sometimes you just have to receive it and then “act” like you will be drinking it soon. 🙂 Most locals know that you are new and can’t handle their water. I know it’s got to be tough, being in the same room with your children. I’ve never figured out how other cultures do that! 🙂 I will be praying for your transition. I totally know how those tears come flowing out! I did my share of crying that first year we were gone. (mostly being away from my daughter for the first time, and holidays, and deaths, and whatever else set me off) It will get easier………..by God’s grace.

    Posted by Angela Ruark (Rachel's mom) | September 26, 2013, 9:59 am
  2. We are praying for you guys so much!! We are also a little jealous. Had a dream two nights again that we jumped in an airplane and flew down to see you. Give Derek a manly like hug for me please. Hope you get to kayak out to the islands. Take good water for the trip there and back and make sure your arms and shoulders are in good shape before you set out. Have fun guys.

    Posted by flyingstarts | September 26, 2013, 10:06 am
  3. Praying for you, Jillian! Glad you are where you are meant to be, hopeful that you find all the support you need in the middle of this transition.

    Posted by Sarah | September 26, 2013, 1:51 pm
  4. I have spent quite a bit of time in Mexico. I only drank the water after my mother in law boiled it. Always keep jugs of boiled water on hand. I never got sick in Mexico, but I never ate out either. We always cooked our own food and made our own drinks. It took me about a month to adjust to Mexico, but when I came back to the states it was even harder and took me about a year. I missed Mexico a lot, all my husbands family is there and we hope to move there as soon as he naturalizes and can get some sort of american job be at an embassy or something. He is from Oaxaca, one of the most poorest states but the most beautiful in my opinion. How long are you there for? we are planning on going to visit the family in February for a couple of months maybe we will swing by and visit. Bring you some american goodies that I am sure you miss by now. You are a strong woman and even stronger with Christ. Praying for you always.

    Posted by Shammah Garcia | October 19, 2013, 12:07 pm

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