Writing about our first time living off resort in our 2 rooms on Lazaro Cardenas in Puerto Vallarta brought back many memories. It was living in those rooms that shaped how we live today. We learned to shed what wasn’t necessary, to live with and appreciate what we did have as well as think fast on our feet. I remember a plumbing issue we had in our small
bathroom, there was no plunger and it would be expensive to purchase one. What to do? We only saw our landlady on rent day, sitting at an old wooden desk on the landing, suddenly, I remembered seeing one on the roof of our apartment building in a locked wire shed. Using a broom handle, we were able to draw the plunger towards us and through an opening, success! It felt great to solve this problem on our own and be able to carry on without bothering our landlady especially with our limited Spanish. Here in Vancouver, we would have been able to ask our building manager for help or walk to any “dollar store” to purchase a plunger. Another hack I remember fondly, using the hot water in our bathroom to wash our dishes, we had to run the shower for a few minutes to get hot water from our bathroom sink taps to run into a cooking pot-there was only cold water available from the kitchen taps. Years later, I was reading a small article in an English local newsletter, while living in the Olas Altas area and the author was remembering having to do the same thing. Wow, we were not alone in dealing with the quirks of apartment living in Mexico and as my friends and family know, I am a collector of paper and was happy to cut this article out and add to my collection. Coming home to Vancouver after those first 3 months away, we realized how much “stuff” we really had, we were living in Puerto Vallarta with one cooking pot, one kitchen towel and a precious 3-pack of J-cloths, we basically had one of everything throughout – we did have a tiny courtyard off of the kitchen area and did a lot of hand-washing. Having so little allowed us lots of time for exploring our neighbourhood, reading and shopping daily for our food – a surprise for us in renting this place, we also had maid service! There wasn’t much for her to do as the apartment was spotless when we moved in, we did need the tools of her trade though, we had no mop or broom. So imagine having learned so much and now living here in Vancouver our Mexican way, living very simply and as uncluttered as we can. We try to do this each day!