Poco a poco / Little by little

I have traded Oaxacan (whuh-ha-ken) chocolate shaved atop the foam of my cappuccino and a sun that’s rays go past the skin and straight to your bloodstream, for drip coffee and a predictable clientele at most any coffee shop in Seattle, old or new. I left Mexico with a few surprises yet to be uncovered and returned to the comfort of familiar faces in Seattle, rain to build an ark for, followed now by the bluest of blue skies of May. It is a mezcla mix, but I’m glad to be here, and loved being there.


University of Washington Campus, Seattle, WA

Before I left for Merida in August my Dr. had told me “Do not, I mean, do NOT take Vitamin D while in Mexico. You will get plenty naturally.” Weather today in Merida is 102 with ~80% humidity. I don’t regret leaving sooner than planned, but I do find it odd to be nearing the end of the teaching year and walking Greenlake instead of my old Colonia Maya.

Going to Oaxaca, the most southern region of Mexico, despite some challenges was one of the best experiences I’ve had yet in these four decades of life.

My brain is still overloaded by looking at the boxes in my storage unit marked “Kitchen appliances” and “Office supplies/Printer stuff” when I’m trying to find a lighweight jacket and clothes for an interview. I have been roving between the homes of my welcoming generous friends and started to professionally pet and house-sit. Airbnb is a lifesaver, too!  Somehow even with the stress of this arrangement, on most days it is still worth it.

As opposed to finding certainty of what I want to do next, and where I want to do that, I’m finding some of what I don’t want, or at least do not want yet. I’ve been applying for jobs of all ranges, hoping to get something I can do remotely at least some of the time with flexibility to travel and focus on writing more. The corporate world and more stability may be what I try and return to at some point, but for now some temping is working out okay as I continue the search. Most importantly with this much uncertainty, I need to get some form of certain grounding every day and for me a walk and a friend, and being a friend, is the formula that helps.

I’ve read people like lists, I know I do. So here you go!

Best things about Mexico

  • Fresh Tortillas. Both those made by hand on a hot comal every morning, noon and night by a Señora in a floral tattered apron, and the tortilleria with the mechanized “hot off the press” stacks of fresh tortillas, weighed and stacked by young men who take the task seriously.

Walking to the tortilleria, the anticipation, the waiting in line with a basket lined with a fresh dish towel into which the amount of any range, exactly 8 tortillas or 1 whole kilo, are placed atop the towel in your basket then folded over, covering the most simple, decadent and necessary of corn creations.

  • Sunsets. I was taken at how stunning the sunsets are even in the big cities and suburbs, let alone those beach and mountainous vistas. Yellow, pink and orange layers painting the skyline.
  • The people. Despite the news, the weather, the economic standings, the annoyances which are on some days abundant, Mexicans have a graciousness and jovial attitude that is comforting and catching. They love to play and celebrate within the everyday, including the hardships of life. Just look at Dia de los Muertos.
  • Multi-sensory treats 24/7. From the rooster crow to the smell of the panaderia and the truck driver on his bullhorn blaring out “Agua” to the view of the hillside with its overgrown bougainvillea and little tic tac painted casitas, all by 7am upon opening one’s door, it is a feast for the senses all day every day. Color, warmth, love and light.
  • Spanish. Poco a poco nosotros mejorar. Little by Little we improve. Why does it sound so much better in Spanish? I don’t know. But to my ears and tongue the joy in hearing and speaking this language continues to draw me in. My accent improved measurably, my grammar continues to exist on proper rules and really bad habits, I get my point across and a forgiving people and language keep me going.

Best things about being back in the U.S.A., specifically the Pacific Northwest, precisely Seattle

  • Crossing Streets. I don’t fear for my life when crossing a street. I know the signals are obeyed if I keep a watchful eye. Should something go wrong, the government likely has my back.
  • Green, green, fresh air and clean. Don’t get me wrong, houses and streets are swept and scrubbed daily in Mexico, but exhaust, dust and bugs also thrive daily.
  • My friends and family. The generosity and support for me on this journey has exceeded anything I could expect or knew how much I needed and still do. And I get to be a part of what each of you are up to, what is new, same, changing.
  • Freedom. Mexico is a Democracy with a level of lawlessness. This can be both an attraction and a deterrent for living there. One can go and do as one pleases, but there is a sense that the officials, both low and high ranking could re-direct your course at any point in time, this is true for Mexican nationals and visitors. It may be for a day by taking away your car until you provide some prior unknown needed piece of paper to entirely uprooting a family without good explanation. Money seems to be the underlying motivator and resolver and with lack of money for all involved, it is simply an unfortunate system in place.
  • Pride. I can still say this is a good place to be from and to live, despite the other Washington.


This blog and your readership has helped my journey immensely! Wherever this finds you- be safe, and let all those sensory treats in!


Author: Americana Mexicana

Seattle native. I spent 2016 moving to Mexico and 2017 settling back into Seattle. Where next... Nature keeps me sane, I am in awe on a walk most every day by some flower or weed that survives to show us their beauty, despite it all, yet again.

9 thoughts on “Poco a poco / Little by little”

  1. Your writing is so illustrative of your experiences. I love lists too. And thanks for reminding about the great things that make up the PNW!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This piece is so vividly lovely, Katharine. I guess we never “arrive” but just enjoy as we go. Thanks for sharing your adventures and thoughts—I’m really happy for you and look forward to hearing more.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey, Katharine! Have so enjoyed reading your Americana Mexicana postings. Would love to get together for lunch one day soon. Alas, after some misfortunes with my hip replacement, I’m not yet allowed to drive. But do let’s try to work something out. Also, I may have a house-sitting proposition for you in September, if you are still open to that. Do be in touch, and know that I admire your adventuring spirit!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Beri! Thanks so much for your note, I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed my updates. I’m sorry to hear the hip replacement didn’t go as smoothly as hoped but sounds like you are on the mend. Yes, let’s be in touch! Take good care and heal up, Katharine


  4. What a joy to read of your adventures and your lists are perfect! They do remind me of things I have always taken for granted and make me appreciate my freedoms anew. We have a wonderful Mexican family in our neighborhood and every day I appreciate how happy they seem and your post confirmed my thoughts about that. The colors they’ve used to decorate their home are SOO cheerful and their love and care for their children is truly a blessing to behold. Welcome home and best wishes for whatever is next.. God bless…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mary! So nice to hear from you and I appreciate all your good wishes 🙂 I hope you are doing well and I’m happy you have that warm Mexican love in your neighborhood! Take care and we’ll keep being in touch- xo, K


  5. It’s interesting to share your thinking process as you contemplate what to do next.
    I love it that you value your time and experience at least as much as the opportunities to make a living.
    It’s a level of self awareness that many of us suppress much of the time.
    Make the most of every day! There will be less to regret someday.


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