It has now been over a year and half since I have moved to Mexico and what a journey it has been. Looking back at it all it is amazing how much has changed. From my daily life behind a corporate desk to moving to Cozumel, Mexico with my boyfriend who now I call husband…woah! I figure it’s time to write down the things that I have learned, done and have seen. A moment to reflect on it all…
Getting here was not easy, perhaps I made it difficult for myself and I felt like I was constantly battling it, but finally I am in my own on this tiny island. In the beginning I was lost. The moment I got to Cozumel I was left to my own devices. My boyfriend, who I so desperately wanted to be my fiance was working right away and I was at home (or our temporary house for a month until we found something suitable, we were living out of boxes and I was certainly frustrated that I couldn’t find some of my kitchen supplies or favorite cook books). Additionally, I was in a foreign country in which I didn’t speak the language. Going to the grocery store was quite an endeavor, scary at times. Oh and did I mention I was starting a business, something that to this day is out of character for me. I am not a natural entrepreneur by any means.
Today I am stronger. I have accepted my faults and developed a lot of patience in the end (Mexico has that effect). I have evolved and eventually have accepted all of these changes. I will say it wasn’t a piece of cake and it might make for a good memoir one day…an engineer turned chef who moved to Mexico with her Polish partner and dogs that cooks for people….just a thought.
That boyfriend did eventually come around and we got married just a little over 5 months ago (Yay!!). He is an amazing free-spirited person that has supported me through all my ups and downs (it’s been a lot). He has also been my sous chef, front of the house, dish washer, lover and friend (thank you Pawel).
My business has turned into a success, now number one on TripAdvisor for “Things to do in Cozumel”. And that Spanish well, I understand a whole hell of lot more and I can ask and identify numerous ingredients in Spanish (In fact, the local Mercado vendors recognize me and appreciate the smiley face that comes in. I got free chives the other day!!). Conversations make sense to me so if you are talking about me I will know it (still no on the Polish that my husband and his mother speak). I am still shy and believe that my brain and mouth are not connected, so conversing is still proving difficult. The new me accepts this and will continue to work poco a poco (this is a goal I have before leaving Mexico to speak Spanish, it can be done).
What has been most amazing about this experience though and what I find the most rewarding is that little private chef business I started when I got here has given me the opportunity to share what I love with all sorts of people. Like me, my business has evolved too. It is feast or famin when it comes to running your own business so I diversified…Cozumel Chef has turned into a “culinary experience”. I offer cooking classes and food tours and it is through these activities that I have met fellow foodies, entrepreneurs, teachers, doctors, people celebrating life and love.
I recently met an interesting women entreprenuer who is the business of the taboo (did I mention she is becoming an orgasm therapist…Awesome!). I met a kick-ass female corrections officer on a food tour. I have met fellow chefs; thank you to the chef who contacted me in Februrary to take him on a “food tour”, this was the tour that inspired it all. I have met moms who believe it is important to expose their children to new cuisines and flavors. I had a team of surgeons help me cook one afternoon. Food has connected me with people that live and work on this island as well (you know who you are). You name it I have met them all, and I can’t forget my star struck experiences either…from meeting and having coffee with Jasques Pepin to having Jeremy Tower walk into my apartment it has been amazing what the coversation of food has done for me.
I have cooked, I have cried, I have laughed and I have traveled. I discovered parts of Mexico that never in my wildest dreams would I have visited had it not been for moving here. This Friday I get filmed/ interviewed by Ogilvy PR for the Mexico Tourism Board that is producing a series of video testimonials about Americans living in Mexico and I get to share it all (again thanks to my connections because of food do I get this opportunity, thank you Michelle). I just needed a moment to reflect and share with you my continuous journey and share how thankful I am for these experiences. I look forward to learning and meeting new people and living the dream with my friends and family (gravity).