Blog about living in Mexico by Photographer Erin Parker

Ever dream of selling everything & moving to Mexico? I did it and these are the stories.

American Girl

I want my daughter to adore my sisters like I do. I want her to think they're magical and have secrets with them. They should spoil her and be who she turns to when she absolutely hates me (sometimes, with the tantrums, I feel like we're already there). They are amazing women and she needs to know them.

These two talk via FaceTime almost daily. Some days, when she wakes up from her nap, Sydney will ask for Cali. The opportunity to visit L.A. popped up like a dare so for the first time since our move to Mexico, I took Sydney back to America. This picture was made on our final full day but the expression Sydney has happened over and over during our five day visit. She was in awe ... Tia Cali is real

Admittedly, she was inundated with new circumstances before we even left Mexico. She and KareBear discovered riding the suitcase was more fun than walking. There were more people inside the departures terminal at the airport than live in our little town. There was a little boy seated in the row in front of us that spent the entire flight trying to get her attention and all Sydney has asked for this summer is, "Play with kids?". Sure, babe, just don't fight the buckle. 

When we landed and cleared customs, I called Cali to let her know we were early. The traffic gods smiled on her that day and she was close. I managed to get Syd and our luggage to the curb without incident but she'd already seen the phone and she wanted it. We were arguing for control and she was begging to "Call Cali, call CAAAAAA-li) when like a fucking magician, Cali pulls up to the curb and hops out of her car, stunning Sydney into silence. She recognizes her, she knows her voice, she knew we were going on the airplane to see Cali but the surprise on her little face was perfect. She was enchanted. 

The car ride to the apartment was long and full of singing (we were very happy and we all knew it). There was a lot of "Cali, watch this" followed by nothing exactly to watch but Cali looked every time. Sydney was exhausted but she didn't dare close her eyes. There was too much to take in.

Think about it. We left the states when she was nine months old. There was no walking. Her world was limited to our loft and the grassy park across the street. When we were walking to the apartment from the parking garages, she stopped and got on all floors and touched the carpet. She'd never been on wall-to-wall carpet before. Cali bought a plush Minion to appease Syd's latest obsession (it's better than Frozen!) and he was sitting on the sofa chair, just inside the front door. Sydney froze, squeezed my hand and squeaked "Scary ...". She thought he was real. When she laid down to finally go to bed, hours past her normal bedtime, she looked around the room and said to me. "No lizards, no froggies". No Sydney, in Los Angeles, geckos don't climb the walls and frogs won't sing you to sleep. 

Aside from spending time with Cali, getting to play on zoomie American playgrounds was one of the big planned highlights of the trip. So was escaping the oppressive heat of our tropic summer. The playgrounds did not disappoint. Syd climbed (my heart swole), she swang, she discovered tunnels and swirly slides. Unfortunately, our trip coincided with a heat wave. We hid in shade, we ate popsicles but we never lasted long at the parks. 

Shopping. It's where she was the happiest. Nordstrom's was not my idea (we had to pick up some items for Karebear) but Sydney fit right in. She lounged on the couches in the shoe department and made googly eyes at the tall dark and handsome salesmen. She oohed when she touched fancy garmets in the lingerie department. She ate her Teddy Grahams and cast eyes of approval at the different things we tried on in the dressing room. Target was like baby heaven. There were so many different Minion things to hold. Cali let her run down aisles, crawl in clothesracks, bounce balls, ogle at toys, take caps off lipstick. It was like she remembered how much I love Target and knew that it's Momma's happy place. She didn't muster the same enthusiasm at Trader Joe's but I can't blame her. She's in love with the produce man here in San Pancho and gets showered with affection by the girls at our local tienda. No grocery store in America is going to usurp that. She'll get Trader Joe's one day. 

She was unphased by the huge American Girl store we visited. The zombie dolls are lined up in their pink boxes with celophan windows in front of their faces, right at Syd's eye level. She walked up to them and looked in and asked me to carry her. That a girl, the ARE creepy. The horses and pets for the dolls were more interesting. She looked sideways at the little girls who dashed into the store, dressed in the same outfits as the dolls tucked under their arms and running to the "salon" at the rear of the shop where the mini-me's could have their hair done in the same style as their owners. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I'm sure there's a whole world of make believe and doll play that Syd will grow into. My little Mexican just wasn't into American Girls. 


The final stop on our hit parade was a children's concert at the Getty. Clearly, I was trying to cram as many kid activities into the trip as I could. I feel starved for diversity sometimes. Yes, we live by the beach and it's great. Options at home are limited and in L.A., they're flush with things to do. We packed Stuart (the Minion), a picnic and our blanket and headed up. Look at that face. She ran barefoot in the grass with other kids. She twirled. She rolled. She laughed and laughed. She's got these real good dance moves that she was busting out. 

She was so damn happy at the concert she couldn't be contained to take a selfie. 

When we got back to Mexico, my husband and parents couldn't believe how much more she talks. She was belting out songs she barely mumbled before. Stuart is a constant companion. And Cali understands Sydney language almost as well as I do. It was a great trip, Sydney and Cali forged a little bond that will just get better the more time they spend together (shopping, naturally). Cali is 100% wrapped around Sydney's little finger. They're exactly how I dream them to be, despite the distance.

Now all that remains is how Cheyenne will top it when we visit her in October.