Please help us welcome Frank Arellano (on our left) and Stan Stump (on our right) as two of Lakeside Chapala’s newest residents. Here’s a bit more we can learn about Frank and Stan…
Where did you move from?
Palm Springs, California
Where did you move to?
Frank: Paradise. We’re renting now in Riberas while waiting for our home to be built in west Ajijic.
What work did you do in Palm Springs?
Frank: Real Estate Broker.
Stan: New home sales.
What was it about the Lake Chapala area that caused you to want to move here?
Frank: That it is close to the States but had a different culture. The people are warm and inviting; locals and expats alike. Stan and I had come down before we decided to move in order to experience firsthand what it would be like to live here. On our first trip, we had dinner at Yves. It was getting dark, so we asked Yves how we could get a cab to our hotel, which was about 15 minutes away. Instead of calling a cab, he personally drove us back to our hotel, all the while introducing us to the area and giving us a bit of the area’s culture and history. It was amazing.
The same thing happened when we met Mike Eager [who owns the Nueva Posada hotel and restaurant] and Mark Eager [who owns Eager & Associates Realty]. Both were so warm and open and eager to make us feel at home, while telling us stories about the area. The Lake Chapala Society was also a big plus.
Back in 2017 I came across an article in the Huffington Post about Lake Chapala, reporting how affordable it was, how temperate the weather was, etc. Within 24 hours I purchased airlines tickets and a few weeks later, we were on the plane with our wire haired Dachshund Tucker, who was a puppy at the time. [Sophie and Tucker are now expecting, right here at Lakeside.]
We were visiting at the Lake Chapala Society when a man of German descent took an interest in our Dachshund, Tucker. When he left to say goodbye, I said goodbye to him in German and threw in a few other German words. This caused him to spin around, become even more effusive and helpful than before, and to tell us all about how great it was to live here.
We came down about three months later with a group of about 10 people from the States and stayed at the Nueva Posada. Everyone loved it. But our friends are upset that we’ve left to live here. On the good side, they’ll come to visit and some of them are exploring moving here.
Lake Chapala has a “safety net” because, before we came, others were here first and established a community that could ease our way with very little difficulty.
We can have the best of all worlds here. For example, the fraccionamiento where our home is being built is very orderly. The community is painted white with a Moroccan flair and an involved HOA (sort of like in the US), but then, when you walk out the gate, you’re immersed in the exuberant vibrancy of our Mexican village.
Stan: We really appreciate the economics of living here, the climate, and that English is so widely spoken. Frank and I are learning Spanish as fast as we can, taking two classes a week.
What are your plans here over the next few years?
Frank: I may do some real estate, set up and operate a blog or expand our US-based travel agency to do trips here and into Central and South America.
Stan: I just want to enjoy retirement.
What are you most looking forward to doing at your new home here at Lakeside?
Frank: New adventures, new friendships, building interpersonal connections, and to start a food club where we would have pot lucks featuring a different country or region’s food every month.
We’ve been to Guadalajara lots of times and love it. We’ve gone several times with other recent arrivals who’ve been moved here by Best Mexico Movers, Bill Schroeder and Bob Bruce. It’s coincidental that we all lived in Palm Springs, but we didn’t know each other there. Here, we get together often. It’s a lot of fun.
Stan: Not having to pay a mortgage.
What do you wish you knew “then” that you know “now”?
Frank: How easy life is here. If we knew that, we would have moved here earlier.
Stan: That the reputation that Mexico has as being dangerous and crime infested is not true.
What are you most passionate about?
Frank: Cooking, learning new things, traveling, meeting people, relaxation, and experiencing the local culture, with all its flavors and colors. It’s just so much more vibrant here. I’ve come to realize that here at Lakeside, “Noise is life” which is an intimate part of that vibrancy.
Stan: I want to be immersed in the local culture and environment; to become Mexican.
What advice do you have for anyone moving here?
Frank: Make sure that moving here is really what you want. Know yourself and what is most important to you. After that, if moving here is right for you, believe in yourself. Believe you can do it.
What was your biggest misconception about Mexico?
Frank and Stan: We knew a good amount about Mexican culture from living in Southern California. What we didn’t know is how diverse and in flux Mexico is. The country is a juxtaposition. Mexico has a foot in all Three Worlds, it is a combination of the Third, Second, and First World, but right next to each other. We drove down here from SoCal and on the way you can see little stands selling food on the side of the road, which is very Third World. Then, you may visit the bathrooms in the gas station that sort of work but could use some maintenance; sort of Second World. All the while this is going on, cars are passing the toll stations using electronic sensors, which is First World.
As another example and to illustrate how all this co-mingles, just the other day, we saw a bunch of technicians stringing fiber optic cable for Internet, but they were doing it in the most manual way possible. That’s the dichotomy. The opposites are fun. There’s a combination here, which adds to the interest, liveliness, and just the overall experience of living here.
What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you at Lakeside?
Frank: Just trying to interpret what the Mexicans are saying and them interpreting what I’m saying. I’ve used Google Translate, pantomime, and everything else. I’m having a blast. We were in a shop the other day and I kept on pestering the shop keeper for the names of items in Spanish and then I tried to repeat and use those words in a sentence. She was stunned. She actually thanked me for trying to learn her language. And the end result is, I’ve made a new personal connection.
What hobbies and other activities do you plan to do here?
Frank: I may start a blog and I will definitely start the cooking group. I also plan to grow our own herbs. Stan and I visited Abastos [the huge wholesale / retail food market in Guadalajara] recently and found it to be a treat for the senses. It was overwhelming. We loved it. And then we drove on to City Market, which was totally over the top. It was totally upscale. Again, Second World, First World.
What’s the first thing you did after you put away your household goods?
We went to our storage unit and dug out our tea pot and warmer. It was like a treasure hunt, I was determined to find them because we brought 10 pounds of loose tea with us. So, now every morning, we brew a full pot of tea. This ritual makes it feel more like home in our rental home while we wait for our new home to be completed.
What was the most stressful part about moving to Lakeside?
Frank: The unknowns. In the end, I advise others to just let your anxieties go. You [Best Mexico Movers] were a great help with that. If I had a question you would either have the answer or direct me to someone who could assist. I remember calling you once we crossed over the border wondering where the heck was Checkpoint 21 and you said not to worry you’ll come across it and we did. Go with the flow; everything will be fine, would be my best advice.
What were you most happily surprised by about moving to Lakeside?
Frank and Stan in unison: the affordability. We recently had an amazing meal with another couple, complete with appetizers, full entrées, dessert, wine, even after diner drinks, and with tax [always included] and a big tip, the whole thing came to 2,000 pesos [about USD $100] for all four of us. We had a wonderful evening for a fraction of what it would have cost in Palm Springs.
On top of that, everything is a new adventure for us now. We are having a great time and we would not trade our life here for anything.