Frank Arellano and Stan Stump

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.

 

David Hudnall and Roy Haynes

Roy and David

Back in the very first part of April, we at Best Mexico Movers had the pleasure of moving two gentle, kind, interesting and talented people to the Lake Chapala area: David Hudnall and Roy Haynes. (That’s Roy on our left and David on our right.)

We also enjoyed the honor of being invited to what was essentially their housewarming party last Friday, along with what seemed like 100 or so of their new, local friends.

If you enjoy what I’ll call “Palm Springs mid-century modern” (sorry, Roy and David, if I got it wrong), with masterful accents of everything from African masks, very artfully displayed bottles, fearless use of color that works great, and overall inspired and talented decorating, see if you can wrangle yourself an invitation to their home. What they’ve done in the just three months since their home was full of boxes is nothing short of amazing. You’ll love it.

Roy and David

Here are Roy’s answers to our questionnaire introducing him to the community he provided on behalf of himself and his husband, David.

Your name: Roy Haynes

Your husband’s name: David Hudnall

Where did you move from? Greenville, South Carolina, US

Where did you move to? We brought a house in Riberas del Pilar

What work did you do in South Carolina?

I held many roles during my 25+ years tenure working for Belk Department Stores Inc, such as visual manager, regional visual manager, model store visual coordinator, etc. During my retail career, I was used to moving things and opening stores. But moving to Mexico was an experience a little different than I was used to. My background helped with the packing process.

What was it about the Lake Chapala area that caused you to want to move here?

My husband, a retired dentist, wanted to retire to a foreign country with a lower cost of living and a slower pace of life than the US. We felt like everything in the US was centered around working harder to make more money. In many foreign countries, the priorities of the native people are on the family and we liked that idea. We were both retiring early; me at age 55 and him at age 58. We had to lower our cost of living to allow us to live many more years in retirement. We started our search in Ecuador in the fall 2017. However, there was no place in Ecuador really spoke to us as a place to live. Visit yes, live no.

Mexico was next on our list of countries and after some brief exploration, we discovered the Lake Chapala area and were sold. We knew we didn’t want to live in the humid, coastal areas of the country. The Colonial Highlands of Central Mexico were our target. We started with 3 criteria in our search:

1) lower cost of living;
2) close to an international airport; and,
3) a cultural and theatrical community.

The Chapala/Ajijic area had all three and just felt like home; especially after meeting so many nice and helpful people along the way. We were brave and lucky. We bought our dream house, while it was still under construction, after visiting the area for 1 week. We managed the construction from the US and visited twice before the house was finished 5 months after buying it.

What are your plans here over the next few years?

Much travel, meeting people, making good friends, enjoying everyday life, learning about the Mexican culture, and learning the Spanish language.

What are you most looking forward to doing at your new home here in Riberas de Pilar?

Relaxation. Not needing to get up early every morning to go to a job that I no longer want to be associated with.

What do you wish you knew “then” that you know “now”?

There are certain things (mainly foods, cosmetic, and decor items) that you can’t get here that are readily available in the US. But you learn to adapt. All the paperwork…so much paperwork to do anything in Mexico such as opening a bank account, buying a car, getting medical insurance, etc.

What advice do you have for anyone moving here?

Do your homework. Research the area. Make a lot of friends. Ask everyone you meet plenty of questions and adapt their response to fit your own unique situation. There is usually something in the response that you will use at some point. There are NO DUMB questions.

We have had many traveling nomads tell us to sell everything in the US and buy what we need when we get here. That may work for some people but not us. The best thing we did was to come to the area while our house was still under construction and really shop and explore what is locally available. Think of what you will need in your new space. If you can’t find the specific things you want to set up a comfortable home for yourself locally, bring it from the US. Even WalMart and Home Depot here don’t have the merchandise that we were accustomed to at their US stores. You will regret not bringing the things that make your life easier.

What was your biggest misconception about Mexico?

That is unsafe to live here. This was a common comment when we told people we were moving to Mexico. In reality, there are unsafe areas in every country, state, city across the globe. Mexico is no different. Use common sense. Avoid going into areas that are clearly a bad neighbor and you will be ok.

What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you?

We somehow became the test couple for moving abroad within our circle of friends and acquaintances. So many people had negative things to say about why we were moving out of the country to retire early. It was mostly fear-based comments to the unknown.

Most people don’t take charge of their own lives and consider other alternatives that can actually change the course of their own destiny. Why settle for how the company you have worked for for 20 years treats you just to get the health insurance? As our moving process went on and became a reality, some of those same people have realized they can never afford to retire in the US and have checked into moving abroad themselves.

What hobbies and other activities do you plan to do here?

I plan on doing some work with the local theatre, maybe some home staging and interior design projects, volunteering, traveling around the beautiful country of Mexico, and just relaxing and taking in the natural beauty.

If you had to do your move all over again, what would you change?

I would have spent more time learning Spanish prior to moving. I feel like I must play catch-up with Spanish classes here which is difficult to do while you are setting up a home and doing all of the things it takes to immigrate, buy a car, get other official documents that make you a resident of the community, etc. Spanish knowledge would have made the process easier.

What’s the first thing you did after you put away your household goods?

Started decorating and getting settled. Restocked the kitchen for cooking meals. We are spoiled in the US. You can go to one grocery store and find everything you need to cook a meal. In Mexico, you have to go to multiple markets to find basic staple ingredients. If you see something you need in one store, buy it. A similar item usually cannot be found in another store. Also, the way items are organized is very counter-intuitive to the US brain. Items that should be grouped together in our way of thinking are not located near one another in a Mexican Supermercado.

What was the most stressful part about moving to the Lake Chapala area?

Getting all the projects completed in the US like an estate sale, selling your current home, paperwork, paperwork, and more paperwork before moving. Packing and deciding what to take, what to sell, hoping you are taking enough stuff and if you are taking the right stuff. I personally brought way too many clothes that I will never wear.

What were you most happily surprised by about moving to the Lake Chapala area?

That the moving process went so smoothly, thanks to Chuck and team. We shipped a large collection of glass decor and it all arrived unbroken. We arrived on a Monday and our belongings arrived 3 days later.

What should we know about you we forgot to ask?

Being two men married to one another, we haven’t had a bit of problem being accepted into the community here, both with Mexicans and immigrants.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Linda Joy Stone and Alex Holland

Linda Joy Stone and Alex Hollahd

Linda Joy Stone and Alex Holland

We continue a new feature at Best Mexico Movers wherein we introduce some of the clients we recently moved to Mexico. Please join me in welcoming Linda Joy Stone and who she describes as “her husband, espouse and best friend, Alex Holland.” 
Linda and Alex are so close that they will often sign their emails as “Lindex.”

Where did you move from?

Tucson, AZ

Where did you move to?

Ajijic, Jalisco

Linda Joy Stone and Alex Hollahd

What work did you do in Tucson?

I was a practitioner of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture x30 years, 19 years in Tucson. Started an acupuncture school with my husband, Alex, where he has been president up until our move. He is also a musician and composer of films.

What was it about Ajijic that caused you to want to move here?

We were seeking a more affordable, colorful, walkable environment with a moderate climate for our retirement years, close enough to the U.S. to visit friends and family and vice a versa and yet far enough to be a part of different culture. What called us to Ajijic specifically, as we also explored Oaxaca and Guanajuato, is the beauty of the lake and being on a body of water. Plus, we were impressed by the Lake Chapala Society—its history, pristine grounds and events—and as a social hub to help gringos assimilate to a new country. Not to mention all the great restaurants and shops that Ajijic offers!

What are your plans here over the next few years?

Alex and I intend to first gain greater strength and flexibility as we wander and explore the many colorful paths and nuances of this MC Escher-like terrain. We especially look forward in developing a like-minded community in which to explore and expand our interests in integrative health, spirituality, music, ecstatic dance, astrology, local and world geopolitics, the Spanish language, etc. I will offer selective healing sessions and Alex will pursue his music, both playing bass with other seasoned musicians as well as continue his studio work composing music for mixed media.

What are you most looking forward to doing at your new home here in Ajijic?

First finding the ideal bright and spacious home after our lease is up 10/31/19 in which to dream and write and spend most of our time at home creating. We figure the first six months here is the “Welcome-to-Mexico-boot-camp” phase where much energy is focused on learning and navigating a different culture and language.

What do you wish you knew “then” that you know “now”?

To be advised to allow a period of rest and adjustment, starting with the first month upward, to not be in a hurry to figure it all out. It could take 6 months to 2 years to explore, acclimate, find new practitioners, new friends, but mainly to be easy on yourself when things go differently than you may have expected or desired. It’s important to find humor in the “setbacks” and joy in the “little triumphs”. We are new babes in wonderland, and it takes a while for the brain and musculature to become accustomed to everything, from uneven ground to a different language and customs.

What advice do you have for anyone moving here?

Give yourself time to rest and acclimate. Try to let go of expectations and things being a certain way. This is not America or Canada! We are visitors to Mexico, a land and people far older than ours, and must respect and honor their customs and presence. People are generally very friendly, helpful and forgiving. In essence, be a friendly and helpful ambassador from your native country.

What was your biggest misconception about Mexico?

I think the biggest misconception is that Mexico is a dangerous and crime-filled place. Yes, there are areas like that in every country and I’m not making any apologies for Mexico’s long-standing system of corruption. However, the people are family-oriented, take care of their own and are very generous, friendly and fun-loving. They are not out to get you, but it’s best not to be a “flashy” gringo, and to be mindful about how you carry and wield your cash, like anywhere.

What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you at Ajijic?

Not being able to read labels in stores and not knowing quite what you may be getting. Oh, crema is not sweet cream for coffee… it’s sour creme! Or trying to ask, even with iTranslate, for daily household items at Walmart, e.g., a vegetable steamer, coat hooks or lightbulbs. One may just get a big shrug… but we’re learning as we go!

What hobbies and other activities do you plan to do here?

I plan to continue to write my blog and maybe finish one of my many unfinished books; read, join the hiking club, establish a “Stargeezer’s Astrology” group, study Spanish, find an ecstatic/free-flow dance group, maybe learn to paint…so many possibilities!

If you had to do your move all over again, what would you change?

I would not worry and obsess so much over all the details, as “death by details” could become my epitaph! Also, I would have packed much lighter so as to avoid a storage unit for those “treasures” we may never see again!

What’s the first thing you did after you put away your household goods?

Walked to lake!

What was the most stressful part about moving to Ajijic?

Organizing the move and dealing with unexpected events that postponed our departure by two weeks. Nevertheless, all our possessions arrived safely before us with the help of friends and Chuck Bolotin and Best Mexico Movers!

What were you most happily surprised by about moving to Ajijic?

That we actually made it here and are living in Mexico! And that Alex and I are often awestruck by little synchronicities of “chance meetings” with remarkable souls, blessed places and new discoveries that reinforce our reasons for being here.

Is there anything you would like to ask from the community?

I would like to inquire of others how they feel their lives and life perspectives have changed by living here for a period of time.

What should we know about you we forgot to ask?

I am most passionate about being surrounded by beauty and living in harmony with Nature. I believe that laughter is the best medicine and I want to die laughing! We seek others who appreciate irony, paradox and the silly side of being human.

 

 

Susan Cole Bainbridge

Susan Cole Bainbridge

 

We just started a new feature at Best Mexico Movers wherein we introduce some of the clients we recently moved to Mexico. Please join me in welcoming Susan Cole Bainbridge to Ajijic and when you see her around town, give her a big Lakeside welcome.

Your name:

Susan Cole Bainbridge

Where did you move from?

Chicago.

Where did you move to?

Ajijic

What work did you do in Chicago?

I sold residential real estate.

What was it about Ajijic that caused you to want to move here?

Pretty much everything. The people, the culture, the climate, the food, the services, etc.

What are your plans here over the next few years?

I’d like to just to relax and enjoy it here. I purchased a house in the village with a great mirador and a view of the lake and the volcano Garcia in the distance. It’s lovely.

 

What are you most looking forward to doing at your new home here in Ajijic?

I’m looking forward to enjoying the serenity. In contrast, living in Chicago was stressful. After all, Chicago is a big city. This is my biggest challenge and opportunity of living in Ajijic —letting go of always being “on,” and looking to get the next thing done.

I’m also looking forward to traveling within Mexico to see more of this beautiful country.

What do you wish you knew “then” that you know “now”?

That you can’t necessarily rely on the expats here as being experts in everything. Sometimes, you get completely conflicting advice from different expats to the same question! (A good example of this is anything having to do with immigration.) My advice is to talk to as many people as you can… and then find a professional.

What hobbies and other activities do you plan to do here?

I plan to do a lot of gardening, including learning about the climate and the zones. I also plan to learn Spanish. I want to communicate with the wonderful people here and be part of the community. After all, it’s their country; not mine, so I should learn their language.

If you had to do your move all over again, what would you change?

I don’t have any regrets. Lots of great things have happened to me.

What’s the first thing you did after you put away your household goods?

I laid down on my bed and cried because my dog wasn’t here with me. Usually, when I would go to my bed, my dog would jump up.

What was the most stressful part about moving to Ajijic?

The most stressful part of moving to Ajijic was having to come without my dog. He isn’t good with loud noises like we can get here in Ajijic, including the cohetes (fireworks). Also, he needs a back yard and I can’t give that to him here.

It all did seem to work out, though. About five days before I was set to move here and still having concerns about bringing my dog, a friend and mentor of mine in Chicago who is 93 years old called and was very upset about something. It turned out that her puppy had died. At that point, it was clear to me what I was called to do—I offered my dog to my friend. Then, after she accepted, I cried for four hours. (My friend never knew.) Now, my friend is so attached to my dog that to take him away would break her heart. Fairly soon, I will adopt a dog here in Ajijic.

What were you most happily surprised by about moving to Ajijic?

The easiest part for me about moving to Ajijic was the part of the move with Best Mexico Movers https://bestmexicomovers.com/. Once everything got on the truck in Chicago, everything went smoothly.

Is there anything you would like to ask from the community?

Please don’t change.

Bill Schroeder and Bob Bruce

Bill Schroeder and Bob Bruce

Please join us in welcoming two of Ajijic’s newest residents: Bill Schroeder and Bob Bruce. As Best Mexico Movers, we had the honor of moving Bill and Bob from their very sunny Palm Springs-area home just this month.

Bill is to our left and Bob is in the middle. That’s Jet Metier to our right.

Bill is a retired architect and Bob was an interior designer. Bill and Bob are renting now, waiting for their house to be built. And with their backgrounds and sense of style, you just know that the house they’re building here at Lakeside is going to be a work of art.

We had the pleasure of going out to California to personally help Bill and Bob with their move and then to meet them here locally just last week for a nice lunch at Brew Pub. Bill and Bob are warm, witty, talented and funny people. Please say “hi” when you see them and join everyone else in welcoming them to our community. California’s loss is our gain.

Bienvenidos, Bill and Bob!

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