Sunday, March 12, 2017

Brooke, my friend in Mexico

Before I do other blog entries about our brief trip to Cozumel, I feel it's necessary to introduce you to the lady who gave us free room and board at her home.

I've always referred to Brooke as "my daughter's friend" or "my daughter's best friend".  Rachel and Brooke say they are one another's "person".  If you've ever watched Grey's Anatomy, you know that means far more than friend.  To me, it means two people connected at the heart.  It's one of those connections you rarely run into, and I am happy my daughter found such a friend.  I'm not sure I have what it takes to be such a friend to anybody, honestly.    
My daughter (on the left) and Brooke, taken a couple of years ago
Now that I've spent quality time with her, I refer to her as "my friend Brooke" when I talk about her, because we spent lots of time chatting in the cab of the pickup while my daughter and son-in-law were riding in the back, and I got to know her better.  We had met previously, but we became better acquainted during the recent visit to Mexico.
This is how my daughter and her husband rode around the Island.  I sat in front with Brooke.
Brooke lived in Japan for ten years and learned the language.  She's lived in other interesting places around the world, having been in our Armed Forces.  I have wanted her to do a guest entry in my blog for a long time, to share the story about how she ended up in Mexico, but I'll give it to you in a nutshell:  She thought she might be dying, and decided to live out the rest of her life in her favorite location in the world:  Cozumel.

Brooke had been there many times before.  She loves scuba diving, which I think is one thing that drew her to the island.  Anyway, she made up her mind she was going to go to Cozumel come hell or high water.  She worked three jobs in Texas, living frugally and putting back all the money she possibly could, finally heading to this Shangri-La in her pickup with what belongings she could stow with her two dogs (one pregnant) accompanying her.  I've heard parts of the saga of her trip south through Mexico, but I won't attempt to tell them.  Let's just say you won't hear about many women driving alone through Mexico.

Brooke said she's been called a hippy, and I believe that describes her well.  Free spirit is another term that works.    

Since she moved to Cozumel, she has learned some ways to naturally treat her symptoms and is so much better that she's now planning to apply for a work visa.  She figured when she moved south that she would be able to stay two years, but with a job, she'd be able to look farther down the road.  She shares some of the magical, living potions she makes, as well as her sour-dough bread, with friends.
Some of Brooke's magical, living, breathing potions.  It's a good thing she has a spare refrigerator.
She lives frugally, without television, hot water, or Internet.  Her home is very basic.  She sleeps in a hammock and has folding lawn chairs for herself and her guests to sit on; if you stay with her for 24 hours, she'll have you trained to turn off lights when you're done with them.  In the year she's been in Cozumel, she has learned to speak Spanish, although she isn't satisfied with her level of fluency.  From what I've seen, she carries on a conversation with the natives quite well, only occasionally struggling to think of the right word or phrase.  ("I can't speak Spanish," she protested upon reading this... whatever.)  One of my favorite things about our visit was watching her shop for food.  I shadowed her through every tiny shop and grocery store she entered.  She introduced me to mangos, and once she found out all three of her visitors loved that fruit, she kept a fresh supply daily, cutting them into bite-sized pieces for us and even sending some in baggies for us to eat as we waited in the airport at Cancun.

There is a sheep farm on one side of her home.  For a couple of hours in the evening when it's close to their suppertime, you hear constant bleating.  Everyone around the neighborhood has "yard chickens", mostly skinny, long-legged game hens.  Any time after 3 AM in the morning you'll hear roosters crowing all around.
the sheep farm
I thought I had a picture of the house of ill repute around a nearby corner, but can't locate it just now.  

Brooke never locks her door when she leaves, or when she turns in for the night.  She figures her dogs will keep predators away.  When she parks in town, she leaves the doors unlocked and the key in the ignition.  

That's a brief description of my friend, Brooke.  I felt I needed to introduce you to her before I began sharing my experiences in Cozumel, because without her, the trip to Mexico wouldn't have happened.  


Margaret said...

Brooke sounds amazing, and very courageous! It takes a lot of determination to move to another country and live in relatively primitive conditions. I'm glad that her health is better and that she's working on staying in a place that makes her happy.

Paula said...

Very interesting. I too say Brooke is a brave soul. John and I used to cross the border at Laredo about every thee months. We won't go near it now. Looking forward to reading about your trip.


Your friend sounds spunky and real. I admire her simple life. You and your daughter are lucky to have her.

Barbara In Caneyhead said...

Brook sounds awesome! I have had serious thought of doing this in retirement.
Barbara from Life & Faith in Caneyhead

Jon said...

Brooke seems to be my type of person...we'd get along fine.

Mary Degli Esposti said...

First of all, I am so pleased that Rachel looks happy & healthy(from what I can see of her @ the back of the pickup truck!)& is enjoying her vacation.
I'm no longer sure I can be a friend like that either, but I am glad both Rachel & Brooke have each other.
I now forgive Brooke for not having a coffee pot.
We are gearing up for a blizzard tonight, so I will check back in on your adventures when I next get back to the library.

Lori said...

I enjoyed meeting your friend Brooke. I'm so glad both she and Rachel are doing well, and I hope Brooke can go on living in Cozumel as long as she wants to. I never really watched Grey's Anatomy, aside from like the first season, maybe, but I think everyone needs a "person" in her life, and I'm so glad Brooke and Rachel have each other for that.