Focus on Mexico Blog

Families in Lake Chapala Mexico

(Karen McConnaughey, Living in Mexico) Permanent link

Kids want to dance with their parentsHave we had some challenges to face in Lake Chapala recently? Yes. Are we moving? No. Most of us, both Mexican and Expats, feel ‘this too shall pass.’ There are always going to be negative people no matter where you live…you soon begin to ignore them and hope they find their own kind…maybe out of the area!

There are so many things to be positive about. One important one is that I know when you visit (and you’re not acting like a jerk), you will be treated like family. Our friend Sheila mis-read a notice in Spanish on the clubhouse door in her development complex. She thought they were having a community-wide party and looked forward to the evening since she was new and she thought she would be meeting her new neighbors. When she got there, it turned out to be a private party hosted by a Mexican family for their friends. Was Sheila turned away? Heck no…they insisted she come in, join the party and have a good time. She most certainly did.  

Bill and I were heading to a party for some Mexican friends. We weren’t positive where we were going, but heard some music and the door was open. We walked into what we thought was our friend’s party even though we didn’t see anyone we knew. We just figured some of our friends were running late. Turns out it was the wrong party, but we were there for a half hour, eating and drinking until we realized our mistake. We were embarrassed as we turned to go, but our new-found friends wanted us to stay and continue to party with them. We thought about it for a moment, but thought we better get to the right party, because our friends were expecting us. So much fun. 


Families in Mexico


Breakfast in Ajijic Lake Chapala

(Karen McConnaughey, Food and Restaurants) Permanent link

Moms DeliBill and I don’t eat out a lot. If you’re familiar with our life, you know Bill is a gourmet cook. We also love our village, our house and our dogs, so we eat dinner in quite a bit.

However, when we find we need to run some errands together in Ajijic, we often plan them for the morning and eat breakfast out. We consider breakfast the ultimate comfort food. Below are some of our favorites, but  we’d like to hear about yours too.

Believe it or not, we seem to end up at Salvadore’s more often than not for breakfast. I’m passionate about their coffee, which is good, hot and full-bodied. We always sit outside on the patio and watch Ajijic pass us by. Quite often we’ll run into friends who join us for breakfast. Salvadore’s is the restaurant next to the street where the Wednesday tianguis is held. That fortunate pairing makes this a very popular place to see and be seen on Wednesdays. That being said, I don’t think Bill and I have eaten at Salvador’s even once on a Wednesday. We prefer the quiet  ‘any other days!’  Salvadore’s has a good-sized menu that includes both American- and Mexican-style breakfasts. They’re hearty and filling, and the eggs are always cooked perfectly. The prices are good too.

Another favorite is a no-brainer  - Mom’s Deli in Riberas near Clinica Maskaras. If you haven’t been there lately, you’ll be surprised that it’s moved west to the corner of that strip of businesses. I kind of miss the old restaurant…more charm. However, the staff loves the new place…and whatever makes the staff happy will definitely translate to happiness for us, I know! This is good ol’, down-home, American cooking, with things like biscuits and sausage gravy, and hash. Again, the eggs are always cooked perfectly per your request, over-easy, over-medium, sunny side up, etc.

Breakfast in Ajijic Lake Chapala  

Long Term Care In Lake Chapala

(Karen McConnaughey, Health and Dental, Living in Mexico, Retiring in Mexico) Permanent link

By Keith Coates

Assisted living at Lake Chapala MexicoA year ago I came to Ajijic as part of a Focus on Mexico group.  I liked the area, found a house being built which met my needs and budget, and began the process of moving here from Canada.  The major concern I had was the availability of good long term care for my wife, who has Advanced Alzheimer’s disease – if such care were not available, my plans to move would have to be postponed.  In April this year I came here again to search for a care home, and found one.

The Focus site had an archived article on care homes in the area, with names and contact information and some information on the homes.  Before taking the trip I contacted the homes through email, and while here I asked local residents for their recommendations, and also visited some potential places.  I settled on La Casa Nostra, in Riberas del Pilar - .  One important factor in my decision was that the manager had no qualms about giving me email addresses for one resident and three families with loved ones in the facility, so I could get their impressions.  All were extremely favourable.

Choosing a nursing home

Love Living in Lake Chapala Mexico

(Karen McConnaughey, Retiring in Mexico) Permanent link
By Karen McConnaughey 

Bill and Karen laugh a lotSome of you probably read our blogs and newsletters and think that things couldn’t really be as good as we say it is living in Lake Chapala, especially with the media continuing to hit you over the head with how dangerous Mexico can be.  

 I wanted to share a couple of letters that appeared last month in the Guadalajara Reporter. These made my heart sing because I feel both truly represented why we love it here and how welcome we feel in our adopted country. And, the kindness we feel here is international. The expatriates living here come from somewhere else, and we’ve all left family and long-time friends behind. This is such a close-knit community that it doesn’t really occur to us NOT to help someone in need, no matter what nationality, religion, race…we’re all just members of the same community. Wouldn’t it be nice if the rest of the world felt the same way!


Thank You

Friday, November 04 2011

Dear Sir,
I want to say a huge thank you to the wonderful Mexican people who came to my rescue this week.

On Thursday morning I tripped and fell on a cobbled street in Ajijic and suffered a few bruises and cuts, one of which bled quite a lot.  Within seconds after I fell there were at least three young men there to help me. They found some towels to apply pressure and made sure nothing was broken before they would allow me to move.  Once the bleeding was under control they flagged down a passing family who drove me to the Ajijic Clinic. When I stepped out of their pickup with blood on my face and hands, a woman outside the clinic ran inside to tell them I was coming in and needed help.

Loving Lake Chapala Mexico


Retired Expats in Lake Chapala

(Karen McConnaughey, Living in Mexico, Retiring in Mexico) Permanent link

Bill and Karen McConnaugheyAs Bill and I look back over our more than seven years of living in the Lake Chapala area, we know one thing without a doubt…moving here was one of the best decisions we have ever made.

We made the decision based on the reason many of you do: We were tired of working, and wanted to enjoy whatever years were available to us. Bill was 62 when we retired to Lake Chapala, and I was almost 58. We didn’t know what to expect…neither of us had ever been to Mexico on a trip, let alone lived here! During our research we found that Lake Chapala had the best weather and the cost of living was way below what we were used to in the United States. We were both so tired of snow in the winter and hot and humid days in the summer that we knew we needed something different, weather-wise. As for a lower cost of living, we were able to retire on Bill’s social security alone. Of course, we had bought a house in Mexico, so we were not paying rent.

The one thing we didn’t anticipate, but experience every single day of our lives is the warmth, kindness and generosity of the Mexican people. I’m sure you all realize you can have perfect weather and reasonable expenses and still be miserable because you’re not enjoying life. Don’t you usually find that’s because of the people who surround you? We find that too! I would like to share some of our experiences with the Mexican people we call our friends.

When we moved into our Mexican village…and don’t be confused, thinking I’m being cute and quaint; it IS truly a Mexican village with only about 25 gringos living in a community of about 25,000…I knew only the basic Spanish that everyone picks up, Gracias, Buenos Dias, De nada, and so on. Very, very basic. Bill was fluent in three languages, none of which was Spanish! Our neighbors were wonderful. Once they knew I was trying to learn Spanish, they spoke to me in one-syllable words. For instance, if the electricity went out, and I wasn’t sure whether it was just us, our barrio (neighborhood) or the village, I would usually walk up to the front gate to see if someone knew. Fernando (or one of his multi-generational family living in the house across the street) usually was sitting on the stoop. I would ask, “Luz?” (Lights?), and they would wave their hands back and forth in the universal sign of an X, and say, “No, no luz!” We got along just fine.

Read more about retiring in Mexico