Of Friends and Transitions

Living overseas seems to bring with it a mobile and transitory lifestyle of a caliber foreign to those who steward the home traditions. We become accustomed to a series of pronounced and frequent life transitions. In Tokyo foreign friends would transfer to assignments in other exotic locations every three to five years. It makes it nice for traveling, a privilege to be able to stay with friends around the world, but their departures leave huge holes in our lives. In Mazatlán there seems to be a frequent seven to ten year cycle to expat life, with beloved friends moving to the interior of the country or back home, closer to grandkids, so they can be an integral part of those children’s lives.

Transitions are a normal part of life; I know this. Life is comprised of cycles; I know and believe this from the depths of my heart. Yet dealing constructively with transitions is the reason I made a career as an interculturalist oh so many decades ago. I am not good at them. They hurt. Things change. They can even change for the better, open new doors and windows for which we’ll forever be grateful. But, they involve change nonetheless. Someone “moves our cheese.”

JANET BLASER-head shot

Our friend Janet Blaser

Right now I’m dealing with the wonderful new cycle of a dear friend who has done so very much for Mazatlán during her life here—astoundingly so, in my opinion. I admire her greatly and love her dearly. Janet Blaser started and has run M! Magazine, that terrific English-language monthly we are fortunate to have seasonally. As part of that endeavor, she’s thrown some of the best parties the expat community has had over the past decade, in some of the most unique venues in town. Janet also was the visionary and founder of the Farmer’s Market, our local organic produce market, which has played a crucial role in transforming the reality of food and restaurant offerings in Mazatlán. She pretty much single-handedly organized our Women’s March Mazatlán last January, bringing together nearly 500 locals and expats so that we could be “on the map” and have our voices heard with the rest of the world as Trump took office. Personally, she’s always ready with an alternative viewpoint, a contradictory opinion, the inside scoop on goings-on around town, and a good belly laugh. I will miss that.

She is so ready for her new life cycle. She’s rented a darling home with a killer view in Nayarit (the state south of Sinaloa), and has it fully furnished in her mind. She has a two-minute walk to a quiet and incredibly scenic little beach; it’s going to rock. She’s already made her first new friends, who share her passions for organic, sustainable living and surfing. She is excited about the new projects she’ll now have time and energy to work on, which will take her new places mentally, emotionally and physically. All is good. I’m thrilled for her. It’s full of growth and wisdom; it’s right. Click on any photo to view it larger or see a slideshow.

And she is doing it right. With a month before she actually moves, Janet has already cleaned many things out, packed up a bunch of stuff, and advertised for a garage sale. This way her apartment reminds her on a daily basis of the excitement of her new life, and helps her deal with the reality of the shift. She’s smart and wise. Damn her. 😉

What a gift to be that type of person, one who leaves a place better than when she entered it. A new owner is now the custodian of M!; the growers themselves are now in charge of the organic market. Good karma for beginning a new cycle.

Godspeed, my dear. We will be visiting you very soon. Know you will be missed, by so many, in deep ways. And know we are all rooting for your joy. Thank you for moving my cheese, even though I hate it. Life is change, it is a journey, it’s all about transition. Darn it.

So So Happy for Southern Sinaloa Organics

Productos Rivera logo¡Mil felicidades a Productos Rivera!

You probably recognize them from our Saturday Mazatlán Farmers’ Market. Productos Rivera are from Escuinapa, just south of Mazatlán, and have been growing mangoes since 1970. They hold US organic certification. Today in the Noroeste I read that they have just signed a new contract with UK-based Marks and Spencer.

I’m so excited for southern Sinaloa, for our farming industry, and especially for organic farming in this gorgeous part of our fair state! Thank you for leading the way and strengthening our local economy, our environment, our health, and our reputation in world markets!

22,000 hectares of land around Escuinapa, Concordia and El Rosario are dedicated to mango; southern Sinaloa has perfect conditions and micro-climates for the best mangoes the world has to offer. Productos Rivera already sell their mangoes in the US market, and they have been attending international trade shows and trying to crack the European market for the past 15 years.

In an attempt to provide more year-round employment to the 150 people they employ in season (May-September), Productos Rivera began dehydrating mangoes in 1995. They sell fresh as well as dried mango, dried mango with chile, and decorative dried fruit arrangements. To quote the Noroeste article, “Last year we produced 50,000 tons of mangoes, and most of it was exported fresh to the USA. But we need to find a way to add value to our product and to differentiate it, because when we have good harvests and lots of mango, the prices fall,” said Ernesto Rivera Valdez, Director General of the firm.

Productos Rivera already exports about 100 tons of dehydrated mango per year to the US, where they are sold in Starbucks, Whole Foods, CVS, Draeger’s, Wegmans, and Hudson News. Thanks to this new agreement, an initial shipment of nine tons of dried local mango will soon depart for London. May the Londoners learn what we already know: Sinaloan mangoes ROCK!