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Cancun, Mexico ~ Meeting La Gringa Loca of the Jungle!
I traveled to Cancun, Mexico a few years ago. One of the adventure spots that I visited was Selvatica. I had booked tickets online in advance so my family and I could Zip line through the Mexican jungle. That sounded like a hazard I just had to take. Of course I included the family! I hope that my kids have the courage to always follow their dreams, no matter how they sound to an untrained ear.
While my family and I stood in line - excitement was creeping like the unbelievable vines that were suddenly before my eyes. Tanglible, thick leafy, musky smelling foliage that I had only seen before in books. In preparation of the trip I had read about the canopy of the jungle but to see it - was a thrill in and of itself.
A beautiful American girl suddenly materialized apparently from the mist of the fountain, "Hello, my name is Missey," she said in perfect English. "Let me know if you need anything or have any questions" she explained as she wrote out my name tag. Missey positively glowed and glittered in the sunlight with her blond hair and radiant smile. Her enthusiasm was contagious.
Little did she know....I had several questions! I did not get the chance to ask all of them on that day. As fate would have it, those little 6 degrees of separation would cause our paths to cross once more by chance, as she read my article on the Internet about Selvatica. She contacted me via email and we have remained great friends and in touch through Facebook and email. She has let me have a glimpse into the life of Gringa Loca - the crazy white woman who made her home in the center of the Mexican forest. Crazy or incredibly clear headed and sane? You decide....
Who is La Gringa Loca?
What is your name?
Where are you from originally?
I am an only child, both my parents have passed away. Originally, I am from California, I went to a private Catholic high school in Indiana and a university in Colorado Springs, Colorado. My friends in Colorado are just like family. They thought I was crazy to want to live in Mexico!
How did you come to live in Mexico?
I came to Cancun on vacation with my two aunts and best friend in October, 2008. The last night of my trip I went to Senior Frogs and I was wearing a "free hugs" t-shirt. The cutest guy I ever saw walked up to me and asked what my shirt said. (His English was not so good). His name is Adrian. He asked me for a hug. We danced all night and he stayed with me until the sun came up on the beach.
I came back for him.
Did you return immediately?
We exchanged information for Facebook. We spoke almost every day for three months. Then I decided to go back to Cancun to visit him for a week in January, 2009.
Obviously, you extended the stay?
Yes, I really didn't expect to stay that long, but the day came when I needed to pack up and go to the airport and when neither Adrian nor I, could say good-bye, I didn't leave. We got married the following September. We have been married 3 years this September. We had a very small wedding ceremony and afterward we went to the park and then bowling!
Where did you live?
The week before I arrived, Adrian rented an apartment which I was so grateful for since I ended up staying. It was really cute, a furnished studio that was brand new. We were the first people to ever live there. It had a bed, a T.V., a table with two chairs and a refrigerator. In Mexico, a studio is a studio! A room and a bathroom - nothing of a kitchen. We had to wash our plates where we brushed our teeth and this was a first for me! We lived simply and acquired things we needed along the way.
How did you get a job?
Adrian took me to work with him. I was floored! I was like "you work here? Wow!" One day I was hanging out and Brenda, the receptionist from Argentina, suggested that I work there. I have degrees in Business Management and Marketing.
What is your occupation at Selvatica?
I was hired to manage both of their souvenir shops, design t-shirts and find other products to market and sell. When you met me - I still worked in the Jungle managing the souvenirs and helping at Selvatica, Cancun. I now work in a very comfortable office with air conditioning and no mosquitoes. I am the Public Relations Manager for Selvatica and sister company, Cancun Vista.
What is your main function?
I take care of Trip Advisor, Facebook pages, blogs, articles, press releases and so much more!
Did you like working in the jungle?
95% of the time I loved working in the jungle. I absolutely love to be outside. I especially loved being with Adrian everyday. It really helped us to build a solid relationship. Going to the jungle everyday was a mission. We would go to work on a bus, stopping halfway for breakfast. It was an hour each way.
How did you pass the time? I am surprised you could sit still for that long!
I was lucky enough to find a bookstore that would sell, buy or trade books in English. I kept a list of book I read and it was a lot! I also took this time to study books in Spanish.
Did you ever encounter bad weather in the middle of the jungle?
Oh, my! Yes! For the three months of summer, June through August, it was so hot and humid and there is no escaping the heat. If it rained hard, the girls in reception had to hustle to cover everything. I would hurry to cover the t-shirts and we would have various receptacles to catch dripping water.
They did it upside down!
What kind of a child were you?
I was super adventurous! I loved and still do love to do anything extreme. From bungee jumping to scuba diving to mountain climbing. I love anything that gets my blood flowing and my heart pumping.
What kind of dreams did you have as a child?
I can't really say I had a specific dream or idea of what I wanted my life to be like. I am kind of the person that goes with the flow and follows the river where it takes me. I am so lucky it brought me here.
Was it difficult for you to adjust to the culture?
I had a very hard time adjusting to life here but now I am used to it and it seems normal. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be and I do see myself as a strong person.
- the color pink
- History Channel
- the beach
- Canyon City in Hot Springs
- Paulo Coelho
- Sunshine Wheat & Fat Tire micro brew
How is the culture in Mexico most different than the U.S.?
It is completely the opposite of the U.S. My first "issue" that really bothered me was with personal space. People do not have a problem running right into you at Wal-Mart - and don't expect and apology either! In the U.S. we are used to having everything we want in the next five seconds; here people take their sweeeeeet time in getting things done.
Do you think that family has a higher value in the Mexican culture?
Yes! The Mexican culture is HUGE on family. It is very important to do what you can for your family. I see my mother-in-law once a week for a dinner. Sometimes on Sundays, we go shopping to the outdoor "flea market" together. She is always buying cute shirts or bags for me. She is so sweet - I couldn't have special ordered a better mom in law!
Family, being the most important thing is why they make it so important to convey that message when you visit Selvatica. They want you to feel as if you are a part of the family and not just a guest.
What kind of animals do you see in the jungle?
There are so, so many animals to see! There are Tejons, which are like the Mexican version of a raccoon, tarantulas, scorpions, toucans, oh my goodness! My favorite are the humongous butterflies! They are even bigger than your hand with a brown underside and the most beautiful blue on top.
What are some of the most exciting things you have done in Mexico?
Both of us are super advernturous. We have been to Chichen-Itza, Coba and Tulum Mayan ruins. Snorkeling in Puerto Morelos and Isla Mujeres. Scuba diving in Isla Mujeres. Adrian and I went to Mexico City to meet his family for our two year anniversary. We have enjoyed Cozumel day trips, we have had tons of fun on the beaches here in Cancun and of course, Gringa Loca fun in the jungle!
What are your short term goals, Missey?
To live everyday with the outlook that it could be the last. I enjoy the sun, the floral smell of the flowers every morning before I go into work. I see each day as a new adventure.
What are your long term goals?
One is to get Adrian a Visa so that he can come to the United States and see what life is like there as well as know my people. It is a very difficult and expensive process.
How did you know that Adrian was the guy for you?
My husband is my mono (Spanish for monkey). He is my everything. He is so loving, caring and super funny. I think he eats clown for breakfast. Adrian is very creative and I love that. He wrote a message to me in the sand with sticks and took a photo from the zipline. When I saw that photo I knew he was "the one."
There has been a lot of hype in the media about traveling to Mexico, can you tell me if it is relatively safe to travel to Cancun, Mexico for a family?
Yes! It is very safe here. I am getting so tired of people being afraid of Mexico. Cancun is extremely safe. I have been here for three years and have never seen anything to make me believe otherwise. I have been in parts of the U.S. where I have been more afraid. I know the places where I should not go walking around alone at night. Unless a person is looking for trouble, they won't find it here.
Tourism is very important to Cancun, isn't it?
Yes. Without it, there would be NO economy for people to live and be comfortable. If there are problems, people won't travel here and we would all be screwed.
If anyone needs any travel advice or has any questions about traveling to Cancun they can feel free to call me directly to a free U.S. number that gets routed to Cancun. 866.552.8825 or write to me on Facebook @Missey Selvatica.
A Message in the sand...
I emailed Adrian to ask hIm to tell me what he thinks about his Gringa Loca and this is what he said:
"I saw her on the club, and that day didn't wanna be there to be real... i just show there with my friend. OMG she was at the other site of the club and i was having curiosity about her, "she is pretty" i said to myself.
Dance all night, the song i remember was "i remember" (ironic we couldn't remember that later until someone played and we look at each other)by underdog project.. then we kiss cuz we couldn't resist it and from there the ship just sail.
Eyes that can't see true me, hair was like gold dust in my eyes, her curves kill me those lips has the most beautiful curves had ever see. I was stock already!!
Time when by fast but i didn't know this .. we being creating and enjoying one of those things you don't say cuz you know you have it inside you, but, but i have it... LOVE
3 Years and she is older, 3 years and she is cute, 3 years im still wondering why i got married (J.K).
I know what i saw that day & i know what i feel today, haven't change, haven't twist besides the world and his problems teaching us the lessons, that only prove why love is so important... "
"When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny." ~Paulo Coelho
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