Q: How do we meet people here, make friends and become part of the community?
A: This can be a challenge for many new residents as they are moving to a different country with a different culture and language. So a good place to start might be to take a Spanish language class. Yes, this is a tourist town and many of the locals speak English. There are plenty of long-time residents who have gotten by without speaking Spanish. But you want to thrive, not survive! A basic Spanish vocabulary can always come in handy, and it can be a real pleasure to be conversational. Besides, understanding the language will give you a good insight to the culture and the Mexican way of thinking. Hint: “ahorita” does not necessarily mean “in just a minute”… Expats in Vallarta is an informal group is for Expats living around Vallarta or for those considering the area. They are meeting on Tuesday March 18th at 5:00pm at Langostino’s on Los Muertos Beach. Visit their website at www.expatsinvallarta.com
The Downtown Art Walk is held every Wednesday from 6PM-10PM. Fourteen different galleries host different events and this is a great way to meet the artists and art lovers. www.vallartaartwalk.com
The “Southside Shuffle” is another fun event on Olas Altas and Constitucion Streets every other Friday from 6PM-10PM. The local Farmers Marketis every Saturday from 9:30 am to 2pm at the Lazaro Cárdenas Park. Who can resist the sights and sounds of fresh coffee, bread and produce, and the great opportunity to make new acquaintances? There are also some great events this spring in our brand new air conditioned theater. http://www.teatrovallarta.com
You should also consider an active pursuit, enroll in yoga or Pilates class, learn to play tennis or golf, take a sailing or diving class, or just get out and take a stroll on the Malecon. And to keep up your energy, don’t forget to patronize the local shops, markets and restaurants. Vallarta is home to a plethora of amazing markets and world-class restaurants, and they could all use your patronage right now. Strike up a conversation with the proprietor and you may be surprised with the friendships you can make. And as you discover special places, you will also begin to become a source of information for new arrivals and will have a topic to discuss. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there has never been a better time to become involved with a charitable foundation. It is no secret that the economic slowdown has had a drastically negative economic impact on our beautiful town and there are many people in need. There are wonderful opportunities to help children, animals, the needy and make our city a better, kinder place. Besides the feeling of well-being that can come from contributing, there is the added benefit of meeting some wonderful caring people and starting lasting friendships. One of the most active organizations in our bay is called the International Friendship Club; their website is: http://www.ifcvallarta.com/index.cfm
Best of all, you are not limited to just one charity. I have many friends and clients who are involved in several. So get up, get out and find your passion! And by this time next year you will be writing and asking, “How am I going to find enough hours in the day to…”
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