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Remote Work in Colima - My First Week

It was still dark when the alarm chimed on, softly waking me from a deep sleep. Man, the bed is comfortable!

Eventually I made my way to the kitchen, still struggling to locate light switches. Only three days in the new house, the new city and still mappings my steps and getting familiar. Success, let there be luz!

Before securing the short-term rental I asked if there were ever power outages and if so, for how long? I also asked about the reliability and strength of the internet wifi signal. My new landlady assured me that in the four years she had lived in the house, the power had gone out only twice and had been restored in a matter of a couple hours and that the wifi was strong and consistent. This is important. Not only is personal security and safety a priority, so is the ability to work and sustain myself. Makes sense since our livelihoods also provide personal security with the income they generate.

TelMex is the name of the communications company here. In the living room is an Infinitum modem that provides wifi to the smart tv and my laptop. Thankfully the password is on the front of the modem and I had set the connection during the weekend.

Internet is included in my short-term rental and later is included in my long-term lease so I don't see the monthly bill. With a quick Google search I see that packages start at $469 and go up to $1086 pesos per month dependent on service and speed.

Customizing some settings on the website I learn it's possible to order the 150 Mbps speed for only 2 devices (not 4 as shown in the image) for a monthly rate of $716 pesos which is $35.95 USD or $45.54 CD with today's conversion rate. This is only 44% of what I had been paying up north.

My full-time gig is Marketing Coordinator for a natural health products company. Any typical day I have 10-30 tabs open while I write copy, review videos and social media ad campaigns, host video conferences and make calls on my VOiP desk phone to North American and European destinations.

Even my background music selections are streamed from Spotify through my Sonos speaker. Usually I play classical piano or Chet Baker instrumental selections during my workday.

I wake early enough to have a slow morning. Without a commute, there's no need to rush out the door. The point of moving to a place that is more affordable is to open emotional space, to slow down and to breathe in life again. Slow living is the goal so I chose to embrace this fully. One of the few kitchen essentials I brought down was my coffee grinder which whirs to life. With the coffee brewing, I pop into the shower and there I can smell the rich scent of the espresso beans.

Dried and dressed for summer eternal I add a spoonful of organic cocoa to my mug before pouring the hot black richness overtop. With my hands warmed I head out to the yard. Dawn has broken and the sky fills with golden light. The birds, now awake, sing the day alive. I soak this all in and feel happy, blessed. The dreams we have become goals we set. When we direct our attention to our goals those dreams eventually become reality.

Once more I fill my cup and feel gratitude, now living my dream. At the dining table where I have set up my office space, I sit to begin my day. The wifi is fast. Eight hours fly by. Week after week this becomes my morning routine. Coffee, shower, bird song at sunrise, a standard productive work day, a home cooked lunch and a long walk at the end of the day through my beautiful new neighborhood.

It's been three months since I moved to Colima and eventually there was a day the internet didn't work. Around the corner from my house a road crew was performing underground work and a communications cable was damaged and needed to be replaced.

Over all it took 48 hours. TelMex dispatched a crew. They had to coordinate with the road crew, pull the damaged line and replace the connection.

The damage occurred over the weekend and the damaged wire was disconnected on the morning of the Monday. I was forced out of my house to find an alternative. In the interim, I was able to pick up and respond to email from Gmail on my cellphone with a SIM card from TelCel with 3G connection. Using Facebook and Google Maps I sourced some local options and found myself at a café a few blocks from my house. Though I wasn't able to plug into power, I did have a terrific panini and a few refills of coffee while I worked through the day in the open air restaurant.

Day two I used as an opportunity to try someplace new. Another café I had heard about was also very close to home. The menu was great and I ordered a fruit bowl but soon the restaurant filled up, not only with people but also with a lot of noise. Music, grinders, steam blasting into pots of milk for lattes, deliveries and on it went. There was no possible way I could work here. Maybe I should have just gone back to the café I sat at on Monday but I didn't, determined to find options. I swung back home for a bit to discover that the line was still down, answered a few more emails from my phone and then tried another pass around the neighbourhood after a Google Maps search for "wifi". Lunchtime and the remainder of the afternoon I found myself at the local Teriyaki restaurant that serves sushi as well. Dávid sat me at a table beside an electrical outlet so I could plug in.

Over the few hours I was there, the connection wavered somewhat. I couldn't say if that was because I was sat in the middle of what is a pretty big restaurant. Perhaps I was far from the modem. Regardless, I was able to work, had a lovely lunch and didn't have to travel far at all. La Barra del Teriyaky was a 5 minute walk. When I walked in the door at home around 5 o'clock in the afternoon, I was greeted by all green lights brightly lit on the modem in the living room. Oh glory be!

It was an adventure to discover new options for working outside of the house. Notably, there are not the obvious signs I am accustom to that announce the connection and the password. I had to ask which forced me to use a little of my very limited Spanish.

All in all I found a few new places to eat, learned that many restaurants do offer wifi and some will even provide power outlets where seating permits. All in all, I prefer to work from home. I'm not much for disruption, preferring routine and those slow, easy mornings I mentioned earlier. Just like today.

It's still dark outside, I've woken again before the birds and the sun has yet to rise. In the stillness I can sit here in my pajamas with a hot cup of freshly ground coffee writing and working courtesy of this strong, reliable internet connection in this accommodating city of Colima.

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