Be open to expecting miracles, and you may just end up livin' in paradise.
The plan was to vacation in exotic Spain & Portugal in Feb 2016. Nope, not gonna happen - our work schedules wouldn't allow it... not in February, not in March, not in April. In May, Todd asked if I wanted to go for a short vacation at the end of the month to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. "Weeellll, I really had my heart set on going to Europe this year.... but ohhhkaaaay."
The week we were to leave, I finished Gabrielle Bernstein's book "Spirit Junkie" - the one thing I remembered about that book was BE OPEN TO EXPECTING MIRACLES.
The night before our flight to Puerto Vallarta, I was DEATHLY SICK, the kind of sick that you can hardly move. Todd tried to coax me into going anyway, "all you have to do is stand in line and you can sleep on the plane." It took all my energy to walk a measly ten feet to the bathroom - every bone in my body ached - there's no way I can fly. With all this pain, I thought about the book BE OPEN TO EXPECTING MIRACLES, maybe this is happened for a reason. I conked out for 16 hours. When I awoke, it was a miracle, but I felt pretty good - LET'S GO TO MEXICO! Due to the delay, our flight stopped in Houston - due to the stop in Houston, we met Alan and James in line as we boarded (well, maybe the delay was to meet Alan and James).
We arrived at the Vallarta airport on a sunny Sunday afternoon and caught a cab that veered through palm tree-lined streets next to gorgeous resorts on the shimmering aqua ocean. Then was the adorable Centro section of Vallarta with cobble-stoned streets and unique nooks and crannies with shops on every corner. Finally, we arrived at our condo in Old Town, lined with more cobble-stoned streets. By this time we were famished and walked to Cafe de Olla, one of the hottest restaurants in Old Town. By chance we met a couple from Tulsa, Jeanne and Tom. We told them we'd been looking for years around the world for a warmer place to move (a place warmer than Chicago, hehehe- which means MOST places), to retire or own a business. Jeanne said "the chocolate store and ice cream shop next door are for sale" (queue music.. the PHAAAAANNN TOM of the Opera is there.... INSIDE MY MIND) We were oblivious to how the universe was workin' her magic - and honey, it ain't no coincidence that I'm a chocolaholic and Todd's obsessed with ice cream.
During our fun week in this charming traditional Mexican city - amazing restaurants, culture, ocean & beach, activities, theatre, tours, botanical gardens, and on... we had dinner with our new friends Alan, James, and Tom, Jeanne, and introduced them to each other. Have you ever had that feeling that you've known someone forever when you've just met them? That's how it was.
On Wednesday morning, the fourth day in PV, we were on the beautiful pool rooftop deck, I was in the middle of the Lord of the Dance Pose (Natarajasana), the sun was coming up over the mountain, the ocean was glimmering, and the city was coming alive with roosters and city noise - it was in that moment that I KNEW... I COULD LIVE HERE!!!! Todd not only captured this photo of me during this BIG AHA moment, he also KNEW at the EXACT SAME TIME!!! BE OPEN TO EXPECTING MIRACLES
We were hesitant about getting too excited, but it was pretty darn thrilling to finally KNOW after we had looked for years for that place! After yoga and breakfast at Freddy Tucan's, we took a stroll down Basilio Badillo Street. We wandered into the chocolate shop, Xocodiva (the one that Jeanne mentioned was for sale). There was a sign on the front of the shop "How'd you like to own a business in mexico?" I'm not sure, but I do know that I want to eat some chocolate! While Todd spoke to the manager about the business, I gorged on truffles, almond bark, and more truffles! OMGGGG, natural belgian chocolate handmade PV! I - N - C - R - E - D - I - B - L - E We left with lots of chocolate and the owner's card. Then we found a gorgeous old Hacienda art gallery, called Galleria Dante and met Claire the owner, and her daughter Gena, who owned the restaurant upstairs, Di Vino Dante. Not only was this place a treasure, but here we go again... we felt that special connection with Claire and Gena. We chatted up a storm before heading to some other galleries and boutiques on Basilio.
On Friday, our last full day in Vallarta, we headed back to the chocolate shop... I had already eaten all the chocolate I purchased on Wednesday and was ready for more. Todd asked for the owners info again, as we probably lost the card from Wednesday. That evening, we went to the Vista Grill restaurant with our friends Alan, James, Jeanne and Tom. It was on a hilltop that overlooked this beautiful magical city and serene ocean. There were lots of laughs and we even joked about all of us buying the chocolate and ice cream biz's together!
Early Saturday morning before we left for the airport, Todd wrote an email to the owner of Xocodiva and Lix. Then we boarded the plane back to Chicago with a sinking feeling in the pits of our stomachs, because we didn't want to leave.
Vallarta had changed us. She had seduced us with her beauty and charms, introduced us to close friends and provided us with two possible amazing biz's. By the time our flight landed in Chicago, all we could think about was how to get back to Vallarta. From the moment we stepped off the plane, the feeling got stronger moment by moment, day by day - the thought of moving to Puerto Vallarta brought tears to our eyes and joy to our hearts. The universe had spoken and this time we were OPEN TO EXPECTING MIRACLES.
A million little pieces had to fall into place for this story to take place. Somehow we knew we would own an artisan chocolate and ice cream shop... even though we really didn't know for sure, but we felt it would happen. We knew we would move to Puerto Vallarta.. even though we didn't know if we really could. Were there doubts? HELLZ YEEESS! We were doing well financially in Chicago, and it's a huge risk to give all that up for an exciting CRAZY DREAM! Logical or not, we decided to follow our hearts and made the decision to move to Puerto Vallarta Mexico!
BE OPEN TO EXPECTING MIRACLES and you may just end up living in Paradise.
Have you had an experience like this? Please leave a comment, would love to hear your story.
P.S. BEFORE the PV vacation: We lived in Chicagoland. Todd managed and was part-owner of Dunkin' Donuts stores and was very ready for a change. I felt dead on a daily basis... had a great corporate job & my own designer dog collar biz, I couldn't complain - but my heart wasn't in it.
Woo woo around the time of the PV Vacation... I created a vision board the year before the PV vacation - had a house on a beach with Todd and our two dogs and money coming from a few biz's. Two months before our vacation, I had a life-changing spiritual reading with Sonia Choquette and also received a Citrine Crystal from Pamela Chen from Luna Prosperity. One month after our vacation, I saw Abraham-Hicks in Chicago.
P.S.S. Alan moved to PV in October 2016. James has a place in PV but doesn't live in PV full time. We moved to PV in December 2016. Jeanne and Tom moved to PV in July 2017. Claire still lives in PV with her gallery, Galleria Dante (and has lived here for over 30 yrs), her daughter Gena still owns Di Vino Dante restaurant above the gallery. Cafe de Olla is still a popular place to eat. Vista Grill relocated and is now on the beach in Old Town. Our chocolate shop, Xocodiva is no longer next to Cafe de Olla, but our ice cream shop, Lix is. We sell our chocolate to the public a few days a week from the production kitchen and also at the Olas Altas Market, we also have lots of commercial clients (our kitchen produces both chocolate and ice cream store goodies).
We're now artisan chocolate and ice cream makers in paradise and are livin' the dream!