Musings of an Englishman who literally quit his life in Devon in mid-2012 to move to Tijuana to love a girl.
They ended up in San Diego where he became a TV anchorman (yes really...), they got married, and now they're living in England together.
Simple as that really.
Follow your heart, who knows where it will lead.

Crazy. Beautiful. Madness.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Finding a cure for homesickness

BUY five chili plants; six tins of chipotle; three or four hot chili sauces; some Mexican candy; six different varieties of tortillas; download some Luis Miguel and Shakira; accept gifts of dried chilis from friends; place a few trinkets and photographs around the house; add a sprinkling of love, and what do you get…?
Some respite from a bout of homesickness.
Admittedly they’re small steps, but I’m trying my best to provide a suitable Latin-tinged home from home for my wife.
How do you cure homesickness? Is there a cure?!
I’ve googled it, mentioned it to friends and pondered their responses, and bought enough Mexican produce to feed a small hungry army.
But still, occasionally – and not so obvious that you’d really notice – I catch a faint glimmer of sadness and longing in my wife’s eyes.
It’s easy to forget that we’re now nearly 5,500 miles away from everyone she knows – and everything she’s ever known.
You can largely replicate some degree of surroundings, materials and possessions, but it will never be quite the same.
Yes, the weather – not least the beautiful summer we’ve been experiencing in the UK – has helped, but overall life is vastly different to life in Tijuana. Obviously.

Plymouth's playground - not too shabby

A few immediate observations from Jacks about life/people in the UK:
a). Most British food tastes ‘sweet’ compare to Mexican cuisine;
b). Girls here have bigger boobs than girls in the US;
c). Girls try to look as brown (tanned) as possible here – mostly forgetting that their orange faces don’t match their white necks or indeed the rest of their pale bodies.
Is my wife happy here in Plymouth? Thankfully so.
She actually now finds herself getting annoyed with people asking if she “likes” it here, before then stating “it won’t last”.
It takes someone else’s view of something you’ve always known to open your eyes to it.
“You have the city, the moors (and of course the ponies), and the sea… right here,” Jacks says almost proudly.
“What more do you need?”
That aside, there are moments when you can’t help but contemplate the sacrifice of love.
Do first impressions last? I do hope so.
Skype, Facebook and email help the world to connect. These of course allow Jacks the opportunity to speak/communicate with her family and friends in Mexico.
But sadly you have to be ‘connected’ to enable you to have that connection.
Sadly most members of her family (including her mum and dad) are not currently in a position to accommodate this.
And this is why I’m asking you… people of the world… do you have any ideas to combat homesickness?
I have to admit – living in Tijuana – had it not been for the close proximity and relative ease of access to the US – and ultimately Western ways – I would have been pulling my hair out if I had spent much longer in Mexico.
A year was truly a long time for me with limited funds, no firm job prospect, no real friends, the temptation to spend what I didn’t have, and the built-in Western desire to want for the latest iPhone or gadget.
I loved the experience, the food, the feeling of comfort and safety within a family, and the home from home, but culturally it was hard (not forgetting the fact that my grasp of the Spanish language was far from ideal).
And now we have the reverse (although Jacks is admittedly coming from what is actually defined as a ‘Third World’ country, to a ‘First World’ country).
We’ve been back in the UK for just over three months now and I think it’s fair to say that while we are settling in, the last two years of experiences haven’t really sunk in yet.
What a whirlwind! Did that all really just happen????
Did we actually live in Tijuana?! Was I actually a TV anchorman in San Diego?! Did we get married?! Did we really have a dinner meeting with John Travolta’s older brother to discuss a Lifetime movie about our bizarre experiences as a couple?? (Yes… that’s for another blog post…)
Sitting here now in the kitchen of our Victorian home in Plymouth, I’m not sure it ever will really sink in.
Life again, here in the UK is new, exciting and different.
We’re at that stage now where we have to order just about everything on a Chinese takeaway menu so Jacks can ascertain what she does and doesn’t like.
“When you buy Chinese food here does it come with a big chili as a free side order?”
“Not in a millions years sweetheart…”
It’s the same drill with most things. Everything’s the ‘same same but different’.
Yes, you try explaining what 'knickerbocker glory ice cream' really is...

Thankfully Jacks is working now and she’s earning money, thus allowing her to enjoy the finer (*cough*) aspects of English life – like Primark.


Words simply cannot describe the look on Jacks’ face when she emerged from Primark with a bundle of clothes and shoes so large it near enough took two of us to haul it back to the car.
A visit this weekend to the South Devon Chili Farm also provided plenty of smiles and laughter.

The farm boasts 150 different types of chili – some big, some small, some colourful, most likely violent to a Brit boy’s delicate palate.

And Jacks was beyond happy.

Happy wife = happy life

Chili farm selfie

With another two plants purchased yesterday I’m contemplating either building a home extension to house them, or indeed setting up a farm myself.

Home grown

We currently have 60+ chilis ripening in the kitchen.
My eyes are watering at the prospect.
Jacks’ are widening with glee.
Yes, it’s taken a little whole for me to write a blog update.
No excuses really, we’re just finding our way, settling in and experiencing our new life, continuing to live the dream.
Thanks for reading.
Suggestions welcome people!


Oh by the way… the chili plants are called Tatanka, Pachito, Pita, Little Princess and Rainbow if you were wondering… :-)

Follow me: @tristan_nichols


  1. What a lovely blog post. My wife and I have run the gamut of emotions in our 22 years together. Our love for each other has been the biggest thing that has combatted homesickness. Liz has really settled in back here in Plymouth whilst I have not and yearn for the San Francisco Bay Area life.... I miss all my Mexican and Black mates a lot. I miss America but my Detroit native wife loves our castles, funny ways and now her British citizenship... its tough on me. David

  2. I'm not sure there is a cure for "home." But you two are doing a good job of bringing a little TJ to Plymouth and I think that's a start. I love how your wife embraces her new life with wide open arms. She sees the good in her new surroundings! I so enjoy reading about your adventures! Thanks for sharing!