In order to meet the needs of Lakeside’s many expats and retirees, massage therapists are aplenty – from Chapala to Jocotepec.
Finding certified clinical therapeutic massage therapists is a whole different story. This may be why Kim Campbell has been a busy lady since moving to Ajijic from Nova Scotia, Canada.
When Campbell moved to Ajijic with her son and her partner five years ago, her plans were to retire. But life took a different turn.
“Soon after our move, my partner and I split up,” she says. “Being a single mom, I found myself needing to make ends meet, so I began working part time as soon as friends and neighbors found out about the kind of massage work I do. The following year, I was working full time.”
As one of Lakeside’s more sought-after therapeutic massage therapists, Campbell holds a certification in a particular non-invasive, neuromuscular technique. While living in Canada, she underwent a rigorous three-year college program. Now she’s keeping plenty busy, with a cancellation list to boot, working by referral only.
“Most of my clients have been compromised and have sought all kinds of alternative treatments for their chronic conditions. I am fortunate that I’m able to give them a better quality of life with my therapeutic massage. I watch how they become more active and mobile.”
She adds, “Being that lakeside is an older population, it’s vital for a therapist to know how to work with such elderly issues as post surgery, trauma and chronic illness.”
Despite a full working schedule, this 52-year-old dynamo still manages to sculpt out some fun in and around being a single, working parent.
“I love to garden, take walks, and am an avid photographer,” says Campbell. “Being a gardener, I’m in heaven living in Ajijic, with its superb climate.”
She also makes sure to spend time with her 13-year old son, Dax. Both are artists and can get quite creative together.
“We enjoy delving into the botany world, foraging for natural, found materials in order to create fun sculptures,” says Campbell. “We’re always discovering new variety of plants and insects and once amassed a huge collection of the most gorgeous colorful insects.”
The two also happen to be animal lovers, having taken in four cats (one with three legs) and one dog – all rescue animals.
Campbell maintains a full client base, even in the “off-season.” As happy as she is with the income that she’s earning, she would prefer to cut back on her hours and have more free time to take advantage of living in this sweet Mexican village.
Campbell’s first visit to Mexico in 2013 was to take advantage of the country’s affordable dental care, and also to visit her parents, who had retired in Ajijic.
“Five months after we moved to Ajijic, my father died. My mom still lives here and we see her often. Ironically, my mom’s side of the family are all ‘snowbirds,’ so Dax and I see them more now then when we lived in Canada.”
As a pre-teen, Dax seems to be thriving in Ajijic. He attends public school and embraces the experience, despite being the only “gringo” in his class.
“Dax has made good friends with the Mexican kids,” adds Campbell. “He’s even being invited to their family events.”
Fortunately for Campbell, living in Ajijic means that she can afford to work from home; therefore, she doesn’t incur after-school-care costs. While she’s busy at work in her home studio, Dax is working on his homework or creating art. And since he is fluent in Spanish, he doesn’t need the assistance of his Mexican teacher’s English-speaking aide. To help him stay fluent, he works with a Spanish-language tutor every other day.
Campbell also takes time to practice her Spanish, and seeing that both she and Dax prefer to eat out, it’s their chance to practice their Spanish and try out the lakeside’s different restaurants.
“I like the fact that Mexico is a cash economy,” says Campbell, “and that not everything is based on credit. I also love the abundance of fresh food – the avocados, watermelons, pecans; even tacos – all of which Dax and I eat by the boatload.”
Every Saturday Dax accompanies his grandmother to the movies, and on Sundays Kim and Dax enjoy Sunday brunch at one of their favorite restaurants.
Says Campbell, “As a kid who loves to construct things out of found objects, Dax has decided he wants to be an engineer. Whether we remain in Ajijic is yet to be seen. At this point, I need to figure out how to reduce my work time and thus increase my fun time.”
For now, spending time enjoying their gardens, nurturing their pets, hanging out with friends, eating out and creating sculptures works just fine for them.