How I Came To Call Cozumel Home, A Series by Island Residents by: Jamie Burns, Divemaster & Animal Rescurer
Moving to Cozumel was a mixture of serious planning and work with an added dose of reckless abandonment. We sold everything we owned and moved to Cozumel 5 years earlier than planned. We had what we hoped was enough savings to make it on the island for a year while we could search for employment or open our own business. We were not quite sure what direction we should go yet. I think it is recommended you have job and place to live when you move to a new country…we decided to work that out when we got to Cozumel.
Honestly it is the craziest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve always had my life in order and everything planned out. For this adventure we had to rely on each other and make good friends fast so we could learn what not to do before making a million mistakes. Thankfully Cozumel is full of friendly people who love to give advice!!
My husband Aries and I both worked in corporate offices and by US standards were successful. We were very let down when we found out success felt more like being a hamster stuck on a wheel going round and round. Scuba diving became our key to getting out of the rat race. We studied islands and cultures and were constantly scanning the Padi website looking for where we should go. We both agreed Cozumel was our first choice, but there were no jobs available. We saw good job prospects in Curacao, Hawaii, and the South Pacific islands…but we wanted Cozumel for its great diving and many dive sites; affordable cost of living, wonderful culture, and a place our family could visit us with ease. So we decided it would be better to take the risk for our first choice, rather than settle for one of the other destinations. Eighteen months later I believe we made the right decision.
Within a month we were connected to a couple on the island who were more than happy to rent us their house knowing I wanted to fill it with animals. How lucky for us. Now Aries has steady work instructing for them. To my surprise my pet grooming skills are what is popular and in request on the island. Previously I managed union truck drivers,construction workers and did scheduling for both, so I thought for sure I’d be working in a dive shop utilizing those skills. I know how to manage a crazy schedule that is always changing with grace. I considered myself a business manager and grooming had had become a hobby. Something I love but I always thought it a little goofy. I’m proud of my skills, I just thought of it as something to get me through college. My connection to animals and their owners has brought an immense, indescribable amount of joy though. So in a couple of months I’ll be opening a small grooming salon out of my rental house. Again I’m lucky to have such supportive friends that let me just run with my ideas. I think they have fun seeing if I can pull them off.
I realized recently that the best description of my ability and level I am at in grooming related to diving very well. In grooming there are standards in safety, equipment knowledge, specialties, even medical knowledge to include first aid and CPR. I’ve been grooming since 1998 so for 15 years now. I am at Course Director level which is technically called a Master Trainer in Grooming. I teach the instructors, create new safety standards and regulations. I was part of a group that wrote specialties in grooming. We were quite busy a few years back when the term designer breed came to be and new breeds like the Labradoodle, Yorkiepoo, and Puggles started popping up everywhere. New breeds needed new hairstyles, and some were pretty strange looking at first.
I have many other interests and am a certified dive master, animals are one of my passions and I’ve decided to give in and possibly be defined by my work with them. So it is ok to call me the groomer lady, dog or cat lady, just please leave out “crazy” in the description…I’m going to fight that for a couple more years. I only have 3 dogs and 4 cats, a respectable amount in my opinion.
Jamie and her husband Aires, are full time Cozumel residents, animal resxurers, and when not helping out, or dancing in a carnival comparsa, you can find Jamie underwater.
This story originally appeared in the weekly Cozumel 4 You NEWS – the island’s number one source of positive information about our island! Be sure and subscribe to the weekly NEWS to find out all the island events!…
Una ex yanqui de Connecticut quien llama hogar a Cozumel desde hace más de 15 años. Laura escapó al Caribe hace años, desplazándose de una isla a otra dando clases de BUCEO. Se dedicó a perder el tiempo en Jamaica y finalmente se detuvo en Cozumel para pasar unas vacaciones de 2 semanas que aún no terminan. Convenciendo a sus padres que pagaran una elegante universidad privada, obtuvo su título en Periodismo y Laura crea semanalmente Cozumel 4You, medios sociales y artículos promocionales sobre la Isla y también es moderadora en el grupo Cozumel 4 You en Facebook que actualmente cuenta con 25,000 miembros. Fabián, s umuy tolerante marido, desde hace mucho tiempo se resignó a no tener vida privada, pues se ha visto implicado en los diversos proyectos y planes que urde Laura. Son orgullosos padres de diversos perros y gatos rescatados. Mientras contempla su paso a través de la vida en el Caribe mexicano,Laura continúa siendo la pesadilla en la existencia de su muy tradicional suegra mexicana.