Change is a funny thing. It can be good or bad, but either way it’s unforgiving. Once things have changed it’s very difficult to go back to the way they were.
Now, I won’t go into too much detail about the actual cause of the changes in my life in Mexico, but needless to say they have been coming quickly and relentlessly. I’m about to move into my fourth apartment in three years, I’m preparing for one of the biggest shows I’ve ever played, and I find myself single for the first time in a long time.
Author: Channel E2E blogger and resident musician Ty Trumbull
While Mexico has largely become my home, dealing with these new challenges can be difficult when you’re far away from family and friends. It’s all helped me realize the importance of building a strong support network. Fortunately, I’ve managed to collect a wide array of amigos within the confines of this massive city and it’s been a big help. Whether it’s a spare room to stay in, an offer to help move, or just someone to grab a drink with, my friends have made these transitions easier.
In my experience, finding a new apartment is never a fun undertaking. Oftentimes if you work hard at it you can find a beautiful place to live, but the constant searching, phone calling, and going to see apartments in various states of livability is exhausting. Now imagine doing all of that in a different language. There were evenings when I would find my head swimming from my staggering lack of vocabulary. Luckily, I had friends who would walk around and help me look for “FOR RENT” signs and help me call the landlords.
Eventually, I managed to find a beautiful, big apartment with enough room for the animals to run around. In the process I had good conversations with good friends and quickly, through leaps and stumbles, I felt my Spanish improve.
On the music front, learning pop songs is deceptively difficult. The nuance and skill that go into making songs a hit is not an easy thing to master. Thankfully, I just have to learn the parts and show up with a smile on my face. I received a call from a friend about two weeks ago saying he knew someone who was looking for a banjo player. I’ll wait until after the concert to divulge the name of this particular Mexican pop singer, but given my cold-headed Canadian ignorance to local Mexican music, it’s safe to say that I had never heard of her.
Still, when I told people I would be playing at Teatro Metropolitan they were shocked or impressed (or some combination of the two) and everyone seemed to know who this singer was when I mentioned her name. So after about a week of noodling around on my banjo I decided to take the gig more seriously and sat down to really concentrate on practicing. And not only would I be playing more normal instrument of banjo, I had also been asked to play mandolin and ukulele for some songs. Those were skills I would definitely need to brush up on.
But after a week of heavy-duty listening, practicing, and listening and practicing again – all while continuing the hunt for an apartment – I managed to get the songs down well enough so that when I showed up to our first rehearsal I was prepared. Being a session musician is a lot like any job, where being affable and social is paramount to your success, or at least to getting called back. It’s a particularly difficult part of the job for someone as shy as me. Luckily, most musicians are basically awkward and funny people, so I fit right in. And my lack of Spanish is more of an asset in these situations, allowing me to sit in the corner and not say much.
Through all of this, I’ve had people who would call me up just to go out for a drink or sit and watch a movie. I definitely would have found an apartment on my own, it just would have been a lot more lonely. And I definitely wouldn’t have this new gig if it weren’t for the fact that my friends look out for each other.
And that brings me back to my point: it’s important to have a support network. Whether its friends and family or your an MSP looking for a good partner program (here I am, bringing it all back home to ChannelE2E), making sure you have a strong network of people who can help you out when you’re in need, offer good advice, or just listen to your story, is paramount to your success. It’s also a thing to be grateful for.
Ty Trumbull, from his base in Mexico City, covers the entrepreneur’s journey, M&A and business continuity for ChannelE2E. On the occasional Tuesday or so, he offers views about his adopted hometown — his personal Dispatches from Mexico City. Oh, but sometimes he pops up in his home nation of Canada.