This week, we will be spotlighting OaxacaEvents.com, and it’s site manager, Dottie Bellinger.
For over a year, Dottie Bellinger has been managing the OaxacaEvents.com calendar website. After talking to Dottie, I was ready to pack up and move to Mexico. It turns out that Oaxaca is not only a hub of art and culture, but also a pleasant and affordable place for ex-pats to retire. But it is a different culture, and can take some getting used to. One of the things Dottie had to adjust to was the amount of noise. Sometimes music, parties, and barking dogs can be heard throughout the night. It is a slower pace in general though, more like the US in the 1950s.
So how did a career consultant from Colorado Springs, CO become the manager of an event site in Mexico? It all started with a vacation to Oaxaca with her best friend in 2003. Dottie and her friend liked it so much, they continued to come back for vacations year after year, and the visits just kept getting longer. Finally, Dottie and her husband of 42 years decided to retire in Oaxaca. And her best friend moved there too!
Dottie was first attracted by the crafts. Each of the surrounding villages has its own specialty such as rug weaving, wood carving & paintings. The area is also known for its food, 7 different moles (sauces). There are many festivals throughout the year. One of these, a celebration of the traditions of the seven surrounding regions, goes on for two weeks in July.
The Mexican government sponsors art, and there are many opportunities to see and experience performances, often for free, such as: the symphonic orchestra, dance touring companies, etc. There are many archaeological sites and UNESCA world heritage sites such as Monte Alban.
Dottie enjoys going out to visit the surrounding villages, to concerts, events, art exhibits, and going out to eat for the main meal of the day in mid-afternoon, enjoying all the local flavors, as well as hanging out at home, because it is such a nice place to be. To stay healthy and fit, she works out with a personal trainer, and because the cost of living is so low, she is able to do things like yoga, go to the chiropractor, get massages, and get bodywork done. Back in the states these services might be too expensive to do on a regular basis.
Dottie has a masters degree in educational psychology, and has done many different kinds of work throughout her lifetime. Before retiring in Mexico, Dottie was a Career Consultant for an International Outplacement Company, mainly helping find employment for people who had been laid off. She had been working remotely, and gradually cutting back on her hours.
Her first year in Oaxaca, Dottie didn’t work at all. Then she started looking for ways that she could be of service to the community. There had been a calendar but the person running it experienced some personal hardship and was unable to continue. She saw a need and felt that this would be a good way for her to be of service to her new community.
After Dottie decided to do the community calendar, she did her research online and discovered GatherBoard. The first thing that attracted her to the calendar software were the color-coding and the category tabs. She then found that it was straightforward and easy to use. Earlier Dottie had discovered that the English language library was a good place to meet other ex-pats. After deciding on the calendar software and finding out the cost, Dottie went to the Oaxaca Lending Library and offered to do the work if they would pay for it, and they agreed.
OaxacaEvents.com is a comprehensive event calendar that uses bright colors and offers descriptions in both English and Spanish.