If you liked Eat, Pray, Love you will love The House on Carnaval Street
To introduce you to Deborah and her inspiring story, we caught up with her to hear more about her life in Mexico.
Hi Deborah! One of our favourite quotes from your book is – “New Deb will never pack her life in boxes again. In Mexico, she will find a way to make her head content and her heart full”. What drew you to Mexico to make a home after the tumult of Kabul?
I felt like I had been cut adrift after leaving Kabul. I came to realize I desperately needed a home of my own, a place to finally settle down and come to terms with my life. But where? Nothing felt like home. And then, it was as though Mexico found me. It just felt right — the street sounds, the smells, the music. The minute I set foot in Mazatlan, I knew it was the place for me.
What is important to make a place feel like home for you?
Mexico felt welcoming even from the beginning, when I didn’t know a soul and could barely understand a word of what was being said. The streets were incredibly lively and colorful, and inside I created my own little comfort zone by bringing in a bunch of my belongings from Kabul. But it wasn’t until I opened up the salon, Tippy Toes, and literally gained a family from those who came with it, that it truly became home.
How do you think you have changed after settling in Mexico, and what have you learned from your time there?
I’ve realised just how important family really is. I’m a grandma now! My grandbabies were born in Mexico, and are being raised in Mexico. I can’t imagine being far apart from them. I’ve also learned to be more patient. Things around here always seem to happen on Mexico time, something that wasn’t in my nature, but I’m adjusting. But most importantly, I have learned how to love myself again, something that has allowed me to find true love with another.
You’ve made a real difference to people’s lives with hairdressing, both at the Kabul Beauty School and with Project Mariposa. What was your proudest moment with your girls?
I think that seeing them graduate from beauty school, knowing that, no matter what, they’ll always be able to feed their families and will never have to be on the street, that is what I’m most proud of. Then there are my girls on the Tippy Toe staff, girls who have some real hard stories. Seeing them in turn take other girls under their wings shows me how much they’ve learned about caring for more than just themselves. Their compassion grows daily.
What’s your best piece of advice for someone visiting Mexico?
So always wear sun block, don’t drink too much tequila, and know that all tacos are not created equally!
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