Tag Archives: retire in Mexico

The arrival

vista
The view that changed my life.

I’M FOND OF noting milestones.

I just missed an anniversary, but only by three days. My arrival here on the mountaintop on September 10, 2000. I was not entirely new to Mexico, but I was quite green.

I’d lived seven months at a lower altitude, 40 minutes away in the state capital. Four of those seven months had been dedicated to attending a language school because when I got off the plane in Guadalajara I didn’t speak Spanish.

I was a language ignoramus.

My decision to move from the state capital up here was made while sitting at a coffee shop and looking in the direction shown in the photo. I looked at that view and told myself, I’m gonna move here. And I did. Lickety-split.

My first challenge was to find a furnished place to rent. While my town now is chockablock with real-estate agencies and lots of furnished rentals, there was not even one real-estate agency in 2000. I knew no one here, and I had no idea where to start. I was alone, and my Spanish was dicey.

Someone online pointed me to an old Gringo named Gray who’d moved here after the Second World War.  He had married an indigenous woman, and they had multiplied.

Gray had some furnished rentals that catered mostly to the sparse Gringo crowd. I moved into a two-story house on a main drag with furniture that aspired to the junk heap.

The first thing I did was buy a new mattress and sheets. The second thing was to buy an equipal love seat and matching chair. The store here neglected to inform me that the set would be made in and shipped from Guadalajara.

I got it about four months later.

I lived in that rental for two-and-a-half years. My child bride was there the final year while we constructed the Hacienda.

It wasn’t a bad place if one didn’t cringe at the hordes of mice during the rainy season or the two times I found dead rats in the toilet. They had come up from below, and I flushed them back to where they came from.

And there was the matter of the house abutting a open sewer/creek that provided a notable fragrance during the dry months. And the lights went out a lot.

It was an interesting home along the lines of the Chinese curse, May you live in interesting times.

We were elated when we moved into the Hacienda in May of 2003. It’s been a great 17 years here at altitude. The changes are considerable. Plenty of rentals available now. With rats or without. Ten times the number of Gringos. Some people regard that positively. I’m not one of those people.

But I’m glad I sat at that coffee house that long-ago afternoon, gazing up the street. It was a decisive moment.

The photo’s from yesterday. It hasn’t changed much.

Oh, the suffering

wall
Ivy on the Alamo Wall is returning.

TODAY DAWNED marvelously and not for the first time.

It stormed and rained for most of yesterday, but this day has a different character, a smiley one.

I read a news story this morning about the poverty income level in the United States and, yet again, noticed that our income only slightly betters that number.

It is laughable.

I also scan news stories occasionally that report the necessary income to retire in the United States, always an incredible amount but likely realistic for up there.

If only more folks had the nerve to get out of Dodge.

cigar
A bumper crop of red-hot pokers.

The top photo shows the Alamo Wall and its condition today. I had Abel the Deadpan Yardman trim back the ivy some months ago and, like most Mexicans, he got carried away.

Extremism’s in the Latino blood.

My fault really since I know of this local trait. I told him to trim it, and then I vanished inside the house. Big mistake. When I went back outside, the wall was almost bald.

But it’s a renewable resource, requiring patience.

The second photo displays one of our red-hot poker plants. It’s called cigarro in Spanish. It’s going bonkers this summer.

plant
Veranda

We’ll be doing lunch today at a restaurant on the shore of a nearby lake, not our local lake but another, nicer one a few miles distant.

This life of poverty can grow on you.

Oh, the misery!

Home Sweet Home

house

THIS HOUSE sits directly across the street, and its upper reaches are clearly visible from our upstairs terraza, which is where I was standing as I snapped this shot.

It’s been sitting there, unpainted, unfinished, for years. I imagine it’s someone’s retirement home, down the line. Building homes, very slowly, bit by bit, is common in Mexico. Often the cash is being sent by illegals in the United States.

But I don’t think that’s the situation here. About two years ago, there was a snazzy sedan parked outside, and I spotted a middle-aged couple on the roof, looking our way. I waved, and they waved back. New neighbors, someday.

Maybe they work in Guadalajara or Mexico City.

Prior to that, for a year or so, construction was under way over there. It reached the point you see here, and stopped. Nothing has happened since, a couple of years now.

When it’s finished and painted, it will join the Hacienda as one of the nicest homes in our hardscrabble neighborhood.

Home Sweet Home — for them.

Recently, I learned of another Home Sweet Home, but it is being sold. It belongs to a cyber-amiga named Debi and her husband, Tom. They are selling their house in downtown Mérida in order to return to the United States.

You encounter this on occasion. Gringos or Canucks who move to Mexico but discover it’s too much for them, the changes.

What’s unusual in Debi and Tom’s case is the long time they’ve lived here. Most people, I believe, see the error of their ways rather rapidly, within a year or two — or even months. Debi and Tom have lived in Mexico almost a decade.

If you’re looking to move to Mexico, their Mérida home would be a nice choice. They even have a low-mileage, Mexican-plated 2002 Chevy Corsa that appears to come with the deal.

But returning to the United States after a decade in Mexico is an inexplicable move as I see it. A team of wild, angry burros could not drag me back across the Rio Bravo.

debi
Back yard with pool at Debi’s house.