Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mi Casa es Su Casa?

Since I moved to San Miguel de Allende 10 months ago, I’ve lived in my adorable casita. It was a find on the Guanajuato Craigslist and I took it sight unseen.  

My casita patio off the kitchen

Happily, the gamble paid off and both the casita and Eleanor, above whose house it’s situated, provided me a soft landing in Mexico.  The one-bedroomed casita with it's georgous patio was immediately home and Eleanor has been a font of invaluable help and information about living in Mexico (not to mention a supreme maker of margaritas!)
The casita came furnished and fully loaded, so I didn’t need to bring a lot of stuff with me. This enabled me to travel light: driving down from California with just a couple of suitcases and my little dog Henry. On account of me being Miss Adaptability – a veteran of four continent, five country, ten city,  and approximately 27 house moves – those suitcases contained just enough of what I needed it make any place home. My Bhutanese Buddha tapestry went up on the wall behind the sofa and my red silk drapes in the bedroom.

Buddha presiding over my living room

I whipped out my candles, photographs, a few special books, favorite mug, and French press coffee maker and supplemented them with finds from the flea market and yard sales; and voila, a nest.

The sun coming in through my bedroom window
wakes me up in the morning
I also fell in love with the neighborhood: Fraccionamiento Insurgentes.  Just a short number nine bus ride from el centro, it’s a world away from the lovely but bustling tourist mecca that is San Miguel. As much as I catch my breath every time I see the parrochia or stumble across one of the daily parades or fiestas, I’m equally happy when I crest the hill on the outskirts of town and feel the temperature drop 10 degrees and see the open rolling hills, vast sky, and little white-domed church in my neighborhood. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to remind myself that I actually live here and don't have to go back to the rat race next week!

Aztecs and architecture: just another day in
San Miguel de Allende
There are no traffic sounds or overhead jets, so it’s quiet here, too. Except, that is, for the tweeting birds, barking dogs, copulating cats, crowing roosters, church bells, gurgling fountain, thunder storms, and frequent fireworks. But hey, that's just Mexico.
I recently met a gringa, married to a Mexican man, who also lives in Insurgentes. Now Eleanor and I can no long boast that we’re the only ones in the area. I suspect the locals regard us as the thin end of the wedge and are secretly thinking, "there goes the neighborhood." Nevertheless, they treat us with immense kindness. Eva, the lady who runs the laundry, always greets me with a toothy grin and a torrent of very fast Spanish that I nod and smile at. Saul, the guy who makes the best longanisa tacos, will bring them to the door if you call him up with an order. And his wife, Marie, who runs a little clothing shop not only loaned us some of her display racks for our yard sale but had them delivered.  

Our yard sale looked very professional
with Marie's display racks

A few days ago, Eleanor bought a piece of furniture from a consignment store - a lovely painted cabinet - that I brought back in my car. She corralled Adrien, a teenager from a few doors down to help us unload it. He spurned my attempts to take one end, hoisted it on his shoulder, and staggered into the house with it. When Eleanor offered him a tip for a cafecita or a coca, he politely declined it. He had enough money right now, he said.

The beautiful painted cabinet that
Adrien hauled in on his shoulder
I’ll miss all of this tremendously when I move out in a few weeks on to my next adventure, but whoever takes over my casita will be a very lucky person indeed for however long they are here.


  1. Best of luck with your new place! And that cactus cabinet is a gem.

  2. Thanks Gina. Isn't that cabinet fabulous? It's painted tin. Unfortunately, it's my landlady's. I've been trying to get her to sell it to me!