After 4 months in San Miguel Glenn and I are really enjoying our new life in Mexico!! We walk through town, trying to make our 10,000 steps a day, and bask in the knowledge that we made the best decision ever with our move south of the border. We really try to limit watching any news from up North as it only serves to appall us and make us sink back into a unhealthy thought pattern. And in San Miguel de Allende there is so much positivity, laughter, smiles and “Buenos Dias” that we feel very much removed from the mayhem in the US and are thrilled with that. San Miguel is not perfect by any means, but no place actually is. However we have found it to be the perfect spot for us.
We especially like the fact that it is so reasonably sized (although it is certainly growing) and that we can walk from our house in Colonia San Antonio to Centro in about 20 minutes. Even though we do this walk almost every day, it never gets boring as each time we find something different to look at or experience. A new courtyard, restaurant or shop, a new window display, a colorful door, music to listen to, vendors for flowers and food, friends on the street to chat with and so much more.
We have our favorite tiendas for Mexican dulces, fruit and veggies, carnes and of course wine and liquor. We even found a shop with Limoncello!! Nice for me on the occasions when Glenn is sipping his Don Julio Tequila in the evening. We have favorite restaurants for a fabulous sunset on the rooftop terrace, great breakfast spots and cafes, there is a variety of cuisine to enjoy and so many places to just hang out when we want to relax with our Kindles. It is nice that no one is in a rush. We can sit for hours and not get hurried along with the presentation of a check as the meal is dropped off. And everyone is friendly and observes the small niceties of life. That is very catching and we have found that we immediately felt calm and content.
We are also happy that we have moved down here pretty much unencumbered with things. Glenn is even thinking about getting rid of some of the small amount of clothes he brought down as we have really not worn half of them because they just don’t fit our lifestyle anymore. I am thrilled to have found some boutiques with reasonably priced cool clothes. Perfect for the beautiful weather we have and great for traveling. But we have only bought a couple of items and don’t feel the need to buy more.
It was nice to come down in April since it is slow season and it is only on the weekends that Centro is packed. It is also rainy season since June so we have had quite a bit of rain recently. The storms are amazing though and as long as we can dip into cafe or settle into our comfy home we enjoy them and the rain does not always last long. Right now it is mainly in the late afternoon/night. The thunder is a symphony in itself and the lightening a major light show. We didn’t have storms like this in the Bay Area, so it is kind of a treat.
We have been going to a lot of musical events as there is something going on almost every day or night. Quite a few have been free and the tickets/covers for the rest are so reasonable. The quality is mind blowing and world class. And we are getting so spoiled as some weeks we go to 2-3 concerts!! In Oakland we were lucky if we could afford one a year. On the streets and in restaurants we hear a lot of music too. It is a town rich with culture and history. Glenn has promised to do a blog post soon talking about our music experiences from a musicians viewpoint so watch for that.
We also have festivals, weddings and celebrations all the time throughout town. You can check out our separate blog post “There is always a party going on” for a good idea of those.
I have been taking a lot of photos! Many are of us eating, and one would think that that is a majority of what we do here. We have however managed to lose about 10 pounds each since our activity level has risen and we are on our way to meet our goals of another 10. San Miguel is a wonderful place for photos though, and I often take them of the same place because there are changes all the time, maybe the lighting is different that day or the activity surrounding the subject is. I never know what will strike my fancy as the day goes on. I have to have Glenn take more photos with me in them or else people are going to think he is here on his own. But we usually forget to do this and it is something we need to work on.
The artwork is so great too. We have a couple of friends that are artists so we enjoy seeing their new work. There are quite a few galleries in town including the many at the Fabrica Aurora which is an old fabric factory made into a destination of galleries. Once a month it has an open house with wine and music. The town is an art gallery by itself with all the great colors and sights and we see artists working on the streets all the time.
We have settled into somewhat of a routine. We wake up at about 9am and hang out in bed for awhile easing into the day by looking at our emails, doing a bit of reading etc. Then we prepare breakfast at home or if we have Spanish class that day we head off to a cafe close to the school. (Watch for my upcoming blog post on our learning and speaking Spanish experiences.) After class we stop for a leisurely lunch, do some errands, check our mail and stop at our tiendas for the days food items.
We rarely go to the Supermarkets even though they are nearby because we find them very impersonal and reminiscent of the hectic feeling of being back in the Bay Area. When we are having a dinner or get together for friends we will make a trip to them as they are good for things such as cheeses, salamis, wine and some more gourmet goodies. Although the longer we are here we keep finding alternatives that are just as good.
We are home mid to late afternoon relaxing until Glenn feels like making dinner on the nights we don’t have an event to go to. He is getting really good at cooking and is enjoying it. I do take care of the coffee in the morning and occasionally cutting up fruit to earn my keep. But I am just not great in the kitchen as with the ADHD anything having to do with organization and timing ends up with a burnt meal and a lot of frustration which is not good for either of us. I can however open up the wine!!
In the evening we either watch something on Netflix or Amazon Prime or settle in with a good book on our Kindle. It is an absolute must for traveling. Glenn who was never a reader has now found out how pleasurable it is. If there is a good concert going on or several of them that week we will forgo the reading and head into town to experience them. We walk everywhere and don’t even think about it as it is now second nature. We only take taxis if it is raining or late at night. It is such a relaxed pleasurable life that we never thought we could/would do a couple of years ago. But we are so glad that we took a leap.
Making friends is very easy here and we have a bundle of them. In line at a market or theater will find us chatting to the person(s) next to us and possibly making a lunch date at the end of of it. Our social life is so much fuller than it was back home. Especially since so many people are retired or semi-retired so there is not the competition of work and play. See our blog post “Oh, the friends we have met“, which we try and update every once in awhile, to find out about a few of them.
We have a couple words of advise for anyone thinking of chucking it all, simplifying and making the move to becoming an expat or just travel the world. Trust yourself and jump!! The hardest thing is literally that one minute you actually make the decision, the rest is easy. Don’t fall into the trap of scaring yourself off by thinking of all the things that could go wrong, if it might be dangerous, or thinking of missing the things you have false attachments to. As Glenn and I both found out when we started our world travels it is easier to go sometimes than it is to stay.
The world is an amazingly open place and the experience of it and its people truly brings back one’s confidence in the connectivity of humanity. People at home are going to try and put their fears over to you, don’t fall for it. Have common sense, do your homework, believe in yourself, get ready for a life-changing adventure and have the time of your lives. And if you feel like it, let us know how it goes. Bon Voyage!