Saturday, January 13th, 2018

De Quejando a Celebración–from complaining to celebrating


I am in San Miguel de Allende Mexico.
Many of you know this. It is an exceptional city. Great restaurants, great cultural events amid colonial architectural beauty. It is an UNESCO heritage site. I sometimes wonder what people envision when I say I am in Mexico for the Winter. Margaritas? Pool side lounge? Tiny village with burros?

I could be doing most of that, but I LIVE and work from here. So
right now my computer connection is weird and unreliable. I tried Facetiming a friend in Maine and ended up speaking with a woman in the Netherlands by the same name—and not a common name. Actually I’m more weird and unreliable technically than my computer is.

I spent three hours two days ago in the bank figuring out how to transfer money to pay Mexico bills. Lots of acting out the word for “withdraw”! Picture it. “Success”I think until I get home and get a call and have to go back to pick up a receipt that means nothing to me but the bank seems urgent about it. Everything is uphill or downhill and mostly cobblestoned so I take a Taxi. I look rich in pesos and poor in dollars. Makes buying confusing. I hold back when I should spend and vice-versa.

I go shopping for groceries in a modern supermarket, then come home to forty concrete steps to reach the kitchen. This is the price we pay for a great view of the city if we take the twenty more steps to get to the roof top and remember how the door can slam shut and lock you out above food and bathroom and help. Yes, I did do that. And the night watchman for our cluster of houses is deaf. I ended up throwing tiny pebble at him from a planter. Took lots of tries and when I first hit him, he just waved.

Right now, we have no hot water and are short on lights due to no light bulbs (focos) because the Supermarket does not sell them. The hardware store is far away. Somehow, a renter locked the closet door  and it has the heavy blankets in it. (Yes it is cold here too right now) The electric heater blows the fuse so the choice is heat or light.I know. I know. I am very very lucky to be here. But it felt good to “complain and explain” the difference between living and visiting in a wonderful place.

The counter balance is
We have Chichimecan Indian neighbors who include us in their family.
We have a rich culture to explore up close and we learn more every year about Mexico from the inside out. We are challenged to learn a new language not as a luxury but as necessity to buy light bulbs and not insult every Mexican person we speak to. We can walk to town in twenty minutes (“very down” to town and “very up” to return) and have street food or go to a very sophisticated restaurant. We can have adventures. Tomorrow I will visit a “curandero” (an Indian healer) to help me breathe in such high altitude with asthma. Why not? He is easily available in the gorgeous courtyard outside of Starbucks. People will walk by and I will have a cure or maybe only an adventure.

This week the local paper says I can go a Playwrights Winter Showcase, a Mexican/Canada Co-Opera-tive opera, a documentary film on the history of Mexico at the bi-lingual library, see Tango Nuevo at a local restaurant to benefit the Mexican Orphanage, go to hear lectures at the Center for Global Justice or to a concert of the Macondo Chamber Players, a piano quintet.

Writing this highlights for me that we” live” here in our community of Valle del Maiz. We are grounded here with all the normal irritations of householding. We can be tourists in San Miguel when we choose. But we are never on vacation.  Living and visiting are two very different experiences. What’s a little cold water? Asi es la vida.


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