Ch Ch Changes. Time May Change Me, but I Can’t Change Time. Time Remains the Same.

Even though San Miguel is changing and growing, you can still see things like the scene in this photo. These are the things I love most about being here.

Things are going to change. Either they change, or they die. This applies to almost everything, but it especially applies to places. FaceBook certainly proved that this morning. Within 5 minutes I saw a post from a friend and neighbor in Nashville. The post was complete with sickening photo of a beautiful old home being scraped away by a bulldozer.
That teardown is going on very close to the house where Fred and I lived together for about 35 years. We renovated that house and we loved it. We had wonderful times there with wonderful friends. When we returned from a six month trip in Mexico in 2014-15, we realized how much Nashville was changing, and how fast. We got it why you would love the “New Nashville” if it suited you. We also realized that it didn’t suit us anymore, for a number of reasons.
We also knew that one really good thing about this kind of change was that we could sell our house (which had dramatically increased in value since Fred bought it, thanks to not only our work, but in large part to the booming real estate market in Nashville) and buy a new place in Mexico. Honestly, the main reason we left was because we wanted to have the experience of living in a different country. I had felt for years that living in Mexico was part of the grand plan for our lives. In retrospect, I believe that being in Mexico literally did save my life. I made a big commitment when I decided to stay here for some extremely important health care. That’s how sure I was about being in Mexico.
This change was huge. We sold our house, cars, and a ton of stuff, and headed South. The commitment was made, and we knew we wouldn’t turn back.
As things tend to go, we chose to move to a Mexican town that is also experiencing growing pains. (Being declared “the best city in Latin America” by Conde Nast does have an effect on things). The weekends are jammed with tourists, mostly from other places in Mexico, and the traffic is intense. More new people from the US and elsewhere are showing up, and some of them are staying. More and more upscale restaurants and shops are opening. And, it is getting really hard to get a cab. These are changes that I have seen since we started coming here in 2010. Some of the expats who have been here for years are not happy about these developments. The town has changed, and will likely change more. I love it here, and while I know our friends here sincerely love us, I sometimes get a little uncomfortable about all that “too many new people” stuff in general. Even though I know my personal friends don’t feel that way about us, it is unsettling to realize (based on FaceBook comments) that a few people really do resent new people coming in and somehow changing their town.
Look…I wish I had had a crystal ball. Believe me, if I had, we would have been here much, much sooner. One thing I have done a few times in my life is to wait too long to make needed changes, because sometimes it’s easier to complain than to change. Sometimes I need a change in my attitude, sometimes I need a change in my situation. I applaud anyone who figures out how to make a major move so that they can live where they will be happy. Many people are very unhappy with where they live. If you are at a place in life where you still need to earn an income, it’s even harder to figure out. So, to people who managed to make it work before they retired, right on. I would encourage anyone who feels like they want to do a new thing to do it. Life is short. Make yourself happy. Just know that other people are trying to be happy, too. And know that no matter where you decide to go, if it’s attractive, it’s definitely going to grow and change. I imagine that 15 years ago San Miguel was already growing and changing, just at a slower pace. And so was Nashville. For that matter, so was New York.
Nothing is really preventable about growth and change. It just doesn’t always suit us. We knew that the changes we were seeing in Nashville weren’t suiting us. We could stick around and bitch and get bitter, or try something different. We decided to try something different. We had to be pretty motivated to do this and we are happy that we did. As to people who are bitching…as far as I’m concerned…not my monkeys, not my zoo.

In the past year, so many things are happening in the USA that don’t suit me that I know even more and without a doubt that we made the right decision. I am very happy to be alive and well in Mexico. Since I left the US I have grown more and more detached and that has been very healthy for me. I could bitch all day and all night, but what I really did was say goodbye.

Alone (but not lonely)

I took this photo of the living room at 2700 Oakland as I walked out for the last time before handing over the keys to the new owners. In that moment the house truly felt empty to me. Like a blank slate…a new notebook with crisp pages. It was a very strange instant, and the house felt alone; like we were abandoning it.

That house had served us well for so many years. We had worked harder this summer than I can even imagine sitting here now. Both Fred and I were motivated to leave it in as good a shape as we possibly could. It became a project that was motivated not so much by getting the best price we could for the house, but by love and respect for the house itself. On that day time was a critical part of the project. We had to be out of there by 5. There simply wasn’t time to do things like take down picture hangers and touch up paint. I worked myself up about it, and decided that it had to fall into the category of, “It is what it is.” I had gone over between the movers and the estate sale and put a major clean on the kitchen, so I felt good about that. We had time to Bona the floor on that Sunday, so that was good. But, the picture hangers were still in the walls, and there were a couple of small repairs that were going to need to be done after we were gone. (Stuff happens).

We hadn’t had an opportunity to meet the couple who bought our house. We were to meet them at the hand over of the keys. I was very pleased when we met. They are a young couple; slightly younger than I was when I moved into that house with Fred. And the thing I realized most of all was that they were falling in love with the house. They loved the back porch. They didn’t care about the picture hangers or the repairs. After we had been there a few minutes some of their relatives arrived. I could tell they were in a party mood, and excited. I also felt that they were in their brand new, perfect house, and it was time for us to leave. For the first time, I was standing in that kitchen and it wasn’t my job to pour everyone a glass of wine. But we were not leaving an empty house, we were leaving a house that would provide a brand new chapter in another couple’s life.

Where am I? Where have I been? Where am I going?

Currently I am experiencing a very exciting time of my life. I have not “officially” announced any of this on FaceBook, as I must wait until the house is officially on the market. So, I’m only sharing this with my fellow bloggers. Fred and I are moving to Mexico in October. I am physically still in Nashville, working hard to get all the details in order. So much to do to make the house as perfect as possible. Not to mention sorting through 35 years of living in this same house…a house that has an attic and a basement. We are getting rid of the things we no longer love, and packing the things we are not ready to do without. There is now a POD in the drive-way, so that is probably a clue to the world as to what is going on. We have located a moving company to take a van of belongings across the border and on to San Miguel. We will soon be going to the Mexican Consulate in Atlanta to start the process on our temporary residency. I am going to have to sell my sweet little red MiniCooper, as I won’t be needing it in Mexico. (We’ll be traveling in the “Meximobile”…the Rav4 that we bought last summer for our 6 month journey.) We have had several parties this summer because we want to spend time with our Nashville friends. I hope that our close friends will visit us in San Miguel because I don’t think we’ll be back here all that much. We had thought of buying a condo here, but Nashville real estate prices have hit the roof and we’d rather spend the money on a swell place there. Plus, owning a place we don’t live in seems like a rather expensive hassle. And, after being quite displeased with the state of things when we returned this spring after renting our house for 6 months, we know we definitely don’t want to be international landlords.

We are ready to start a new chapter and have new experiences. Nashville has been great for us in many ways. We have transformed our house here into a very personal environment that we have loved. At one time, not so long ago, I would have never thought I would ever be ready to leave. But, also, at one time, not so long ago, I would have never thought I’d ever be ready to retire. My work (designing jewelry) meant so much to me, and it had become a big part of my identity. And, this house had also become such a part of my identity as well. It feels a little strange to just walk out of things. But, when you are ready it is a wonderful, liberating experience. The trip for 6 months in Mexico this past year really opened our eyes to how we’d like to spend our lives. Turns out the call to Mexico is much more appealing than staying put. We are ready for something new and adventurous. Fred, who is the cautious one of this pair, is just as ready as I am, and I am very thankful for that.

As I said, physically I am in Nashville. But, spiritually and mentally I am already in San Miguel de Allende, sitting on a park bench, eating street corn.