I have been house and pet sitting in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico for over 6 weeks. It’s a beautiful city, where I lived, and mostly house sat, for almost all of 2014. Some of my photos are from 2014 and some of them are from 2016.
San Miguel is in the central mountains of Mexico, with a mild climate and chilly nights in the winter. There is rain only a few months of the year, in the spring. San Miguel is around 100,000 people in population, with perhaps 10% of these people being expats from other countries, mostly English speaking people. The ideal is to come as part of a couple and bring your money. You can buy a lovely house and a car and have a maid and a gardener. There are also single women living here, who seem to enjoy their lives in a cheaper country than the United States and Canada. They outnumber single men 7 to 1.
There are many events and activities to attend and classes in dance and yoga and meditation. The cost is considerably less than in the United States or in Canada. Food is cheaper. Housing is cheaper, especially for folks like myself, who housesit or rent a cheap room.
SALSA CLASS ON THE ROOF
THE HOT SPRINGS
Many of the Mexicans, especially the ones who cater to the large year around tourist population, speak English. This makes is easier for some of the English speaking residents to never have to learn Spanish. They can order food in a restaurant and tell their address to the taxi drivers. I don’t understand how people can live in a country and not be a part of the culture and the life. This is one of the reasons I have decided not to live in stunning San Miguel, although the possibility of a lifestyle where I can live on my Social Security and pension is tempting. I have studied Spanish from a wonderful tutor, also a gal from Minnesota, who is married to a Mexican man, a teacher like herself, and I have found that I cannot immerse myself in the Spanish language because of all the English spoken here. I want to live in a country where I can communicate verbally and successfully with everyone, attend parties where I understand what is said and contribute to the conversation and have friends who don’t speak English. I don’t want to be part of an inclusive clique of outsiders. I have attended two political rallies in the main plaza, against the election results and supportive of the Mexicans. I was amazed by the small attendance of English speaking residents. Kudos to them! But I don’t believe in ignore it and it will go away. Or be positive rather than truthful, or you will manifest what you are trying to ignore.
I promised some readers that I would explain the reasons that I don’t want to live in San Miguel, although I do enjoy visiting. The above is one reason.
Another reason is massive urban sprawl, with a lack of resources. I am housesitting in a fine, relatively new neighborhood that is outside of the center area. There is constant construction. In the week and a half that I have been here, there were three partial days with no internet service and one whole day with no water, when stored water was used. There is a nearby area of housing construction, aiming to accommodate 2400 more people.
Illegal building is going on, with rampant bribery and disregard for heritage sites. Water supply is precious here but is seemingly not considered. My Spanish teacher lives in a less than ritzy area in El Centro. One week, there was no water available at all, except from rooftop containers. However, the tourist hotels have water available at all times.
I leave here in a few days for Mexico City and the Yucatan. I will be happy to go. I’m not part of the life here. I was rarely sick while traveling around the world. But I have been ill several times here in San Miguel. As a nomad and a minimalist, I don’t fit in. I believe that this tourist driven and rather complacent city is not radical or adventurous enough for me and does not lift my spirit. There are progressives and people volunteering here, trying to make positive change, especially in the Universalist Unitarian community.
I am looking forward to 3 months of working and healing in a spiritual community in Costa Rica. Then back to my own country to look for a home in Portland, Oregon. If anyone from Portland reads this, I am looking for a house sitting job from April to September, 2017. Thanks and see you in Costa Rica!
BELLY DANCING PARTY/HAFLA