Two and a half weeks ago we moved from San Pancho, Nayarit to San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato—from the coastal jungle to the desert highlands of Central Mexico, approximately 6400 feet above sea level.
We are all, in spite of our athletic, determined ways, feeling the change in altitude and drier temps. It is a major adjustment moving from the coast to not just inland, but thousands of feet above sea level! I never imagined the acclimatization would be so noticeable, and difficult. Our skin has turned into the texture of worn leather and we are all never far from a kleenex as the high-desert pollen count has our little noses in over-drive. I have invested in large bottles of body lotion and access them frequently throughout the day.
For somebody who can normally easily do an hour of cardio, I am winded walking up the 2 flights of stairs it takes me to get from the street to the front door of our vacation rental, and the 3 flights from within the home to make it from the kitchen to the laundry room on the top “tower” floor with its spectacular views of the city. We have experienced our fair share of huffing and puffing and pausing to catch our breaths in the only 2 weeks we have been here. An adjustment on many levels for sure.
Being a colonial city built on a hillside, a lot of the houses in San Miguel de Allende are multi-level and stacked very close to each other, making it common place to have to climb several flights of stairs just to get to your front door. It is a walking city and day-to-day life keeps you active and in good shape!
We pulled into San Miguel after a 10-hour drive from San Pancho, with our packed car, 9 year-old twins, Seamus our 95-pound lab, and 14-foot aluminum fishing boat in tow, filled to the rim and then some with our “essential” earthly belongings…..yes, including the hula hoop seen in the picture to the left!
With each move, we are called to examine the “essential” component of all of these things of ours, and while yes, we have down-sized with each move, we somehow still manage to have far more than we truly need for a life of authenticity and simplicity. We now have things in storage in both San Diego and Nayarit, and other than the sentimentals of family photo albums and videos, we seem to be getting on just fine without the rest.
Arriving in town, our wide-eyed faces were sure to alert residents—locals and transplants alike—that we were newcomers, but the boat…. the boat was a dead give-away!
There is a lake on the outskirts of town, but San Miguel de Allende is not exactly a destination that attracts boaters. Driving into a 18th century colonial city, hours away from the coast, with a 14-foot aluminum Gregor in tow, had us, well….no doubt looking a wee bit out of place.
In the two weeks that we have been in our new city, establishing our lives a new again, we have been incredibly active—settling into our temporary rental, perusing our educational options for Mairead and Liam—committing to one and getting us all back into the school schedule and routine—checking out the Deportiva (community sports center) and trying out many of its after-school activities including tae kwan do, soccer, and lucha libre…touring and orienting ourselves around the city…
researching and viewing and researching viewing our long term rental options….did I say researching and viewing? Uifff… this has been all-consuming, and at times a tiring endeavor. However, I am happy to report that as of yesterday, we found a great home close to the kid’s school!
We have made a commitment to stay put for a long while and SMA is the lucky winner of our landing place. It is time to allow Mairead and Liam to lay their feet on solid ground and grow their roots deep into the earth with their friendships, tribes and sense of community and purpose outside of and in addition to their family unit. We owe them this. They need this. These kindhearted, sweet-natured, loving, forgiving, resilient little ‘babies’ of ours have weathered their fair share of life’s changes, and it is time, totally time, to allow them the comfort and security and peace of mind that in a year or so, they will not be packing it up and moving on again, but rather, staying in the same place, the same town, the same house, with the same creature comforts, friends, community.
Comfort, and freedom within that comfort. This is why we moved to Mexico.
It is time for Frank and I to quell our wanderlust, or at least just have it branch from one main “station”. And here, in San Miguel de Allende, we are perfectly situated to explore so much of this beautiful country—Leon, Guanajuato, Querétero, Mexico City…..and only 6 hours away from the coast, Los Troncones, when we are feeling the need to immerse ourselves in the ocean.
Stay tuned….. The O’Grady Adventure continues to reveal itself, in the gifts of each day.