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San Miguel de Allende: Five Lessons from Three Years in Colonial Mexico

Our three-year sojourn in San Miguel de Allende taught me not only how to survive and thrive in a 16th century Mexican colonial town where narrow cobblestone streets and festivities are the backdrop of your daily rounds, but it also gifted to me several important life reminders…

1. Invest in Proper Footwear

High-desert downpours can be fast and furious! Making my way to a yoga class on one particularly rainy morning taught this California-born girl a humbling lesson about proper footwear on slick cobblestones. Flip flops are a definite no-no! 

San Miguel de Allende: Five Lessons from Three Years in Colonial Mexico

El Jardín

I no doubt provided some comic relief for the onlookers as I navigated my way out of many near collisions with the sidewalk and any structure within my reach.

San Miguel de Allende: Five Lessons from Three Years in Colonial Mexico

Just a wee bit of water in the streets

2. Slow Down & Smile

San Miguel de Allende is in motion and there is an undeniable energy that sways between organized chaos and the surreal with cars, buses, pedestrians, taxis, trolleys, street vendors, burros, horses, quads, and dogs all vying for their piece of space on very narrow streets. 

San Miguel de Allende: Five Lessons from Three Years in Colonial Mexico

Organized chaos meets the magical and the at times surreal

This constant buzz of stimulus taught me to slow down, to take it all in, to wait my turn and to embrace my ability to laugh at the sometimes random sightings in life…

San Miguel de Allende: Five Lessons from Three Years in Colonial Mexico

A pig in the town square, on a leash

3. Celebrate, Just Because…and Invest in Earplugs

One of the funniest answers I ever heard to the question “why are there so many fireworks?” was, “because it is Wednesday”. Fireworks in SMA might not appear to have any rhyme or reason to them, but rest assured that if there is a holiday, a religious procession, a concert, a wedding, a birthday, the changing of seasons, or a blessing of the crops (and the workers that tend to them), fireworks are sure to be involved. 

And sometimes, there are fireworks just because.

San Miguel de Allende: Five Lessons from Three Years in Colonial Mexico

Fireworks Over El Centro. Photo by Paul Polinger

I value that I am living in a country where freedom of expression with its many variations of fanfare is welcomed and celebrated. 

4. You Can’t Judge a Book by It’s Cover Nor Determine The Contents of a Store by Its Entrance

San Miguel de Allende: Five Lessons from Three Years in Colonial Mexico

An appliance store? Who would’ve known!

San Miguel de Allende was declared a historic and protected town in 1926 and as such, renovations and new construction in the centro are required to conform to the area’s colonial architecture. Everything from convenience stores, galleries, restaurants, hotels, workshops, homes—even the ones with a cosmopolitan edge—maintain the town’s historical integrity.

San Miguel de Allende: Five Lessons from Three Years in Colonial Mexico

Look a little closer

5. Live in The Moment

San Miguel de Allende: Five Lessons from Three Years in Colonial Mexico

Colonial Beauty in SMA

Life in a historic, culturally-rich city reminded me of the importance of being open to possibilities and appreciative of the details and magic of the moment.

Thank you Central Mexico for contributing to our ongoing rolodex of our #mexicomemories!

May the adventures, discoveries, and lessons continue…

Thank you for following along with Los O’Gradys in Mexico!

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Thank you.

Cheers y Saludos,

~Katie

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