Three weeks from Tuesday we leave for San Miguel de Allende (SMA). I am staring at the two suitcases allowed with a first class ticket and and I’m starting to panic. When I bought those I thought they plus a carry-on and purse would be big enough. I’m only taking clothes and a few other personal items with me. The moving company will store everything else. Early on I hoped there would be room for my fuzzy bed throw since there is no heat in the houses in SMA, only fireplaces, thick walls that retain the warmth, and space heaters when necessary. But there’s not a chance it will fit. I do need warm clothes for very cool mornings and evening since we will be living in the mountains. Afternoon the temperature warms up to 70 degrees and hotter so short sleeves and light fabrics for summer. In rainy season I’ll need rainboots and a thick raincoat since the cobblestone streets can turn into veritable rivers from sudden relentless dowonpours. Sandals and sturdy walking shoes with rubber soles also for the cobblestone streets. No high-heels. I don’t need to be layed up with a sprained or broken ankle. Then there will be all the extras. Maybe stores will have what I like, but I hate going into real stores and don’t want to count on them. Thanks be to God, there is Amazon.Mexico when all else fails.
There was a lot to think about that we didn’t have to consider for short vacations of a few weeks. Credit card without international fees added, a reliable phone carrier with no roaming charges to the US. I’ve downloaded What’sApp just in case. Everyone in Mexico seems to use it for phone calls and text messaging. More importantly, Medicare will reimburse us for medical emergencies as long as we come back across the borrder and spend 24 hours in the US before returning to Mexico. Hospitals in SMA get good ratings and so do dentists and doctors (many were trained in the US and speak English). Medical costs for follow-up care are so low that we’ll pay out of pocket. We will have airlift insurance for medical emergencies that can’t be treated there. Here’s something a little bit creepy that we are considering. There’s a non-profit organization for ex-pats that takes care of the legalities and burial if we die in SMA ( Mexican law requires the body to be disposed of in 48 hours after death) We’ can put our name on a list, prepay to have them take care of all arrangements we say we want, contact people on our list and, handle the legal documents required by Mexico. Of course I don’t expect either one of us to die during this next year, but just in case….
So we’ve tried to think of everything, knowing there’s a lot we haven’t anticipated. Those suitcases are looking smaller and smaller by the day. Packing is forcing me to realize the inevitable. I feel uncertain and sad about dismantling a life we’ve loved in Maryland. Then I open my iphone and look at pictures of a city that calls to us. I see beauty everywhere. Art and music and a writers’ community, 400 restaurants, history, a new language to learn, and fascinating cultures to appreciate. Expanded horizons at ages 75 and 78. Maybe what I pack really doesn’t matter after all.