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Keys to a New Life

We moved out of our apartment July 13th leaving us with no keys, no home, no car. Stephen and his family took us to dinner and spent our last night talking with us, sharing stories and laughing, wondering what this next year would bring for all of us. At 3:45 a.m. the alarm rang, waking us after 4 hours’ sleep.


The cab arrived on time at 4:15, and with no traffic on the road at that hour we were at Dulles in a heartbeat, checked into United with 2 suitcases apiece, plus carry-ons. The flight to Houston was quick and easy, and the second flight from there to Léon lasted only an hour and 40 minutes. We barely had time to realize it was the last time we‘d step onto U.S. soil for many months. This was the big day we'd been anticipating for months, the beginning of a new life in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I felt weightless, giddy with anticipation, and grateful to have Jack with me. We had worked surprisingly well together during the move, a good sign for our future. it could have gone differently. In many ways having a partner makes life easier and more enjoyable, but with two very different personalities who have different styles of doing things, conflict can rise up at a split second's notice. That hadn’t happened this time, despite the pressure of the move.


A young woman who worked for the airport helped us pile our luggage into a cart and led us to the lobby of the tiny, uncrowded terminal to find Rafa, the driver who was to take us to San Miguel de Allende. I must have looked concerned when I didn't see a sign with our names on it, because immediately another driver waiting for his passengers asked who we were looking for and called out to some guy on his cell phone to tell him we were there.. Slim, wearing a hat, jeans and an untucked button-down shirt open at the collar, with a turquoise medallion hanging from a leather thong around his neck, Rafa looked like what I'd imagine a character from a 1970's Mexican film would look like. On the ride, he regaled us with information about San Miguel and stories about the six months he lived in New York City. "Such a lonely place," he said. "In my town, after a few days you'll know everybody and have lots of friends. I think that is what makes a person rich. they say people retire to Florida to die there. People retire to San Miguel to live and to learn.” The two lane winding road from the airport reached an altitude of 8000 feet. curving through the Sierra Mountains, passing through the humble town of Guanajuato. We took a back road, a short cut into San Miguel de Allende because the recent heavy rains washed out a section of the main road. We stopped at a bank to get pesos from an ATM machine to pay Rafa when he dropped us off at the door to our privada and rang the bell to let Norma, the house manager, let us know we'd arrived. It was a lot to take in—the impossible narrow cobblestone streets, the traffic, the colors of the houses and the flowering trees.


Norma graciously showed us the house and gave us two sets of 5 keys—one for the big door from the street, one for the front door to our house, one for our front metal door, one for the doors to the patios,and one for the big gate in back. Plus codes for the alarm system and the safe. We do have a home now And enough keys to last a lifetime!



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