Change of scenery

houston
Where I lived for 15 years. Houston.
street
Where I’ve lived for 17 years.

THE FIRST five years of my life, I resided in the countryside, a farm not far from Sylvester, Georgia.

The latest census puts Sylvester’s population at about 6,000 souls. Lord knows what it was in the late 1940s when I was toddling around there in the dirt.

My current mountaintop pueblo is home to about 80,000 folks, dwarfing the population of Sylvester, but 80,000 is a far cry from the 6 million you’ll find in Houston’s metropolitan area or even the 2 million in the city itself.

Before moving to my mountaintop, Houston was where I lived and worked. I don’t work anymore unless you count pulling weeds and watering veranda potted plants.

I play and relax.

The switch from Houston to this mountaintop pueblo was a drastic move. I’m a big-city boy. And my child bride is a big-city girl. Why are we here?

Lack of communication.

One morning, about two years after constructing and moving into the Hacienda, we were sitting on the veranda in our wicker rockers, talking. We discovered that we’d both have preferred settling in a big city.

How did we not know this? Answer: I assumed she wanted to live here because relatives live here, especially her favorite sister. She assumed I wanted to live here because I was here and had moved here intentionally.

But we never discussed it specifically. Dumb, huh?

Why not sell the Hacienda and move elsewhere? Actually, about that time, I did advertise it online, and got an offer for twice what we had paid to build this place.

But I chickened out because I love our home, and there is a large city nearby, the capital down the mountainside. But, aside from weekly Costco shopping jaunts, we rarely go there.

We’ve become small-city folks. But every time I see a photo of Houston, I sigh. And she likely does the same when we make our twice-a-year visits to Mexico City, which is where she lived when I found her.

But we can stand in the yard on dark nights and see stars from horizon to horizon. And I never heard roosters at dawn or burros anytime in Houston.

Just occasional gunfire.

* * * *

(Note: We’ll be home this afternoon from San Miguel de Allende where we fled on Sunday to avoid the worst of Carnival in our hardscrabble neighborhood.)

24 thoughts on “Change of scenery”

  1. You never cease to surprise me. I expected you to say getting out of Houston couldn’t happen fast enough and living on the mountaintop didn’t come soon enough.

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    1. Bev: I am a man of many surprises. Actually, getting out of Houston was high on the priority list in 1999, topmost, but it was not because I did not like Houston. I’ve always liked Houston. It was because I gravely needed a life change. And I got it in spades. And now I live on the mountaintop, but I wish there were lots more Mexicans up here, running stores, theaters, Walmarts, Costcos, coffee houses, restaurants that serve more than tacos, that sort of thing.

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    1. Yep, Don Cuevas, every freaking week. It’s mostly high-class lettuce for our nightly salads that cause that. I buy the kind that does not require disinfecting. Yes, I’d rather drive to Costco than mess with disinfecting lettuce. Go figger.

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      1. Just stop disinfecting it. You’ll be fine. I never disinfected vegetables in CDMX, and I’ve flourished despite the recklessness.

        You surely know that a large percentage of produce in the USA comes from Mexico. How many Americans do you think disinfect it?

        Not many.

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          1. You tell me not to worry and just do it. Now the shoe is on the other foot. And it’s a far more trivial matter than, say, which country you live in or whether to buy a condo. Haha… sorry. Couldn’t resist. Saludos.

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            1. Kim: Since the two issues at hand reside in completely different levels of significance, there is no way one can be compared to the other. And that’s a fact.

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                1. Kim: Sad and pathetic. I also live in fear of people with colds and flu. Most Mexicans, I have noticed, do not share that obsession, making my situation even more perilous.

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  2. I am surprised you don’t spend more time in your city digs. After all , one can get use to the traffic, noise, poor air quality, higher prices, crowed streets, and lack of starry nights.
    Morelia twice a month is all I can handle, to me Patzcuaro is just the right size.

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    1. Tancho: I said I’d prefer a much bigger city, not that I’m a complete lunatic. Mexico City is simply too much. Just getting from Point A to Point B is a colossal struggle.

      It’s been almost exactly a decade since the last condo tenants moved out over there, and we decided to keep it for ourselves. The first couple of years we were there fairly frequently. It gradually diminished, however, as the inconveniences became more obvious. We even drove there in our car the first three or four years, taking our lives in our hands. But I stopped that, and now it’s only buses and taxis.

      Now we keep it as an investment only, and go as rarely as possible. Got to clean up and check things out now and then, which we do twice a year. We’ll be there in a couple of weeks. Got a fairly sizable project to complete. We’re going to put a ceramic tile floor in the service patio.

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  3. Nice piece. I can appreciate your early hankering for big-city living. We felt the same and used to return to Chicago for a week or two a year. Not any more. This is home, and the stars at night are pretty awesome.

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    1. Señor Lanier: I do not return either. Haven’t done so in eight years now. This is indeed home, and who woulda thunk it? Life is full of surprises.

      Not returning to Chicago, however, sounds like sensible self-preservation.

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