Comonfort is a town located about 20 minutes south of San Miguel de Allende. We have visited there several times over the years for a taste of real local life away from the tourists in SMA. Our great friend and brother (in law!) Eduardo, comes from the area and has family nearby. Over the years he has been keen to share a different view of Mexico with us and we’ve enjoyed meandering through the streets of Comonfort, visiting the incredible church and enjoying great food with his friends. This morning we drove out to Comonfort together in search of a molcajete so that I can make salsa’s and guacamole the traditional way. I also drove for the first time in Mexico and am beginning to discover the Mexican way of ruling the road…slightly daunting stuff at times!
This is a long holiday weekend in Mexico and it seemed like everyone was out making the most of family time – whether shopping or people watching from a bench in the town square. Again it’s a reminder of how Mexican’s really seem to slow down, appreciate life and appreciate their families at weekends.
Comonfort’s origin come from the indigenous indian warriors who refused to give into the Spanish and planted themselves in the area as a last post. Nowadays it is quite a transient community with people coming and going to the USA to find work. Today it seemed like everyone was back in town for the holiday weekend!
After breakfast at a local hotel, we set out to find a molcajete along the road out of town and found the one below. Here it is being ground down and now it’s sitting in a bucket of salted water on our patio to season for the next few days! Can’t wait to make lots of yummy stuff with it!
Yesterday we celebrated Matt’s birthday. It was such a relaxing day. We discovered a new favourite haunt – Nectar – for lunch and then did a spot of shopping followed by dinner with friends in the evening – great company, great conversation…fun times. Couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate Mr Ash and enjoy more of our new home!
Now that the weather is beginning to warm up, it’s the perfect time to make use of our gorgeous little rooftop garden. I love, love, love sitting up here on sunny afternoons and catching up on admin while taking moments to admire the view or listen to the sound of the wind rushing through the eucalyptus tree that provides us with a little shade.
This past week has been my first back at work since we arrived. I’m gradually adjusting to new hours and it’s wonderful to work an 8-5 day rather than fragmented hours as I’ve done for the last 6 years in the UK. It’s a revelation! For the last 6 years I’ve been a night owl – working a little in the late mornings, all afternoon and on in to the evening in order to accommodate client calls. But after this week of waking up early, I could very easily become a morning person (never thought I’d say that).
We’re also becoming more morning people for a whole other reason. Our downstairs neighbour has a new dog which he leaves at home while he goes out to work very early. This morning he left at 4:30am at the dog immediately started to howl for hours! Time to find some decent earplugs!
Sunday’s are extremely important in Mexico. It’s the one day of the week that families come together and relax. It seems that family life is something that truly binds the Mexican people together and Sunday’s are probably taken more seriously here than in other parts of the world. Truly there is an appreciation to take time to go slow and appreciate life a little more.
I can’t actually remember the last time we spent a Sunday completely relaxing….without the feeling that we had some work to do on the house or packing to take care of. It actually felt like a novelty taking today for ourselves. It was also my birthday today so an added excuse to take time out!
Susan and Larry invited us to join them for brunch at a fantastic restaurant/spa in the countryside just outside of town. Nirvana Spa is a fabulous little place – great ambiance, great music, lovely food and a place where you truly can kick back and relax with friends and family. The views over the valley from Nirvana are reminiscent of Napa Valley in California. The staff are wonderfully attentive and its well put together operation. The added bonus was that we could take Susan and Larry’s gorgeous fluff ball doggie – Zack – with us. He loved eating our leftover meat too!
Sitting outside on the lawn in the sun and warmth in January still seems strange to me. Typically my birthday’s have been celebrated inside away from the UK winter weather! I could get used to this in years to come!
Yesterday involved a lesson in one of the many ways Mexican life differs from European.
Our fabulous friend Susan very kindly took us to Office Depot to buy a desk and comfy chair so that I’m all set to get back to work next week. Both Susan and I were buying office chairs and spent time trying out the huge array of chairs on offer. Surprisingly, the first one I sat on was the one we got.
Since our Spanish in non-existent, Susan was a god send, especially once we got to the check out. While we were waiting our turn we were observing the long convoluted process a woman was going through to return a faulty phone. Susan explained that in many stores in Mexico, the employee gets stung if items are returned (faulty or not) rather than the company – which seems like a very unfair business practice indeed. The cost of the item is taken out of the employee’s pay. Therefore, employees are often reluctant to process return claims for customers and you have to really state your case! Customer service isn’t embraced here in the same way as it is in countries like the USA.
Sometimes clocks seem irrelevant here and you can make an appointment or think that running an errand will take a certain amount of time, but it’s rarely that way. Life passes at a different pace…not necessarily always slower, sometimes frustrating because of bureaucracy. But it’s all part of the delicious way of life here and rather than complaining, we’re quickly learning to adjust and go with the flow! Back to that chair….
Due to a muck up in inventory, the wrong chair was brought down for us which then resulted in what seemed like a VERY long and drawn out process to make sure we got the right chair. We even had to go to the extent of dragging the showroom sample over to the service desk to ensure we got the right chair (remember what I mentioned about customer service earlier?!). Turns out that it had the wrong price label on it and was in fact $1,000 pesos more than advertised but thankfully the shop actually honoured the published price. I just hope that an employee isn’t going to get penalised for the confusion in product labelling. We then had to go through the process of having our receipts changed etc and what we thought would be a quick jaunt took us what seemed like a couple of hours! Such fun!
Now, if this had happened in the UK, I would be the first one to have words with the customer service desk and demand they sort out the problem pronto. But here in Mexico, where life ebbs and flows at a different pace, I’m learning to sit back and let is unfold in the moment. Whatever will be, will be.
After nearly a year of preparations we finally made it to our new home in San Miguel de Allende a few days ago.
To say that the last month of preparations has been nuts is an understatement. We haven’t moved in 13 years and had clearly forgotten how things ‘crop up’ in the run up to a big move…and indeed they did. But now we can put all that behind us as we adjust to our new life in the sun!
After nearly 24 hours of travel from a cold, frozen England, we touched down in Mexico on Tuesday night. Arriving at our new home – Casa Juanita – we were welcomed by our friends and it was SO good to see them all. Our new condo is fabulous…we’re already in love with this quirky little space. I think my office/guest room has quite possibly the most beautiful view over to the other side of the valley full of colourful houses and I truly believe I can hunker down here and do some great work!
We’ve been taking it easy over the last few days – adjusting to the altitude and recovering from the exhaustion of the last month or so…actually from the last year of preparations! It’s been a treat to be able to slow down and appreciate how lucky we are to have taken this step that so many only dream about.
Adjusting to the ebb and flow of San Miguel life is a journey in itself. Each morning we are greeted by the sound of many roosters. This morning the neighbours dog barked from 5:15am for 3 hours solid…thank heavens for ear plugs! And at night we are lulled to sleep by the sound of salsa….all new to us and delicious. Once we’re over the jet lag I’m sure we’ll notice much more and have lots of stories to share.
Both of us get back to work next week. Matt is going to be looking for freelance work as well as taking Spanish lessons. If you know of anyone looking for database, COBOL programming and proofreading support – get in touch!