It has been such a great month here on so many levels ….. from the early morning wake up calls of pealing church bells, which I quite enjoy, to the mishmash sounds of cars and trucks revving up, dogs barking, roosters cockadoodling, loud conversations, all seemingly right under my bedroom window, at all times of the day, but particularly, just as I am trying to get to sleep 🙂 … not quite as enjoyable! …. but aaaah well, part and parcel of the tapestry and spice that make up life in Mexico! ….. there are fireworks sparking and lighting up evening skies, margarita popcorn film nights, musical concerts in canyons and private gardens, leisurely cafe brunches, explorations of nearby towns … Delores Hidalgo, Pozos, Guanajuato …. yoga on outdoor patios or thought provoking lectures at the library …. so yes, all in all, a wonderful month!! As we contemplate a return to the ‘normalcy’ of our lives back in Calgary, perhaps a touch of sadness intervenes as we pack up to leave this welcoming interesting culturally rich town …. we return to Calgary’s relentless winter, never that pleasant, the older one gets! The temperatures hover pretty much where they were a month ago! I remind myself that I do enjoy a walk in brisk weather at times, so will dig out my Ugg boots and woollies from the suitcase in preparation 🙂
Although our feet are well conditioned to San Miguel’s cobblestoned, obstacle laden streets, it is still very necessary to look down more that up, to avoid tripping on the zillions of uneven surfaces!! We all walk with what I have coined, the San Miguel gait 🙂 … a kind of conscious cautious walking!
There remains a consistent supply of delightful surprises behind these ubiquitous San Miguel doors ….. What appears to be a simple wooden door, can open to the most charming cafés, concert halls, peaceful churches, shops of all description, art galleries, beautiful home gardens surrounding equally beautiful homes, small theatres, wine shops, cheese and olive shops, carpentry workshops … I chanced to look through a particularly attractive door one afternoon to find caskets stacked helter skelter inside! One evening I picked up fresh hot buns for dinner from a young fellow selling from the back of his pick up truck, baskets laden with all manner of baked goods! A very artistic, somewhat intellectual vibe runs through this small group of expats that make San Miguel their winter home …. There appears to be a disproportionate number of artists, musicians, sculptors, authors, film makers that seem to be drawn to the energy of San Miguel. One can take in a talk on just about anything at the local Biblioteca, the expat hub, or go on an art walk, visit artists in their galleries, who are more than happy to stop and chat and share their art and lives with total strangers who can quickly become friends. It is not at all unusual during our daily walks about town, to bump into someone we have met at some function or another …. a small town characteristic that I find most refreshing, is that most everyone takes time for a chat during just such encounters …. no rushing around!
We have enjoyed so many great films here … alternative films that barely garner an audience in North America … margarita popcorn movie nights will remain one of many favourite memories for Bev and I! We meet together with about 15 other people to share a small theatre room, where the owner supplies everyone with a drink of choice …. always a margarita for Bev and I 🙂 and a small bag of popcorn! Our last film was about the abolition of slavery in Britain … “Amazing Grace”, the story of William Wilberforce, the force behind the abolition movement … A remarkable young man and a very uplifting story …
I share some of our San Miguel memories and moments below, captured via my mediocre at best photographic skills but captured they are, nonetheless …. we really enjoyed sharing some of our time with Elizabeth and her husband Ken, Calgarians who have lived abroad in Indonesia over a dozen years … Donna from Nova Scotia, who lived and worked in Russia for a time … Francoise who is truly a global citizen, having worked or explored around the world and calls Washington D.C. area her home for part of the year ….. did not take long for us to feel like old friends … we bonded while sharing stories of our combined travels over memorable meals together. Special friendships were forged with our home housekeeper Vicky and some of her family …, daughter Guillermina, husband Hector and their five year old child Grecia …. Bev’s exemplary Spanish skills played a major role in this …. essential in forging a relationship with a Mexican family! … I limped along with my scattering of greetings …. Bev’s husband Dave visited for a week and is just as fluent in Spanish ….. I was amazed daily with how well they both communicated with the local people. They have studied Spanish for many years and continue to do so in Canada as well … truly inspiring!
So comes the end to a memorable month …. my bags are packed, leaving me free to savour the day ….. Bev has yoga and a few massages booked while I have opted to wander these now familiar streets, perhaps make a stop at the Biblioteca or sit a spell on a bench in the Jardin, in front of the Parroquia one last time, breathing in the sights, scents and sounds, savouring the magic that is San Miguel de Allende ….. Hasta la Luego dear little Mexican city … til we meet again!