A New View

Sometime early in 2023, inshallah, I’ll be moving into my new apartment and savoring this glorious view every day — and night — from then on. Right now, though, the apartment building is still a construction site. So my first lesson for the New Year is: I need much more patience.

Part of the view (with scaffolding) from the terrace of my apartment-to-be

I’ve used the qualifier inshallah here advisedly, out of habit. In my years in Mali, a predominately Muslim country, I observed that no one speaks of future plans without adding this important word, meaning “if God wills it.” The Koran, in fact, requires its use, teaching: “Never say of anything, ‘I will do so-and-so tomorrow’ without inshallah.”

Like the English term “Lord willing,” or the Spanish, “ojala” (which borrows from the Arabic “inshallah”), the sense is that the future is wholly in God’s hands. We can go ahead and make our grand plans — as though we were in fact the sole captains of our ships — but whether or not those plans come to fruition is entirely up to God.

So I wait on the impressively strong and industrious Mexican construction workers to do God’s will, whether they’re aware of this mission or not. I visit the site once a week, praise the men’s progress (“buen trabajo!” [good job!]), bring them cookies (though I’m sure they’d prefer Coke or beer), and stand on my terrace-to-be admiring the view and dreaming of my new life in the coming years there.

Side view from the terrace, overlooking the next-door neighbor’s garden
Directly below is a delightful children’s park; beyond that the city of SMA, with the surrounding mountains in the distance

I’m reminded of one of the first books I read about San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, in 2014, before deciding to emigrate here. It was the bestseller by American writer Tony Cohan, On Mexican Time: A New Life in San Miguel (Broadway Books, 1999).

As the Amazon blurb so concisely puts it, “On Mexican Time is Cohan’s evocatively written memoir of how he and his wife absorb the town’s sensual ambiance, eventually find and refurbish a crumbling 250-year-old house, and become entwined in the endless drama of Mexican life.”

It’s Cohan’s vivid (hair-pulling) tales about refurbishing that old SMA casa on a Mexican timetable that come back to me now. At the time, I thought, How could anyone put themselves through that? Now that I’ve been living in Mexico for seven-plus years, I’m beginning to understand. And especially now that I’m waiting for my new apartment to be finished so that I can move in.

I’m starting to think of Hope and Patience – oh, and Faith in this apartment’s completion pronto– as scaffolding. They are what’s holding me up as I move from one temporary home (with friends) to another. I’m ineffably grateful that I’m not homeless, that I have such kind and hospitable friends here, and that I live in Mexico, where Time is an ever-moving target, which requires a broader view.

32 thoughts on “A New View”

      1. I once designed and built a house in Mexico. I think everyone should have that experience once in a lifetime. The floor-to-ceiling windows in the living room had colourful tinted glass at the top; I put in beautiful bright blue-tiled floors, a sunken living room, and an attached Canadian-type garage that no one in Mexico had ever seen before. (This was in 1970) Then I waited. I only visited twice during the construction. There were so many workers that they were falling over each other. There was nothing but garbage thrown on the floors. I despaired of it ever being finished. But two weeks after my last visit, it was suddenly completed. So don’t despair, Bonnie. It will be done sooner than you think.

        1. Ah, Pat, thank you for this anecdote — and pep talk! You’re right, I mustn’t despair. It will be finished when it’s meant to be finished. Feliz ano nuevo! — BB

  1. You have earned this beautiful life! You also have a beautiful way of sharing your world with us with your photos and words. Gives me hope, joy, and and a wonderful feeling…

  2. Dear Bon,
    One of the most wonderful feelings in the world is the pleasure of anticipating a coming event that will change your life for the better. Whether it’s a small thing or a big thing, what matters is that it will definitely happen and it will clearly infuse your life with joy.
    The view from your new home is lovely. Congratulations! I am so delighted for you!

    1. Thank you, dearest Paul. Now all I have to do is hold my breath until I can move in! (Just kidding.) — I hope this coming year brings you all the joy you hope for — especially in your retirement from teaching. Come and visit me! — BB xx

  3. Just savour each day, Bonnie. Immersed in the “now” helps the “tomorrow” to come around, seemingly faster. Your apartment has beautiful views and I thank you for sharing your journey with us. Inshallah will become a new word in my thinking now.
    Happy New Year!

  4. Waoh! What a view! Si Dieu le veut..I hope you’ll be able to move in the near future. My wishes for a wonderful; happy, healthy New year dear Bonnie.

    1. Merci, cherie! Yes, I hope you’ll be able to come and visit this year and see the view first-hand! Let’s make it happen (inshallah). — Happy New Year to you! — BB xx

  5. Happy New Year Bonnie. And happy new housing. May your move come soon. Wishing you all the best in 2023, Marge

    1. Gracias, querida Kim! And I’m excited for YOU on your new adventure. I’m about to read your new blogpost right now… — Happy Trails and Happy New Year! — Abrazos, BB xx

  6. Dearest Bonnie, Your new views are jaw-dropping. And well worth the wait, no doubt. I’m officially celebrating with you –starting immediately! In the interim, the countdown leading up to that glorious moment is a gift in itself. I trust the waiting period — that maddening/exciting period of anticipation of something wonderful — will make you as happy as the finished gift. May you enjoy every second of it. Inshallah … or as many of my Mexican friends remind me …Si Dios quiere ….❣️ Happy New Year, Amiga!

    1. Thank you, dearest April. Yes, the anticipation feels a little like being a kid again, waiting for Christmas morning to arrive. (But I trust I won’t have to wait until next Christmas for this “gift” to materialize!) You’ll have to come visit when I’m settled in. When will that be? Dios alone knows. — Mucho love and best wishes to you for 2023, BB xx

  7. Good perspective on Time, BonnieDear. I read your blog on my trip to California and kept that term from the Koran, inshallah, in mind every step of the way, especially on the flight home. It puts everything in perspective and takes off so much of the pressure. Thank you for that reminder.

  8. I’m obviously catching up on my WOWs this morning, Bon, and I loved reading this one. My happy new year wish for you is that the scaffolding comes down soon and your move – in date is set! So happy that this brass ring is within reach! ❤️

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