Here We Go Again

If I’ve learned anything over the years, it should by now be this: Things change. Circumstances change, the music changes, people change their tune. As much as I might long for solidity and permanency, along comes a stiff wind out of left field and blows my seemingly solid structure away. So today I’m trying to adopt a new motto:  Todo es temporal (everything is temporary). How Zen of me.

My news is that I’ll be moving house again – for reasons too convoluted to go into here. This will be my fifth move in the seven years I’ve lived in San Miguel de Allende and about the twenty-fifth move of my life, since leaving home at eighteen.

Granted, SMA is a pretty fluid place: People come and go all the time. Extranjeros (foreigners) arrive on vacation, fall in love with this beguiling old city, decide to move here; then after a while, often for health or family reasons, they return to their country of origin. Others go back and forth with the seasons. I, on the other hand, have always intended to be solidly permanente from start to finish. I long to feel planted, busily growing deeper and deeper roots.

Nevertheless, as I’ve said and as I should know by now, things change. And, as we all know, moving is all-consumingly stressful. Which is to explain, my mind is so filled with the noise of upheaval at the moment I can’t hear the whispered voice of my muse — which I depend on when I write my weekly WOWs for you.

So I’ve gone to my WOW archives and found a popular post from a previous move, in 2020, that also happens to express my sentiments today. Some may remember this post; but other, newer, WOW subscribers and readers will not have seen it. Here it is, for your reading — or rereading — pleasure:

Another Lily Pad

(May 7, 2020)

It must be wonderful, I sometimes imagine, to live your whole life in a bucolic little village somewhere in the world. Old stone cottages dotting winding roads, rolling green hills, sheep grazing everywhere, plump and happy cows that wear bells, everyone knowing everyone else and everything about you because they’ve known you since birth, right down to your favorite color. The sense of security, deep-rootedness, and belonging must be beautiful. It’s beyond my comprehension.

Next week I’ll be moving again. This will be, by my rough count, the twenty-third time I’ve changed residences since I left my family home in northern New Jersey when I was eighteen. My mother thought our suburban hometown was the center of the universe; I, on the other hand, couldn’t wait to leave it.

I remember having had vague dreams at that time of seeing the world – not just whizzing through on a tour bus or in a rental car but actually living in far-off places for years at a time and experiencing those places like a native. That dream, it appears, has pretty much come true.

After living here and there for these past many years, I’m now a legal, permanent resident of Mexico, and I’m deeply grateful to be here, with no intention of ever leaving. For the past four years I’ve been living happily in an affordable little studio apartment (which I’ve affectionately referred to as my “penthouse”), in a funky old apartment complex in San Miguel de Allende.

I’d thought, I’d hoped, my happiness in this studio apartment would last forever: The light, the western view (sunsets!), the peace and solitude, the birdsong, the good and kind Mexican people I’ve come to know nearby, the tiny geranium-and-bougainvillea-filled patio, the thirsty neighborhood hummingbirds that drink at my feeder from dawn to dusk year-round…

I remember Francisco, the manager of this complex, telling me when I moved in in June 2016, “Don’t worry, Bonnie. You will always be safe here. This is your home. We are family here.” But, sadly, this place is now for sale and will likely be demolished. I’ve had to find another lily pad.

So this week I’m packing up and downsizing once again: Giving things away, filling boxes, taping and labeling them, then stacking them high. My beloved “penthouse” now looks like a warehouse. It’s almost unrecognizable. I was sad when I knew I had to leave it. I cried for a day. Then I picked myself up, and, with the help of dear friends in SMA, found another small and affordable place across town.

Moving house is stressful at the best of times, but these (as I don’t need to tell you) are not the best of times. We are all, all over the world, I think, going through a time of great upheaval – experiencing tremendous pain, loss, anxiety, and uncertainty – due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. What does the future hold? Nobody knows. The peaceful, serene little village scene of my imagination is the stuff of fairy tales.

But one of the great benefits of having lived a long time (I’ll turn 75 soon) is the ability to look back and see where you’ve been, what you’ve been through, and what helped get you through it. One Shakespeare quote, from As You Like It, has always come to my rescue: “Sweet are the uses of adversity, which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head…”

That jewel, I believe, is wisdom. Difficulties are teachers that strive to teach us wisdom, and along with that, resilience.

I’m finding it helps right now too to think of myself not as a contented old villager who waves benignly and knowingly to the occasional passerby but as an elderly frog who’s been hopping from lily pad to lily pad across a grand pond for most of her life. My twenty-third lily pad lies just ahead. Excuse me while I resume my packing to move onto it.

35 thoughts on “Here We Go Again”

  1. Oh Bonnie, sorry to hear you will be moving again and the stress with that. Hope it all works out well. Say, what has become of your funky old apartment building on Recreo that was put up for sale a few moves ago?

    1. Thanks, Lyn. I don’t know the current status of Villa Martha. Last time I passed by it, a few weeks ago, it was all closed up — but not yet torn down. I looked up at my old “penthouse” longingly. 🙂

      1. Ah dang. I always hoped a new owner would continue it as an apartment building and freeze the current tenants rate as an incentive to stay. Thank you for the update. As a tourist before moving to SMA we picked up and saved a brochure from Martha’s place and chatted at the front desk about potential place to live. Last week after reading your blog I did a search on Martha’s from Google Maps and there is still a website that shows about half a dozen apartments available but I couldn’t tell how old the Martha’s website last update was. Such a charming place.

        1. Yes, it was a famous old apartment complex, and many people remember it fondly. Unfortunately, it’s become history, Lyn. If it were possible to return there, I’d so so in a heartbeat. But I’m afraid it’s not. It’s now destined for other things. 🙁

  2. I think moving gets more difficult the older you get. We moved 6 months ago (after 5 1/2 years in the same beautiful place) and it was probably the most stressful move I’ve ever made. The spare bedroom is still full of unpacked stuff, but we’ve pretty well adjusted to the new place.

    1. Yes, Pat, I’ve got to agree with you. When we old birds lose our nests, it’s harder for us to flap around looking for a new one! 🙂 BTW, where are you living now? Still in centro? — BB

  3. Bonnie querida, There’s a new and beautiful lily pad waiting for you in beautiful San Miguel! Something super lindo and with hummingbirds too. Take mucho care and post pics of your new nest. Abrazos

  4. Hi Bonnie…I hope the reason for your latest relocation is benign, rather than stressful and disruptive. And I know you have good friends down there who will help. Because the whole thing is difficult. With luck and fortitude, you’ll find another casa of charm, comfort and tranquility. Best regards

    1. Thank you, dear Ted, for your kind words. I’m sure it will all work out. I’m feeling hopeful. (It’s funny you should use the word “fortitude.” That’s one of the things I specifically pray for every day.) — BB xx

  5. Oiy! Well you know the saying?
    “How do you make God laugh?”
    “Tell Her your plans.”
    I’m sure your forever place is waiting for you. Hang in. <3

  6. The only comfort I find when I move is, while unpacking, I stumble upon a memento I have managed to drag around for more than 50 years, since I left home. It really is the little stuff sometimes, Bonnie! Happy Packing to you!

    1. Willa, you are so right. The last time we moved (6 months ago) I found a diary that I had kept from 1962 – 1963, the year I spent in England and Europe. Reading it brought back all those memories.

  7. Bonnie, I’m in town for a couple of days and have an idea for you for some time. Message me on Facebook or call and we can meet on Tuesday. Anna V Copeland

      1. I think you did reply as something came by that said you had a Tuesday lunch. Then my internet went down and when it came back your message was gone. Could you please message me again so I can know your thoughts? Thank you. Anna

  8. Dear Bon,

    Change is so stressful. I’m sorry about your having to move again. I hope you will find a new home where you will be comfortable and secure. My thoughts are with you as you meet this new challenge.


  9. Hola Bonnie, this truly resonated with me. I’ve moved 4x in 3 yrs in 2 different states…I know another move is on the horizon. Right now I’m figuring out my where my next “lily pad” will be. SMA is still on my mind… take care, Cynthia.

    1. Ah, Cynthia dear, I certainly empathize! Do come down to SMA to check it out. The prices are rising, but the cost of living is still nowhere as high as in the States. Hope to see you here! Best wishes, Bonnie

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.