Scene: The Adratic Marchegian Club, Derby, Connecticut, which has been rented out for our grand niece’s Sweet 16 party.
The party hasn’t really started yet, but we’re all seated. It’s time to make the announcement.
We address the six family members at our table.
“We have something to tell you.”
Maybe that was too dramatic. We probably should have said “we have great news,” or maybe just cut to the chase, “we want you all to visit us in Mexico — in our own house that we built.”
We’re trying to find the right words, and the family members are looking at us a little stunned. Except for Betsy. She guessed the truth when she honeymooned in Tulum this year and I couldn’t keep my big mouth shut about how much I loved the Yucatán, although we favor the opposite side of the peninsula, and if you’re looking for a house, I know where to look, bla bla bla…
“We’ve been keeping a secret for a few years now,” Paul said. They’re wondering if we didn’t already have this conversation years ago. But we quickly plow forward.
Honestly, I don’t remember how the conversation went. I buried myself in my iPhone, quickly inviting everyone to “like” our Facebook page so they can see photos. Every speech needs visuals.
But the upshot was, we admitted we’ve been very low-key the last few years. We know our constant “vacations” in Mexico have been a little mysterious. As long as Paul’s mother was alive, we had to keep Casa Nana on the down-low, because we were afraid of her reaction. Even my mother once asked, “Are you waiting for me to die so you can live in Mexico?” It’s not good to reveal your own life goals when the present reality is revolved around caring for aging parents.
So now, it’s out. It’s no longer a secret in the family that we’ve been going to Mexico since 2010, traveling about three times a year hunting property, finding architects, planning a house, and then having it built.
It was finished at the end of 2013, but life is keeping us in Connecticut for now. We’ve rented the house to both friends and strangers, and now we’re inviting the family to enjoy the house. They don’t have to wait for us to come and enjoy it, although we’d love to host them personally one day.
Ours will be a house of hospitality.
At the table, and later in individual conversations, our relatives were a little dumbfounded. Most had no idea we were doing this. Some seemed eager to come down and see it. I encouraged them to read up on Mérida to make sure they understood just what a trip here would be like. I’m going to point them to this blog, for example, and to Yucatán Expat Life, which I started writing after I ran out of ideas for this site.
You always hear of people who build a house with extra rooms too accommodate family that never comes. That won’t be us.
The people we spoke to are just the tip of the iceberg. Paul’s side of the family is huge. I’m an only child so my friends are my family and I’m hoping some of them will visit, perhaps making Casa Nana a springboard to explore more of Latin America. I did emphasize how close we are to the airport, which links to many interesting cities.
So welcome Betsy, Dan, Denise, Judy, Nilda, Frank, David, Jessica, Michael, Maria and everyone else. Bring the kids! It’ll be fun.