We’re no longer “wanna-be” expats, in our own minds at least. But we’re not actual expats, either. We still live here in the northeast, not quite ready to leave our old lives behind.
We’ve put our money where our mouths are and have each bought properties. Melissa found a real gem. It’s a little far from our East Santa Ana location, but we can walk there in 10 minutes, I’d guess. She’s near Santiago park, much closer to the Merida English Library and LA 68. As a real estate pro, she was able to communicate with her real estate agent (they aren’t Realtors, technically, down in Mexico) to get what she wanted at a great price. She’s accomplished one thing we haven’t yet. She has been able to actually sleep overnight in her own property, something Paul and I are keen on doing one day. (For now, we’re happy to have tenants in the house.) The last time we were in Mérida, workers hadn’t quite cleared out of Casa Nana, and then we decided to defer at least one trip and apply what we would have spent on some furniture.
In Cold Spring, I decided I’d also take some notes and snap some photos for a travel article I’ll be writing for my local newspaper’s Sunday features section. Melissa showed us an out-of-the-way restaurant that our readers would probably appreciate knowing about. Excellent seafood and direct views of Storm King, the mountain on the other side of the Hudson. We also revisited some shops on the main street that we saw last year.
But our minds were very much in Mérida. Everything brought us back to Topic A. Look at those mountains! We won’t see that in Mérida. Isn’t the woman who runs that gallery from this area? Yes, I think she is. Stuff like that. Melissa even instructed the bartender how to make us a tequila-grapefruit cocktail you’d normally associate with Mexico: A Paloma before noon? Sure, why not? TICS! (This Is Cold Spring.) I spied snapper ceviche tacos on the menu and ordered them. So what if the tortilla tasted more like a savory cannoli shell? It was delicious and was appropriate to our theme-of-the-day.
Over coffee later on, Melissa pulls out fabric samples from her bag. Well, not so much fabric samples, but mockups of cushions she’ll have made for her living room almost two thousand miles away. Then she pulls out a piece of cardboard with something strikingly familiar on it. It looks like a painting of our house!
Being modest, Melissa plays down the effort: “Aw shucks, I just grabbed it off Google Street View and painted over it.” Yes, I’m pretty sure she said “aw shucks.” That’s how I remember it, anyway. We were amazed and delighted. Not only was this a very effective piece of art, and a dear gesture, but we’d always wanted to do a house portrait of our own home in Connecticut, but never got around to it. Now, it would be too painful to commission such a thing. But a portrait that looks ahead to our future home? Wow.
Now it’s July, which makes the end of August seem a little closer. That’s when the three of us will be back in Mérida. And when we’re all living down there full time, Melissa’s particular New Yawk accent and her straight-foward approach to life (New Yawkers tell you like it is!) will keep me from getting too homesick. It took me about two seconds to fall under her spell and everyone else in Yucatán is going to be charmed by her as well. I keep telling her she should sell real estate, but whatever she does down there, she’s going to take Mérida by storm, just you wait and see. We’ll call her Storm Queen.