Mr. Jade won’t be part of Team Yucatán Expat

Mr. Jade

Mr. Jade

We have no children, and no pets. The closest thing we have to offspring is a giant jade plant that started off as a tiny little sprout bought at Home Depot. Suffice it to say, it’s flourished under our parenting.

Yesterday we gave in to the cold. We brought in the house plants, including Mr. Jade, shattering any illusion that it’s still summer in New England. It really was a great summer. We spent more time on the deck and less time on weekend day trips and restaurants and more time lounging around the house. The weather cooperated better than we’ve ever remembered, too. It was grand.

Summer ended with an 11-day trip to Mérida, where I had said all along I wanted to be on my 50th birthday. Two weeks later came an obligatory trip to Frankfurt, Germany, and I’ve never been less prepared to enter a new country. I would normally [Read more...]

Eat like a local? OK. Drink like a local? Nah

Arni takes cocktails seriously at Apoala.

Arni takes cocktails seriously at Apoala.

More about bitters. I’ll keep this brief, I promise.

The advice to new expats is to go with the flow, eat and drink like the locals, and keep things simple. Abandon your old ways and adapt to life as it is lived in Yucatán.

As you can see on the Facebook forums, this is easier said than done. We all want our old foods and drinks. Familiar brand names comfort us. Aunt Jemima syrup, Twizzlers and Pringles are prized possessions. We packed Triscuits for our neighbors.

So don’t judge me too harshly if I shun Montejo beer in favor of the Rob Roy, an American cocktail that requires Scotch, with a splash of vermouth and a shake or two of bitters. I’ve been documenting my search all along.  [Read more...]

The wheels are in motion

Open, pretty flower, open! Our plane leaves on Sunday!

Open, pretty flower, open! Our plane leaves on Sunday!

We’re back in New England, where the autumn chill is setting in, relying on Team Nana to keep our Mérida house in order. Team Nana consists of the property managers, the architects/project supervisors (still on the scene while the house is under warranty), and their own employees and contractors, plus the contractor’s subcontractors. Why did I ever think I’d just need to pay someone in the neighborhood to check the mail now and then?

We agreed this week, based on the recommendation of the person who designed our garden, to increase the landscaping budget at Casa Nana, from two to six hours a week. We approved the purchase of some tools, and bought additional irrigation sprinklers, too. The greenery is coming in very well, as it should with all this rain, but it takes constant taming.

A couple we know said they have a gardener come in daily, four hours a day. I was tempted to think [Read more...]

Sofa shopping: Our eyes are bigger than our sala

Nasstrom sofa

The Tokyo sofa from Nasstrom, seen here with some swatches, just baarrreeely fits in the sala.

We drove all around yesterday looking for the perfect sofa for Casa Nana. I had already done some reconnaissance work from back at home, separating the wheat from the chaff before we even arrived. Still, it was a busy day.

We first went to Nasstrom, which appealed to me because their furniture is made in nearby Umán. They supply Ikea with furniture built to their specifications, but I don’t think this is “Ikea furniture,” other than the Scandinavian lines. For one thing, no assembly required!

I came for the Linnea sofa, but stayed for the Tokyo. Our sala isn’t overly large, just enough room for some seating between the terrace and interior courtyard pond, so we have to beware [Read more...]

Settling into everyday life in Mérida

Costco in Merida

The Costco in Merida is better than the one back home.

We are here for just a week, but that doesn’t stop us from playing house in our new house.

There is something about rolling your shopping cart into the hot parking lot that feels like a rite of passage for a wanna-be Yucatán transplant.

Good friends (thank you, Good Friends!) took us to the Costco, the true center of expat life in Mérida. Oh, did you think the true expat center was some place cultural, with local significance? Nope, it’s the Costco, a place where meridano and expat agree is the place to load up on household essentials like family packs of bathroom tissue and bottles, or boxes, of wine. If you want to live like a local, you’re going to be going to Costco.

We went on a Saturday morning, which we were warned is a kind-of “family time” there, with mom, dad, grandma and the kids crowding the aisles for the free samples. But we got there at 10:30, ahead of the crowds. As we left an hour [Read more...]

Honey, I’m home

Casa Nana MeridaWe were walking around like we owned the place.

And we do, we do own the place. This was the first time we walked around in it. Alone, not sharing the space with construction workers.

We were handed keys. Just three keys, out of 20-some that open various doors around our house in Santa Ana. That will have to be [Read more...]