Sunday Morning 7/24/2022: Final Week In Mexico

Every time we turn down a new street in San Miguel de Allende there’s always something interesting to discover.

This coming week will be our last full one in San Miguel de Allende – a week from Tuesday we’ll be on our way to Boston. The past couple of weeks have mostly been quiet ones and we’ve spent a good deal of our time relaxing in the apartment rather than going out (except to eat and food shop). We’re ready to move on, but that being said we’ll genuinely miss being in Mexico. We’ve felt especially lucky this past week that we came here instead of Strasbourg as originally planned, and didn’t have to deal with the broiling heat there while paying twice as much as we have here for the experience. We will always love Strasbourg but this was not the summer to be there (nor maybe any summer in the future), or to be heading to Oxford in the UK.

The shelf of souvenirs

The suitcases will be coming out again and the packing will commence toward the end of the week. Because we didn’t bring any of our winter things with us both of our bags had room to spare when we arrived. We’ve bought quite a bit while we’ve here though, mainly gifts for everyone else, so our bags will be leaving San Miguel de Allende stuffed to the max once again. I’ll be carrying the most fragile items onto the plane with me but I think in the end we’ll be able to get everything to fit. Several things will be unloaded when we’re in Massachusetts but the rest will head to Tennessee (with YaYu’s gifts being mailed to Pennsylvania once we get settled). We’re happy with what we’ve bought here and really spent very little for all we got. We’ve decided to leave the bean pot behind; it’s too big to pack or carry and its cost ($5) isn’t worth the hassle of bringing it back. We sure had a good time looking for it though.

On their way to the U.S. last Wednesday! Our son was surprised by how few people wear masks in the U.S.

Our son and family are all in Tennessee! They arrived last Thursday, and our daughter-in-law moved into her apartment yesterday. She’s bought a car which will arrive next week, and they’re picking up some furniture locally and ordered other pieces for delivery. They’re doing a big sweep (or two) through Target this weekend for necessities (cookware, dishes, etc.) to get her settled as well. We’re so excited about seeing them – just a couple of weeks to go!

This morning I am thinking about:

  • What we accomplished this past week: 1) We got brave this past Wednesday afternoon and stopped at a hair salon down the road from our apartment for haircuts. Brett’s hair was getting shaggy, and my curls were absolutely driving me nuts and taking too much effort each day to maintain. The salon was recommended by our neighbor, and both Brett and I came out with great haircuts. 2) I put ten books on hold at the library so I am set for the rest of the summer and fall. Two other books came off hold this week so I’ve got plenty of reading to do! 3) We did our last food shopping at City Market – I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look at U.S. supermarkets in the same way again.
This view from our front door has been one of the best things about our stay in San Miguel de Allende.
  • What we’re looking forward to next week: We’re planning a relaxing week overall, even with getting started on the packing. We’ll mostly stay in the apartment to read, relax, and enjoy the view out the front door for a last few days but will also be going out to eat at a few of our favorite nearby restaurants.
Two happy customers!
  • How we saved: 1) The total price for our two haircuts was $15.72 USD (including the tip). It’s hard to determine how much we saved by getting our hair cut here versus waiting until we got back to the U.S. but it was A LOT. 2) We ate what we had on hand and didn’t buy any groceries until yesterday; nothing was thrown out. We have enough now to get us through until the end of our stay.

Lunch and brunch were at Raices and El Pegaso this past week. We have never had a meal in San Miguel de Allende that wasn’t completely delicious.

Good things that happened: 1) We had two terrific thunderstorms roll through last Sunday and Monday afternoons – both lasted for for a couple of hours and dumped a LOT of rain. I love a good thunderstorm, and the thunder and lightening from these were quite the experience. It also rained again Tuesday night, Wednesday afternoon, and Saturday afternoon (we walked to City Market with umbrellas). The storms cooled things off, cleaned out the air, and settled the dust. 2) We took neighbor Jenny to lunch at our favorite restaurant in SMA, Raices, on Wednesday. She had a horrible cold for two weeks (not Covid) and we wanted to get her out of her apartment for a little bit. The three of us ate for less than $25, including the tip, and the food was as amazing as always (cheese enchiladas for Brett, enchiladas stuffed with roast suckling pig in chipotle sauce for me (enchipotladas), and a mole taco for Jenny). 3) We finally stopped at the taco stand down the street on Thursday to try some tacos. Two plates with two beefsteak tacos, a Fanta orange soda to share, and a generous tip came to just $4.54. We’re mad at ourselves that we didn’t go sooner! 4) We had brunch again at El Pegaso in Centro on Friday. Both of us enjoyed chilis en nogada, the dish the restaurant is famous for. It was our most expensive brunch since we’ve been here: $34 USD including the tip, but very worth it.

We plan to get tacos at Mario’s again this week, maybe more than once! Both of those salsas were very spicy (but good), the green more so than the red!

I’m thankful for the creative and thought-provoking responses I received to Friday’s post about ideas for our post-Nashville life. They have given us quite a bit to think about! Brett and I really need about to two years to pull a big change/plan together, so we hope to decide on something not long after we get settled in Nashville and then get working to make it happen. It’s funny: A week or so ago I would have said relocating to Mexico was at the top of the list, but now we’re equally excited about potentially traveling with an RV or locating to Ventura County in California, or maybe even “base-hopping” around the U.S., none of which were on our radars before.

I hope everyone enjoyed a great week in spite of the heat the enveloped most of the U.S. and that you’re looking forward to the week coming up. Can’t believe it’s our last week here, but we’re going to make the most of it, whether that’s relaxing in the apartment, getting our suitcases loaded, or enjoying a meal out in town.

26 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 7/24/2022: Final Week In Mexico

  1. The food prices are amazing! Haircuts here are $15 for one at the cheap place so I think y’all got a great deal! Makes me want to move to Mexico bc of the prices!

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    1. The prices here have been unbelievable to us, and this is one of the most expensive places in Mexico! We’ve experienced reverse sticker shock actually, and the cost of living in Mexico is the primary reason we put living here on our list (although we would not consider SMA for a variety reasons).

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  2. How exciting that your family is in Nashville waiting for you. I can only imagine how happy you are to see them after all this time. 😊

    Having always heard that the cost of living in Mexico is really low, I have continued to be amazed by the actual prices you share for food and now your haircuts. It’s easy to see why people retire there, although the heat would be too much for me in the hot season.

    Love the discussion and options re: your next moves. BTW, some friends just did a bike trip (on e-bikes) in the Cotswolds and I thought of you. They loved it, but no AC for the last sweltering blast last week. They were thrilled to get to a hotel in Bath that had AC.

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    1. We are now hearing from them daily which is wonderful, and they have been filling us in on the apartment complex (they checked for us and our apartment comes with a full-size washer and dryer, for example). Our DIL started work today at the consulate, and our son is busy with the kids and getting things for the apartment. We cannot wait to see them!!

      The cost of living in Mexico is even more amazing when you consider that SMA is one of the most expensive locations in Mexico. The prices here have been shocking (in a wonderful way).

      We are considering everything this time, and I appreciated getting some different ideas. Love the base hopping idea and found it interesting how many thought RVing would be a good idea for us as well to we’re rethinking that as well.

      I am finally more excited about traveling to Nashville than to England. Wasn’t sure that was ever going to happen, but with the temperatures, inflation, and their crazy politics this was probably not a great time to visit.

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      1. FWIW, my DD is skipping a family wedding in the US. Airline tickets are ridiculously expensive, and the security lines at Heathrow last week were 5 hours for one of their friends. Not really doable with a two year old. 😫

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      2. Is your granddaughter already two years old? Where has the time gone?

        We’ve heard horror stories about current conditions in Heathrow. Between there and the weather, we’re beginning to feel like we maybe dodged a bullet by cancelling our trip back to Oxford.

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      1. I know I am going to be VERY surprised by how big the grandkids are, especially our granddaughter. She was still in preschool when we last saw her, and will starting the first grade this year . . . .

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  3. First time commenting! Love Brett’s CBC shirt. Long live the Canadian Broadcasting Corp ❤️ And thank you for continuing to blog – been reading since you first moved to Kauai with the girls!

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    1. Thank you so much for being such a loyal reader!

      One of our girls gave the t-shirt to him for Christmas last year. The past two years he’s asked for Canada-related merchandise and they obliged with the shirt and a ball cap the year before!

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  4. Hi Laura. I’m late to commenting on your previous blog post. I think people make decisions financially looking out 30 years worrying about their money not lasting. I think once you are over 60 have to break the decisions into what are you doing for the next 5 years then progress from there. We did buy a condo in Kakaako earlier this year, I’m watching the activity over the harbor from the 39th floor as I type. We ran the numbers and it made no sense to do it, however at 60 we know we will not be paying these costs for 30 years as there will be a point in our lives we will likely need go a different direction. Being here has fulfilled a dream. Socially life has never been better as Honolulu feels more like an expat community, with people looking for friendship. I can not recommend it enough. Life in Kakaako is vibrant and a real sense of community. Now California, after living there for 20+ years my husband and I have agreed hell would freeze over before we return there. It’s not the place we moved in the 90s, we never found people to be particularly friendly and welcoming, a lot of measuring and comparing of financial success to deem if you are worthwhile and we have no desire to return there ever.

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    1. Interesting comment about California! I still know lots of people there from different stages of my life, and we’ve stayed friends so I would have that but I also agree with other things you said (which is one reason I don’t want to attend my HS reunion this year (delayed from 2020 because of the pandemic).

      I think the 5-year chunk of time is a good way to look at things now – we really don’t need to look at 30, or even 20 years into the future realistically. Hawaii has a lot of appeal for us; however, I just got off the phone with two of our daughters and had told them several of the ideas we’re contemplating for after Nashville, and Hawaii was their least favorite! They both said that they’d rather have Brett and I nearer to them if possible (they’d like us to live in Maine!). Anyway, still lots to think about but appreciate your feedback about CA and Honolulu.

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  5. So glad you’ve enjoyed your time in SMA (especially after it cooled off a bit!) and I’ve enjoyed it right along with you. The food looks amazing!
    I had not commented on your last post, although I found your possible choices interesting. The good news is, you have time to decide whatever you want to do next, even if you just decide to do something on a temporary basis. I will tell you one thing that nobody else mentioned….. if more grandchildren start coming along sometime, the pull to be nearer to them is quite strong! We have one set of grands overseas (not in a place we’d want to live!) so being nearer to he stateside ones was a huge decision in where we settled after retirement.
    I saw someone mention that you should check out the Easin’ Along blog. I follow them and they seem to have quite lovely stays at various bases around the country.

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    1. Thanks for telling me about the Easin’ Along blog – I’ve been looking for one that has information about retiree living on bases around the country.

      We’re lucky that all our choices have positives that make them viable (and negatives that are thought-provoking). I am anxious to talk with our son and DIL about our options – they will both offer good advice. One daughter asked today why we didn’t move to Japan, and I had to remind her there was no visa for us, even as dependents, but if there were we’d go there without hesitation. Oh well. For now we’re enjoying learning more about each option and talking about them – Brett and I are having some good discussions. We’re fortunate that we have options; we know others are not so lucky.

      Cool and raining here today in SMA – Brett is wearing a sweater and I’m ready to put one on!

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    1. As military retirees we are eligible to stay in base housing on certain bases around the country. Basically, it means signing a lease and living on base somewhere for a year, and then moving to a different base each year. So, we could live in South Carolina for a year, then on to Maine or Colorado or California the next, and so on. The big unknown right now is how much it would cost – rent is based on BAH (the current housing allowance paid to active duty) but in some locations BAH for the rank Brett was at retirement is more than Brett’s retirement now!

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  6. Just want to say Godspeed and safe travels! I’m excited for you. Maybe your girls will be able to come down to Nashville from time to time during your stay there. A couple hours of flying time is sure easier than the long hauls to Hawaii—although the Nashville beaches are missing something. 😀🌴. All the best, Ginger (native Tennessean now living in the northeast)

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    1. Thank you, Ginger! The girls are planning to come to Nashville at Christmas this year – the whole family will be together! I’m already so excited about that I could sing!

      Brett and I met and were married in Memphis, and our son was born in Millington at the Naval hospital there – we were there for a total of two years. We’ve only passed through Nashville though (stopped to visit the Hermitage) so this will be all new ground for us. DIL and son say our apartment complex is very nice, and there is lots in the area. I never thought I’d be going back to Tennessee, but I’m actually getting a bit excited!

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  7. I had never heard of base hopping either, so thanks for explaining what that is in your comment above. That sounds like it could be fun, but if the BAH is too high then maybe it’s not doable?

    Is there any chance your son and DIL would ever move to the US? Just curious since your DIL is ‘stationed’ here for now and I wonder if that could ever become more permanent.

    I agree with what others have said that it’s best to be near family, especially as your daughters start having kids, but I thought Honolulu (or somewhere on Oahu) could be an option until that happens–so not a permanent move, but something maybe you could do for a year or two after Nashville. The RV lifestyle is also intriguing. I’ve been watching youtube videos from people who are living that lifestyle now and there do seem to be some downsides, but it could be an option if you don’t find those to be too off-putting.

    I’m looking forward to your posts about Nashville and seeing your son’s family!!

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    1. We haven’t been able to find out much about what the monthly cost would be for renting military housing, but the couple of places we have seen costs it’s very high, or at least quite a bit more than we would want to spend. We love the idea though so will eventually be contacting some of these housing offices to see what costs would be, but our general feeling so far is that it would be too expensive overall. We’d have to move our furniture every time, etc.

      The girls had a negative reaction to our moving back to Hawaii, especially Honolulu (they don’t think we’d like it). They were more excited about the road trip idea and a relocation to Mexico because they thought we would see each other more (at least once annually). Now we’re eager to hear what our son has to say!

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  8. What a great picture of you two and of the young family from Japan! I bet your heart sings in anticipation of being with them. Enjoy the last week in Mexico and all that delicious authentic Mexican food as Tennessee will greet you with smoked ribs, whiskey, and sweet tea😃

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    1. We cannot wait to see them, and we know the grandkids have grown more than we can imagine.

      No whiskey for me or Brett nor sweet tea, but yes on the ribs! Tennessee is also famous for their biscuits – whole shops are dedicated to them (and I’ve never been able to bake a biscuit good enough to save my soul).

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