Tonight we ate The Last Supper, although there was no water being turned into wine, and no multiplication of the fishes and the loaves. I realize I’m mixing my biblical stories here, but bear with me.
It was our last supper on the roof of this house we have lived in for the last year. A giant rental house with way too many antiques and monogrammed linens, but arguably the most stunning view in town. A house with an expansive rooftop where we sat with family members, and with new friends and old, and stared off towards the western horizon at the setting sun sparkling off of the reservoir. We took deep breaths and pointed at multi-colored clusters of houses and church spires and distant traffic lights. Sometimes we said it out loud and sometimes we all just thought it, but no one sat on that roof and didn’t realize how great it is to be alive.
A little over a year ago we crossed the border at Nuevo Laredo and drove directly south for ten hours to set up shop in a town where we knew no one. We formed friendships with people at lightening speed and with unsurpassed ease. The people we met were from different places and different backgrounds. They had widely varying political viewpoints and parenting styles. They were lawyers, musicians, entrepreneurs, chefs, doctors, artists, and farmers. Lots were from Mexico and the U.S. Others were from Canada or France, Ireland, England, Spain, El Salvador, and South Africa. They were like us, but they weren’t. We had never felt so enfolded.
We put our unilingual kid into a bilingual school in which he had no friends, yet he thrived. We joined a gym, we volunteered, we shopped at the markets. We went to the festivals and the art gallery openings and the music and the parades and the parties and we ate at the restaurants and drank with the locals at the cantinas. For months we didn’t leave home because we were so overwhelmed with all there was to do. Then we traveled far and wide, to places with names like Todos Santos and Merida and Xilitla and Patzcuaro and Tequisquiapan.
We saw the monarch butterfly migration. We attended the full-blown Mexican wedding of dear friends. We saw my favorite band play the first shows they’ve ever played in Mexico. We dangled over the edge of the fourth deepest sinkhole in the world, and visited the fourth largest monolith in the world. We swam in hot springs, repelled down cliff sides, and galloped on horseback across the plains.
Perhaps the most amazing product of this year away has been that we have become so much closer as a family. This has been the biggest and most delightful surprise. We spend more time together, and we do more things as a family, than we ever have before.
And now school is over, and our timeline says it’s time to go back. Only we can’t. The truth is that we are happier here than any of us ever thought we would be. Whatever expectations we had have been exceeded many times over. I miss my clients and their pets. I miss snow, but only a little. I miss affordable almond butter. I miss my friends and family back home. But with every passing day this place feels more like home to me than any other place I have ever lived.
Lots of you have asked, and I’m sorry that I didn’t make this announcement sooner. We actually made the decision several months ago, and I let the clinic where I used to work in Fort Collins know of our plans back in January, so that they could tell my clients. But they sat on the news for some time, and only made the news public recently, so I felt that I couldn’t say anything until now.
So tonight was the last supper, but not because we’re leaving San Miguel. We’re moving out of this house because we knew that we couldn’t leave our cats in Fort Collins for another year, and we can’t have them at this house. We found another place where we can have them, and we’ll be moving there after we return from a trip home to the States in August. It’s not as grand as our current digs, but it’s comfortable, and it also has a roof with a great, although somewhat lower, less commanding view. But losing altitude also means much easier access to the house – no walking up enormous hills three times a day, which the dogs will appreciate as much as we will.
So look out U.S. of A. – we’re coming for you! We’ll spend a blissful month in the bosom of family and friends, starting at our beach house in Alabama and ending in Colorado, where we’ll collect our cats, and be back here in time for school. And if you didn’t get that visit in last year, you’ve been given a reprieve. The door is always open, so come visit. Who knows – maybe you won’t want to leave either.