Friday, February 20, 2015

Casa sweet casa

The road to home.

It's strange that we own a house. How did this happen? Last I checked we were living on the road, homeless by choice.

Oh yeah, we bought a casita sight unseen over a year ago. A house in Mexico, in a part of Baja neither one of us had been to. It's a long story...but we were running on pure instinct.

In November when we landed here, I wondered if our success jumping off cliffs had run its course. I was totally overwhelmed by our empty place. We had to make it a country where we barely spoke the language. The first few nights we slept on a leaky air mattress on the cement floor.

I know a lot of people have a blast flipping houses, decorating, remodeling, landscaping, shopping. That stuff isn't really my bag. The kinds of projects I like usually involve words, like writing and editing books. Or exploration, like traveling to India and Sri Lanka.

It's funny how I've done some pretty major things in my life, such as retiring early and undergoing brain surgery, but the idea of tackling an empty house in a foreign country freaked me out. The place didn't even have cabinets, just empty spaces below the counters.

New cabinets.
And now, three months later, that emptiness is a hazy memory. Today the workers finished our cabinets. Our place is fully furnished, including a day bed on the roof. It's beautiful. My vision of creating "uncluttered color" has come to pass.

How did we do it? First, I had to get my head right. I consciously decided to enjoy the process, to be thankful for our fortune, to enjoy the beauty of the area--even if that meant gazing through the windshield at the turquoise sea as we drove to the store.

Finally some landscaping around the outdoor shower.
We shopped primarily in Todos Santos (10 minutes away) and Cabo (an hour away). We'd go out with a long list and come back exhausted, with just two or three items marked off. I used Google translate to look up key words before we ventured out, tucking the notes into my purse. My sister and our new friends helped us out, suggesting places to go, making referrals, and giving us stuff (an electric kettle, a slow cooker). Our friends from L.A. brought a suitcase full of things we had a hard time finding here. We got plants from a nursery down the road; others were pulled out the desert ground.

Day bed

A few things--like a BBQ and day bed for our roof--we ordered online and sent to a warehouse in San Diego to be trucked down. After trying to sleep on a pillow-top Mexican queen mattress (which is six inches shorter than an American queen), we broke down and bought a Temperpedic knock-off and had that delivered. If we've learned one thing, get a good night's sleep.

It all happened little by little, poco a poco. And now, it's done. Well, as done as a house ever is. There are always tweaks, things to move, things to discard, things to add.

Making our house a home has provided me with another reminder to trust the process. Did I really need another reminder? Apparently so.

Grilling on the new bbq!


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