Sunday, February 14, 2021

Change In the Weather


A change in the weather is sufficient to recreate the world and ourselves. —Marcel Proust

Santa Fe winter

Of a sudden, the weather here in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA changed from almost balmy to sub-freezing. The forecast for the next couple days is for cold, with blustery snow showers and temperatures below freezing. 

I drove this morning for my ritual Sunday coffee, slice of walnut banana bread and New York Times. Usually I eat at a table indoors, but since covid restrictions I have been outdoors. Since the weather changed, I have been sitting in my car, reading the paper and drinking coffee.

On the way home I thought of the changes occurring in my life, and especially our move to Oaxaca, Mexico soon. We will be going from four seasons to two: wet and dry. 

All my life I have enjoyed summer, followed by autumn, winter and spring. Winters are the most difficult. In the past, I took to the mountains to ski and it helped make the season more enjoyable. I have sold all the winter landscape paintings I have made through the years. Yet, as I write this, I am shut indoors with the furnace blasting, dreaming of spring. 

Front entrance

A couple weeks ago, we flew to Oaxaca to buy our future home. During those six days, we never wore our coats, and at least once I regretted not having shorts and sandals. 

Looking through windows to the front entrance

The first time we saw the house, last August, the surrounding corn fields were full of tall, green stalks. Our property had green plants and grass. This time, most of the colors were brown. I wonder what it will be like when the rain comes . . . for sure, I look forward to living in our new home and experiencing the afternoon rains. 

Back side of our home

For Amy and I, in our new home—a house made creatively with love—we will recreate our world and ourselves.

Sunday, February 07, 2021


I am now an immigrant, along with Amy. We have “Residente Permanente” visas from Mexico. It all happened rather suddenly but a huge change is happening to us. 

During travels over the past 15 years occasionally a thought would come that I might move from the USA—to Italy, to Thailand, or Ecuador. Amy and I have been married three years and after a trip to Oaxaca I casually looked online at properties down there and found one that grabbed me from head to foot with a price tag that, compared to similar properties here in Santa Fe, was an absolute steal. (See: Mexican Home)
That was over a year ago. Now we own the home and property—outright. It is our dream home and 3 times as much space as we currently have. We can live there for about 1/4 the monthly cost we are currently spending, in a culturally rich region with pleasant climate and easy access back to the USA. Our realtor, John, (see Real Estate Oaxaca) said it is the nicest home he has sold. (Does he say that to all his clients?) His partner said it has "soul".
Further, I have found most of my income is coming from sales of my work online. Amy and I now have better studios, a wonderful home and can continue being creative—expanding into new venues as well. All the while sharing our work online worldwide. 

In order to qualify to move all our belongings into Mexico (one time) without hassles and taxes, and also get free medical and dental care, as well as easy access in and out of the country, we needed a special visa. To begin, we found the nearest Mexican consulate. It is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, an hour drive south of Santa Fe. They informed us of the requirements to start the process:
• Fill the Application
• Copy of passport (NOT EXPIRED) and COPIES of all the pages that have any visas or stamps.
• 1 passport size photo
• Past 12 months of bank statements (checking’s/savings)
• Social security administration letter with monthly income if applicable
• Pension income letter if applicable
• Proof of purchased property in Mexico, Escrituras, if applicable
• Typed letter stating reason for wanting to obtain a temporary or permanent visa (MUST BE SIGNED BY YOU & 1 PAGE MINIMUM)
Marriage certificate if applicable (ORIGINAL)            
Once our application was approved, our passports were given a special stamp. We were told that we had 30 days (from our first entry into Mexico) to obtain our official “green” cards. On January 31 we flew to Oaxaca and six days later returned to Santa Fe—new homeowners and with our residente permanente cards.

To end this story, let me say that lately, every evening, Amy and I have been watching a program called Finding Your Roots on the PBS website Thirteen; “Presented and written by Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., this series journeys deep into the ancestry of a group of remarkable individuals and provides new understanding of personal identity and American history.”  I have gained an invaluable perspective on the varied diaspora of immigrants that have come to the “new land” of America since before it's beginning as an independent nation. The people that were not slaves, prisoners or indentured servants, came looking for a new start at a better life. They came to escape dire conditions in their homelands and would face any hardship to pursue a dream of renewal and fruition. Often they arrived with nothing, strangers in a strange land, and it is a miracle to see present day descendants of these people discovering their ancestors for the first time on the program.

Me and John

Now, I know firsthand what it is to be a “stranger in a strange land” and feel kinship with all the immigrants of every era. Without our realtor John who is an American fluent in Spanish and lived and worked in Mexico for 36 years, along with his Mexican partner Luis, Amy and I would have been completely lost. We both agree that the hurdles of bureaucracy in Mexico for us—with limited Spanish language capability,  and all the appointments, waiting, and lacking necessary knowledge to attain our goals would have left us feeling helpless. At one point I admitted that without John, I would have given up in exhaustion and walked away from the deposit I made on the house. 

The day before returning to Santa Fe we had breakfast with a young man who has a moving business. We found him honest, eager and straightforward. He is recommended by John, and soon will be coming to Santa Fe to get our goods to take to our new home in Oaxaca.