Our house is magical; it drew us into itself. All the way from New Mexico USA to Oaxaca, Mexico, near Central America.
We have met neighbors who know the history of this place and of the couple who built it. Everyone in these parts knows it as a landmark. Standing around a bend, on a hillside—unlike every other house for miles.
A Mexican architect designed it and his wife financed construction. Alfredo Figueroa was married to a German agronomist. There are stories about him. It seems he was a tall man with a long beard and something of a mystic. Our neighbor, who is a talented artist and craftsman, knew Alfredo and said that he made this house as if designing a sacred cathedral. And this is the way we feel living in it.
Our art work now adorns the walls. The neighbor Mayolo, has designed a magnificent wrought iron railing for our stairs rising from the front entry to the flight above. He built us curved curtain rods to go above the vaulted windows in our bedroom. We can see Mayolo’s house down below the hill—convenient because he can do so many artistic tasks for us, and knows how to help us with our new culture. The problem is he only speaks Spanish; like almost everyone.
We live among poor people. Dwellings are very humble compared to ours. Mexico reminds me of other developing countries I have lived in, like Egypt or India. Infrastructure is problematic, and being surrounded by manicured beauty is an unaffordable luxury. Amy commented that not many of our friends would like the conditions apparent in our village—i.e dusty roads, hardscrabble little dwellings that are hastily built . . . lack of sophistication.
I like that we often hear singing from the neighborhood evangelical church nearby. There are birds in the trees at our home that make remarkable songs . . . the best I have ever heard. Days are hot but nights are sublime. People are friendly and many have gone out of their way to insure our well being. Our magnificent cactus is beginning to bloom and attracting hummingbirds. We have bought a sturdy comfortable car—a Honda CR-V four-door with plenty of space.
There is a large paper wasp nest outside our bedroom window. It is at eye level hanging from an eve. To me, a thing of beauty—and I respect wasps because they help control insect pests.
The house is built of adobe blocks. Adobe consists of earth and straw. It is excellent at insulation and moderating temperatures. That is why it is commonly used in countries that are typically dry. We knew beforehand that this home has no heating or cooling systems. It is self modulating. We installed a ceiling fan in the bedroom and it is perfect.