A blog about one woman's journey to Merida

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Lemonade and the Art of Living Simply

Due to circumstances beyond my control,  I've had to put a hold on any changes I planned on making to "mi nido en Merida" for the time being.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing.

It's very easy to get caught up in the excitement of having a new place to decorate and renovate. I've seen it many times with new buyers and I always recommend living in  place for a while before making any changes.  I should listen to my own advice.

I have told myself that I want to simplify my life once I move to Merida.  After all, isn't that one of the reasons expats move to Mexico? To shed all the bad habits we've acquired over the years? We think we need a new kitchen or a pool or the latest electronic. We don't need those things.  We want them.

There was a family living in the house up until a month before I purchased it. It seemed to work well for them. The plumbing works. The electrical works, even though there are leaf cutters who have made a trail through the lines,  and the roof doesn't leak.

The paint is peeling, yes, but if I were to paint now, won't the house need to be repainted before I move next year?  The house will be closed up for a while and humidity will have it's way no matter how much I'd like it not to.

The courtyard can be tended to.  That's not an outrageous expense. Trees need to be looked after and goodness know I'll need shade.

I really don't need much and the more I think about, the idea of a hammock,  a small fridge and some fans sounds like a good way to start my new journey.

The prospect of being involved in the changes and repairs to the house is rather comforting.  Sometimes we value things more when we're part of the process.

I think I'll make lemonade out of the bushel of lemons I have on hand.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Cool as a Cucumber

I love feeding friends and they're always welcome in my kitchen...as long as it's not hot. My mother was the same way. Fix yourself a cocktail, find a comfortable place to relax and enjoy yourself.

This is another simple recipe that will keep you and your guests cool.

If you want to heat things up, talk about religion or politics.

Cucumber Dill Dip

8 ounces of softened cream cheese
1 cup of mayonnaise
2 medium cucumbers peeled and seeded, chopped
2 tablespoons of sliced green onions
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of snipped dill or 1/2 teaspoon of dried dill weed
1/2 teaspoon of hot sauce

Serve with any veggies you like. I love it with carrots, jicama and raw scallions.

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Cool Treat for the Dog Days of Summer

I spent 25 years in the hospitality industry and if there's one thing I learned is that sometimes less is more. Good company and simple food are really the best combination.  My mother was a master at making people feel welcome and at home.

This is the perfect recipe for those days when you're entertaining and the thought of turning on a burner is the last thing you want to do.

Ginger and Lime Dip
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1/2 cup of sour cream
2 teaspoons of grated lime zest
1 tablespoon on lime juice
1 tablespoon of honey
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger

Stir all ingredients together and serve with fresh fruit.

Stay cool!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Santa Clara's Recipes

My mother Claire,  passed away a year ago. She was born on November 1st...All Saints Day. We called her Saint Claire.

I've been surprised that I haven't felt connected to her the way I thought I would after she passed. After all, we were the best of friends. Actually, the connection was other worldly at times. We would have similar dreams on the same night and immediately call one another the morning after to share our thoughts. So many shared experiences...

Well, she sent me a little nudge today from beyond. I found a tiny photo album and on the cover it says "Appetizers,  Snacks,  Hors d". Inside were all the recipes we enjoyed at her table.

So, in honor of Saint Claire, I'm going to share some of her recipes this month.

8 ounces of cream cheese
12 ounces of pineapple preserves
12 ounces of apple jelly
5 ounces of horseradish
1/2 small can of Coleman's mustard
Ground pepper.

Mix all the ingredients except the cream cream together.  Pour over the block of cream cheese and serve with crackers.

Feel free to substitute the ingredients if you can't find them. She would have done the same. Just make sure you've got the sweet and hot vibe going.  The cream cheese balances it all.

A little sweet, a little spicy... just like Claire.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Real Estate Agents in Merida ... Good vs Evil

Realtors have a bad reputation. I know that all too well.

That said, I consider myself an ethical person,  I think I do my job very well and plan on working as a Realtor when I move to Merida.

Unfortunately, I've heard about some less than stellar agents working there and wondered how there can be such a disproportionate amount of bad seeds in one industry. Maybe is just a case of people griping more often than complimenting.

When I started my search for a home,  I read everything I could find about the various agencies and agents working in the area and made my decision based on correspondence I received and the timeliness of the agents' responses.  I realize that things happen in Mexico at their own pace and so I appreciate it all the more when someone gets back to me in a timely manner.

I was looking for an agent who would make suggestions rather than expecting me to simply supply them with a list of homes I found on the Internet.  After all, they know the market much better than I. In the long run it paid off. My broker worked hard to find the right house for me. There were a few kinks in the beginning (like showing me homes that were twice my budget) but we were able to work things out in the end.

I've learned a lot from my mistakes and try to learn from other people's too... so here's your chance.  I'd appreciate you sharing your good and bad moments while house hunting in Merida.  It will help me do my job better.

It's open season..have fun with this, but no names please.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Training for Merida

When you're looking for a home in Merida during the winter months, it's easy to get a bit concerned about whether or not you will be able to deal with the heat when you finally make Merida home. The horror stories about the heat sound pretty intimidating.

I've read blogs written by expats offering advice on dealing with the heat (dress comfortably and wear clothing that will wick the sweat from your body)...make sure your prospective home has good air flow (if you don't have a budget to open up interior and exterior spaces this is VERY important)...consider the direction your new home faces are you an inside or outside person).  All great things to keep in mind.

After all is considered,  the reality still remains that you're going to have to face the inferno eventually.

When I was in Merida in early May there were a few days where the temperature reached 100○ and I thought I'd melt while working around the house with only one floor fan. We were still having some unseasonably cold nights in New York...40º nights... and I wasn't prepared physically or mentally for the heat in Merida.

They say you should never go grocery shopping when you're hungry . I've decided to have seven fans installed in a 1,100 square foot home. Can't hurt.

Well it's July now, and a few weeks ago it was hovering around 90º or more. I have no air conditioning in my house or in my car and the AC at work was not working well.  The ceiling fan at home died last summer and I haven't had a chance to go out and buy an AC unit or fan. Amazingly,  it's not that bad. My good ol' house is staying cool enough, the dogs aren't panting like mad and I'm starting to think that the Merida heat isn't so scary after all.

August might have me singing a different tune but for now I feel like I'm in training and might just be ready to face the monster when I finally make the move.

Now mosquitoes. ..that's a different story.