Wednesday, November 26, 2014

II. La Visión

On New Years Day we’re leaving for our traditional winter idyl in Mexico. The last ten days of that six-week trip we’re moving inland to seriously scout out housing in Ajijic—the place we plan to move next spring. Last summer, on our last—and also first—trip to that village, we’d thought about exactly where in town we’d like to settle. 

Gazebo in the main plaza
Walkability—safe, enjoyable and easy access, by foot, to resources we value—has long been a prerequisite for where we choose to live. We like to be able to amble to the action.

The desired features within strolling distance of our new home in Ajijic include the main plaza with its gazebo, gardens, multitude of shops and stalls, a 400-year-old church, and simpatico places to eat and drink; the lakeside park and boardwalk (malecon); and the flower gardens and resources at ex-pat oriented Lake Chapala Society. This gives us a 50 square block area, centered on the plaza. It does not include any gated community.

Four blocks from the plaza to the lake at the end of this calle
When we got back to Edmonds from visiting Ajijic last summer, we immediately began looking at online resources for finding a rental casita. We soon sniffed out a half dozen local agencies. We searched within a monthly price range about one-third less than we are paying now. When we found an affordable listing within our walkability boundary, we called our spouse to come excitedly look over our shoulder at its description and, especially, its pictures. 

We decided we wanted a two bedroom (one for the visitors we look forward to hosting), furnished casita. It should have at least one and a half baths, a well-appointed kitchen, the usual dining and living areas, a private courtyard, and ideally a rooftop patio, or mirador. Less tangible features include plenty of light, and attractive traditional furnishings and fittings. It should have decorations and paint we can easily live with for at least the year we are giving ourselves to see if we want to make the move more permanent.

Malecon, or lakefront, at the end of the street above
These online searches have been great escapism, particularly on cold, wet and cloudy days here in the Pacific Northwest. They’re bringing us closer to the reality of our future life in sunny, friendly Mexico, especially when we go on Google Street View and click ourselves up and down the calles around a possible home.

In addition, this process helps us more clearly define our desires, and weigh them against what is available. When we find a place online that makes the cut, I take screen shots of its location, description, and pictures, figuring that, once down there, we can show these to agents so they will understand what we are looking for. 
Screen shot of casita #2

Recently, though, we found a listing for a little casita that incorporates so much of what we want, and is available when we want it, that my get-it-done wife emailed the agent and told him we’d like to look at it when we visit Ajijic in February. Eduardo is expecting us. We’re stoked...

But--just a minute ago we found another casita we maybe love even more--oh, the riches!

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