OK, this is old news for those of you who are connected with us on social media, but in finally catching up on the blog, let’s make it official. Glenn finished a two-year stint in Austin in 2017. By the end of August we were back in Mexico as officially retired people, and by October we were officially pensioners. Pensionados, or as they say in Mexico, Jubilados. Yes, we are quite jubilant!
We originally moved back to Jalisco to enjoy the climate and our friends, and to an extent we did both. But there is a reason someone came up with the saying “You can’t go home again.” Actually, that someone was Thomas Wolfe who wrote the book. Over the years the phrase has come to be associated with the larger concept of change. And Lake Chapala has changed a lot. Shortly after we returned some close friends moved back to the States and our favorite restaurant/bar closed down. Also, we were vegan which presented a whole new set of problems. But we found places to eat and lots of new friends, and after a couple of false starts we ended up in a nice place with a great view.
And yet the area seemed different. The gringo presence was growing larger by the day, it seemed, and the ‘off-season’ when the snowbirds all went back to Canada for the summer didn’t materialize. The American and Canadian population is now somewhere between 10-20,000 and stays high year-round. This has resulted in constant traffic jams and and escalating rents. In the end, not only did our favorite Spanish teacher move back to Guadalajara but our landlord scheduled renovation after which our studio apartment would rent for almost $800US per month. Ajijic is trying to compete with San Miguel de Allende for the highest expat cost-of-living in Mexico. So it’s just not the same for us as it was in 2015.
Earlier in 2019 we traveled with a friend to Guanajuato, Aguascalientes and Zacatecas, and in late February we also visited Morelia. There are pros and cons for each, but we liked Zacatecas the best. We are now living here, a four-hour ride away from Lake Chapala. This city and neighboring Guadalupe together have a population of around 300,000. The area is surrounded by Joshua trees and high desert. The altitude is over 8,000 feet. Drier, cooler, and much cheaper. Our very modern studio apartment is clocking in at just over $200US per month, which leaves a lot more room in our budget for savings and/or travel. One other major factor is that English speakers are quite rare here. That was a conscious decision on our part. It was becoming obvious that we could not continue to live in an area that prided itself for not needing to know Spanish if, in fact, we wanted to improve our Spanish!
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