My Mérida home, the realization of a dream that began to develop on cold Arctic winter nights more than twenty years ago, is no longer mine. I sold it this week.
It all happened quickly. The house was never put on the market. I mentioned to a tour group from the Mérida English Language Library that I was going to sell the house, and an offer resulted. It has been a hectic month or two getting ready for the closing.
The goodbye resembled the hello. Monday morning before the closing I sat on the floor of the empty house one last time to contemplate and drink in the atmosphere much as I had ten years ago, nearly to the day, when I first took possession of the property.
I remembered the family who lived in the house when I visited with a real estate agent for a first look. There were four generations of Yucatecan women living there together. The great-grandmother was resting in her hammock in what became my bedroom, and we didn't disturb her. I didn't actually enter that room until I owned the house. The youngest addition to that family, a tiny baby, also was asleep in a bassinet in what became my living room. The dog was loose in the back yard and the owners told me he would bite. So I didn't get to walk to the back of the property, either.
I liked the place, and bought it anyway.
I reminisced about the neighbors I met and friends I made in this neighborhood. Soon after I moved into the house, one neighbor began to bring over plates of Yucatecan food for me to sample. Another neighbor seemed a bit abrupt when she introduced herself to me and then told me I'd paid "way too much" for my house, but we have become good friends.
I thought about how I met the closest friend I have ever had because of this house.
I recalled one hot night when I left the doors open as I slept and bats flew into my bedroom, circling near the ceiling beams as I stared in wide-eyed amazement from my bed.
And, as was not unusual in older homes in this neighborhood at the time, there was a flimsy latch on the back door but no lock. In traditional extended families here, homes are rarely left empty. In these family neighborhoods in past times, crime such as burglary was a rare thing.
I remembered the many challenges of maintaining the integrity and feeling of this traditional home while renovating it to modern standards. I was frankly surprised by how well it turned out.
The new owner stopped by over the weekend to look around, excited and motivated, with a measuring tape and paint chip book in hand. I wish him well and hope he appreciates the place as much as I have.
I lived the happiest years so far of my life in that house, and the home I made and the life I led there, the good and the not-so-good, were rich learning experiences.
I will miss the house, but am moved on by the pull of new plans. I'll post more about those soon.
Text and images copyright 2013 by Marc Olson