Have you ever done something shall we say, SPUR OF THE MOMENT? You know what I mean.. stop for an ice cream cone, throw stuff in the car for a weekend camping trip, buy a house in a foreign country? That’s just what my husband and I did (no, we are not campers)… we bought an oceanfront, beachside home on an island in Mexico… on a whim! We had never wanted a second home anywhere, we were both clear on that… the maintenance, the worry, the decisions of it all were not for us. And then, in a blink of our glistening eyes, as they reflected the jewel tones bouncing off of the caribbean that we stood beside, my husband said “we’ll take it." Here is our life changing, rewarding and yes, challenging story.
We had been vacationing on the island of Isla Mujeres for about eight years, thanks to my sister-in-law, who finally convinced us that this really was paradise. We were on the island for one of our usual visits, where we began by staying at the convenient and beautifully situated condos of Nautibeach on Playa Norte. As our trips continued, we began to seek something off the beaten path, maybe with a little more Mexican flare. We found it a 1/2 mile south of El Centro… El Milagro… the miracle. And it truly was for us. Staying at El Milagro was and still is, like staying in a huge, homey hacienda. Totally updated with a sense of island style and the dramatic influences of Mexico, El Milagro’s renovation was carefully supervised under the watchful eye and artistic vision of Eric, the owner. Inga, who you have met several times on this blog, was always influential in expressing her personal style at El Milagro and is still seeing to it that every guest has an enchanting experience.
But this visit was different for us. We had secretly planned a vow renewal ceremony celebrating and renewing our wedding vows of 36 years before. The beautiful Playa Norte beach was confirmed for our sunset ceremony. Florist, musician, beachfront venue, hair stylist, makeup artist and Christian minister were all in place. These plans, a secret to all, even our two grown sons. I must confess that I told my best friend, but I learned long ago of the trust that lies within. My husband and I knew this vow renewal ceremony was meant for our eyes and ears only... it was about us, not a public display of an intimate moment or an effort to gather others to behold our great love. And the secret was part of the magic... the months of plans, the emails to the florist and the minister. A chance to express ourselves privately in front of only a few strangers, who happened to be strolling the shore at precisely sunset. The sax began to play and we strolled down a torch lit path scattered with saffron rose petals, toward the awaiting minister. We had created our script for her, which included several favorite bible verses about marriage and commitment. I guess we stood truly amazed at what was happening between us, as tears filled both of our eyes. Renewal vows exchanged, a diamond eternity band in place… it WAS magic in a magical land. A candlelit, oceanfront dinner for two followed, as we phoned our grown sons about our ceremony. Shocked at our secrecy, yet delighted at our personal way of expressing ourselves, they both expressed sheer joy of our intimate adventure.
The next morning, shall we say SPUR OF THE MOMENT, we met with a local real estate agent, “just to look” at a few of the island properties. Learn a little... educate ourselves. We bought the second casa we saw!!! The journey had begun... buying and renovating a home in a foreign country!! Wow!! Now to educate ourselves. Many Americans are still confused about the laws in Mexico and how they apply to
foreign owners. Actually, Mexican laws on this subject changed about ten years ago, allowing foreigners to purchase beachfront property and retain that property under ownership for a period of one hundred and ninety-eight years. At that point, the property must be sold. Frankly, fine with us. Our children, grandchildren and even their grandchildren will enjoy this moment in paradise that, on a whim, we made happen.
The months that followed, from navigating the laws of purchase in Mexico with the help of our real estate agent, local attorney and accountant to comprehending the details of remodeling in a foreign country, were quite challenging and enlightening. Did the words “what have we done” ever cross our lips... of course!! Do they cross our lips now? Never. In the next several posts, I will take you through this rewarding journey with blow by blow pics of our decisions and challenges. Please stay tuned!! -E