When I purchased a house in Mexico, my “home” was still in Minnesota. With that house sold, I had to figure out how to get from House to Home here in Chapala.
Jack and I debated long and hard about how much to ship from the US. It was far too expensive to “send it all,” our (fully furnished) Chapala house was a totally different style, and it was the perfect opportunity to get rid of all the extra “stuff” we were carrying with us.
So, what made the cut?
In the Kitchen…
These plain, white dishes have been in our kitchen for years, and the flatware has traveled with us since our wedding 30 years ago.
As much as I love the colorful Talavera dishes and pottery of Mexico, I prefer plain and simple at the table.
I purchased this set of stainless steel pots and pans after I graduated university. They are far from gourmet cookware. They are long past their “shiny and bright” days, but I love them all the same.
I know exactly how fast they get hot. I know which recipe fits in which pan. I can learn to cook with different pans, but why?
When it comes to chairs? What can I say? I sat in dozens and dozens of chairs to find one that fit. When this was finally delivered, I did a happy dance and plopped in my chair with a huge grin on my face. (And for the record, Jack’s favorite chair also made the trip.)
Books are a tough call for an international move, but I held onto a few of my favorites. When I’m feeling out of sorts, this story by Mitch Albom reminds me not to sweat the small stuff. (And it’s almost all small stuff!)
In the Studio
My sewing machines are more than just machines. They’re old friends that have served me well for over 20 years. I’m sure the new machines wonderful, but I can pretty much use these in my sleep. I’m in no hurry to buy a machine that makes me think too hard. (Hmmm… I’m starting to sound like my mother!)
Shipping my worktable was a bit of a splurge. Buy hey… why not? It provides tons of storage in a very small footprint and it’s the perfect height for most of my studio work.
From House to Home
It was tempting to sell everything and start from scratch in Mexico, but I’m glad we didn’t. The things we chose to bring along connect us to our past. They are a little part of who we are – a touchstone to keep us steady when almost everything around us has changed. I know it’s just “stuff.” But it’s our stuff, and it goes a long way as we make the transition from house to home.
I enjoyed reading about your move and look forward to seeing the progress of making your new house a home. And, I hope to make it down there again to Chapala and see your new abode!
Thanks, Emma. I love Chapala and our new home. I’m just anxious to be here full time instead of running back and forth.
Laura Murray says
Looks like you are on the home stretch for completing the move to Chapala. Thanks for sharing your adventure!
Yes. Finally! Heading to MSP tomorrow. I hope we can catch up this week before you take off for the next set of shows. 🙂
Hi Shelly, I was so happy to see you in my in box tonight. Glad to hear it is all working out just as it is meant to be.
You sound peaceful and happy.
Big Hugs and enjoy your new adventures. I know we will meet again.
Gracias, Janine. A big hug back to you too!
Rebecca Muir MacKellar says
Hi Shelly, So good to hear all that you are doing. It must have been very hard to decide what to take and leave. From the pics we have seen, your new home is lovely. I will look forward to a class next year!
Thanks, Rebecca. It’s always lovely to hear from you. All of the “deciding” is hard in the beginning. Near the end, you get a bit cynical. As in Get This Stuff Outta Here! At any rate, I’m glad it’s done. Time for the next chapter in our lives!
J Michelle Watts says
It is so nice reading about your new life adventure in Mexico. Your creative and inspiring words are missed and I look forward to seeing what you will be doing after you are settled.
Wishing you all the best.
Thanks, Michelle. I’ve missed (and not missed) the regular writing. I’m glad that I gave myself permission to take a break. I’m good at powering through, and not so good at cutting myself some slack. So I’ll count this a win in the “being nice to myself” category. 🙂
Susan Pagano says
I was talking about you yesterday, playing with my paint sticks and wondering how your move was going! I was happy to see your email this morning! Good luck with everything, I’m looking forward to hearing about your new adventures and classes too.
All the best,
Thanks, Susan. I knew when I got a message that started with “Hello… are you still out there???” that it was time to say hello. I haven’t totally dropped off the face of the earth, but I’ll be honest and say I’m looking for a much quieter 2019.
Barbara Williams says
I feel your pain with the big move. This year we moved one mile and it is just as bad as moving far! I have a winter place in the southwest also . I am constantly asking myself which house is that item in or did I give it away? Should I buy a new one? Half of my paintstiks were let in the winter home . 😒 Fortunately the purple one was here so I survived! Hope you get back to the new home soon so that you can get truly settled in.
Well, as long as you have a purple Paintstik, you’re good! Right?
Elizabeth A. Franck says
Shelly: So glad you are finally getting settled in your new home. I can relate to what you spoke about the process.
After almost a year of being supportive to our mother on a daily basis – day and night – even though most of it was by phone, at 100, she joined our Dad in Heaven. She was fortunate to stay in her home until 98.5 years. Her mind was clear, except for short term memory loss until the end. Thank God , she flew with the angels and left her weary body behind.
In addition, my grandson, Michael Verbic graduated from De Paul University , Lincoln Park, IL as a Performance Major – Classical Trumpet. Michael and Allison are engaged and a 2019 summer wedding is being planned. They will be living in the Lincoln Park for a couple of years
My granddaughter, Grace Elizabeth Verbic graduated from DeKalb H.S., DeKalb, HS, IL. She is a first soprano starting in Classical Voice – Performance at De Paul University. In fact, today is her first day on campus.
NOW, I have started the process of reducing my possessions, in earnest! It is a daunting task! My carrot is knowing that my motto “life is a Beach” – is at the other end. While I won’t be living on a beach, the ability to walk on a beach all year – will be within walking distance or a short ride away – depending where I find my new home. It will be somewhere between Port Richey and the Dunedin area on the Gulf side of Florida – God willing.
As I go through my possessions, I often think why did I keep this….. At other times, I wish I could “wave a magic wand” and make it all disappear!
I am displaying images of a beach as well as displays that state “Life is Better on a Beach” to keep me going….. I am still creating – which for me includes research, graphing, coloring, deigning, searching and all the stages in making an art or modern quilt…..
Shelly, YOU have done the work and earned the rewards…..
I still have a year of work ahead of me…. punctuated with trips to Florida. The first for a week starting on Sept. 21st to explore living options, with my sister, Debbie, in from Oahu, HA to support me. Then on to Port RIchey, to pack up items for shipping to family or loading into a cargo van. I will drive back to Illinois with family treasures for myself plus my daughter and her family.
My plan is that the Winter of 2018 is the last Winter I will spend in Illinois. Next Winter, you can find me walking on beaches as I explore Florida.
Shelly, I sure wish I was on the back side of the move to a NEW home, too. Best wishes for every joy in your Chapala home. Elizabeth
Thank you, Elizabeth. It really does feel good to be on the “back side” of our move. The hardest parts are done. Best wishes for your own transition to Florida. It’s a long road but totally worth the pain!
Sheila Barnes says
I totally understand the thing with the pots and pans. Over 40 years on, I still have the inexpensive set my parents gave as a wedding gift, augmented by a heavier set we purchased ourselves later. I use every pan in both sets just as you say. I keep telling myself I could surely get rid of that cheaper set, but as long as I have room and keep cooking, there are those familiar and specific ways I use them. As you say, why should I have to adjust and learn which of that heavier set could substitute? Yup, this and those other items you chose to move rather than replace – so important to have when everything else is new.
Ah good. I have company in the “I love my old pots and pans club!” I was certain it wasn’t just me! 😉
Karin Schubert says
I can totally relate, and have enjoyed news of your adventures. I had a winter home in Todos Santos, Baja California Sur for 15 years. And while I kept my Canadian home, I purchased duplicates of my plain white dishes, augmented with colourful Mexican ceramics, and pots and pans. I even have the same cutlery pattern. And another Pfaff 1222E sewing machine, because it is an old friend. I brought a couple of comfy chairs from home as well. Because these familiar things can make a transition like this easier. I also took Spanish at a university because some familiarity with the language gives you a whole other comfort level as an expat, and the ability to more easily venture past the local gringo community. I am glad you took a break to get properly settled. Have been enjoying working with my own stencils and paint stiks on wearable art with inspiration from your books.
Thanks Karin. It’s lovely to hear from another expat. With a name like Todos Santos, I have to wonder how many statues there are in your community!
My Spanish is getting better. I studied for two years about 25 years ago, and I’ll start formal lessons once I’m done with all my travels. In the mean time, the local folks patiently correct my blunders and help me figure out how to ask for things. The Mexican people are delightful and incredibly helpful.
Hello Shelly, I am a fellow Minnesotan and I am very familiar with Chapala and Ajijic. I have wanted to move there too, and the ex pat community is so terrific that it would make it easy. I am A painter as well as a fabric artist and I just wonder how I would do in Mexico. Are you planning to have a customer base there? I know you have a large following online, but would you be able to make a living there? These are the questions I had to ask myself in making such a mauve. I speak Spanish fluently and love Mexico dearly but I don’t know if I can make a living there. Do you have advice? Hugs and congrats from Marie
Hi Marie. I wish I had good answers to your questions. I don’t rely on selling my artwork to make a living. My teaching income is a nice supplement to our other sources of income. I’m blessed to have the option to live where I choose. The lower cost of living in Chapala makes it a lot easier. The cost to run our home in Chapala is less than half of the same costs in Minnesota. And a huge bonus is that my health insurance costs drop dramatically. (Yippee!)