I left my heart in San Miguel

If home is where the heart is, then I have two homes. One of which I’ve never lived in. But it was my mom’s home for 25 years. And wherever my mom lived, my heart was there with her. The last time I was in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, was with my brother and sister to say goodbye to our mom forever and, as I discovered later, to leave my heart there with her.

A full year after my mom’s death, my mind wanders back to San Miguel. The pull is strong, but not nearly as strong as Italy, and it’s for different reasons. Italy is our home. We chose to live here. Ever since the lure of Italy wrapped itself around my husband and me, we’ve never doubted that we did the right thing by moving here.

Still, San Miguel calls to me through my mom. I know I could never live there, beautiful as it is. It’s too noisy, too congested, and too full of wealthy Americans who have replaced the charming, small houses with mansions and large hotels that don’t fit in with the local ambience. Luckily, one can still find the untouched streets that are the heart and soul of San Miguel.

When my mind wanders back, I feel the cobblestoned streets under my feet, I smell the cooking tortillas through open windows, I sweat under the intense sun and heat and stop to catch my breath as I walk up the steep hills at 7,000 feet. I hear babies crying, Spanish, endure the endless stream of pick-up trucks, I choke on the exhaust. The names of streets roll off my tongue: Tenerias, Pila Seca, Umaran, Zacateros, Calle de Aldama, Sollano. I sit in the Jardin and gaze at La Parroquia, or watch one of the parades that seem to dance through the historic center every day.

Then I walk away from the congested center and discover the quiet San Miguel with its small gems of painted doors surrounded by climbing bougainvillea.

I sit on the terrace of my room at the colorful B&B that’s owned by my mom’s best friend and remember how this “second family” of my mom’s became mine as well.

And amidst the pick-up trucks and taxis are the burros that still populate the streets.

All of these memories tumble through my mind, pulling me back to San Miguel. But the dearest memory I hold is sitting with my mom in the cool shade of her patio, watching her beautiful hands as she recounts stories of her beloved San Miguel–the place I left my heart.

7 responses to “I left my heart in San Miguel

  1. Pingback: I left my heart in San Miguel | Mexico Discovery

  2. Nina, home this morning and just read this. I have been missing my mother and see many things through her eyes. “Home” with her is just that now.


    Beautiful photos and thoughts

  3. This is a beautiful post Nina. I’m going to San Miguel for two weeks in August. Thank you.

    • San Miguel is a very special place. So glad you liked the post. I highly recommend the Mansion del Bosque if you don’t already have a place to stay. http://www.mansiondelbosque.com/

      Ruth is a character and her rooms are all lovely. Great location! Enjoy your trip.

      • Nina, you may not recognize me here (internet and all), but we do know one another. I was Pavel’s student at UC Santa Cruz in psychology/art and visited you and painted with Pavel. In fact I have ordered and read your books (LOVED them).
        My author website has a contact form, if you’d like to do that… it’s http://niyasplace.com.

        Love your blog. This post and the walk with the bee are my favorites so far. ; )

  4. Pingback: Capture the Colour | A Writer in Umbria

Thoughts? Reflections?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s