Saturday, March 10, 2012

My new neighbourhood

Wow, is all I can say, I love my neighbourhood. My neighbours must have been brought here by God (weren’t we all brought here by God) I could not have asked for better neighbours, of course I knew most of them before I moved in already which was a deciding factor when I decided to move in. This is as Mexican as it gets, it is rural Mexican Puebla living, and I love it. My neighbourhood is very quirky, but I like that, I do quirky quite well. However as nice as mu neighbours are they are very nosey, even nosier than me if you can imagine that, so nosy that I can’t make a move without the whole hood knowing about it. Before I moved in a guy was building a fence in the my back yard and I came over here to ask him to leave me a gate in the back so that I could being in some dirt and bricks for my patio and gardens and what not. He was a step ahead of me and had already left me a gate; he said that way I could have my company leave from the back because if my company leaves from the front yard the nosy ladies on my street will be very busy keeping track of the coming and goings from my house. My backyard faces the road and then the jungle beyond that, my neighbours can’t see me coming and going if I go through the back. I thought it was pretty funny that he would think of this and wondered what kind of comings and goings he thinks I have going on here. I use my back gate a lot...a lot.
Every time I leave my house I am asked “where are you going?” When I answer “to the store” I am asked what I need from the store. I have however finally figured this out, this is just in case they have what I need, yup, if I say I need potatoes, either they have potatoes or they just direct me to the guy that sells potatoes (he lives on my street too) One day I needed some tape to wrap a gift and my neighbour lady asked me how much I needed, and I said just a little bit, she goes into her house and comes back with a strip of tape stuck to her finger and asks if this is enough, I say yes and go home and stick the tape to my table (it was no where near enough) and I leave through my back gate and sneak to the store to buy tape. I get to the store and they don’t have tape, (go figure) I am asked what I need it for, I say to wrap a gift, I am sent to a ladies house (on my street) that wraps gifts for a very small fee, but now I have to sneak in so that the lady that gave me the tape doesn’t see me, I come back in the evening when it’s dark and for 6 pesos she wraps my little gift and puts a ribbon and a bow on it and does an amazing job of wrapping it...seriously, you could not see a single raw edge of wrapping paper, it was beautiful and she only used about as much tape as my neighbour had given me. It was a work of art.  I guess I don’t need to buy tape...ever.

There is a lady at the end of my street that cooks food, kind of a street side kitchen type place, good food, no menu, she just tells you what she made that day and you decide if you want that or not...well, sort of you decide, try and get away from there without buying something is almost impossible, but then getting me to buy food isn’t really that tricky at all. She has even shown up at my house and said “I made tamales today, how many would you like?” try and say no to that. Today she sent her daughter over to remind me it was Monday and on Mondays she always makes Birria and when was I going to come and get mine. If I want to eat somewhere else I have to sneak by her house, it can get tricky. Here’s the funny part, then she tells everyone every time that I buy something from her. Oh yes, everyone knows what I am eating, and when I eat and how much. Yesterday she told me that a friend of mine that lives on the beach bought a whole flan from her, seriously, who buys a whole flan....someone that had no choice, that’s who. She asks me “ did you go to her house and have flan, because she has lots, she bought a whole flan” I am staying away from her for a few days until I can be sure the flan is gone, right now I have pozole in the fridge, along with birria, and half a chicken, I do not need flan. Good thing I am feeding the homeless man everyday too. Between the 2 of us we can still hardly keep up.
I don’t even find all this nosiness annoying (not too much anyway) I find it rather amusing. One day I was trying to avoid a particular neighbour because I wasn’t in the mood to try and explain to her (in my Spanglish) where I was going and why, I decided that instead of walking past her front yard I would walk down the back alley, well wouldn’t you know I got caught there, she was in the back hanging up laundry, and not only did she ask where I was going, she asked where I was coming from, when I said my house , she said “why are you coming this way through the alley, it’s way shorter if you come on the street in front”. How do you say “busted“in Espanol. It’s at these times that I pretend I can’t understanding anything and mumble some jibberish and carry on. I do know that that little trick will run out on me at some point but for now I can still pull it off quite well. I am in fact the Queen of “Jibberish.
I can even buy stuff at the little tiendas now, tiendas are little convenience stores that are usually just the front part of someone’s house, there are small, usually about 4 feet deep but they have almost everything in there, they have stuff stashed and crammed in all the 4 corners and usually a floor to ceiling shelf, the tricky thing is you can’t enter the store, you stand at the counter and tell the storekeeper what you want, this meant that I used to have to do some home work first before going there. I used to be intimidated by these stores, plus I thought they didn’t have much stuff anyway and wouldn’t have what I needed and it didn’t help that I had a few bad experiences when a very annoyed and bored teenager had been made to mind the store and she didn’t find my cute Spanglish cute at all and was more interested in her big pink sucker on a stick and her cell phone than participating in my game of charades. So I gave up going to these places but since moving into my hood I have revisited them and love them now, my Spanglish has improved and I have discovered that they have almost everything in there, they are run by my neighbours and they like it when I come and shop at their store, they want to know what I need and will bend over backwards and love playing charades with me if my Spanglish fails me, they think it’s great fun. If they don’t have what I need they will direct me to someone else or promise me they will have it tomorrow and almost always they do. Or they will tell me “you don’t need that, you need this” and will sell me something else, I’m so easy, I go there because I need an onion and by the time there are done with me I walk away with a potato, I’m halfway home until I realize that a potato is not a substitute for an onion, how did I agree to this?
Don’t be misunderstanding this here writing, I love my neighbours, I look at this nosiness just as concerns for my well being. Why just the other day I was in my bedroom and I sneezed and I heard my neighbour say “bless you Maria”, I couldn’t help but laugh as I say “thank-you”, this is now much no privacy there is, yes brick is pretty dense but our doors and windows are always open during the day and really, brick is not quite as dense as I thought it would be. We can hear each other sneeze but we can’t pick up each other’s internet signal.

The evenings are just as magical as they were on the beach, I have feather light curtains blowing in my windows, my bed has vintage cotton sheets on them, I can still hear the ocean, the roosters are still crowing, my neighbour lady very often has a pot of something on a crackling fire in her back yard, there are little kids playing in the yard across the street from me, there are a few houses that have Mexican music playing early in the evening every once in awhile, the crickets, oh my the crickets, I have the jungle behind me and it is full of crickets, they can almost drown out the roosters here, there are a few mother hens with baby chicks that come picking up and scrapes they can find in my yard. I love that when I am making food in my kitchen I can just throw scrapes out the window and either the birds, or the hens, or the cats will come and pick it up immediately it seems, it’s great, no need for a compost pile, just huck it out the window. And of course there is always a whistling cowboy somewhere. I don’t know if I will ever get tired of the sounds of a Mexican evening in a small pueblo like this, it’s pretty sweet. I am blessed.

I'll leave you with some more nopale pictures today. 

oh Mickey what big ears you?

1 comment:

Contessa said...

Great post, really makes one understand living in such a place. I really like the sneaking out the back gate concept:)