Finding Mérida, Mexico

I 'discovered' Mérida, Mexico most likely the same way most gringos do, unless they're Francisco de Montejo, through an episode of House Hunters International 8 years ago.

My newlywed wife and I had become regular watchers of HHI and we watched that night in 2009 the episode with Rob and Erich as they toured beautiful colonial homes with prices that seemed amazingly low. Normally, I only paid close attention to the show when they were in Italy. The rest of the episodes I spent grumbling about the fussiness of the buyers. "Do you really need two sinks? Why does your bedroom have to be so big, what are you doing in there besides sleeping?"

But this time I was hooked beyond my usual mocking nature. I was transfixed and felt their experience, right down to the pain they felt looking at a property next door to a house that had escaped their grasp previously. I didn't know it at the time, but that detail would become foreshadowing to my own journey.

I had been thinking about cool places to move to for awhile. To retire young, or if not completely retire, just to let life slow down and find a cheaper place to live. I had been looking at different places in Italy and even Spain, still maintaining romantic notions after repeated viewings of 2003s 'Under the Tuscan Sun.'

When all of a sudden this 'European' city in Mexico that I never heard of, in a part of Mexico I had barely thought of, found me scrambling for my laptop. The Yucatan peninsula, wasn't that where the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs hit? It was. And that was the extent of my Yucatan knowledge.

I still spent time looking at real estate sites in Spain and Italy, but now I found myself lingering on the sites of Mérida a little more often as well. Eventually, I would transition to only looking at Mérida sites.

I would email my wife what seemed like amazing deals on beautifully refurbished houses. Maybe we should just buy this! Site unseen in a land we had never visited. The price was amazing. We could probably afford this! Let's go to the bank today!

It seemed so simple to me. My wife was, wisely, more hesitant. However, I stayed vigilant.

My attraction and flirtation with Mérida would remain a long distance relationship for quite some time.

But if there is one thing my wife likes to do, it's travel. Since getting married in 2009 we had been traveling every year to some new destination at home or abroad. Italy, Egypt, Norway, Hong Kong and Thailand, just to name a few.

We weren't, and still aren't, particularly wealthy, but my wife focused all of her financial interest into travel. New car? Not interested. Jewelry and clothing? No thanks. A large new house? Nah. Traveling was all she wanted to do. She would come home from work and sit with her laptop looking for the cheapest flights to different destinations. She would figure in various routes and layovers trying to squeeze out the best price. And when she found it, she'd book it and tell me what days to ask off and away we went.

When she wasn't doing that, she was on YouTube watching airplanes take off and land. She could rattle off the name of every type of plane parked at the gates as we strolled through an airport. Traveling is in her blood.

Somehow, Mérida still hadn't been checked on our list of places to go. But my constant talking about it, sending her listings of properties, searching the TV for any new episodes of HHI in Mérida would change that. So, in May of 2013, on my 35th birthday, she surprised me with tickets to Mérida. We wouldn't be going until February 2014 as a winter getaway. Nine months away, but I was excited.

It was an experience that would settle my mind on the sweaty city of the Yucatan. It would become my fixation to find and fix a house there. Hence the name of this blog, 'The Mérida Fix.' It describes my addiction to the city as well as my hope to restore a colonial home there.

I am not likely going to provide you with sage advice and wisdom. There are infinitely better blogs on Mérida and the Yucatan for that and I still have my training wheels on. I have made mistakes and will make many more, unfortunately.

But after years of struggles and frustration, of highs and lows, my passion is still here and this is simply an outlet, a place for me to scream into the void.

I'll relive some of my Mérida experiences as well as continue to document my current ones, for better and for worse.

For now, this is a conversation with myself, but I will endeavor not to get too mired in monotonous self-reflection (this is the third start to this blog-post, for example) in the off-chance that a crowd forms.