Finding THE Place

John and Judy Snyder's Retirement in Mexico


Where to Begin

The Exploration Trip

Finding THE Place

Steps Toward Making it Happen

Tying Things Up NOB

The Actual Move

Building the House

A Photo Tour of the Building Project

Here in Mexico We Enjoy...

Heads Up



During our research period, Aguascalientes had been one of the top cities on our list, but neither of us remembers why we had crossed it off the list before we began the trip.  Leaving Guadalajara, if we took a slightly different route home to Kansas City we could go through Aguascalientes and we decided we might as well see another Mexican city.  John and I can still remember the moment as we entered the city when we looked at each other and said, “We could live here!” 



We were driving a one-ton Chevy van (equipped with queen-size bed in the back).  It was great for the road and sleeping, (even emergency potty stops, using our porta-potty), but it was a bear to maneuver and park in the narrow streets in the center of any Mexican city.  It was therefore our custom on the trip to drive directly to the center of the city, find some place to park and tour the downtown area, the tourist highlights, market, etc., on foot.  The afternoon we arrived in Aguascalientes, we followed our routine.


After seeing the sights, including the beautiful governor's palace, we discovered that our parking place was near the Hotel Regis.  How fortunate, we thought.  We could get a room and just leave the van parked so near.  We were disappointed, however, as we entered the beautiful old building that it no longer was a hotel, but was a historic building. We stepped out in the street to try to decide what to do next.  A young man (mid 30’s) with a small child in his arms approached us and asked (in English), “May I help you?”  We explained that we were looking for an economical, clean hotel close by.  He walked with us a block or so and pointed to a hotel that looked as if it would fit our needs. It was late Friday afternoon and when we inquired about getting a room, we were surprised that the hotel would not accept credit cards or dollars.  Since it was after banking hours we couldn’t get any dollars changed to pesos.


As we left the hotel lobby we wondered where we would spend the night.  Just outside the hotel, we ran into our new friend Luis, who had directed us to the hotel.  We stood and talked a while.  After getting acquainted for a few minutes he told us he was a photographer with a studio right there in the city and invited us to use his bachelor pad in the studio for the night.  John and I looked at each other, both thinking, “Wow, we don’t even know this guy.  What if he wants to rip us off?”  We couldn’t discuss what to do because he spoke English!  Having the child in his arms helped us feel that he probably wasn’t too bad a guy.  We were also thinking of what an opportunity this might be to learn more about the city that might be home to us for the rest of our lives.  Luis suggested that we go over to the studio and meet his daughter and if we didn’t want to stay the night, it would be no problem.  So off we went with him.  We did meet his late-teens daughter and uncle and sister and brother and visited the rest of the evening.  By 9:00 p.m. when he began to close the studio, we had decided to stay the night.  Luis handed us the keys to the studio (Wow, now who's trusting whom?  There we were with all his expensive photography equipment!) and told us he’d be back the next morning to fix breakfast for us!!


Sure enough, the next morning (closer to mid-day), Luis arrived and after doing a photo shoot of his photographer comrades, he fixed us breakfast.  “Well, what do you want to do today?” he asked.  We really needed to wash clothes since we were getting near the end of our trip and nearly all our clothes were dirty, so we suggested he point us in the direction of a laundromat.  “Get your clothes,” he ordered.  He placed them in his old beat-up pickup and off we went.  Soon we stopped in front of a nice middle class house and he grabbed the clothes and had us tag along while he opened the front door with a key.  “Is this your house?” we asked.  “No it’s my parents’ house,” he said as he began filling the washer.  Oh, boy, we thought, what is his mother going to think when she gets home and finds two gringos using her washing machine!  When Licha, his mother arrived shortly, she was as warm and friendly as we have known her to be always in the ensuing years.  Within the hour she insisted that we stay the night at her house.  We spent the evening asking Licha and Manuel, her husband, all we could think to ask about Aguascalientes.


Our intentions were to head back to the U.S. after two nights in Aguascalientes, but our new friends insisted that they had planned a picnic at the “Parque de los Heroes” (Park of the Heroes) for Sunday afternoon.  A good time was had by all.  Our plan to leave the next day was also thwarted by our new friends who showed us around the various residential areas of the city and even took us to a nearby town which is famous for its furniture factories.  Finally on Tuesday mid-morning we headed back to the U.S. equipped with a huge map of Aguascalientes (obtained and given to us by our hosts) and even a phone book. 


Georgia of "Mexico Connnect" makes a good point regarding finding THE place.  She says, "One size fits all" doesn't in Mexico.  There seems to be something for everyone.  You just need to know yourself first. There's no right or wrong place to choose, you have to choose what's right for you.  Just like everything else in life."  


There's Someone else making choices in our lives, though.  By the time we left Aguascalientes that Tuesday morning, we sensed that all that had happened was more than a coincidence.  We had asked God for His guidance and it seemed obvious He was leading us to this place.