Tuesday, April 17, 2012

San Miguel: A Sense of Place

The kids spent many happy hours running and playing in the gardens around Su Casa.

   I'm finally finishing up posting pictures of the trip we took in January/February of this year. After a whirlwind of visiting friends and family in California and Arizona, we traveled to a very special house known to us as Su Casa. It was built by my grandparents in the mid-80s as a gift to their family. (The family does rent it out to help offset the cost of maintenance, so if you're looking for a lovely, quiet vacation home in the Ensenada, Mexico area you can check it out here.) It's on a hillside over looking the Pacific Ocean on the Baja Peninsula. I spent many happy days here as a child and teen, playing, exploring, visiting my cousins who live down the hill where my great grandparents settled in their later years. My last visit here was twenty years ago, right after I graduated from high school. Many things have changed in those years, but this place retains the love and the magic poured into by my Grams and Gramps. I'm was so happy to be sharing it with Erik and my own children.

     It was strange to come back after so many years. I had gone full circle, from being the child coming with my parents, to bringing my own children here. Returning stirred something in me, something I didn't expect. My family moved around a lot, from British Columbia to Alberta, to California, and then to Oregon, and in some of those places we lived in several different homes. "Home" to me has always been people, not a place. Home is where my family is, and that has always been fine with me. But returning there, to San Miguel by the Sea, a place where my family has deep roots, has made me think about the importance of Place.

The large succulent plants were blooming in the garden and surrounding hillside.

This one was so amazing, sending up a huge stalk of flowers that bent over, creating an arch.
It's the edge of the desert, but tropical flowers bloom here too!   

 If there is any patch of earth I can stand on in this world and trace a significant portion of family history, this would be it. It reaches far beyond my own memories of being here as a child. My great grandparents spent their latter years here, building a home and leaving a legacy that continues still. Family still occupies that home, and we were welcomed there, just as we've been for as long as I remember. I didn't anticipate how meaningful it would be for me to share this place with Erik and my children. The first day we were there we walked up to the cemetery and I shed unexpected tears standing at the graves of my uncle, cousin, and great grandparents. This home, and the one down the hill, are full of stories, both written down and remembered, of grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts, great grandparents, adventurers, pioneers, friends and neighbors. While at Su Casa, Erik and I spent some time reading about my family's history in the area. (One wonderful adventure is here.) Reading their stories inspires me, it challenges me to live my own adventure. It makes me wish I had known them all, had been able to join them on camping trips in the mountains of Mexico. My Gramps left a wonderful written record of many of his adventures here and there are a number of short stories of adventures in Baja here.
Su Casa from above.
Pots in the garden, little bits of culture and history, all tell a story.
     If I had more than one lifetime, I would want to use one to sink deeper roots in this area, to settle in and explore Baja, retracing some of the grand adventures of those who have gone before me. Instead, we are preparing to embark on following our own dream, and I don't yet know quite where it will take us. That is the beauty though, of the legacy I've been given, to live my own life, follow my own dream, to create memories for my own children. I will continue to write about them and weave our story into the tapestry of our greater family. I want to give my children a deep sense of connection to family, to their history, to their roots, but I also want to give them wings. I trust that someday we will spend more time in Baja, and I hope they come to love it as I do.  
The kids had so much fun running and playing, exploring and connecting to a place that is part of their heritage as well. 
    Thank you Grams and Gramps, for this very special place. Thank you to all who have kept alive the memories and the stories of our family. Thank you to all who have made Su Casa the special and magical place that it is! 


  1. Rebeca,
    I love what you wrote: "if I had more than one lifetime..."
    It is such a modern, luxurious dilemma - stay or go. I wish I had a multitude of lifetimes to dive into headfirst. I want to squeeze all I can into this lifetime but still have time to enjoy it. Thanks for your words... my hope is as yours: roots AND wings.

  2. So beautiful! The sky reminds me of Tuscany alot, the sunset and the almost burnt colour.

  3. Christ is Risen! Wow...so many amazing flowers, especially that long arch that fell over...you took so many wonderful photos!!!


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