The Slow Making of a Dream Part Two: First Phase of Building

After Campo Elias Calles, and after Emilio was born, we needed a new place to live. It was winter 2010, Emilio was 5 months old. Our friends, who live in La Huerta (a mostly gringo area next to a surfer’s beach, surrounded by farmlands) took us in. They let us live in a small casita on their property, and in exchange for rent, we did chores (childcare, haircuts, house projects, shopping, etc.) By the spring of 2011 we were ready to start the first stage of building. With out shopping around at all, we hired the first worker we met, a guy named Transmission (who had done a little work for our friends’ on their property) to build a fence around our property, which is about 1.5 acres. It doesn’t seem like much now. But then, having that fence meant everything. It meant that even though we didn’t yet have legal ownership, we had possession of the land. Our land had a boundary.


The North East corner of our lot.

The North East corner of our lot.

Then we had him built a 13,000 liter pila (giant cement water tank). Next, which was really his specialty, he built a beautiful one-sided palapa (made out of pine polls, palo de arco sticks, rope and palm fronds (found in elias calles). No nails or screws are used. The palm fronds are woven in between the long palo de arco sticks.


He also built a small cement bodega (lockable storage space) that would be used to lock up tools during the building process, but would later become our bathroom. One of the walls of the cement bodega would be one of the walls of our eventual house that would be built under the palapa roof. Jutting out from the low side of the palapa, on the North side of the building, is a media sombre pergola (a shade roof made out of palo de arco sticks woven together), and a floor of adoquin (cement pavers) below. That was to be our patio.


This work was done in a few months. We were so happy and so grateful, but the work was far from perfect. The pila leaked (and still does). The bodega door was put on backwards (and it still is). We found out we were overcharged. But still, we were happy, especially with the quality of the palapa which was beautiful (and still is, even though it leaks and has termites eating it.) It wasn't until it was done and Lucas and I came to spend a little time in the space that would become our house that I knew it was real. It had all seemed like a pipe dream until that very moment. I cried and hugged Lucas and everything changed. I knew then, that we really were going to have a house. And I knew, even if I couldn’t see his vision, which was constantly shifting, that I had to believe in Lucas. That he was going to create a beautiful and unique house for us.