Despite the small size, there are definitely some perks to renting in Sunflower Valley. While it’s really not designed for a family, I think a retired granny would be delighted here. In fact, I can see the whole neighborhood being converted into a retirement community. Here are some of the pros and cons.
There is unlimited water. I can wash and wash to my heart’s content and not have to worry about getting a delivery truck to come and fill up the tinaco (water storage container) or go to the arroyo. However, there is some issue with the tinaco. Every week or so, there was an overflow, and it dripped into the house, which apparently has been happening for years because there are signs of roof leakage in every room. We did get that fixed though (See Waterfall in the kitchen and Fixing the roof) Additionally, the toilet leaked, so we had to flush with a bucket. The pipes are bad which is causing the walls in the hallway and my office to disintegrate. That we haven’t fixed yet. Although the water heater was replaced, we don’t shower here either. It’s just icky. Plus there were those extra water charges the owner tried to foist on us from the last tenants. Although that too has been taken care of.
There is unlimited electricity. We can charge our flashlight, laptops, portable DVD players, phones and Kindles every single day! And at 50 pesos every 2 months, the price is right! However, there are only 5 working plugs in the whole house, so we have to rotate our charges.
There is unlimited internet. Well, there better be since this was the whole reason for renting this place, to begin with. I use the internet to teach my online classes. My son uses the internet to play Minecraft. My husband uses the internet to check his Facebook account. However, it’s a bit pricey at $349 per month, and it’s not lightning fast, but it will do for now I suppose.
There is also trash pickup 6 days a week. We don’t generate too much waste and average one trash bag per week. The problem is getting the trash out when the truck passes ringing its bell. Typically, it goes by before 7 am, and we aren’t usually there to greet it. So sometimes the trash bag waits a week or more before hitting the curb. Other times we just haul it to La Yacata and burn it.
There is an abarrotes (convenience store) right across the street. We can get detergent, toilet paper, ham, cheese, eggs, beans, tortillas, bread, water garafones (jugs) and junk food. Unfortunately, my son goes overboard on the junk food. Every chance he gets, he heads over for a bag of chips and a Zumba (non-carbonated grape juice) or cookies and milk. He has made the connection between the food he eats and his zit outbreaks, so I’m hoping he reduces his junk food intake eventually.
The produce truck comes every Sunday afternoon. Since there isn’t a fruteria (produce store) close, this is a fabulous plus. He even stops right in front of the house! However, the guy who drives it has lots in La Yacata, so my cover is blown! It didn’t take too long for other Yacata property owners to find me in Sunflower Valley either.
The bolillo (bread) guy comes every morning around 9 am. We aren’t often there in the mornings with our current schedule, but it’s a really nice treat when we are. I can’t think of a downside for this. Freshly made bollillo is yummy!
The tamale lady comes every Saturday evening. She sells rojos, verdes y dulcles (red, green and sweet) tamales for 9 pesos each. However, she usually knocks when I’m in class, so my son handles the transaction. Only she doesn’t seem to understand volume, so she’s practically shouting at the front door, which disturbs me in my classes.
The saddest ice cream truck ever also makes the rounds most evenings. It’s a rusty red van that plays the song Memory from Cats over and over again. Not exactly a song that brings ice cream to mind, but it’s memorable that’s for sure.
Now that the little house is nearly furnished, there are all sorts of perks inside too. Both my son and I have a bed for napping when we have to head there right after school. Having a kitchen lets us whip up something quick as well. I also like to have a cup of tea during my classes. And if my classes run long and my teenage son is famished, he can fry himself up some eggs and ham. We have chairs to sit on and hope to get a couch to lounge on soon. It’s quite comfortable really.
The house backs up to a soccer field. If I stand on a chair, I’m actually ground level to the field. Best seats in the house. However, there are days the games are the same time I am teaching online, so there’s a bit of background noise when the two overlap.
There’s a security guard at the front gate who monitors everybody’s coming and going. Despite this, in recent months, there have been 4 break-ins during the day. I suspect that the thieves live in Sunflower Valley as well, so the items have just moved from one house to another. The targeted houses have been all 2 stories and obviously better off financially than my run-down little dump. Plus, the store is open all day, and the shopkeeper keeps an eye on things on our street. Furthermore, our neighbor has a friendly pitt bull that is outside during the day. He’d give the warning should any strangers come and try to pick our lock.
Yet another perk is the proximity to La Yacata. It really is less than 2 miles. When my classes run late, it only takes 5 minutes to get home via the highway. Of course, I don’t like driving the highway at night, but it’s the shortest way. It’s also within biking distance for my son. Nowadays he prefers heading over there Saturday afternoons rather than staying in La Yacata.
Besides the tamale lady and the occasional soccer game, the area is quiet and peaceful. In December, we even had Las Posadas right outside our door. We didn’t stay long, but shared some ponche (punch) and received an aguinaldo (goodie bag) for our 40 pesos contribution.
So, as you can see, there are some decided advantages to our little out in Sunflower Valley even if there aren’t any sunflowers here. I’m not sure how long we’ll keep renting, but for now, it’s all good.