Tag Archives: Morelia

Piano shopping

upright piano

My son has been after me for awhile about getting a piano.  As a piano is a major investment, I’d been putting him off.  Then, all of a sudden, my mom is getting rid of MY piano.  It’s an Opera piano made in 1893. It’s a gorgeous upright with a rich, melodious sound. Of course, it is in Pennsylvania and I haven’t played it in more than 20 years, but still.  According to The Antique Piano Shop, pianos made during the last decade of the 19th century (as my piano was) are “some of the finest craftsmanship and quality ever to be put into piano manufacturing.”  So it’s a pretty good piano.

Then, the very next day, there was an ad in the local paper about a piano for sale.  As we determined it would cost more to go and get MY piano than to purchase another one, we decided to go and check this one out.


The man who was selling the piano was obviously a music teacher.  The piano in question was a Kimball studio piano and he wanted 17,000 pesos for it.  I sat and played around on it for a bit.  It was ok.  It had been refinished.  The owner went on and on about the quality of the piano, that it came from a New York company and that it should be kept out of the light to protect the finish and sound.  Hmm–Kimball was never more than a mediocre piano, manufactured in Chicago, and I had NEVER heard anything about sound being affected by sunlight.  I said I would think about it and we left.

A few days later,  I sent my husband to ask if he would consider lowering the price.  I felt that maybe 14,000 pesos was a fair price.  My husband arrived and spoke with the owner who said he’d lower the price $500 pesos but then he wouldn’t tune the piano once it had been moved.  As my husband was leaving, he ran into another person who had come to see the piano.  This person said that he had purchased the piano but had returned it since it would not stay in tune.  This indicated to me that there was something wrong with the piano and I crossed it off the potential list.piano logo

So then I tried a google search.  Morelia is about an hour away and is a city with a bit of culture.  Certainly, there must be pianos for sale there.  I found a lovely website with pianos in my price range, however, messages and phone calls went unanswered.  So I went to the second in the list, Su Majestad El Piano (Your Majesty the Piano) a bit of a pretentious name, but I received an immediate response to my message.  They even have a page on Facebook.  I set up an appointment for that Friday and printed out driving directions.

warehouse piano

It was a straight shot to the local.  We arrived a little early and had time to enjoy some tacos de canasta (basket tacos) while we waited for the place to open.  We talked with Lulu the owner who suggested we go to the warehouse to see the options.  As we weren’t familiar with Morelia and it was raining cats and dogs, we all went in her mini-van.  

packard upright

It was an amazing experience.  First, we looked at the upright pianos much like MY piano in PA.  There was a whole room of them in various conditions.  Some were pristine, others looked like they needed some work.  We decided that an upright would just be too big for the little house in Sunflower Valley, so we headed out into the main warehouse.

brabury piano

It was a veritable feast for the senses. We must have spent about an hour walking up and down and looking over these pieces of history.  Lulu saw we were appreciative and had the workers uncover her masterpieces.  

There was a Bradbury square piano from the 1850s, a leather wrapped Wurlitzer piano, The Sting Player Piano, a piano Lulu called a Scorpion Tail Grand Piano, but actually was a concert grand piano, French pianos, German pianos, pianos so old that I could imagine Mozart playing on them, player pianos, more uprights, more grand pianos, more spinets and studio pianos, even a pink piano. What an experience!


I was drawn to an unpretentious Winter spinet that according to the Piano Blue book was built around 1910.  The inside had slight damage, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed. The finish was scratched a bit, but nothing major.  My son approved.  My husband thought it would look good with my brown chairs (See Furnishings).  So a deal was struck.  I paid half down and the other half to be paid upon delivery.  Delivery charges would be $500 pesos.  The piano would be completely refinished and repaired.  I could order a bench for an additional $1000 pesos, however as I had already overspent my budget, that wasn’t gonna happen.  The piano would be tuned once it arrived, by one of Lulu’s sons, and I would receive a written copy of the 5-year guarantee.  


We could hardly wait until Friday.  I told my son that he could stay home from school to receive the piano.  He was ecstatic.  Only the piano didn’t arrive.  After a few messages, I confirmed a delivery date for Saturday morning.  Then, before I knew it, we had a piano.  My son plopped his butt in a chair and off he went into the musical world.  Yes, it was out of my budget.  Yes, it’s a luxury item.  Yes, it cost more than my moto.  But, oh the sound of a piano!

Note:  All pianos pictured (except for MY piano and the Winter piano) are available from Su Majestad El Piano.




Filed under Education, Mail Service and Shipping in Mexico, Parenting Challenges and Cultural Norms

Getting Legal–Trip 1

In order to avoid denial due to spelling or format errors, I trotted next door and had this office fill out my forms.

In order to avoid denial due to spelling or format errors, I trotted next door and had this office fill out my forms.

I have been living in México for 7 years and every year I go to San Miguel de Allende to the Mexican Immigration office to apply for permission to live here another year. When I entered México, I had a 6-month tourist visa. Then 6 months later, I had an FM-3. I had that for 3 years then moved up to an FM-2. I applied as a dependent familiar (family dependent) since the requirements were not so stringent. When I met the residency requirements, I started investigating what I would need to become a citizen and in order to give up these yearly trips and expenses as exciting as they may be.

First, the immigration office in San Miguel de Allende sent me to the Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores in my hometown, Moroleón. There I was told that they didn’t do that sort of thing anymore and I would have to go to Morelia. So I went to Morelia and was told that since my legal address was in Guanajuato and Morelia was in Michoacan, I would need to go to León. So I went to León. And in León, I was told that because the name on my passport and Mexican identification was different from my name on my birth certificate, (my passport and ID had my married name) they would have to send my application on to Mexico City for approval. Well, I’m still waiting for that approval.

So thus defeated in my quest to become Mexican citizen last year, this year I went back to San Miguel de Allende to renew my Mexican identification and was told that because I had 4 years with the FM-3 classification I would not be able to get a renewal, unless I left the country and went to a Mexican consulate in the U.S. and started the process over again.

But wait, the law changed last November and I could qualify for permanent residency now. Yippee!! That meant I would no longer need to make the trip to immigration in San Miguel de Allende ever again! But of course, I wouldn’t be able to vote, own a foreign car, become alcalde (mayor) or own property, however, it would make my transition to naturalized citizen that much easier. So I said, sign me up!

Well, of course, it wasn’t that easy. I went the 25th of the month, but my identification didn’t expire until the 2nd of the following month, so my application couldn’t be processed until then. So I would have to come back on the 2nd when my papers could be accepted. Okie Dokie!

In order to not have wasted the trip, we headed next door to the lawyer’s office where we had the necessary paperwork drawn up. I could do it myself, however, I didn’t want my application to be denied on the basis of a spelling error. So the secretary completed my online application, wrote the letter asking for my change of status on the basis of being in the country 4 years and being the wife of a Mexican, took my picture (3 front facing, no earrings, no glasses, no bangs and one side facing, ears exposed), made copies of my Mexican ID, my U.S. passport, my Mexican marriage certificate, and my husband’s ID (IFE). When my husband handed over his ID, I took a quick look at it, and then had to look again. Dios mío! He looked like a serial killer in that picture. I can’t even begin to imagine what the approval committee said when they got a load of him as he looked there. Well, even serial killers have wives I guess.

The secretary gave me all the paperwork and the receipts that I needed to present at Banamex for payment, one for $1000 pesos and a second for $3812 pesos. The immigration office does not accept any sort of cash, all transactions have to be made at the bank. I expect that reduces the number of mordidas (bribes) offered and received. And so, the grand total for my paperwork was $720 pesos, which is about what I earn in a week. Then there were the mordidas in Celaya, (See Driving Hazards) gas, food and hair dye (I wasn’t about to have my application read :entre canas (gray-haired) which in all added another $1000 to that first trip. Cha-Ching!$$$ But I was on my way to permanent residency at long last.




Filed under Getting Legal