The front of the house.  The window on the right is my room.

The front of the house. The window on the right is my room.

Almost a week ago I started renting a room in the house of a professor from the Agroecology Department.  Jose Ernesto sells ornamental plants when he isn’t teaching, and the house is surrounded by a gorgeous garden.  There are two huge mango trees which have just started dropping ripe fruit, flowers, neem trees, and a jicaro tree, which has funny ball like fruit growing off the trunk.  The shells of the fruit harden and are used for bowls and ladels, and the seeds are extracted from the pungent black fruit, dried, and ground into a powder used for a drink.

I have put a mess of pictures onto flickr of the house; I think it’s clear why I am excited to live there.  It’s close to the center of the city, the family is wonderful and welcoming, and it’s a horticultural paradise.  Jose Ernesto lives there with his son Oswan who is 21, and his other son Ernesto and his wife Judy live in a small house in the back, and share the kitchen.  Ernesto and Judy are really good cooks, and often invite me to join them for meals.  The trees and the garden make an enormous difference in the temperature.  At the residencia, which is only four blocks away, I slept with a fan all night.  Here I wake up every night around four to put on a sweatshirt and pants because it is so cold.  What a clear example of how trees and vegetation effect our climates.  Refreshing, for sure, and worth putting up with a few more ants and spiders in the house who wander in from the garden….