By Natalie Taylor
Leah and Ty Haeber have a non-traditional marriage. She spends most of her time in San Miguel, and he in San Diego because of different needs, but they find time to be together in either location and it works.
They got married in their native Canada in 1993 and immediately started off with an adventure—an extended backpacking trip throughout Central and South America. Leah’s affinity for Latin American culture started with Spanish class in high school. Then at 17 she went on vacation to Costa Rica and the interest increased. Ty and Leah’s honeymoon backpacking trip was supposed to go for a year, but visits to Mexico, Costa Rica, and Guatemala, awakened Leah’s desire to truly steep herself in Latin culture. They cut their journey short and returned to Canada so she could complete a double major: a BA in Spanish and Latin American Studies. After graduation, they left Canada and moved to San Diego because of taxes and weather. And Ty, who is in IT, found many more job opportunities in the US, particularly in San Diego.
But Leah never settled down in one place for too long. She went off to teach English in Ecuador and Peru and her thirst for new places kept her searching for an ideal location. When they had traveled in 1993 on their long journey, they had stopped in San Miguel de Allende and, like so many visitors before them, were enchanted with the city. Over the years, Leah returned several times for visits and grew fond of San Miguel. In the meantime, she continued teaching in San Diego, eventually concentrating on ESL. Something had become quite clear for her—the need for educating women in underdeveloped countries to help break the cycle of poverty.
The idea of helping to educate young people was foremost on her mind and in her search of the best way to do this, she came to San Miguel in 2020 for a two-month break. One day at a café, she struck up a conversation with Don Krimm who was looking for someone to develop an English learning program for Jovenes Adelante (JA)—a San Miguel based organization that provides scholarships to young people. Leah agreed to help out, and back in San Diego she developed just such a program for JA. She then realized that the best way to implement it was to be present in San Miguel, and in March 2021 she arrived here with a few suitcases and two cats. She is now part of the JA board of directors and continues to guide the educational program. Ty, however, finds no reason to move to Mexico, so he still lives and works in San Diego.
So how do they remain together while apart? Communication by phone or internet, of course, but also periodic extended visits where they become a couple like any other. Marriage is what two people make of it, feet firmly planted in two countries is what works for Ty and Leah.