Every Gang member has a task once they buy their second home. Second homes are quite different than first homes because they must be named to distinguish them from first homes. Some call it by what it is e.g. the Cottage. I am going to The Cottage but the rules are different in foreign countries. The house name has to be in the language of the country where it resides and written on a little plaque, It is believed that having a foreign name provides protection from vandals as they think it is a local house and it sounds so multilingual.

Finding the right name takes time but in the meantime you can start plaquing by putting up this sign. Someone from the Translator Gang said it meant Welcome This House is Mine not Yours.

The next step until the special name is found, is choosing a sign with numbers on it. Many Gang members are shocked and pleased to see signs in English for sale in Mexico such as this one.

Looking for the right name takes time and care. In choosing a house find a name that sounds romantic in Spanish. The worst naming technique is to use your last name. It makes your house sound like a bar.

To avoid the last name ego thing, name your house after your favorite vegetable or fruit or bird. Another way is to think of a comfy word such as Nest. This method is good but the downside is that you end up with an English word that requires translation. Once translated, a trip made to Dolores Hidalgo to get the plaque made in Talavera pottery all that is needed is to nail it to your house and now your Casa now has a name that people can read.

But be very careful in choosing a translator. Foreigners find great delight in substituting swear words for common words and expressions when asked “How do you say?” Instead of translating “Please may I try on those pants” they will teach you “Please pull down your pants” and hope they are about when you try this expression. The owner of this house has yet to discover the downside of using someone wicked.

And not all words translate easily. Some naive lady in Ajijic can’t understand why local snicker when they walk by her house and don’t understand her love of making Calzones.

A foolproof way to find a house name is to use what is called a Spanish English Dictionary or in some cases an English Spanish Dictionary. These are sold in bookstores and translate English words into Spanish and Spanish words into English. They are used by school children. When you have your book turn to the section that has words you don’t understand and find one that speaks to you. What is amazing about these books is that you don’t need a translator as the meaning of the word in English will be right there. This method of house naming results in names you won’t see from the vegetable, fruit, bird, comfy method. But remember you at least look at the English word to see if it is appropriate. A security minded woman thought she had a good house name

Another rule of house naming is to never say the name of your house into English even if you know the name. Once you say the word in English then the spell will be gone and it will sound a bit silly. Telling people you live in the Nest House or the House of Birds or the House of Pomegranites or the Little House of Songbird. Oh yes Joe and I live in the House of Small Parrots or the following.

Most people won’t know you live in the House of Pancakes because they can’t speak Spanish or don’t own or know how to use a Spanish English Dictionary.

There is only one way to use your house name. At first Gang members try to work the name of their Casa into a conversation

Come visit me at Casa Viva

But people soon learn that using house names aren’t particularly helpful in giving directions. Imagine telling a taxi driver

Take me to Casa Agave.

The blank stare won’t be helped when you add

Oh it is by Casa Preciosa.

The most standard use of house names is to incorporate them into your Address and make it part of your personalized Stationary

Donna and Tom Burgess
Casa Zanahorias
Calle Norte 12
San Miguel de Allende, GTO

But the real reason for a house name is to use it when you rent your Casa. Imagine the delight your renter feels when they know they are renting Casa Bugamblia or Casa Latidah.

Casa Carino

Dream Castle

7 Bedroom suites, 6 kings, 1 with twins

$10,200 per week, $34,000 per month


Credit for the idea to Gina.