Getting Mexicanized

Typing citizenship application on my 1923 Royal in 2005.

WHEN I FLEW 30,000 feet over the Rio Bravo from Atlanta to Guadalajara on an icy (in Atlanta) night on January 20, 2000, I had a few plans, but becoming a Mexican was not one of them.

My plan consisted of three parts:

1. Learn Spanish.

2. Get married.

3. Build a house.

I had completed all three in three years. Well, the Spanish was dicey in 2003, but that’s all I spoke because my child bride’s English was — and continues to be — marginal.

One thing not on my sketchy list of plans was becoming a Mexican citizen. Hadn’t even entered my aging mind. It was only after I had been here a spell that I began to see the advantages.

The pluses* were that I do not have to renew my visa every year. I can now vote against Latino leftists. I can open a bank account without, one hopes, Barry breathing down my neck to support his socialistic schemes. I can tell Mexicans that I am a paisano. It makes me look good. I possess two passports. Basically, it’s just fun.

For anyone planning to spend the rest of his life in Mexico, becoming a citizen is — as the old phrase goes — a no-brainer. And, amazingly, it was very easy, a piece of chili cake.

From what I can make out, there was a window of opportunity, possibly unintentional on Mexico’s part, from about 1999 to 2005 in which one might become a citizen without doing much of anything aside from asking.

No language test. No history test. No civics test. Nada. I typed out an application form (see photo), provided a few mugshots, paid about a hundred bucks, and sat back. It was like renewing the yearly visa.

Eleven months later, I had my sombrero, black mustache and bottle of tequila. It’s nice to be part of a nation on its way up instead of on its way down — into the abyss. I shall mention no names.

It was a great idea. Note to Mexico: Thanks for letting me in.

* * * *

* At that time. In recent years, the visa situation has been totally revamped.

(Here is an earlier version of the event in question.)

23 thoughts on “Getting Mexicanized

  1. How true. I came down in ’68, but waited till 2012 to become a citizen (for a variety of reasons, some economical, some political). But the idea was in my head for a long time, even in ’68, after being teargassed in Chicago and thinking Nixon is going to destroy America. Now he almost looks saintly when compared to present-day politicians. So I procrastinated a long time. The final straw was when my granddaughter wanted to see the Guggenheim Museum in New York and was denied a visa because, you will probably leave her up there to become an illegal alien. (She was 15 years old and in high school.) I said, that’s it, I can no longer support a government that doesn’t support its own citizens.


    1. Señor Mystic: I can’t believe you waited so long. I started to see the benefits pretty quickly after moving south. And yep, Nixon looks real good these days in retrospect, in comparison with today’s White House which provides a whole different sort of problems, worse ones. Dubya Bush, of whom I was never a fan, would be welcomed back with open arms by most of the citizenry, I bet.


  2. Los dos amigos seemed to hit if off immediately. Vicente Fox and George W. Bush were presidential buddies who shared a fondness for cowboy boots and preferred weekends at the ranch over state dinners. But just as the budding friendship took off, it went into the shitter after 9/11.

    Years later, as Bush’s presidential library at SMU opened, a closer look showed that beyond their affinity for boots and bluntness, the two men had a testy relationship after the terrorist attacks. Gone were ambitious plans for immigration, and thrown into question was whether the two countries could overcome historical suspicion of each other to forge a stronger relationship. “We were close, real amigos,” Fox said, “but we also had profound differences that probably got the best of us.”

    After Sept. 11, Bush turned away from Fox’s immigration overhaul ideas, citing the need for stronger U.S. border security. Mexico, whose foreign policy attitudes were staunchly noninterventionist, later opposed Bush’s Iraq war plan at the UN. Bush took it as a betrayal and differences simmered. Mexican immigration services became a mirror image of American immigration services. It became a bureaucratic nightmare.


  3. Good job with that, Felipe! I hope also to one day be a paisano of yours. The time is just not right yet though. If Mexican wages can come up where I could earn what I earn here I would give it another try. Meanwhile I’ll wait it out a few more years. My wife is ready whenever I am to go back.

    Keep up the interesting posts!

    Mike G.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mike: Most Gringos living down here, I imagine, are either retired with pensions or work online, which one can do from most anywhere civilized. Coming down here and expecting to make similar money to what you earn above the border is pretty much a pipe dream. Those are the sad facts. Plus, in most cases, it’s illegal.

      No matter. We await that distant day when you return.


  4. Great photograph. I just noticed that you are taking on an Ezra Pound look. After he returned to sanity. Maybe you should try your hand at poetry — even with your dislike of the stuff.


  5. Did you really shlep that ol’ Royal down in one of your suitcases, or did you fetch that later? After all, your story goes that you boarded the plane with just your clothes on your back and a couple of suitcases, which today would probably cost you 300 dollars in excess charges.


    1. Tancho: My “story” is a true one. I initially moved to Mexico with two suitcases and the duds on my back. Delta Airlines from Atlanta to Guadalajara, landing late about midnight due to taking off late because of an ice storm that was descending on Atlanta. I made it out by the skin of my teeth, which says something, but I know not what. Our flight was about the last to take off. The airport was closed just minutes later for a day or two by one of the worst ice storms in years. Had I been trapped by that, I would have been realllllllly P.O.’d to state it mildly.

      The typewriter, which belonged to my father and his father before him, weighs about the same as a 1948 Packard, not suitable for suitcases on airlines, of course. I brought it down a couple years later when my wife and I first drove to Atlanta in the old Chevy (which we sold just last December). When I got that typewriter after my father died, it hardly functioned. I found a place in New York City that renovated them. I shipped it up there and got it back in pretty much apple-pie order in the 1990s.

      Today, the typewriter sits in the Hacienda living room, retired as an objet d’art.

      By the way, one of those original two suitcases was a real whopper, and I had it crammed to the limit. It weighed about the same as a 1948 Willys Jeep, not so much as the Packard, but heavy nonetheless. Checking it onto an airliner now would, I imagine, cost about the same as the ticket for my seat.


      1. I had one of those typewriters that I used during high school, great heavy boat anchor. Then for a Christmas present I got a Royal portable, that must have weighed about 5 lbs. Can’t remember what happened to that old one, probably tossed in the garbage like other stuff in those days.
        It had character, unlike the Royal that broke about 5 years later.


        1. I pine away for the big old Olympia manual typewriter that I foolishly traded in on an Olympia electric portable, which still reposes in my bodega, along with a Smith-Corona, a Royal, and some no-brand Eastern German portable. And then there was the Olivetti heavy-duty one from my grandfather’s office that I callously left back in the old country. Its keys never delivered poetry, just bills of lading and the like.


        2. I learned how to type on a TYPEwriter, too, but I am not a sentimentalist in regard to that machine. I love my Mac, not the sandwich, mind you.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Becoming a Mexican citizen was on my list of priorities, and it was one of the best moves I’ve ever made in my life, next to moving to Mexico. In addition to the advantages Felipe cites, there is just something about citizenship by choice.

    Say, Felipe, have you given any thought to filling the shoes of our departing governor? You would qualify, since you’re lived here more than five years and are over the age of thirty years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Felipe: You might want to think twice. The scaremongers are at it again.

      The governor of the crime-wracked western Mexican state of Michoacan announced he is stepping down (Fox)
      Governor of troubled Mexican state steps down (La Prensa)
      Governor of Mexico’s Violence-Torn Michoacán State Resigns (WSJ)


      1. Andrés: Will these numskulls never give it a rest? I read all that nonsense and yet I walk around here every day in peace and tranquility. I bet not one person who writes that stuff has ever set foot in our lovely state or has set foot here no more than a day or two to interview some hysterics.


  7. As a percussionist, I have been required to play this song four or five times during my illustrious career. The Typewriter Song and The Sandpaper Ballet are the bane of percussionists worldwide. I like the looks of your old typewriter though. I bet I could make that sucker talk.


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