Mexican life

The 23 percenter

I HAVE NOW spent 23 percent of my life in Mexico.

new-imageWere I a young buck, this would not be so many years, but I am an old moose with mossy horns. The years are plenty.

I stumbled thorough most of life with no intention of leaving the land of my birth. Georgia rednecks don’t move to Mexico. It was only within a year of moving that I started to think about it.

And then, within a one-month span, I dumped almost everything, got on a plane and came on down. For the first nine years, while my decrepit mother was still alive, I averaged one trip back a year, usually about a week.

I returned only once following her death in 2009, a few months after, and I’ve never been above the border since. I don’t miss it, and as time passes, I miss it even less.

From what I read on Gringo internet forums and websites, most everyone who “moves” to Mexico, be it for retirement or, much less often, to work, the draw of the Old Country is powerful. People can’t let go, and return often.

It appears compulsive, but it’s likely grandchildren.

Don’t tell my wife, please, but I have no intention of ever crossing the Rio Bravo again. I say don’t tell my wife because she really likes it up there, and dreams of another visit.

I have no tight family ties there — wish I did — so here I am, alone with a pack of Mexican relatives, including a number who’ve been illegal aliens above the border.

I speak Spanish almost exclusively. I live in a big Hacienda on what’s just above the U.S. poverty-income level, an interesting phenomenon since I’ve never felt richer in my life.

new-imageCan’t help but wonder what percentage of my life will have passed as a Mexican when it comes to a halt. No matter.

Pass the tacos, por favor.

23 thoughts on “The 23 percenter

  1. Just as many U.S. citizens think Mexico is completely unsafe, I suspect much of what you read and hear about the U.S. is not true. We aren’t all living in hellholes and hating life. It’s possible to equally love both countries. It may be nice to plan a U.S. visit for you and your beautiful bride. Your trip could be filled with going to places that are new to both of you, shopping and dining. It could be an adventure!

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    1. Bev: Oh, I don’t think the U.S. is a hellhole at all. I’ve just lost interest for a variety of reasons. One is the hassle of going there. Flying into, say, Houston or Atlanta sounds like an airport nightmare. Plus, airliners are uncomfortable for me. I’m tall and old and planes are more tightly packed than ever.

      Then there’s the other option of driving, my preferred one. But with a Mexican in tow, it’s not just a question of flashing our IDs and continuing on our way at the border like you folks do. She has to get out of the car and go stand in an interminable line for some additional pass even though she has a visitor visa. It’s a real hassle, plus the Immigration people are snotty and, from what I read, getting worse by the year.

      Also, with the exchange rate being what it is, the U.S. has become spectacularly expensive. We have no U.S. bank, no dollars. We are peso-bound. Add all this up, and, well …

      So when I think of visiting the U.S., and I also think of driving three hours to the beach at Zihuatanejo or flying briefly to scads of other places in Mexico I have never visited, well, the U.S. just doesn’t cut the mustard anymore.

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  2. I didn’t realize you were only 64 years old! I too have little desire to visit the U.S. I go back occasionally to visit family but am tiring of the healthy and able ones not reciprocating. Once my mother is gone, trips north will be few and far between.

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  3. You might consider that a trip north would be as much an adventure for her as the trip south was for you, despite the hassle.

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    1. Carlos: It’s not as if she hasn’t visited Gringolandia. She has, about six times. She poo-poo’ed it before the first visit. There was a strain of anti-Americanism in her family. But after the initial visit — in 2004, I think — her tune changed spectacularly. She loves it up there, especially the shopping and restaurants.

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  4. 29.2% of full-time living here. And like you, I go days at a time without uttering a word of English, save a daily phone chat with my sister who lives in the next state over. The Old Country draws me not. I’d rather go to Colombia, and I do.

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    1. Ms. Shoes: Colombia would be nice for a visit, and it’s not all that far away. I would really like to visit Argentina, but there ain’t no way I’ll squeeze into a plane seat that long.

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  5. I do believe it is the grandchildren and/or kids that make the expats go back to the States. That’s sort of my conundrum as I contemplate what comes next. If it was just my adult kids, no problem. I’d be moving tomorrow. But it’s those grandkids …

    Your wife should grab a relative and come on up for a visit and leave you at home. Separate vacations aren’t a bad thing.

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    1. Angeline: I have no grandchildren, and never will have. I think that even if I did, their parents would have to ship them down to me. They would prefer it too.

      Hell would freeze over before my wife would go off on a vacation without me. Cultural differences.

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    2. P.S. I am 99 percent convinced that grandparents are far more interested in their grandkids than grandkids are interested in their grandparents. Grandchildren like it when grandparents come to visit, especially if gifts are involved, but otherwise I don’t think they give grandparents more than a moment’s thought. I could be wrong about this, but I doubt it.

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      1. There is a window of time during which kids will be of the age to appreciate going away to stay with grandparents. Along about puberty the desire to stay where the friends are takes over.

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  6. We are in the same boat, and there’s very little left up there in the States that interests me. A few friends, some electronic friends who I feel sorry for. I’ve been here 49 years now. Kept cutting ties to the USA. Have no nostalgia left.

    Rumor is there are new regulations coming to hinder naturalized Americans from obtaining a new passport. Before the Embassy didn’t care if we were dual nationals but now? I can see an Iron Curtain descending around the country. Strange. That used to be one of the selling points of anti-communism. I’m 76, so how much longer can I remain on this sphere? I hope to finish my remaining time in peace here with a coco loco in my hands.

    Meanwhile the USA enters its Winter of Discontent.

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    1. Señor Mystic: There seems to be some confusion about that passport thing. I renewed my U.S. passport in May, before the changes allegedly took place, so I’m good for another decade. Home free, so to speak. I cannot imagine I will bother renewing it when I’m 81. I almost did not renew it this time. Why? I did it out of habit. I have a perfectly serviceable Mexican passport that will get me anywhere except the United States, and I don’t want to go there anyway. The United States is getting more intrusive in the lives of its citizens, no matter where they are, every freaking day.

      Maybe President Trump will right the course a bit. One can only hope.

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  7. I haven’t been north of the frontera in almost eight years but I have traveled to Belize and Guatemala. Belize is tempting but it is too hot and more expensive to live there. Guatemala is too poor. Mexico is just right if you have an American income.

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