Uprooting one’s roots

datura
At the top of the stairwell.

FOR THE FIRST decade after moving to Mexico I visited the United States once a year for a week or so. The primary motive was to see my mother.

The first three or four years I did it alone, flying. It was not until 2004 that my child bride had obtained a U.S. visitor visa. We then continued the trips, sometimes flying, other times driving. It’s a long way from our Mexican mountaintop to Atlanta, which is where my mother lived.

My mother died in January 2009 at age 90. After that, we’ve only been above the border once, a few months later, and that was to do paperwork related to my mother’s death. We went to San Antonio for that.

I have not visited my natal nation in nearly a decade. Instead I’ve remained down here in tumultuous Mexico and, oddly, life here has begun to seem normal. This is so even though I continue to equate Mexican life to Alice’s Wonderland.

This is because so many things here don’t make a lick of sense.

I almost never speak English, and I find myself forgetting English words on occasion. And though my Spanish is quite passable, I hardly would qualify as a Spanish professor. This occasionally leaves me dangling in a verbal limbo.

I find myself picking up Mexican habits. More and more, I respond “yes” to most queries. It’s easier that way. And doing something mañana instead of today leaves more relax time for today.

My driving habits cannot now be described as admirable.

One local habit I’ve not acquired and never will is epic, rampant, shameless lying.

I won’t be crossing the border again, ever. Everything I need can be found nearby. I watch America on the internet, and it looks disgraceful and sad. Walking the sidewalk here, on the other hand, I see people smiling.

With two exceptions, I have no relatives above the border. They all died except my sister and daughter. The first I do not like, and the second does not like me. I own no property in the United States.

I have no U.S. identification papers aside from my passport which I will not renew when it expires. Don’t know why I did it last time.

At this moment just past dawn, the church bell is slowly gonging down on the plaza, so someone died. It’s a mournful sound, but I feel pretty good about things in spite of having uprooted myself from the dirt from which I sprouted.

bones
On the stairwell landing, halfway down.

18 thoughts on “Uprooting one’s roots

    1. Pat: It’s not for everyone. It’s not even for everyone who thinks they’ve kinda done it. It’s amusing to observe the Gringos — the majority — in our town who seem incapable of staying here more than a few months without fleeing above the border on some pretext or another.

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  1. This Gringo has yet to completely uproot; however, he’s put himself in numerous locations NOB that are far from home geographically and otherwise. Maybe that counts. I bet it does.

    Given enough time, he may yet accomplish the great uprooting as you have done.

    Felicidades, amigo!

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        1. Mark W: Medicare pays nothing for medical care outside the United States, so I’ve never had anything to do with it. I became eligible when I hit 65, but I’ve just ignored it. Part comes free. Other additional parts one must pay for, if memory serves. I imagine I have the free part, but I’ll never use it.

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          1. I forget that I even have Medicare, even though they sent me a card, and even though I went through the proper hoops to opt out of the part that I’d have to pay for. It’s something that I’ll never use. For that, the government ought to be sharing some of its savings with me. But it won’t.

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            1. Ms. Shoes: I forget what I did about that when I turned 65. If I had to opt out of something, I surely opted.

              Why anyone would want to haul their backside above the border to get Medicare to pay for something when Mexican healthcare is right here and payable out of (most people’s) pockets is beyond me. Well, perhaps not. Often the Gringos don’t speak Spanish, and they don’t trust doctors here in the same way they don’t trust the Mexican mail system, which functions just fine. Doctors too. But while the mail moves slowly, doctors here do not.

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  2. I’m second generation here. My mother lived in Mexico until her death 21 years ago, and her annual trips north were for the purpose of shopping and not visiting her issue, because she felt it was our responsibility to visit her instead of the reverse. My only relative in the Old Country is a half-brother with whom there isn’t much connection. Now I have reached the point where I have lived in Morelia longer than I’ve lived any place in my entire life. And as I walk up the street to the fruteria, look up at the templo antiguo, I think it myself, “I’ve walked this street during my 30s, during my 40s, during my 50s, and now during my 60s.” I can’t say that about any place else in the world. This is where my roots are.

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  3. I love the flower that never fades, but not as much as the constipated calaca.

    You have been out of the loop for so long, you are not up on the current craziness that we endure.

    As my sons say, “Only in our house is it 1954 forever.”

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    1. Señor Gill: That I do not have to witness the current craziness up there first-hand is something I regard as a blessing. But I know what’s going on. The internet is very efficient. I wish I could just ignore all of it, but what happens in the U.S. affects the whole world, unfortunately. There is no escape in the long run short of death. I may have to resort to that at some point.

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  4. Ha, forgetting a word or two is not exclusive, señor Felipe, I have noticed recently or about the last two years, ah … sorry, forgot was I was talking about.

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  5. All of my family is NOB. My mother is still living and in good health. My in-laws are both still living but not in the best of health. Our kids are there. Thus, we’ll be making regular treks back north for many years to come. At some point we may even have to resort to living there again for a limited period of time to take care of those aging parents or settle their estates. However, my plan if that becomes necessary, is still to return to Mexico. We’ve only been here a year but life south of the border has become the new normal. Viva Mexico!

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