Change of allegiance

I DID AN INTERNET search for myself. At the top of the list was an interview I did in 2007 with a website named Expat Interviews. I was the interviewee, not the interviewer.

The website appears defunct now, but the interview is still online.

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I would provide a link, but since the interview has my real name, that would blow my cover. You’ll just have to take my word.

I was surprised to read that, almost eight years after I moved over the Rio Bravo, I said, given the opportunity, I would return to the United States, not stay here. I recall that I felt that way for a good spell after moving to Mexico — culture shock — but I did not think that attitude still prevailed after eight years.

My child bride would gladly move to the United States, then and now.

What kept me from moving back over the border was finances. It was true then, and it’s true now. Our income is a paltry $540 a month from the Hearst Corp., my former employer, and Social Security. That’s it. We also have investments that I accumulated during the roaring 1990s, but if you start spending savings, you’ll eventually have none.

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We do dip into savings on occasion. The cars, my wife’s pastry kitchen and the renovated upstairs terraza. Of course, the construction of the Hacienda itself.

The Downtown Casita was purchased in 2010 with an inheritance.

Interestingly, this is not the first time I have returned to Expat Interviews to read what I said. I see that I returned in November of 2013 and left a comment which said I had changed my tune and wouldn’t return to the United States given the chance. No way, José.

I would not be happy in the United States today, and not just due to finances.

It’s a sad, troubled, downward spiraling nation.

Plus, I have become accustomed to Mexico’s wacky ways.

21 thoughts on “Change of allegiance

  1. As they say, Felipe, thank you for sharing. I understand your hesitation about going back to the States. It’s a conflicted, anxiety-inducing place, regardless of your political leanings. Enjoy your new porch. Al

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    1. Señor Lanier: Hesitation is not a factor. Returning is totally out of the realm of possibility. I have squat interest in moving back. I have not even visited in a decade and almost certainly will never return.

      It’s simply better here in spite of the many negatives, and there are many, as you know. There are just as many negatives above the border, but they are very different negatives.

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  2. When I moved here in 1997, I knew there would be no turning back. And not even for a single fleeting moment since then has the notion of moving back to the country I left passed through my mind. Mexico is where I am, Mexico is my country, and Mexico is where I’ll remain.

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    1. Ms. Shoes: You’re more dedicated than I am. Mexico is where I am, and it’s where I’ll remain. As for its being my country, it is, but I don’t feel like I have my feet on the ground. Never have. That’s not gonna change. Ni modo.

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  3. As a Canadian, I haven’t been to the states for over 30 years. A bad exchange rate was part of the reason back then. Now I could afford it but have no desire to go … not even Hawaii.

    As for the internet, I have tried to be anonymous from day one. I search for myself online and find nothing. I search for my various pseudonyms, and I’m all over the place! I wouldn’t have found my birth mother without the internet and wouldn’t be reading your blog, so there are many good uses of the internet. I think I still liked the world better before the internet and the cellphone. Call me a Luddite, I can take it!

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    1. Brent: The world was better before the internet because it spawned social media, which is disastrous. On the other hand, the internet is a library of the world. Anything you need to know is instantly available, even details like I would have moved back to the U.S. in 2007 had I been able to. How great that I did not.

      Since almost all Canadians, I have read, live within 200 miles of the U.S. border, that’s interesting that you haven’t crossed it in 30 years.

      There are many positive aspects to being a Luddite.

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      1. I’ve often agreed with FCC Commissioner Newton Minow’s assessment of TV as a “vast wasteland,” and it’s actually worse than that because I think it results in much social isolation and also homogenization and diminishment of culture. As a young adult in the mid 1970s I was privileged to live in a small town with no TV at all. I can assure you that the social life of the town was radically different (in a much better way) than it would have been with TV.

        Internet, as you point out, is surely a mixed blessing. But the amount of information available is astonishing. I remember showing my Dad his boyhood neighborhood in a small Wyoming town on Streetview before he died, for example. I think we’ll eventually figure out the social media thing, though. (I do Facebook but only with immediate family members.)

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        1. Creigh: While television may or may not have been a vast wasteland at one time, I don’t think it is so much any longer. I read a piece in some highbrow, “intellectual” magazine a few years back — I forget which one — that made the case that some television dramas these days are high art. I agree with that. Much is still humdrum and low-brow, of course, but some are far from it. There are some really gripping, well-written series available. Mad Men and Breaking Bad are good examples. There are quite a few others, especially from Europe.

          I don’t think we’ll ever “figure out” social media. Its anonymity brings out the worst in too many of us, plus intolerant leftists have managed to take over the catbird seats in management, a dismal, dangerous development that no one seems to be doing anything about. Sometimes I think government is a good thing. Where is it?

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          1. I do think more and more people will come to recognize social media for what it is; in many cases unmediated ranting of dubious truth and value. As they do, its value for malicious use will decline. A big part of making that happen is education; the first objective of education should be the development of a good bullshit detector. (That’s why liberal arts are still important, or even perhaps more important than ever.) As for government, I haven’t heard of many ideas for addressing these problems that would be effective without squelching legitimate debate. It might be one of those things that we have to figure out for ourselves.

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            1. Creigh: You are far more optimistic about the future of social media than I am. And as for squelching legitimate debate, Big Tech is doing that increasingly and shamelessly every day in a totally one-sided direction, and nothing is being done about it.

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  4. Assimilation into this culture is accomplished by very few. Most recent arrivals, the great majority advanced middle aged and beyond, don’t stand a chance.

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    1. Gerard: Quite true. Being married into a Mexican family gave me a bit of a leg up, but I’m a million miles from being a Mexican in spite of having citizenship. That will never change, and I’m okay with it.

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      1. Most Gringos can’t even get past square one of assimilation — learning the language. And if you don’t do that (as you well know), there’s literally no way to get any farther.

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        1. Kim: That is true. I know Gringos who’ve lived here longer than I have and still cannot hold a conversation in Spanish. Of course, assimilation was never their goal in the first place. Actually, assimilation was never my intent either. You do hear it quite a bit from Gringos who move to Mexico. “I intend to assimilate.” Of course, they never actually do it, as if they could.

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          1. I could assimilate, or at least get darn close. Heck, I’m already way more assimilated than Gringos who’ve lived there for years.

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    1. Ricardo: Well, happy enough with my place on the planet. Were I rolling in money and perhaps a bit younger, there are a number of places I would prefer to live. In Latin America, perhaps Chile. A number of spots in Europe would have been nice before they let the Mohammedans in. But I’m here now, and I’m staying put.

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  5. It’s interesting, your opening thought of doing an internet search of yourself prompted me to do the same. And then I discovered that you have plenty of namesakes, several of whom are more or less famous. This nearly guarantees internet anonymity, even if you do use your real name.

    I, on the other hand, have no such luck, which is why I stick to “Kim G” and occasionally wonder if I shouldn’t adopt a nom de plume. Or simply come out altogether.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we laze about in obscurity.

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    1. Kim: I found myself by adding “in Mexico” to my name. That does the trick. If I just use my real name, forget about it. There are scores of guys in Houston alone with my name, including the less-common spelling of my last name.

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