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.