A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!

Rosana

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May 25, 2008 – The other day, Sam posted a comment on a recent blog entry which got me thinking. It says in part,

I’m a Mexican living in France since 2005, so I really know the feeling of being an expat. Every now and then I wonder if there are foreigners living in Mexico that might be feeling a bit like I do here. A quick google search brought me to your site.

That got me thinking about my years in Europe, mostly in France and Spain, over 40 years ago. (Geez, how does that happen? I won’t dwell on that topic today.)

Ah, France… I was first there as a university student. I loved the country, the food, the architecture, the culture. I wasn’t that wild about the French people, though, as most of the ones I met were pretty aloof.

I actually had better French then than I have Spanish now, but my pronunciation in both languages leaves a lot to be desired. The French were not kind about it. I remember meeting my younger sister at the airport in Paris when she came to spend a vacation with me. We got in a taxi and I told the driver to go to “Huit, Rue de la Harpe.”

“Non, mademoiselle,” he said curtly, “Huit, Rue de la Harpe.”

I thought I’d said that, but evidently my pronunciation of that elusive French u was not acceptable. So much for showing off to my sister how fluent I had become in French! The driver and I repeated the address to each other several more times — I don’t remember if the taxis had meters there and then but if so, I’m sure the the meter was running — before he deigned to drive us to the left-bank hotel at that location.

With that kind of memory of the French contrasting so strongly with the warmth and friendliness of the Mexicans, I’ve been wondering what it’s like to be a Mexican expat in France. I hope Sam comes back and posts something about that.

Also, Sam, I wonder how you feel there. Is it much like how I feel here? Sometimes I love being here and feel blessed beyond measure, sometimes I wonder if I will ever feel really at home here, and sometimes I am achingly homesick for the US — increasingly, I fear, for a US that doesn’t exist in the form I miss. (That, too, is a topic for another day. Or not.)

For some reason, Sam’s comment reminded me of a blog post I did three years ago, when Kelly and I were renting a house in Bernal, Queretaro, and it got me thinking about the time I had rented a house in a small coastal town in southern Spain. It’s one of my better blog posts, I think, so here’s a link to Nerja and Bernal.

I also hope this post today will get comments from some of the various Americans and Canadians who live in Mexico. How would you sum up your feelings?

Comments from the old blog:

  • At May 25, 2008 2:37 PM,  Babs said…

    Ha, Your episode with the taxi driver in Paris brings back so many memories………I was there along, knew no French and soon discovered how “isolating” not being able to communicate is and how difficult it must be for immigrants to America. It was a BIG lesson for me. I was there 10 days and probably said 10 words in that time…….But I DO have a similar experience in San Miguel with some of the taxi drivers when I tell them my street is Cuitlahuac (an Aztecan God) and each person it seems has a different way to pronounce it. So it becomes a game for me to see who will and who won’t correct me – I’ve lived on this street for 8 years…….really funny to me.
    Homesickness, missing things, not very often any more. I’m so settled in I hesitate to go to the USA very often. NEVER thought I would say that………

  • At May 25, 2008 2:50 PM,  Rosana Hart said…

    Babs, I would imagine that few if any of the Mexican taxi drivers correct you with that haughty French superiority!

    I’m beginning to understand hesitating to go to the US… we may not this year, still undecided.

  • At May 26, 2008 7:44 AM,  sam said…

    what it’s like to be a Mexican expat in France???
    Well I really find it difficult to explain so much in a few lines. French people are so cold and distant that it took me almost 2 years to really get to make _REAL_ local friends.
    As you point out, the French can be very pedantic about their language and they care lots about the way you express yourself…
    But even now that my French is pretty good, cultural differneces still shock me sometimes… you know, all those little details that sum up and that are so important at the end of the day.

    Exactly as you do, I have ups and downs: sometimes I really feel great here; sometimes I feel like I miss everyone and everything back home so much…
    The tacos at the end of a wild night of party. The smell of the mango trees in the backyard of my grandma’s garden. The guacamole of fresh collected avocados. The music and the colors in the streets…

    With time I have come to the conclusion that I miss Mexico less often, but also more intensely each time.

    Well well this comment is getting too long. I must say that reading you makes me feel like I’m not alone. Someone at the other side of the atlantic is struggling adapting to a differnt culture and at the same time enjoying the magic of discovering so many new people and things!

    Keep posting :)

  • At May 26, 2008 3:09 PM,  Rosana Hart said…

    Sam, you definitely are not alone. You and I share a lot, as we have written, and just think of all the people all over the world who experience similar things, for example, Filipinos in Saudi Arabia!

  • At May 28, 2008 12:32 PM,  Rosana Hart said…

    Sam… if you come back here… I must say I’m curious how a Mexican ended up an expat in France. How did that happen? Are there many Mexicans in France?

    Rosana

  • At June 06, 2008 8:21 AM,  peter said…

    our 2nd anniversary is coming up on july 15. my wife yvonne has been back to alberta twice. and i have gone back “nunce”.
    unfortunately i may be going up there in july because of the twinnings and worker programmes i helped set up for the chapala gummint.
    i left toronto in ’78 fer western canada and travelled back mostly fer business but visited with friends and family when i did so.
    i don’t feel the need to leave chapala even fer a nano second.
    we’ve had plenty of friends and family visit us here.
    i am more than happy not being in the land of social engineering and a zillion laws.

    pedro

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