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!


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Jan 18, 2007 —  Shortly after we moved into our house almost a year ago, some tools were stolen from our patio de servicio, which is a locked, roofed small space with closely-spaced metal grillwork for two walls and the other two of brick. It’s where we keep our washing machine, lawn mower, tools, and so on.

It’s happened again.

Kelly’s toolbox was taken one afternoon this week while the patio de servicio was unlocked and we and our dog were home in the house. Also, a person who must have been small got in a tiny window of our motorhome, made quite a mess looking for things worth stealing, and ended up just taking a few more hand tools and the speakers for our music system.

We had fenced our property but there is one area where someone could get in and evidently did. The deed was done by a group of boys or teenagers.

Yesterday when our gardener arrived, we told him what had happened. Roberto is very civic minded and is himself the father of nine, ranging in age from early 20s down to about eleven. We asked his advice about what to do, and he said that there have been a lot of thefts recently in the town, but that often they are not reported to the police. He said it would really be best if we would report it, and that he would help us if we wished.

I said I had heard that small town police were often not that good, but he assured me that he knows them and that this would be the best action. We have a lot of respect for Roberto and quite easily decided we would take his advice. I had other plans for the afternoon but that didn’t seem to matter — Kelly alone would be fine. I still don’t know if that is because they were his tools or because he is the man of the family, or what.

Anyway, the police came and asked what had happened and so on. They didn’t write anything down except Kelly’s name, but they strongly urged him to go to the nearby town of Jocotepec, the capital of the municipalidad (like a county) to file a written report. So Kelly and Roberto decided to do that after I got home so I could go too. In the meantime, they had a talk with the caretakers of the house next door, as things had been taken from it too. Kelly said Roberto and the other man had a long conversation, in quite rapid Spanish, about the causes of the problems with kids and so on.

It was about dusk when Kelly, Roberto, and I drove over to Jocotepec. I had heard that there was a Chinese restaurant, the China Inn, on the main road into town, but I had never noticed just where it was. When our business took us two doors away from the restaurant, that solved the question of dinner. I ordered takeouts, and they were delicious when we eventually got home.

We went into government offices which consisted of a waiting room and two small offices. First Roberto explained the situation to the young man in one office. This guy asked for Kelly’s ID and sent Roberto across the street to a commercial photocopying place to make copies of Kelly’s passport and FM3 visa.

Next, we sat by one of the two desks in the other room. Two young women worked there. They each had a desk and computer, and there were some file cabinets. A picture of Jesus hung over one desk. The woman who helped us had a document on her computer and she asked Kelly questions about his age, where he was born, and what happened. This took about an hour.

It was actually pretty interesting. I was grateful that we weren’t there with anything more serious. Roberto and I had a chance to continue the conversation that we had had going earlier in the day, about what is going on with these kids. This is not going to sound any different from the US: bored kids, not a lot to do, parents who either don’t care or have little time for the kids, drugs, alcohol. But hearing it here, from someone who is actually involved in improving conditions as Roberto is, made me feel more a part of the community that Kelly and I, and quite a few other foreigners, live in. Drugs and alcohol are definitely here, as they are in practically every small town on this entire continent.

It was getting late (Mexican offices, like stores, are open into the early evening) and I was quite tired. I just let Roberto’s Spanish flow into my ears, in an almost hypnotic way. While I was following less of the details of what he was saying than I normally do, I was also taking in the Spanish in a more right-brain way. I liked that. Kelly and I were both really glad we had Roberto along as there was a lot we didn’t understand in what the other people said.

I mentioned to Roberto that one of the women I had seen that afternoon was selling tickets for an event in a couple of weeks, a kind of tour of the town for foreigners on February 5, ending up with refreshments at the cultural center on the plaza. The cost is 100 pesos, as a fund raiser for soccer uniforms for kids. He knew about that.

So Kelly and I are still dealing with the repercussions of the event — it’s yucky to know that someone was stealing from us while we were right here. We are talking about changing the fencing, maybe keeping the dog outside somewhat more. Through Roberto, or some other way, we may get more involved in the town.

Meanwhile, the weather has been gorgeous, high 70s every afternoon, while our friends in Colorado end their emails hoping that we are staying warm and cozy. Every place has its challenges.

Comments from the old blog:

  • Hi Rosana!

    I am curious about what the Police said to you after reporting the Crime. Did they indicate that they would actually look for your stolen items? Did they think there was any chance you might get the things back?

    Roberto’s kids might know more about who is doing the stealing if it is kids…..just a thought.

    Say HI to Kelly from us.


  • Hi Beverly — Because we reported the loss more than a day after it happened (due to not knowing the ropes and Roberto being at his main job the day after), people seem to think that the tools had likely been sold very quickly, but they did said they would be looking for the kids.

    I am pretty sure that Roberto asked his kids if they knew anything. — Rosana

  • Anonymous said…

    Reading your words makes me wonder.., why are you living there? I mean…, with the language gap, the cultural disparaties, the realm of foreign customs lending to a sense of social isolation… It’s a tough thing. I’m not being critical here; it’s a question I’ve asked myself many times when visiting Mexico. And your words bring it all back to me. I’ve about concluded that aside from the newness, the adventure, and the weather, Mexico is a hard reality.

  • I said…

    Thanks for your very thoughtful comment. I am finding, after nearly a year of living in the same small town, that I experience way less social isolation than I did for the first months.

    And indeed, the warmth and graciousness of the Mexican people is one of the things I like the most here. I now have several close friends who are Mexicans who I see quite a lot, and that makes a huge difference. As it happens, none of them speak English but they seem to understand me most of the time.

    Yes, Mexico *is* a hard reality. But so is my own country these days, in different ways.

  • Fred Schultz said…

    Hi, Rosana– I found your blog, and it’s great. I like hearing your experiences–even tough ones like your burglary. And it’s important to see your thoughts on Mexico being a “hard reality.” My wife & I visited Ajijic last year and are seriously considering doing what you have done, so we’re keenly interested in your experiences. We looked at property in Chapala and Ajijic, and took the bus to Jocotopec (through your San Juan Cosala). Would love to know more about your decision to be there, instead of Ajijic.
    Fred, Oakland, Calif.

  • Fred Schultz said…

    Sorry– I did not mean that I liked that you were robbed. I meant that I appreciated that you write about things like that, and your experiences at the police station, and other things that give us a clear and realistic view of your experiences. Fred in Oakland

  • I said…

    Fred, I’m going to write a blog post in a minute about why not Ajijic. You did express yourself clearly — I knew what you meant about the theft.

    BTW, we keep hearing of a lot more robberies going on. One of of our Mexican neighbors had some chickens and a propane tank taken, a foreigner across town had her purse taken from within the house, and the story goes on. We did also hear that the police have a couple of guys in custody.

  • Fred Schultz said…

    Thanks for the response, Rosana. Sorry about the add’l robberies you are hearing about. I imagine crime is a fact of life everywhere. We were robbed at gunpoint in our driveway a year ago in broad daylight– the San Juan Cosala burglaries are traumatizing, but it could be worse.

  • I said…

    Being robbed at gunpoint, as you were, sounds a LOT worse. And so many Americans think Mexico is dangerous!

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