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Americans Dreaming of a Better Life in Mexico
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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!


Visit Expedia…

Expedia is my favorite place to book airfare, and they handle hotels, car rentals, cruises, etc. I like the organization of the site for figuring out what flights I want. Click on the suitcase to take a look.

I was very pleased to win an award for this blog! Even better for you: click through for lists of all sorts of award-winning travel blogs.

Tripbase Blog Awards 2009

Tripbase Blog Awards 2009

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April 26, 2005 — we went from Bernal to the nearby city of Queretaro yesterday and stayed overnight. Last night we wandered around the downtown area. We saw a few other couples who appeared to be Americans.

We’d had a big Mexican lunch in mid-afternoon, but wanted a little something. It was a lovely evening, shirtsleeve weather. We eventually chose an outdoor cafe in a little plaza. As we walked to a table, we passed a couple who looked American and exchanged friendly nods. When Kelly took a photo of the Sopa Azteca I had ordered, the man came over and offered in English to take a photo of both of us.

Here’s the soup, made with tortillas, avacados, and other goodies:

And here we are:

We chatted a little and ended up inviting them to join us at our table. We all had a lively conversation for a couple of hours.

They gave me permission to use their names in my blog but I’ll just use their initials, B&B, here, as I didn’t really give them fair warning how fully I might quote them!

They are in Mexico on a relatively short trip. They flew into Guadalajara and rented a car, and have gone to several small and medium-sized cities. This is not a vacation as such. It is an adventure, a search for a place they might like to live.

“Why?” I asked innocently, knowing full well what a loaded question that was.

They are very concerned about with how things are going in the United States. They don’t like  President Bush, they don’t like the evidence that the voting machines were rigged, they don’t like the war, and they think the economy is in trouble.

There’s a recent blog entry of mine that quotes another friend of ours who speaks of the same concerns, with some of my own reflections on them. I hesitated to blog about these matters so soon again, but it was so interesting to talk in depth with B&B that I want to go on more.

They are not yet decided whether to stay in the US and “fight the good fight” or whether to leave. I suggested that being unhappy with things at home was not reason enough by itself to move to Mexico, and it came out that they have been here before and loved the country. Their Spanish is extremely minimal but they are studying with the Pimsleur method for Spanish.

I got into playing Devil’s Advocate in part. One of their main concerns was that the American economy may take a major nosedive. I pointed out that Mexico is inextricably interwoven with the US and that if things are bad up north, they will be bad here too. They said that American influence is everywhere. While I agree, I do think that Mexico is more deeply connected with the US than most places are.

We swapped stories. The idea of living in a town with just a handful of foreigners, as we are doing, did not appeal to them, and I think that’s appropriate with their minimal Spanish. We all agreed that Guanajuto is a special place, and compared notes of our experiences there.

“What did you think of San Miguel de Allende?” I asked, since many foreigners with little Spanish live there.

Neither of them had liked it. They are friendly and outgoing people, and various Americans had been cold or rude to them. When the woman had said hi to some American college students, one of the students had complained, “Is it so obvious that I’m American?”

Around ten in the evening, we all strolled a couple of blocks to an Italian ice cream place Kelly and I had noticed earlier. I was surprised to notice that perhaps two dozen homeless people were bedding down for the night, mostly on pieces of cardboard and with blankets. One of the men said in English, “Hi, how are you?” to us. I noticed several elderly ladies, and one of them was crocheting by the light coming from a store window display. I once again felt grateful — as I have many times — that I am one of the privileged of this world.

After we parted from B&B, Kelly commented that we haven’t had this kind of conversation about the US that many times on this trip. Actually, we’ve talked with surprisingly few Americans. We’ve seen more Canadians and Germans in the off-the-beaten-path places we favor.

But we know that this kind of conversation, this deep concern for the well-being of the United States and often fear for the future, is going on all over the United States and abroad. We imagine that quite a few Americans are roaming Mexico and other places just as B&B are, dreaming of a better life.

There is a certain irony in this, since so many of our ancestors came to the United States for exactly the same reason. A better life. It’s also a part of our national character that I appreciate, our willingness to try something new.

As for B&B, they will soon go home, most likely put their house on the market this year whether they are leaving the US or not, and… ?


Here are the comments from the original blog post:

  • At April 18, 2007 9:24 PM, Blogger CC said…

    So glad to find your blog. After a recent trip to Mexico, my husband and I are seriously considering a move. We have a young daughter so won’t move for seven or eight years but want to start learning about where we may want to be. I look forward to learning from your experiences.

  • At September 03, 2007 9:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Just found your blog. My wife and I just returned from visiting our son and his wife who live in San Miguel de Allende. We had a most wonderful time. We fell in love with the place and the people and as a result, bought a house there and will be moving shortly to become full-time residents. We enjoy being around all kinds of people and are in no way trying to “avoid” Americans or other English speakers, but it being in an area where our native tongue is understood to some degree by “the locals” is a plus. We’re both retired and just turned 60. Realizing your post was 2 years old: I must add that we are moving because of the adventure of living in Mexico, the love of the country and of course, our family. We support our President, have and continue to support the War on Terror wherever it has to be fought, and we are fully invested in and true believers of the success of the American economy. Your explanation of the interconnectedness of our two countries was well put. I am enjoying your posting.

  • At September 03, 2007 10:26 AM, Blogger Rosana Hart said…

    Thanks for your comments. They provide balance to my own.

  • At September 06, 2007 3:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My wife and have been to Ajijic many times, and love it. We want to live at least part time in Mexico. We have noticed that while there we’re passing everybody on the sidewalks, it takes us afew days to slow down. The pace, the weather, and the people make it a wonderful place. So many people who have only been to border towns have no idea what Mexico is really like.

  • At December 19, 2007 4:48 PM, Blogger Rich said…

    Hi Rosanna,
    On my blog, http://freeend.blogspot.com I noticed a Google Adsense ad for an E-book entitled What You Should Know About Living in Mexico (or maybe Veracruz, cannot be sure and the thing is gone now). Since we are not supposed to be clicking ads on our blog I went looking for the book using Google search. Surprisingly, my search pointed me to John Calypso’s Viva Veracruz blog which had a link to your blog.
    Which, I am quick to say was a nice find. Perhaps since we seem to be on parallel paths you might like to cross link sites? I also co-moderate VisitXalapa@yahoogroups.com.

    Rich Collins
    Xalapa, Ver

  • At June 17, 2008 1:18 AM, Anonymous Hilary said…

    I was very relieved to find your blog.My husband,a Mexico native and myself (Irish)American soon plan to move to Mexico (Nuevo Casas Grandes),and I have had alot of fears of the unknown.We have 2 small children and I don’t speak much Spanish so your blog reminded me of all of the good wonderous things I can focus on and the beauty of the hispanic culture rather than just being a sheltered outsider.We currently live in the heart of a hispanic community and it is comparable to a very large extended family.Every family helps each other.Our decision was based largely on the steady decline of the US economy as well as the family ties.Thanks for your blog.

    Tulsa OK

2 Responses to “Americans Dreaming of a Better Life in Mexico”

  • Warning: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/rosanaha/public_html/mexicowithheart/wp-content/plugins/ultimate-google-analytics/ultimate_ga.php on line 524
    Shannon Iniguez says:

    I am considering a move to manzanillo, colima with my husband, a mexican native, and my two school age children. The children and I speak very little spanish. Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated.

  • Rosana says:

    I emailed Shannon before I saw this comment. Any readers with ideas, do post them, even if it's later… someone else will have the same question!

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