Aug 16, 2006, 8:54 PM
"The Brick Wall and Expats." A rather interesting concept.
First of all I have been here 18 years now and have built my own home. When I first came to Jerez de García Salinas in Zacatecas there were two gringos living here as full time residents. They had moved here from Long Beach because they were starving there. The rental costs ate up all their meager income. There were other part-time gringos: a missionary, an artist from Minnesotaa, an anthropologist who had fallen in love with Jerez when he worked as a youngster on the ruins at La Quemada, but lived in Winsconsin. No others.
Now with that background, I would like to know first of all where Jennifer got her statistics. It seems normal to me that people coming here to live in Mexico would determine within the first 5 years or so that they they were unhappy here and go somewhere more to their liking. I am a bit surprised about the 5 year cut-off. I would have assumed that two years maximum was a more likely period.
As the years went by, here in Jerez, we built up to a maximum of some 40 gringos as full time residents. That has now dropped to about 25 or so. But not because our resident gringos didn't like Mexico but because they have either died, moved to other locations in Mexico, or yes returned to the United States.
For example: Two were asked to leave by the authorities after they got into trouble with drugs. Rather than being thrown into jail as required by Mexican law, they were politely asked to leave and given the opportunity to do so. They left without taking any possesions except clothing. Two other gringas, not related, and completely independently in differemnt years, decided to go back to the USA after one-year trials. Three men and one woman died here in Mexico.
All our other lost permanent residents have moved to other regions in Mexico for one reason or another. Currently we have a long-time resident pair now living in Patscuaro where they bought a house. Wife is an artist. Another pair now living in Ajijic. They inherited money and could afford the move. One man moved to a small village near San Luis Potosí to be nearer to the Huichol Indian culture passing through the area on the way to Real de Catorce. One lady is in La Manzanilla but finding the costs excessive is trying to get back here. A widow had to return to the USA for health reasons and lack of money here. Another widow with resperatory problems moved to Colima because the altitude was getting to her. An artist living on a trust income returned to Colorado to fight with his trustee for a liveable income. Etc.
Now as to the attitude of our small gringo community as to gringo support groups; how to answer that question? First of all we don't have any such groups. Second when the local mayor proposed forming a local gringo society the response was a rotound negative. Don't ask me why. Third the women here who were part of married couples joined with the solteras to form informal groupings for coffee, church, dinners in the home, scrabble, etc. We solteros tend to be more satisfied without the social amenities. We all have been happy with the arrival of a Lutheran Missionary who has established a Lutheran Mission (successfully by the way). We can look forward to a professional who will assist in times of stress, and if need be, help with disposition of our bodies. Those early deaths I spoke of required more voluntary effort from the remaining gringos than some of us really cared to give.
Long-termers not associating with short-termers: This seems true only in larger populations where the short-termers tend to be tourists. Melaque, Morelia, Barra de Navidad, Ajijic, and numerous other locations.
In small towns such as Jerez, that is not true. We long-termers are always happy to see new residents. We get a bang out of helping them adjust to beloved Mexico, and that adjustment is NOT as easy as some people think. So, they really need and appreciate our help. This tends to make for a close-knit well-adjusted society, although there are always one or two people who want to be left alone. But the rest of us still worry about them and try to step in when it might be necessary.
It also tends to hurt some of our more trusting long-term residents and natives when some gringo "confindence man"comes along and milks what he can from our too-willing to help one another gringo residents. In my 18 years here we have had two such frauds pass through town with varying results. The last one milked a local hotel for a full week of rent and meals, some $2000 pesos of free rides from a taxi driver, and various amounts from our gringo society.
Does all this answer Jennifer's questions? I hope so. The answer has been long, but then Jennifer's and my experiences have been completely different. So have yours.
(This post was edited by jerezano on Aug 16, 2006, 9:16 PM)