Feb 3, 2010, 7:16 PM
Post #11 of 47
Re: [cynthrod] Cost of living in Mexican cities
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1. When I MOVED to México full-time, twelve years ago, even though I had a LOT more than a passing acquaintance with the country and Mazatlán where I moved to, I STILL rented for 6 months before buying a SMALL house in a lower middle-class/working-class neighborhood where NO ONE spoke English (but the street was at least paved).
2. I gradually learned Spanish up to the point where now I can honestly say, «me defiendo», but at my age (OLD!) I doubt that I’ll ever become a sparkling conversationalist in Spanish, even though I use (and improve) my Spanish every day at home.
3. After I had been here four years an employee , mexicana, introduced me to a lady , mexicana también, who, after four more years agreed to marry me ¡POR FIN!, so we got married and now that I’m a Mexican citizen, I have adopted all four of her children. When I asked my employee (ex, by this time) why she hadn’t introduced us sooner, she said that my Spanish wasn’t good enough any earlier. :-(
4. I quickly discovered that even having a Mexican girlfriend (long before we got married) who didn’t speak English immediately made me “suspect” to the local, small gringo community, which made it impossible for us to attend the numerous in and out-of-tourist season gringo activities. The minute that ANY gringo discovered that la doña Mary didn’t speak English, they totally ignored her and directed their conversation solely to me. Let me tell you, that didn’t go over well with a beautiful, intelligent Mexican woman. Beautiful, intelligent women in ANY culture don’t accept being pointedly ignored!!! As a result, we stopped attending ANY event dominated by gringos, and I started concentrating on improving my Spanish so I could move more comfortably within her circle of family and friends and have never, not one minute, regretted the change. Mexicans know how to live, gringos know how to exist, and I prefer the latter.
5. Even though before la doña Mary I had begun adjusting my inner clock to a Mexican schedule, something that most gringos either can’t, don’t or refuse to do, now I fully live on a Mexican schedule, i.e., parties don’t start until about 10:30 PM and go until 5:00 AM, and meals are taken on a totally different schedule. Kids have to be in school by 7:00 or 7:30 AM and have to be picked up from school at 2:30 PM. My business has to open at 9:00 AM and doesn’t close until 7:00 PM, but since it’s a tourist business, we don’t have the Mexican luxury of closing from 2 until 4 for comida y siesta, darn it!
6. Since I’m a pretty good cook and enjoy cooking, I rarely went out to eat before and now only go out to eat when the whole family can go (Yep! All six of us and maybe the grandparents and the occasional in-law, niece or nephew, cousin or even just friend who happened to stop by) can go along with us. I had gradually adjusted all my recipes to use easily obtainable and inexpensive Mexican ingredients—or dropped them from my repertoire—so I slowly started cooking for the family and now that la doña Mary is a full-time university student pursuing a 5 yr. degree, do most of the cooking at my house (gracias a Dios for BIG crock pots!!!) My family enjoys my Mexican adaptations of gringo recipes and keeps my ego stroked so that I won’t stop doing the cooking. jejejeje
7. For many reasons, the top one being the ability to adopt Mary’s children, something that a non-Mexican cannot do, I applied for Mexican citizenship under the old regulation of at least 5 years legal residence in México regardless of visa (FM3 or FM2) and was finally accepted and allowed to take the test—which I aced, as I had just finished editing the new English language history of México, Gods, Gachupines and Gringos: A People’s History of Mexico by writer Richard Grabman (see the review right here on MexConnect).
8. Now I’m just leading la vida buena mexicana, that revolves around family, work, family, books, family, and an occasional reunión—often with more family—for entertainment.
9. BTW, that “work” isn’t just my little bookstore but now includes the only English-language publishing company in México and probably the only registered U.S. publishing company headquartered in México. We even have a U.S. office and an U.S. phone number that’s answered in Mazatlán.
10. Oh, forgot to mention that we bought a bigger house in the same neighborhood as the little house and poco a poco turned it into a much bigger house that would comfortably hold all six of us and LOTS of visiting family. Since we are the only ones in my extended Mexican family that both lives in a beach town AND has a big house, LOTS of relatives come to visit us—we even have several blow-up mattresses so they don’t have to sleep on the floor, as is common when Mexican family visits Mexican family.
Now THAT’S what I mean by going native; unfortunately, to their great loss, the expat community thought that “going native” meant speaking Spanish with a Mexican girlfriend.
lostinmex, I’m glad for you that you have wealthy, educated, English speaking Mexican friends. Unfortunately I don’t run in those social circles. But I have a question for you? Are you invited to their all-night, mostly Spanish-speaking, parties that start at 10 PM (or later), and if so, do you attend?
joaquinx, You obviously understand what I’m speaking of, but here in Mazatlán, MOST residents of those fancy, expensive gated communities are wealthy CHILANGOS!! We don’t get invited to their parties, either.
Hound Dog, Sorry, as you might have gathered by now I’m a he rather than a she and since “retiring” to México haven’t had the time or money to travel like I used to do on vacation. Come to think of it, I haven’t even had a vacation since I moved to México. It’s pretty difficult to find trustworthy, English-speaking Mexican employees who will work for the pittance a small English language (mostly used books) bookstore in Mazatlán can afford to pay after paying the rent necessary to be in the tourist zone where the bookstore has to be (outrageous).
morgaine7, You too get the idea with a little help from your friends! That was a GOOD friend that gave you the advice.