Mar 31, 2011, 3:20 PM
Post #49 of 62
I, too, expected some evidence of anti-American sentiment when I moved down 4 years ago. After all, Mexico has been getting a bad rap in the US forever, and some of it extremely vicious. I live in Ajijic, but have traveled extensively over a great part of Mexico. In all that time, I only met one Mexican who was unpleasant to me. He was a "big city" Guadalajaran visiting Ajijic, and I think his problem was that he was basically a jerk, not that he was anti-American.
Overwhelmingly, I have found Mexicans to be warm, friendly, almost invariably courteous, and ready to assist and even open their homes to me with no expectation of gain. I found myself so astonished by this, since it ran so diametrically against my expectations, that I took to asking Mexicans I encountered about whether they thought the presence of so many foreigners was always a positive thing. The universal response was "of course!" The reasons varied, sometimes economic: "foreigners provide so many jobs" and sometimes that they saw foreigners as generous with their money and assistance to local charities, and sometimes a considerable admiration was expressed for aspects of the American or Canadian culture, such as our high levels of voluntarism and dynamism.
Now, if this response just happened sometimes, or was given grudgingly, or in otherwise suspect circumstances, I would have thought, "oh, they're just telling me what they think I want to hear." But the responses seemed so forthright, genuine, spontaneous, and above all universal that I can't help but think they were real. I will grant that these were only my personal experiences, and that others may have different ones, but they are the experiences of 4 years of interactions all over Mexico.
I just hope that I and other Americans in Mexico will continue to act in ways that will deserve all those positive feelings from our Mexican hosts.