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How Mexico will attract 5 million U.S. retirees Maggie Van Ostrand

About one million U.S. expats already live in Mexico, and that number can grow to five million by 2025, according to estimates based on U.S. Census figures. And healthcare costs in Mexico are approximately 70 per cent lower than healthcare costs in the U.S. Nine Mexican hospitals have already been certified by the U.S. Joint International Commission, and others are currently awaiting certification. read more

New Year's Non-Resolutions Maggie Van Ostrand

Windshield wipers. You probably think they always came on cars, but they didn't. In fact, some taxis today, at least in Mexico, have them but they don't work and when it rains, the cabbie has to hang out the driver's window and swipe at the windshield with a greasy rag.

So next time you're driving in the rain, say thanks to a lady from Alabama, Mary Anderson, who invented and patented the windshield wiper in 1905. I only wish they put one on each of the side view mirrors. read more

The crookedest Christmas tree Maggie Van Ostrand

One long-ago year, my Dad was out of work, much as fathers are today, but he was determined we'd have a tree just the same. All four of us, Dad, Mom, my sister and I, went to McNally's, the local man who sold trees just once a year. We couldn't afford any of his trees, except the worst looking thing on the entire lot. To call it "scrawny" would've been a compliment. It had a skinny trunk an 8-year-old could put her thumb and forefinger completely around and it was not blessed with more than half a dozen nearly bald branches. Besides all that, it tilted like the Tower of Pisa. My sister and I looked at each other in teary dismay. read more

Why don't doctors ask Josefina in Mexico? Maggie Van Ostrand

Josefina is the woman who, when I was bitten by a scorpion and hysterically yelling for help, simply went to the top shelf of her kitchen cabinet, withdrew a glass jar containing a dead scorpion in sticky fluid, and applied the fluid to my wound. "Voila!" The pain immediately subsided, and that was the end of my trauma.

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Josefina: you got to know when to fold 'em Maggie Van Ostrand

When Kenny Rogers sang, "Ya got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em … " in his hit, "The Gambler," he was singing about more than playing cards, he was singing about life with Josefina. ... read more

Cejas and the great escape: Dog rescue in Tijuana Maggie Van Ostrand

A warm-hearted missionary rescues a Tijuana street dog and smuggles him across the border to a new home in California. read more

Juanita and the president: Obama's Mexican connection Maggie Van Ostrand

Juanita, newly arrived from Zacatecas, and who has no reason in the world to make things up, admitted to being in love with the new American President. read more

From conspicuous consumption to conspicuous frugality Maggie Van Ostrand

Ever since Al Gore sounded the alarm about global warming, everyone on earth is aware that mankind (an oxymoron if ever I heard one) must preserve itself and the environment if it is to survive. We mus... read more

Wishes Instead of Resolutions Maggie Van Ostrand

For a change, this year I'm not going to fool around with a list of resolutions to alter my behavior, resolutions that have always been elasticized by my characteristic rationalization. There's always ... read more

My first Christmas in Mexico Maggie Van Ostrand

Everyone who relocates to Mexico sooner or later cooks a big holiday dinner for visiting family and friends. My first Christmas, everyone I ever knew, casually met, or went to high school with, showed ... read more

English, and how she is spoken Maggie Van Ostrand

Global economy just can't be ignored any longer, no matter how hard I try. To keep up with the times and learn at least one more language while still keeping things simple, Spanish seemed a good choice... read more

Expatriate writers in Mexico and the six-word memoir Maggie Van Ostrand

Some expatriates muse knowingly that retirement is a state of bliss, while others declare emphatically that it's the State of Jalisco. So much to do and for once, so much time in which to do it. Many r... read more

La Llorona: does she seek your children? Maggie Van Ostrand

"Don't go near the water," mothers caution their children, "You might drown." Good advice, but it has another meaning in Mexico and Texas. Moms living near the Rio Grande are protecting their children ... read more

Ajijic: the way we were Maggie Van Ostrand

In the ancient Nahuatl language, Ajijic means "The Place Where Water Springs Forth." This year marks the 40th anniversary of an historic event: the Great Geyser Eruption. It is said to have been the ta... read more

The Widow Tamez, accidental expatriate Maggie Van Ostrand

Back in the old days of Pirate Island, an island only by definition, located along the Rio Grande near Ysleta and San Elizario in El Paso County, Mexico and the U.S. had a boundary by treaty mdash; the... read more

Border promotions, or the Mexico two-step Maggie Van Ostrand

"You can become anything or anyone you like the day you cross the border," they tell us when we arrive in Mexico. They're right. In Ajijic, a man wearing a U.S. Navy cap and respectfully referred to a... read more

Stars shine in sunny Mexico Maggie Van Ostrand

Along with many other expatriates living in Mexico, we occasionally hear of a famous one who lives, or once lived, among us. We know that Helen Hayes, Erich Fromm and Maurice Evans lived in Cuernavaca... read more

Elvira Arellano: saint or sinner? Maggie Van Ostrand

When Elvira Arellano illegally crossed the U.S. border in 1997, she had no idea that one day, she would become a beacon of light in the darkness of U.S. immigration politics, nor that Time magazine wou... read more

Oaxaca: what is it like? Maggie Van Ostrand

Interactive map of Oaxaca What is it like in Oaxaca? It's like no other place in all of Mexico. It is as close to a true mixture of the various Mexican cultures as can be found. Visitors to Oaxaca Cit... read more

Honeybees: have they emigrated to Mexico? Maggie Van Ostrand

There's been a big U.S. flap over the fact that honeybees seem to have gone missing. North Americans are becoming alarmed that, without pollination, foods such as almonds, apples, blueberries, peaches,... read more

Christmas shopping with the sliding US dollar Maggie Van Ostrand

This Christmas will really test a person's ability to stretch a dollar, especially a U.S. dollar, since we've been watching it shrink for quite awhile now. It certainly isn't necessary for big-mouth m... read more

A modern day Rio Grande ferry tale Maggie Van Ostrand

The sun was shining, the breeze was gentle and Mark Alvarez was in a really good mood. "People call me all day when it starts raining," he said. They call because they need to find out if they'll be ab... read more

Ghosts, goblins and Gonzales-Gonzales Maggie Van Ostrand

I am the ghost of Pedro Gonzales-Gonzales, a guy so nice, they named me twice. My mother was a Mexican dancer known as "La Perla Fronteriza" who once danced for Pancho Villa and his men. You can imagin... read more

The fence along the Mexican border Maggie Van Ostrand

The English-speaking people of the world aren't always as smart as, say, Stephen Hawking who writes about cosmic stuff like time, black holes and the universe, but wouldn't you think the people in char... read more

Say Bartender, make mine tuna on the rocks Maggie Van Ostrand

In the Bible, Jesus turns water into wine and multiplies two fishes into enough to feed 12,000 people, including women and children. Can China top that? Seems as though they're going to try. Sun Keman... read more
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