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When Mexico is adorable it is wonderfully so. Children chasing chickens in the yard, festivals of colors and lights and saints, spontaneous parades, palm trees, colonial architecture and cheap delicious street food are all undeniably very good things. But when Mexico is awful*, it is terribly so. We’ve discussed how there is not really anything you can do to fight it. In fact, the more you flail (metaphorically speaking) the more Mexico fights back, and it fights not fair. We’ve built a fortress of comfort so high maintenance it requires constant upkeep and occasionally falters under its own weight. Hanging a hammock is easier and more appropriate, but simply not our style.

The terrible storm that rocked us last Wednesday and knocked out power in half the house reminded us that we are fighting a losing battle. Mexico and Mother Nature conspire regularly to keep us humble. In ninth grade we learned about hubris. About men who flew too close to the sun. We were taught the names of the gods who were angered and that the lesson for humankind was…no wax wings? The moral of the story is lay low and don’t get cocky.

But we’re Americans, by gum shoe! And we believe in progress! We’re manifest destiners: adventurous of spirit and industrious of hand! We’re going to do something and do it right; nose to the grindstone, grist for the mill and other axioms of grit and profit and New England resolve. We are unwilling to be beaten by the elements and we work constantly to improve our conditions, to a point slightly beyond what the infrastructure is able to support. We’re installing 220 on the back of 110 and then we’re going to wrap some electrical tape around it all and shine a big ass spot light on it and call it Christmas in July, even when it’s March.

We’re not trying to tempt fate or usurp the glory of any pantheon of gods. We just want a nice life. We feel entitled to it. Because we’re Americans and it is the dream. And we are willing sweat and toil in the sun some. We’re not building skyscrapers in the sand, God-taunting Babel towers or Melmac-inspired architectural eyesores. It’s just a little house of awesome with all the creature comforts our hearts desire. If everyone could cooperate for a few months longer that would be terrific. In summary, I’m bored of Nortes and more grateful for electricity than I ever realized. Mexico is a fantastic place to visit, a state of mind a respite for the weary soul. But I’m ready for a change for the less vivid – hurry up months and fly, it’s time!

* though better than say, Libya

There Are 5 Responses So Far. »

  1. Libya can actually be a pretty nice place to live, though, like Mexico, you have to put up with some hassles.
    To my mind, the advantages outweigh the drawbacks.
    However, a change is as good as a holiday so I wish you all the best back in USA and we will all miss the two of you

  2. This post made me really sad, Jillian. The experience of moving to a different country is different for each of us, but I hardly feel like an American anymore. At least that’s not how I want to define myself, anyway. But you do – and you’re ready to jump back in. It’s hard to wait sometimes once you’ve made up your mind, isn’t it?

    I hope you find what you are looking for in the US… but if it is a low maintenance home it probably won’t happen with the weather you’ll encounter in Maine, either.

    I hope you’ll keep writing once you go back, I will miss your always thought provoking voice.

  3. I just don’t know right now, Nancy. I need perspective. I’m young and this is my first time living abroad. I am curious about how I will feel when we go back to the States and on our next adventure wherever and whenever that may be. My feelings for Mexico are conflicted; it never grabbed me and swept me off my feet, though I am very grateful for all the experiences and opportunities it afforded. I was particularly cranky pants the day I wrote this and it shows. I hope I find what I am looking for and soon! But I am happy often enough and I no matter where, I do plan to keep writing. Thanks for reading!

  4. and thanks to you too, Nan. Your breadth of life experience is inspiring. And that you are always smiling and so encouraging is amazing to me.

  5. Jillian, You are so smart and so tuned into yourself! I love you.

    I think you will love some things when you head back: your close circle of friends and family, a place that is built on entrepreneurship, shopping, being a part of a place that is part of the Future with a capital F.

    But I imagine you will miss the shy smiles from strangers daily, the challenge of a new language, the beautiful brown people with smiling eyes and the relaxed enjoyment of the present. Even the challenges of water filters and electricity will bring that inner smile.

    I imagine that one day – you’ll skip your way into a mall, thrilled with a stolen moment out of your busy day at Gap or Victoria’s Secret (I’m so out of it I have no idea) and you’ll encounter a bunch of sullen faced fat brats with brats of their own and you’ll stop dead in your tracks. And you’ll remember Mexico with a gasp that hits you like an appendicitis attack.

    Mexico can get under your skin.

    I know I can never go back except for short stints to visit loved ones and shop.

    I need to think about this more, I feel something welling up.

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