By Victoria Schmidt
Getting the Most out of Mexico
We each have our individual reasons for coming to Mexico. Some come to visit, while others come to stay. It is not an easy thing to pull up roots and move to another country, especially when we are older; yet so many of us have.
I think it takes a certain type of personality to even consider a move to another nation. I also believe that is one reason why so many people form such deep friendships here. We already have one thing in common. I’m not sure if we are adventurous, courageous, fool-hearty, whimsical, or just plain daring, but whatever it is, here we are.
But not everyone stays here. Some try living here for a time, then return to their country of origin. Others stay for a while, and try another location in Mexico, while others may try another country. I try to remember what my expectations were when I first moved here. In my own heart, I was moving away from a place that just wasn’t meeting my needs anymore, and I moved to a place that was new, warm, beautiful, colorful, interesting, and somewhere that I felt completely at home. Yet, I was the foreigner.
I began learning things right away. As a “WASP” White Anglo-Saxon-Protestant, I became a member of a minority for the first time in my life. I suddenly began to understand more about what it is to be a minority. I had always wondered why all the Chinese people lived in Chinatown, for example. Now I knew, they want a piece of their own culture.
As I began to understand Spanish, I also began to understand how many words in the “English” language came from the Spanish language. I saw many commonalities and many differences. And, I found that if I kept my mind open, I would experience and come to admire many of the differences.
I see many couples come here, and leave each other. I don’t know if it is because of our age that so many relationships fall apart at retirement? Or was it because one person loved it here and the other person didn’t?
One thing I found when I started to ask people why they were leaving, and the most common answer was “My spouse just doesn’t like it here.” When I asked more questions, I began to develop my own theory. I was usually talking to one-half of the couple, so I didn’t get the whole picture, but what I was seeing was that the unhappy one was the one that stayed at home, didn’t venture out much, didn’t join any groups, do any volunteer work, and basically never became a part of the community here. They never really left their country of origin, and they wouldn’t feel whole again until they returned there.
Family is the second largest reason I see people leave. They want to be closer to their families. Everyone can understand that. I’d like it if my family would visit here so they can experience the love I have for this country and its people. But travel to Mexico isn’t something people want to do, save that of the resort industry. (Which I say has little resemblance to the real Mexico.)
If you have friends or loved ones who are considering a move to Mexico, I would hope that you talk with them about why they want to be here—because the best way to get the most out of living in Mexico is to live here, in the moment. Get involved. Discover all that Mexico has to offer.
Column: Editor’s Page
Victoria Schmidt came to Mexico with her husband, in 2007. She is a graduate of Moorhead State University, Minnesota and graduated Cum Laude with a BA degree in Radio, Television and Film. At 23 she was hired at multi-national media corporation, where she worked 10 years as their Director for Operations and Finance. She then ran her own business consulting company. She has won multiple community service awards. Writing has been a passion of Victoria’s since Junior High. She has been active in the writing and publishing business for over 40 years and has been a columnist for the Ojo del Lago since 2008.