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I can remember like it was yesterday, “have you seen the news?”, asked my parents, after I told them that I was moving way down south. Like most, when they heard “Mexico”, they automatically thought drugs, violence, El Chapo and a place that a born and raised American should not voluntarily want to be.
Don’t even get me started on my grandmother’s reaction. God bless her soul.
The idea came about after a trip to visit a girl that I met online who was from Chihuahua, Mexico. I first visited her in March of 2014 and immediately fell in love with the mountainous terrain, simplicity of life and the smell of food cooking as I walked the streets at night. I had never experienced anything like it. She was pretty awesome too and although things didn’t work out, it’s as if meeting her was a blessing in disguise as it opened me up to a completely different world.
We’re not talking about a “touristic” part of Mexico, but dead center where the people do not speak English and as a foreigner you’re on your own. As a thrill-seeker, I loved every bit of it and upon my return to the United States after a spending a week there, I knew it was just a matter of time before I officially set out on an adventure of a lifetime.
After seven months of preparation, research, making sure my business finances were good and that I’d still be able to work from abroad, the flight was booked! I told my family that I was heading out and will be gone for at least six months as that was the lease-term for the apartment I had waiting for me when I arrived.
Believe or not, those six months turned into two years. Here’s what I learned from my stay.
When It’s Cold, It’s Cold!
Living in the states all my life, I was accustomed to central heat, air, carpet and insulation. As you can probably imagine, I was about to be in for a rude awakening. Living in one of the finest areas of Chihuahua, Mexico with a rent price that was “cringe-worthy” for most residents, I felt as if I lived in an igloo during the winter.
Everything was concrete!
Eventually, I bought some good-sized gas heaters to put in each room of the apartment and although it was still cold, it helped. As time went on, I got used to the conditions and instantaneously became grateful for the luxuries that we have as Americans.
You Can Live Like A King If You’re Getting Paid In Dollars
One thing I learned very quickly, is that pesos only go so far when you’re getting paid in pesos. I had a chance to witness poverty like never before and was humbled even more because of this. As a digital marketer and business consultant, I was still getting paid in dollars from my clients, so the economic situation there didn’t affect me at all.
While most of my friends thought I was crazy for paying $400 (usd) per month for rent, I loved it as I knew in the states I would be living in the projects for that amount. The area I lived in was pretty nice and one of the safer parts of the city. Aside from that, I was able to eat out every single day because a meal didn’t cost me more than $3 (usd) in most cases.
If I was an actual resident and got paid in pesos, my living would’ve been a lot more frugal, but fortunately, I was in position to not have to worry so much about money. I was even able to be a blessing to the girl’s family I was with at the time and this made me even more appreciative to the entrepreneurial opportunities that were granted to me as an American.
I lived like a King there for under $1,000 per month which still blows my mind till this day.
Widespread Senior Living Affordability Problem
Another thing that really stuck out to me while living in Mexico, was the lack of governmental resources for senior living. Here in the states, when our loved ones are unable to take care of themselves any longer, it’s fairly easy to give them the long-term care that they need. In Mexico, I noticed that it’s the complete opposite and whether it’s because of the lack of nursery homes or the outrageous costs for the few that are there, most of the elderly were taken care of by family members.
The woman I was dating at the time, had a father who was in really bad condition and in their case, since it was only her and her mother, I could remember plenty of times when I had to go and pick him up when he fell in the shower or out of the bed. It was evident that he should’ve been in a nursery home as his condition declined, but there wasn’t any in their area.
On top of the widespread senior living issues, attentiveness to medical emergencies was a problem as well. I remember plenty of days when we had to wait over an hour for the ambulance to arrive to see about her father due to the absence of other men to help me put him in the car as he was overweight. Unfortunately, he passed away due to an unknown medical condition after some time.
Witnessing this made me very appreciative of the medical system that we have in the states.
Mexico Is The Most Beautiful Place On Earth
In my opinion, Mexico is one of the most beautiful places on planet earth and trust me, I’ve been to a lot of places. I had a chance to roam the country quite a bit and find a lot of “hidden gems”.
One place that you have to put on your bucket list before you leave this earth is “Creel, Chihuahua”. I can almost guarantee that the scenery will steal your heart as it did mine. I never ventured too far south because of the violence, but once I get the courage and the “ok” from God, that’s next on my bucket-list as I would like to meet some of the people there called “Afro Mexicans”. I have a friend who has the guts to visit the places where they reside such as “Acapulco”, but honestly, I don’t quite have the courage just yet. It’s beautiful, but a tad bit more dangerous further down south.
Where Am I Now?
After living in Mexico from 2014 to 2016, I moved back to Dallas, Tx which is where I currently reside. Although my life there was amazing, at the end of the day I missed my family. I missed seeing people of color as I only met two other African Americans during the entire two-year stay. This was probably the hardest part for me as I didn’t have anyone that could relate to me culturally or that liked deep fried chicken and sweet tea on Sundays. They wanted me to eat tostados after church, TOSTADOS! This hurt my soul at first, but I got used to it.
I missed that “sense of security” as well. I can’t tell you how many times the battery was stolen from my car even living in a good neighborhood or the amount of times that police officers tried to extort me for money.
Overall, it wasn’t perfect, but what is? I had a chance to learn and see a lot of things that I’ll never forget. Do I plan on moving back? I guess time will tell.
If you’re reading this and considering moving to a place like Mexico, be sure to study Spanish a lot to make your life there better. Also, make plenty of friends with people who know English so that they can help you out in the beginning of your journey. Lastly, relax and understand that if you’re not there looking for trouble, you won’t find it.
Other than a few crooked police officers and about four stolen batteries, I didn’t have any problems out of anybody. The people were super friendly and looked out for me as much as possible. I was never into partying or doing drugs so I didn’t have to worry about the consequences that come with that lifestyle. I was there to explore, sight-see, eat lots of food, meet new people and that’s exactly what I did.
“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta