Not everyone likes everything I write.
For example, consider this email I received from Monique after my most recent Forbes article:
“You don’t relay stories of your life, you try to get people to move to México so you can make money shipping their stuff. Stop it. It’s disingenuous. It’s bad for Mexico. You’re selfish and no different than a religion peddler. I’ll let Forbes know, you’re not telling the whole truth about yourself or about Mexico.”
Monique is in no way unique; I get attacked like this all the time. After a similar outburst from several Monqiues a few years ago, in an effort to balance out my happy stories about living in Mexico, I wrote The Top 7 Worst Things About Living in Mexico. Guess what happened? I got attacked… by the other side.
Full disclosure: After moving here to Mexico and not being able to find a good moving company, I started my own, Best Mexico Movers. To some people, having a commercial interest in Mexico disqualifies everything I write, while others are willing to take this into consideration and then also consider what I’m saying. After all, I do live here, too, and I wouldn’t do so if it weren’t good for my family or for me.
Let’s consider another email I received, coincidently, just minutes after I received Monique’s rather unpleasant and pointed accusations. This one was from Jane, a client we recently moved here.
“We made it into the house for Christmas and had three of our kids here. They loved it. We love it too and life here is better than we ever imagined!!! Thank you for all you did for us.”
How can Monique and Jane have such different responses about living in Mexico? Here are my top theories and observations:
- Some people just have a bad attitude. In a quote that is variously attributed to Confucius, Jesus Chris or, on a sillier note, Buckaroo Banzai, “Wherever you go, there you are.” If people like Monique weren’t unhappy about living in Mexico, they would be unhappy about something else. Living in Mexico just enhances their unhappiness and gives them a plausible (to them) excuse for complaining and attacking others with experiences different than theirs.
- If you have no money, don’t come to Mexico. The reason is that, if you have no US dollars, you’ll most likely live in Mexico like a Mexican who has very few resources. If I were a poor American, I would prefer to live in the US rather than in Mexico, because for an American, living as a poor Mexican in Mexico would most likely be a nightmare. On the other hand, if I had even close to a middle-class amount of US dollars and a good attitude, living in Mexico can be a dream come true. (By the way, as I explain in other articles, Mexicans living in Mexico who are materially poor by US standards can have a very, very good life, by some measures, much better than middle-class and wealthy Americans living in the US.)
- Consistent with the bullet above, if you are desperate, don’t come to Mexico. In my moving business, people will tell me why they want to move to Mexico. A not insignificant number tell me it’s in order to qualify for the Mexican public health system. This is a very bad idea, and I tell them so, clearly. If you have US dollars, the healthcare here in Mexico is almost indescribably great; much better than in the US, and at a fraction of the cost. If you don’t have US dollars, like the bullet above, you’ll be in the system in Mexico for poor people. If you’re an American in this situation, it is better to stay in the US.
For example, about a week ago, the power went off for several hours at our home. Given that I work on the Internet (and I work a lot), with no Internet, I can’t work, so I had to find a place with power and an Internet connection that would allow me to set up shop.
My wife’s solution was for me to drive down the hill where we live and make a quick left into the parking lot of the local spa/hotel right on the lake, where they set me up in their business center, with good Internet, a nice desk, a view of the pool, and a good restaurant that would deliver to where I was working. I was up and running in about twelve minutes from leaving my home, all with a very nice view and wonderful people who kept asking me if I would like coffee or more water. (Given that I sometimes pick up packages there for an extremely low price and also use their spa from time to time, also at a very reasonable price, they didn’t charge me anything; not even a single peso.)
All in all, it was even a nice break from working in my office and I was very easily able to turn a problem into a pleasant change of pace. In a few hours, when my wife texted me that the power was back on at our home, I paid less than the equivalent of $5 for my lunch and about seven minutes later, was back at my own home office, looking at the lake, with my own Internet. All in all, not a bad day.
I assume that if the power went off for Monique, she would have a different story to tell.
In 2016, my wife and I decided to try life abroad; selling, giving away or putting into storage anything that wouldn’t fit into a large, white van, in which we and our two dogs toured the best-known expat areas in Mexico, staying in vacation homes along the way, all while knowing very little Spanish. More recently, I created Best Mexico Movers to move our clients’ household goods to and from Mexico. It is from this background and perspectives that I write for you about life and retirement abroad. I hope you enjoy it.
The Mazatlan Post