One of my students asked me last week whether I still feel like a tourist in Mexico. I’ve been here very nearly five years, so….no. Not really. Not all of the time, anyway. But I don’t feel like I’m a Mexican either. Or even that Mexico is truly ‘home’. Other bloggers sometimes post about Mexico, pointing out that it is now home. One of the expats I know best in the country declares Mexico to now be home. But I don’t.
I think the biggest difference between me and aforementioned others, is that I moved here with a view to stay a year or two. Maybe three. It’s turned into five. It will come close to six. But it’s never been in my mind that I’d be here forever. I’ve never made a big investment in my life in Mexico, except perhaps, with the turtles. Other than them there is nothing holding me here. A killer career, a mortgage or other sizable loan. I have a wife, that is true. But she wants to make the UK her home, so it doesn’t count. I’m also reminded with every trip through the front door, by every person I meet, that I’m different. Not from these parts. Is it truly possible to feel a clearly foreign place is home? As in, where the heart is, and more.
I am not enfranchised here. The UK general election that will occur in a couple of months is of far greater importance to me. I follow Mexican football, but I can’t quite get up the passion I have for Liverpool FC, and I will cheer on the team in white and blue at the World Cup, although I wish the short guys in green the best of luck too. They’ll need it. By the bucketful.
It’s not that I feel unwelcome in Mexico. It’s not that I don’t enjoy living here – I do. I could stay here a lot longer, quite happily. But I have wondered how to describe my presence here in terms that go beyond ‘immigrant’. Something with the descriptive power of ‘home’. In transit? Too vague. Temporary resident? I was looking for a single word. Purgatory? Closer, perhaps! Maybe I should just settle for ‘guerro’. It means little, but at least everyone knows what it means.
To follow on from previous posts and comments – to blog or not to blog from London? I’ve been running this blog on one platform or another for nearly 7 years. A year and half of that I was in the UK. Blog entries from there? Zero. Apart from my two week holiday last year. The thing is, London is and always will, I suspect, be home. I’d like to think I’ll view my home country with new eyes after my Mexican adventure. But I’ll have less free time on my hands, I am sure. We’ll have to see.
One day I may return. We;ve talked about it. Save five thousand British pounds annually, and in just ten years there’s enough in the piggy bank for a very nice home in Merida. Another suggestion I got was to simply stay in Mexico. Tempting. There is another solution, although the logistics of making is a reality seem a little daunting…