I remember well the first year I spent in Mexico, and all the gringos and other assorted foreigners I met on my daily grind. There’s an inevitable question that pops up during the introductory conversation. “So how long have you been here anyway? Forever, I’ll bet.”
No, not forever, I’d reply. A little sheepishly. Just a year. Then about a year later, my tour of duty hit two years. But everyone I met could boast of three, four or sometimes five years service. Occasionally even longer. I felt almost inadequate. Although, thanks to my three month back packing adventure in 2003, few had seen as much of Mexico as I. A small consolation. quantity beats quality in this conversation.
It’s not really a competition, of course. Though no one wants to be a ‘n00b’. These days, with a commendable five and a bit years active duty behind me, the tables are turned in my favour when that inevitable question arises. There’s still, now and again, someone who’s been around a wee bit longer. But it doesn’t matter any more. Five years makes me a veteran.
The thing is, no one stays forever. Except for the very, very occasional hardcore Mexophile. But in DF, that’s pretty rare. The average foreigner is here to teach English, or working for a foreign company, and a year or two is as long as they last. Then they find they can’t take the spicy chili’s anymore, or the crowds, or the smog, or even the people. Or they just feel the need for either change or home. And off they go on adventures new.
I’ve seen the comings and goings of a veritable collection of international guests. From England, France, Canada, the US, Germany and more. Some I keep in touch with, many I don’t. All have a place on my Flickr portfolio, even if they didn’t quite earn a place in my heart.
The latest departure is Sofia, from Brighton, England . Two years she made it. Not bad at all. She’s catching a plane in just a few minutes in fact, at the time of writing. It’s a little reminder that for most of us, no matter how well Mexico treats us, no matter how much fun we have, DF is a temporary stop on the journey of life. It’ll be my turn next, in just five months.