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Moving to Mexico is a journey of the heart

Wrapping your brain around the idea is quite a process, but we all have to do it if we're going to remake our lives south of the border

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Joanna van der Gracht de Rosado
Joanna van der Gracht de Rosado
Joanna van der Gracht de Rosado is a writer, artist and educator from British Columbia, Canada. She has lived in Merida, Yucatan, since 1976, where she co-founded the TTT school and raised two children. Joanna blogs at Changes In Our Lives.
A wooden sign points to ‘Mexico’.

For some reason, some time ago you started to consider a move to Mexico. But you have no idea why. You can’t find the words to explain it to yourself, let alone to other people. For a long while you don’t even try. It’s your fantasy world.

But after getting used to the idea, you start taking baby steps into your dream world.

You watch “Home Hunters International” episodes until you’ve memorized the dialogue. You hit on Mexico real estate websites until the listings’ lingo seems familiar: fixer-upper in trendy area … move-in-today condition … recently renovated colonial … close-to-the-beach … right in the Centro …

You read about others’ experiences living in Mexico by following a blog or two. Next, you join a Facebook group, and then another, and another. You buy a couple of books and watch movies about “Mexican life.” It feels so intriguing, exciting, invigorating.

But it gets scary when you read reports about narco violence, police corruption, real estate rip-offs, political wrong-doing, poor customer service, poor internet connections, endless bureaucracy, serious tummy trouble, and more.

But in all fairness, you contrast this information with the smiling images you see online. You start making allowances for the negative stuff that happens south of the border and remind yourself that unsavory characters lurk in the shadows of your hometown too. As for political wrongdoing, those who live in glass houses…

Nonetheless, you have never lived in a place where you don’t understand the language, the laws, the day-to-day customs. If anything terrifying actually happened, you doubt your coping skills would be up to the task. But your fascination doesn’t go away. There is so much beauty in Mexico. The country is seducing you. So you take the next big step. You share your hopes and dreams with a few close family members and friends. Before long you’ve also mentioned this to the barista at your local café, the waiter at the Mexican restaurant you’ve started going to, people sitting next to you in line at the doctor’s office…

Maybe one of them will be able to help you sort through your conflicting feelings.

Reactions are mixed. Really mixed. But generally speaking, the younger bunch tend to see moving to Mexico as an adventure, and they tell you to be sure to rent or buy a house with a pool, because they’ll visit you. The people about your age and older caution you. They warn that this would be a foolhardy move.

Whose advice do you follow?

Bottom line: You so-o-o-o need a new kick at the can. You are positive that you don’t want to spend the rest of your life as a boring old dude or dudette. You want to wake up to warmer weather every morning. You want to see rich colorful scenery, not beige landscapes. You want music around you and to hear children’s voices. You want to spice up your food. And your life.

So you go for it. You register at the Mexican consulate. You sell your house, disperse the belongings you can stand parting with, you give up your car and arrange to ship or carry whatever you feel must accompany you.

This is your journey of the heart, a leap of faith, a step into the unknown, this is really happening. YOU ARE MOVING TO MEXICO.

You feel your fate is sealed. There’s no turning back. Ye gods… what have you done?

You settle down and wait out the final days. You don’t share your worries with anyone. You glibly talk about all that is to come as though you’ve got a handle on it. Absolutely.

D-Day arrives (Departure Day, not the other D-Day) You board the plane, or pull your jam-packed vehicle into the southbound lanes of the freeway, and you’re off.

What happens next? You take a deep breath. You know that’s up to you.

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