Welcome to Mexico!
By Victoria Schmidt
My Mother would have loved Mexico. The idea of living in Mexico never occurred to her. My parents had their retirement all planned, and that included Arizona, not Mexico. But that was not to be. After all, when they were planning their retirement, Mexico was just a Third World Nation with “problems.”
Mom loved bright colors. I grew up in the only purple house in our town of 13,000 people. My neighbors learned to live with it. While I was in college, she finally relented and painted the house a different color: Florescent coral. She loved gardens and flowers and would have loved to spend all her time here, where there are colors year round. Even she and her black thumb (which I inherited) would have been able to grow things in her garden, if she were here in Mexico. My banana tree hasn’t failed me yet.
Music was my mother’s passion. Elvis was her absolute favorite, but she would have loved to dance the Salsa, even the Tango if she could find a partner. (Dad didn’t dance.) She loved to celebrate, and dancing always thrilled her and she kept the Senior Center rocking after my Dad died. She hated living in Minnesota--especially the winters. She would have loved the climate here. The thing is, I don’t think it would have ever occurred to her to even think about moving to another country, let alone Mexico. For her, Arizona was adventure enough.
I often think of my sisters. In all the time I’ve lived here, they’ve never come to visit. They may make it to Coco Beach or South Padre Island, but they just can’t bring themselves to cross that border. Well, one does get off a cruise ship about once every three years to shop half a day in Puerta Vallarta. They are busy with their families. And they are lost in the constant rush and stress of life in the USA. I also believe they have bought into the fear mongering about Mexico that is so prevalent in the USA right now.
What a terrible loss for them. I feel badly that they haven’t experienced the Mexico that I love so much. I would love them to experience the Mexican people as I have experienced them although I did get a note from one of my sister’s telling me she is “beginning to understand why I am so fond of the Mexican people.” Maybe there is still a chance.
On my last trip to the USA, as I was going through customs, traveling alone, the Latin-American customs agent asked me “Aren’t you afraid to live in Mexico?” Now this surprised me! “Of course not! I feel safer than I ever did when I lived in the USA.” He just shrugged his shoulders and told me to have a nice visit. On the return trip, there was great concern for a woman “my age” traveling alone to Mexico. While I laugh it off, it saddens me that they cannot see Mexico through my eyes.
I have found that the Mexican people are loving, generous, are proud of their country and they are certainly more accepting of immigrants than what I read coming out of the USA right now. Is it all perfection and goodness and light? No, there are problems in Mexico as in any nation. But here I see a people who are working hard to address the problems. I feel fortunate that my husband and I have been welcomed to Mexico for our retirement.
It is a shame my mother never was able to experience Mexico.
Column: Editor’s Page
Victoria Schmidt came to Mexico with her husband, in 2007. She is a graduate of Moorhead State University, Minnesota and graduated Cum Laude with a BA degree in Radio, Television and Film. At 23 she was hired at multi-national media corporation, where she worked 10 years as their Director for Operations and Finance. She then ran her own business consulting company. She has won multiple community service awards. Writing has been a passion of Victoria’s since Junior High. She has been active in the writing and publishing business for over 40 years and has been a columnist for the Ojo del Lago since 2008.