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Expat Perspective

Will moving to Mexico bring happiness? This question reminds me of the saying that “Money can’t buy happiness….but it helps!” Well, it does help having spring weather, all year. It is nice having a lower cost of living. And there is nothing wrong living in an area which is impressive in its physical beauty. Yet there is a significant difference living in an Expat enclave, versus living in a community of Tepoztecans  whose families have been here for generations, folks from Mexico City who live here, on weekends –and some who are here permanently, and Expats who are from a number of countries. We are getting ready to go to Guadalajara and visit Lake Chapala. There are a lot of American retirees there, with a great many living in an enclave environment. I believe the criteria for happiness will differ according to which kind of Expat you are talking to. There are many Expats living in Mexico City, including many younger folks who are there for business. Their criteria for happiness will be different than ours, though there is certainly overlap.

One common denominator for finding happiness, though is to look beyond the obvious external factors, to include the weather, cost of living, and natural surroundings. I believe it is important to have a way to adjust how you look at things that accentuates the positive. For example, we are in a week-long festival in our local barrio/neighborhood that includes fireworks, nearly 24/7, to include early morning and late at night. The first year, it was a novelty. The second year, I was tired off it. But this year, I tried to find a compromise. While it was no longer “new,” I found a way to enjoy it. I remember several things to form a way of experiencing the fireworks. One is to use the moment of awakening, early in the morning or late at night, to return to my earlier point of enjoying the novelty, but in a different way. So, I would hear the percussive reports, I remind myself – that’s right, I am in Tepoztlan, and this is “normal.” Loud noises would not be allowed, back in the U.S. – especially Columbia, MD. It is funny and charming.Even if it would be considered obnoxious, by folks, back home, that makes it funny, to me.

Another thing I remember about fireworks, is being fascinated by them, as a kid. I get a chance to relive that. I also enjoy the sensation of seeing a flash, in the sky, and then notice the delay in the sound of the firecracker reaching us. Once in a while, there are full-scale fireworks that are visually stunning, not just the fireworks. And to make the event seem even more fun, when I hear a barrage of firecrackers, I picture the Black Pearl, from “Pirates of the Caribbean,”  sailing into the harbor of Port Royal, trading fire with the fort, and remembering the havoc depicted, not only in the film, but in the Disney attraction in the Magical Kingdom.


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