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Monday, March 7, 2011

Second Guessing

Remember my "What if" from yesterday that touched on the violence in Mexico?  Remember how confident and level-headed I seemed??  Well........

So, this morning I was looking at an expat forum, and read a horror story about these two older couples who were beaten terribly and robbed and all but left for dead, written by an expat living in Guanajuato.  It was extremely disheartening and really fear-inducing, the kind of post that makes you second guess yourself in deciding to move to Mexico.  As I sit here at my computer in our little house in Minnesota, looking out the window at the snow, a product of a weather system that has proven itself to be psychologically unbearable for us (can you say "Seasonal Affective Disorder??), I weigh our options.  I think of our son, who will be starting kindergarten in the fall.  The long, ugly, ranting, ominous warning of a post from that expat resonates in my brain and conjures up unspeakable scenarios in my mind. 

Geez.  It sort of gets me PO'd that she wrote that post.  But am I annoyed because I think she is just a bitter gringa who regrets her decision and wants to sour everyone else's milk, or is it because she's fostering the very doubts that I've had floating around in my mind and I don't want my hopes of a new life to be shot down?    I think of possible dangers that could befall us, but I don't know if I'm just getting myself all worked up for no good reason, or if I should heed her warning and rethink our decision. 

I absolutely, unequivocally, LOVE Mexico.  The time that I spent living there back in the mid-90s was just wonderful; life-changing.  I want my son to experience it, to soak in the culture so that he will identify with that part of himself in a deeper way than just eating at the local Mexican restaurants or participating in the community-sponsored Latino events here in Minnesota.  But I don't want this immersion experience at the expense of his safety.  Will his light-brown hair and my blue eyes make us moving targets for kidnappers?  We definitely have no monetary advantages to entice any criminals, but maybe they won't realize that.  I mean, according to this gringa in Guanajuato, we should be looking over our shoulders at every turn.  I hope she knows what kind of fear a post like that can induce in a person.  To be fair, much of what she said in her post was true; she not only wrote of dangerous situations in Mexico but also of the potentially uncomfortable situations that a more, shall we say, pampered gringo would suffer.  But I'm not worried about avoiding drinking tap water or watching our step on the cobblestone sidewalks.  My main concern is that we would suffer some sort of violence. 

We can't continue the lifestyle we've been living here.  A change is absolutely necessary.  I am not going to give up on our ideals where our family is concerned.  I feel it in my bones; my son is in store for a culturally rich life and broadened horizons.  I don't feel like staying here is the right thing to do.  At least not for now.  So what do I do about these fears?


  1. Good luck deciding Lorraine. The only way I am able to deal with the violence issue is to think that no matter where I am anything could happen whether it was here in cali or in mexico. Personally I hate watching the news here in the states because you always hear about how some crazy person went and killed their whole family or about all the poor little kids that are kidnapped and never returned to their families, the drug problems, the list could go on and on. To me there is not really a "safe" place to be in the world today. I can not put myself in your shoes because I dont have kids but I wish you luck and hope you and your family are happy with whatever decision you come to.

  2. Thanks, Lisa. It's not that I've changed my mind. It's just that it's an ongoing inner struggle and it helps to write out my feelings, ya know? Today I feel a sense of foreboding, whereas tomorrow I may feel excited beyond belief. :) Crazy moody girl, I am.

  3. I can definetly understand. My blog has definetly helped me out these last couple of months being able to express myself more and to find people that can actually understand. Also I am one moody girl too!

  4. I think fear of the unknown is normal. I was terrified of the idea to move here because of american media. I was lucky that i was able to visit where we would be living many times before we made the final decision.

    I have a 4yr old son and alot of my fears revolved around his life here. Would be be safe? What if he gets sick? What about education? I still worry about these things, but i know after a year and a half apart from his daddy he is much better off here where we can be a family.

  5. Rebecca, I think you are right. I have the pleasure of having lived in the city we're considering, but I haven't visited there for a few years. Basically all of the hype has instilled a fear and until I'm there, experiencing day-to-day living, I'm going to have these ideas floating around in my head.

    Since I wrote this post I've had time to take a deep breath and realize (yet once again!) that, like Lisa said above, violent crime can happen and is happening everywhere, not just Mexico. Also, I have to wonder what sort of attention these older wealthy couples called to themselves to create such an enticing temptation for these criminals. Not that this cancels out the horrible nature of the crime, but I think you know what I mean.

  6. Lorraine, before moving to Guadalajara, we lived in Puerto Vallarta and I must admit I felt much safer because it was a tourist town and crime kills tourism. Life here in GDL is a bit scary for me because it's a very large city and I feel like I stick out more. Crime exists all over the world. We just have to use our common sense and try to avoid certain situations.