I often say to my Mexican friends that in my other life I was a Mexicana. Everything here for me feels familiar-like I’ve had lifetimes here. I wanted a slow-paced life with creative people around me in a place where there are blue skies almost every day… Where I could feel the sun on my back…. Where I could live on my modest income like a queen…Where I didn’t need a car and I could walk to all the places I needed to get to…
I love the smell of roasting chilies and tortillas. I enjoy learning Spanish and along with the Spanish I enjoy learning all the cultural ins and outs. I am basically an adventuress. I like new situations and I have learned to say to myself “Oh, OK, this is going to be an adventure” when things don’t work out as planned.
I am passionately interested in Mexican Folk Art and I am never bored with learning about Mexican History – all Latin-American history intrigues me.
I first went to Mexico in 1973 to learn Spanish because I had been a community organizer with Strawberry pickers in Watsonville, helping them get decent Migrant Housing.
I went back many times after that to learn more Spanish and to revel in my passionate desire to feel the texture of Mexico in its art.
I went to San Miguel de Allende (SMA) in the State of Guanajuato. SMA is in Central Mexico, high desert, four hours north of Mexico City. It is designated a Pueblo Majico and it is indeed magical: An old Colonial town, rich in history, where the revolution from Spain started and where the first “Grito” (a Mexican trilling yell) was heard.
But, most important for me, it’s a small city but it is jam-packed with creative people, foreigners and Mexicans alike. There are artist of every ilk. There are writers, painters, potters, singers, musicians and dancers. It is to my endless delight that there is always something wonderful to do here.
The weather is also is to my liking most of the time. I can tolerate heat more than I can cold so I try to sneak out of SMA in the Winter and go to a Mexican beach, and there I can body surf in the warm water or draw the large Iguanas flicking their tongues at me or watch the “co co dri los” (crocodiles) pop in and out of the Laguna or go bird watching and see flocks of pink flamingos flash into the skies.
The biggest and most important drawback to living in Mexico is that my daughter and granddaughter are not here. I thought they would be delighted to come here. I thought my friends in the states would take me up on a free place to stay. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. My daughter lives in Austin, Texas now and I go to see her. The truth is I have to go see them, as they will not come here. This is true for many other retirees in Mexico; I have heard their complaints many times. But these excursions into the land of freeways are always brief and I can stock up on almond butter and eat good pizza. Most important, though, are the good long talks with my daughter and granddaughter. It usually takes several days after I get back to Mexico to get over my sense of loss.
So there are the highs and lows of it. I am going into my seventh year of retirement here. I will soon be a permanent resident…a Mexicana.
Bio – Patricia Scott:
Patricia Scott is a native of Durham, North Carolina and has lived in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico since 2007. She co-authored the San Miguel Medical Resource Directory, a medical resource directory for expats in San Miguel (http://www.smahealthinfo.com/) and is a founding member of SOL SMA, a sustainable organic and local food network. Pat is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and she has also been a jewelry designer for 17 years (http://www.patriciascottjewelry.com/)
Pat has worked for 10 years as an Online Adjunct Teacher of Psychology for Chapman University. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Community Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz and her Master’s in Social Work from San Jose State University in San Jose, CA.