An American Migrant In Mexico
By William Haydon
I once described San Blas, my seaside home for more than two years now, as a mosaic of broken tiles, and I considered myself to be the most broken tile of them all. It must be regarded, then, as a great measure of this town’s ability to nurture and to heal and promote growth that this self-described broken tile now feels bold enough to step out of the niche which has housed me so unconditionally for so long, and to move onward in my journey to discover Mexico.
My love for San Blas remains fully intact, but I find that I have fallen into a fairly predictable routine here which involves regularly drinking too much, which doesn’t particularly bother me, but I also find that I am enjoying it less and that scares the hell outta me. I have to admit that I am growing bored. I arrived in this village back in November of 2009 with no friends, no language skills, and an off-putting sense of humor that alienates far more friends than it ever wins over, and in spite of all that, I now find myself with a profusion of friends, an ability to converse and even make bad jokes in an effective if crude version of Spanish, and also with a sense of having graduated to the status of Mexican citizen, in spirit at least, if not in any binding legal sense. I feel comfortable here. This life feels familiar. I find myself with a desire to move on to the next step.
For me, the next step is Compostela. I have decided to exchange my easy beach access for mountain views and cooler temperatures. Did a $4,000 peso CFE bill caused by excessive air conditioner usage during San Blas’ last, blistering summer heat wave have something to do with this decision? Perhaps. Was I influenced by Compostela’s abundant charm—the duck-filled lake, the pristine plaza, the bucolic surrounding countryside? Absolutely. Am I enticed by the challenge of living in a town where I will be one of only a small handful of gringos? Very much so.
In fact, I am reminded of when I was a child getting ready to ride my bike without training wheels for the first time, because the absence of a gringo support network is actually why this move to Compostela feels like the perfect next step for me: it feels like Mexico without training wheels. Exhilarating. Scary. Perfect.