I had no idea what to expect when I arrived. I could not pull upon my other experiences in Mexico, because during those vacations I was living in expensive resorts where everything was all inclusive and I was never exposed to the locals lives. All I had to pull from was the pictures I had googled and the warnings from family and friends to stay safe. While my mother was excited for me, she was extremely scared along with everyone else in my family. When I say “extremely scared” I mean my father actually gave me an in depth lesson on how to kill someone with a phillips head screw driver. Honestly, I was not nervous until my family started acting like they would never see me again and then the nerves started to take over. After being here for three day I realized those nerves were wasted energy.
The reality of Mexico is that it is so much more than what tv shows and movies make it out to be. It just depends on where you visit, which is no different than when being in the United States. You may feel safer in Ann Arbor than you do in Detroit, and truthfully I feel much safer here, where I am in Mexico, than I do being in Detroit. The people here tend to be nicer than those in the United States, and everyone acknowledges your existence when you walk by whether it be by saying a simple “Hola” or an appropriate “Buenos Dias”. The idea of family here is put above all. Most families here all live together or near each other. Each family spends significant time with one another, much more than I spend with mine at home with I am slightly jealous of. The reality of Mexico is that it is a wonderful place full of highly intelligent, kind, loving, and environmentally friendly people despite what people in positions of power have summarized the country and people in Mexico to be. Mexico is safe and dangerous, but so is every country in this world. We all have our problems.
Now you may be reading this thinking my observation is ignorant or skewed, and that I am a 120 lb girl waiting to get snatched off the streets, and the truth is, you are right. But that could happen anywhere. If you would like to figure it out for yourself, I would suggest staying somewhere like a local, eating at local restaurants, making friends, and learning the language. Who knows, maybe you will end up liking it so much you never return back to the states which is the truth for many people I have met down here. I have encountered many americans of various ages who moved to Mexico, because life here is in general happier. The 9-5 job rarely exists, and american dollars go a long way in Mexico if you know how to shop and where to live. It is also so beautiful, and entertaining yourself is more than easy when there are hidden beaches, trails, etc wherever you turn. Imagine a life where your family can live free of the social stresses America has showered over its population. A life where healthcare is not outrageously priced, and food is locally grown. This is the atmosphere I hope to one day raise my family in.