Thursday, October 1, 2009

Expatriates on Isla Mujeres

Sunset from our deck in Isla MujeresIn the first few days we were here on Isla Mujeres, we met a few different sets of expatriates, mostly from the United States and Canada. Each expressed to us that they love it here so much that they were willing to leave behind their homes, families, friends and possessions to live here full time. None expressed any regrets, except maybe not having done it sooner.

We met Malcolm our first Sunday night when we went to Sancocho's to eat dinner and watch the Packers play the Bears in their home opener. It is off-season here and Sancocho's was the only bar showing the game. Malcolm is from Canada and has been on the island since they improved Internet access to a level that allows him to work remotely as a Web developer. Shortly after we were seated at a table adjoining Malcolm's, his friend Greg came in and sat down. We think Greg is from California because he mentioned that he had an engineering degree from Stanford. He is also doing remote development. Neither seemed to speak much Spanish, and they didn't show much patience with the waitresses. They struck me as single guys who were merely living in the island community rather than being a part of it, more like long-term tourists than new citizens. I doubted if they had many local friends other than expats like themselves.

Roger and Garnette retired here from government careers in Denver. They had vacationed in Cancun twelve years ago and taken a day trip to the island. They fell in love with it and relocated two years ago. They live frugally, renting a place in the La Gloria colonia (neighborhood), about two blocks from the English school where Nan is volunteering, and taking public transportation to get around. They speak adequate Spanish and are active in the community, helping with projects that aid chidren and the poor.

Greg and Natalie are the directors of the La Gloria school. Like Roger and Garnette, they are in their mid- to late fifties. They came here on a vacation two years ago and loved it so much that they closed on a furnished condo before they went back home to Bend, Oregon. They sold almost all of their possessions and moved here with just suitcases, though Greg confesses that he left nine boxes of stuff in storage that he has visiting friends bring one box at a time as checked luggage when they fly here. Of the three different sets of expats we have met, Greg and Natalie seem the most engaged. Through the school, they have come into contact with many local people and assisted them not only with learning English but also with handling personal issues. One evening we saw them on Av. Hidalgo with many bags of Crocs shoes hanging off the handlebars of their motos. They had purchased them in bulk to distribute to needy children. They are greeted warmly everywhere they go.

1 comment:

isla mujeres condos said...

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