The dusty truck was bouncing around the narrow streets of Jomurquillo, the village in Zacatecas, Mexico, where my father was born. We sprinted past an empty house, slowed down past a church, and finally stopped in front of a church. ranchos The only corner shop.
There, I stood alongside my father and a group of older men. The rest of Jomurquillo’s population is because most others left decades ago for East Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.
We spotted a man slowly emerging from a pickup truck — middle-aged, white, with sunglasses, a polo shirt, jeans, and a smile.In his broken Spanish, he didn’t ask anyone in particular if there were any houses for sale. Gabacho of a small village in the mountains of central Mexico we were a little silent.
Then came a polite but firm chorus of “No”.
I asked in English what he was doing so far from America.
“I want to move here,” said the man, without giving his name. “It’s too expensive to go home.”
Unprompted, he continued to complain about liberalism, how the United States is a failed country, and how he wants to spend his retirement in peace. asked if he knew the house where Jerezthe city to which Jomurquillo belongs.
The man got back in his truck and roared away.did not say Gracias.
Even though our encounter was 22 years ago, I can remember an ugly American like the one that happened in my front yard yesterday.
Even my own friends say that whenever they talk about moving abroad because America is too much, the image of his smug face and his expectation that a dying town will welcome him is always there. It pops up in my mind.
I tell my friends not to give in to this most American religion that seems to be becoming more popular than ever.
In Portugal, my colleague Jaweed Kareem found the original man. Golden State residents enjoy the warm climate of the Mediterranean country And it takes advantage of the economic situation in a country that is one of the poorest in Europe.This week, my colleague Kate Linthicum Submitted a similar dispatch from Mexico City.
Both places, Native Americans complain loudly that these new Americans mark them down from their homes and don’t bother to learn local customs and traditions. It recorded protests against the newcomers through shaming campaigns and petitions for local authorities to intervene. At the very least, Americans must understand that their presence does not automatically improve life where they are.
What was the reaction of many of the Americans we interviewed, Jaweed and Kate?
“Things were going too home, but I didn’t want to leave all of LA behind,” says one transplant Told Jaweed about Portugal, added, “We were able to keep only the parts we liked and leave the rest alone.” As if navigating society is as easy as changing shoes.
“It reminds me of being in a friendlier, sometimes prettier Brooklyn,” another told Kate in Mexico City, as if one of the world’s great megalopolises was no less than the borough of New York.
Of course, the trope of Ugly America is nothing new. San Miguel de Allende Guanajuato and Zihuatanejo In Guerrero on the southern outskirts of Leisure World’s borders. New York hipsters have haunted Mexico City for as long as Los Angeles.Half of middle-class San Diego seems to have retired Apartments in Rosarito or Ensenada.
I have no problem with people leaving their hometowns in search of a better life — Vaya Con Dios, and all that.But that’s not what’s happening with this new generation of expats. They’re emblematic of the type of people I call smokers in california: We are privileged people who want everything that is easy and nothing that is difficult, and give up what they think is a better life even with the slightest inconvenience.
The fact that they end up in a foreign country and live big while their new neighbors struggle is terrifying, but very fitting for the type.
And they are completely different from immigrants. But the differences between the two seemingly similar groups are as diverse as the difference between refugees and tourists.
Expats have the economic capital to pursue a good life. Immigration is never possible. Expats know that if they fail, the home country’s cushion will break the fall. Immigrants know there is no turning back, so they must push forward.
Expats can travel anywhere, anytime. Immigration is not allowed. Expats connect to the country they live in in the most superficial ways and add little to it. Immigrants become part of the new homeland and radically change its course.
Expatriates excerpt; immigration improves;
The migration of Americans to Mexico in particular is a reminder of what happened at the turn of the 20th century. stole billions of dollars Adds nothing to the country except exploitation. After reading Kate’s article, I called Adrian Felix. Gelezano Specializing in the study of Mexican immigrants, he Especially from Zacatecas.
When I told him an anecdote about Jomurquillo in the olden days, he laughed and said that he had recently heard a similar story from another person. ranchos Around Jerez. And he admitted that he dislikes the word “foreigner”.
Felix pointed out that when Americans come with money, they can radically change local economies, make them more dependent on the dollar, and easily get away with what he calls the “extractive industry.” . But Felix claims that these new residents skip in cocoons traveling through Mexico, mostly shielding them from the real world around them.
“Peripheral communities and permanent residents have been hit hard by violence and poverty,” he said. Overall, “expats are not affected by it.”
I’m using a cheat code to play the game of life on someone else’s server.
It’s a privilege given and allowed to American expats, but at least they should be honest about their very own advantage.
This story originally appeared los angeles times.