Let’s face it; not everyone should be an expatriate. It helps to be of a certain mindset: curious, liberal and open minded.
As an expatriate, you will endure challenges and frustrations on an epic scale. Patience is required. Let me repeat extreme patience is required.
Although there will be challenges, your fortitude will be rewarded and you will be transformed by wonderful experiences; you will develop in beautiful and unimaginable ways.
The Case for Canadians and Europeans.
In my neck of the woods, Colima, there are loads of Canadian expatriates. This is largely due to the presence of Scotiabank (Canada’s third largest bank) and a couple of decent Canadian department stores (Liverpool, Coppel). For our northern brethren it is easier to obtain a standard mortgage.
It is my experience that…here comes a generalization folks… Canadians are very well suited to be expatriates. The folks I have met are kind, educated and worldly. Europeans are the same.
And then there is us.
Los gringos, my countrymen (myself included), we are quite different. As an American, please think carefully and honestly – is a Mexican expatriate lifestyle really for you?
During a flight five years ago, I had a conversation with a business owner and his wife while waiting for a connection in the Houston International Airport.
They own a home in Manzanillo. During that time I was considering purchasing a home in Mexico and I asked them about their experiences.
We exchange pleasantries and as the conversation ends the wife leans towards me, smiles and says, “You know, they are the laziest people.”
What??? It freaks me out that people casually say such things. Yuck.
On another occasion in the Manzanillo Airport, I met an entire family of expatriates from Montana and California.
The husband loved to work with local craftsmen and his wife volunteered to help feed and clothe the needy. They seemed like the happiest couple on earth.
As American Expatriates We Must Admit The truth.
We are raised to believe in our fabled superiority.
Correspondingly, there is a benefit of this perspective and there is also a detriment.
The benefits are patriotism and respect for the law; the detriment is depicted in a conversation with one of my relatives.
After graduating from college I had a conversation with my cousin Tracy. I shared with him of my dream to live abroad.
A New Type of Freedom – An Expatriate Reason to Experience Life in Another Country
I had traveled to Europe and enjoyed the freedom of being a human; the freedom of not being Black and bound by stereotypes in America.
He replies, to my surprise, “I am never leaving the United States.”
I try to convince him on the merits of culture, art and food – and most importantly the experience of less racism.
I point out the wonderful history of the black expatriate movement of the ‘20s. Paris is a center of Black America’s most famous poets, writers and artists.
Didn’t faze him; he showed no reaction. Without a second thought, he says, “I don’t care! There is no place on earth better than the United States. I would never leave here.”
And in conclusion.
In my opinion, he is not a good candidate to be expatriate.
I was lucky.
At the height of Jim Crow two of my maternal grandmother’s brothers stopped in Chicago and continued to Toronto, Canada.
My paternal grandmother spent 15 years in Tijuana.
Perhaps it was in my blood?