Every morning, first thing, I read the blogs. I occasionally leave comment. I read Sipse and Diario more closely than I do the New York Times. These are things I do, both as escapist fun, and to feel connected to a place I wish I could visit more often.
What else can I do? I could become a joiner — something I have avoided NOB. I have considered joining the Mérida English Language Library, despite the fact that the do not hyphenate English and Language, both of which modify Library. And also despite the fact that at the last MELL-o night, a tipsy, seasoned expat told me that I might not be cut out to be an expat. Well!
MELL-o night was my first glimpse at the expat community in person. It was a lively crowd! A couple of them, in their 60s, told me they had been out of the rat race for 20 years or so. Many of them considered Mérida just one stop on their expat journey and had colorful stories. Their demeanor was generally one of total relaxation, easy laughter, great camaraderie. Alcohol-fueled camaraderie? Maybe just a little.
It was also a nice opportunity to meet people from all parts of the country. Not Mexico. I mean the U.S., as well as Canada. Yes, it takes a trip to Mexico to meet a good cross-section of Americans. Yes, New York City has been getting tourists from all over as well, but there aren’t any opportunities to talk to them. And as a group, expats are more interesting than tourists. They have better stories.
It made me realize how socially constipated we are NOB. I was probably the most uptight person there. I was the only one there who knew he had to be back at work next week.