La Mudanza…

7 Jul

Hola from Mexico City! I arrived here in the urban madness that is el DF a few short weeks ago, and am writing to you all from my new room and an old desk I just bought today. To transport the desk to my house, I was told to ask a guy up the street who ran the newsstand if he would let me use his truck. He agreed and after loading up the desk, some chairs, and a few other odds and ends, we were off.

On the way over, he asked me “Isn’t it easier to live in your country?” In other words, Why are you here? At first I thought to myself, well it actually is easier for me to live here in Mexico, since everything is so much cheaper… but then I also thought about how difficult simple things can be here, how dangerous it can be, etc etc. It was a complicated question indeed. I told him that while perhaps things may be easier in my country, I also really loved Mexico, and I loved learning about new cultures and learning new languages. But he was persistent. In part because for him, the concept of moving to another country just to “experience” a new culture was insanity. Ricardo, as I found he was called, had more pressing concerns such as feeding his wife and two kids, who he had left to watch over the newsstand.

It was one of those moments I find myself in all to often. When one chooses to leave the comforts of home and the first world, one encounters not only different cultures, different ways of life, and different languages, but also entirely different priorities and mentalities. It is difficult interacting with somebody who may barely have enough money to buy milk at the end of the day when I go to the grocery store and purchase such extravagant items as olive oil and ice cream with ease. Yet while these interactions are difficult, challenging, and heartbreaking, I also view them as rare opportunities to learn and grow. They also present me with a chance to offer a unique (and I’d like to think positive) image of Americans, and to help combat much of what the rest of the world has learned about my country and its people through mass media.

In many ways, that is what this scholarship is all about. Two years ago I received a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship, which, in short, means that I am currently an ambassador of both Rotary and my country. The entire idea behind Rotary Scholarships is based around personal interactions and breaking cultural boundaries. I am excited about the prospect of a year full of interactions just like the one I had today, and look forward to being challenged in many ways.

On a side note, la mudanza did not fare so well, and the desk (bought used) ended up falling apart half-way up the stairs. The top part ended up crashing two floors down into a little room off the kitchen. Thankfully the desk, and my helpers all survived, and the damage was minimal. It was actually quite an event, which led to me borrowing a hammer from the local cantina (they were thrilled to help the gringa, hahaha), and spending the afternoon banging about trying to fix the struggling desk. All in all, not bad for a lazy Sunday.


3 Responses to “La Mudanza…”

  1. Claire July 9, 2008 at 2:28 pm #

    Laura, LOVE your stories, keep on writing, keep making me jealous!! Love Claire!

  2. Mom July 10, 2008 at 2:35 pm #

    Thank you for opening the door for me to Mexico beyond the tourist destinations and popular media images (big polluted city). It is almost like you are a new world explorer in Mexico, so close but yet so far away. I love you and glad you have a place and I hope to visit and see for myself. Love, hugs and a kiss, Mom

  3. Aadu July 13, 2008 at 1:41 pm #

    Dear Laura,
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful story. As your sponsoring Rotary Club, our members are proud of you as an ambassador. I will share the story with our members via our newsletter.
    Best regards,
    Aadu Allpere
    Rotary Club of Buckhead ( Atlanta )

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