Friday, March 27, 2009


Kind of a serious post today. With all the depressing things going on with the economy in the United States these days, it gives one pause. Everyone says it will be years before we get out of this mess, so it makes you wonder what we have to look forward to. People are being laid off left and right, and businesses are closing. And remember that empty new strip mall just down the road from me?

Well, they just built another mini one right in front of it...with nothing going in. You can see the larger strip mall to the right behind it. It seems like stupidity at its finest.

Here's the huge sign in front of it. Lowe's is the only place that's doing well.

And the sign in front of the larger strip mall is still empty...with a few more holes in it. Looks like it's making good target practice for bored kids.

Everyone has become paranoid and no one really wants to discuss the problem. I am one of the lucky ones being employed by the state. Texas State instituted a "flexible" hiring freeze, but they're not laying anyone off. But while I consider myself temporarily fortunate, I still wonder what's going to happen in the future.

If you are familiar with Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged," you'll probably know that experts are saying that her fears of socialism back when she wrote the book in 1957...

...are gradually becoming fact rather than fiction. That is a very scary thought. And I don't think I want to be around when it happens.

So I read people's posts from Mexico on pretty much a daily basis and see a totally different life. Sure, Mexico has its problems, but I think the United States could take a few lessons from them. One thing I've realized more and more about America is how arrogant we are. We've only been around for a little over 200 years and yet we think we have it all over countries who have been here for thousands of years. We want our granite counter tops and pool in the back yard...and feel deprived if we don't have them.

I watch a couple of shows on HGTV called "Househunters" and "Househunters International." The difference is so obvious in Americans looking for homes as opposed to foreigners. American couples will walk into a master bedroom of a home which could be about 20' x 20' and they will say, "This is way too small...we were really hoping for something much bigger." But a European buyer will walk into a bedroom half that size and say, "This room is so big!" I guess it's all relative, but I think when we set our expectations so high, we will inevitably wind up being disappointed...unless we have unlimited funds to buy anything and everything we want.

And it's not only the material aspect, it's the "deep-down" happiness you feel living somewhere. I really don't know of anyone feeling that way these days. I told a friend not too long ago that between all the crap I've dealt with this past year, the only real happiness I felt was during the two weeks I spent on Isla last summer. The needs are simpler there and yet the pleasures are greater...and life seems to mean more. I'll have to say the people in Mexico seem happier than we Americans who supposedly have it all.

The American Bloggers in Mexico seem to be genuinely enjoying life there. I'm envious in many ways. I've taken the liberty to share some photos from some of my favorite blogs capturing the essence of Mexico. The first three live in Mexico, the last two don't, but I love their photos of life on Isla Mujeres. I hope they don't mind.

This is billieblog's blog...and the post that featured this photo is here.

In one of Billie's posts, she wrote:

"If we were living in Houston, or anywhere in the USA, would we have had the same opportunities to be with so many interesting people from so many different countries and experiences? I don't think so. It seems to me that in most places in the USA as people grow older their horizons narrow down. Friends die or move away and it is harder to make new friends and have new experiences. Here in San Miguel, I feel like my horizons continue to expand everyday. Always something new just around the corner."

Sad, but true, about living in the states.

This is Deb Hall's blog, ZOCALO de Mexican Folk Art...and the post that featured that photo is here.

This is IslaGringo's blog...and the post that featured this photo is here.

This is Jamqueen's blog...and the post that featured this photo is here.

This is Life's a Beach! blog...and the post that featured this photo is here.

And here are some of my own...

There is more to life than having granite countertops.

I have a friend who's spending the next month in Belize. I'm betting he will find a way to stay there rather than come back. And I know someone else who's thinking of moving to will probably happen. There are tough times ahead in this country. It might be beneficial to be somewhere else.


Life's a Beach! said...

Great post Deb! I love all the photos! You're totally correct about the difference between this country and Mexico. Mexicans seem able to seize life in the moment (and those photos really exhibit that!). They live for each day. And they don't seem as obsessed about material possessions -- at least in the non-urban areas.

That strip mall looks a lot like some I see around here. And there are also acres of brand new commercial office complexes sitting empty in our area. I think we're in for extremely tough times.

I have mixed feelings about what's going on in Mexico right now. I know people on message boards are outraged about the coverage in the U.S. media, but they're definitely waging a battle for control against the drug cartels. I hope they can get a handle on it. We used to dream about selling out and fleeing to Mexico, but I might hesitate at the moment. But I'd sure like to flee to Isla for a month and lie on a white sand beach! :)

Nancy said...

I love this post. You really hit the nail on the head. I'll never move back to the US, too much entitlement and narrowmindedness for me.

I love your pictures and links.

Jamqueen said...

Deb--thanks for including me in your post! I agree with what you said! We, too have dreams of moving to MX for at least part of the year, but with stock losses will be postponing that for a few years--if not forever! As a business owner, my husband has many sleepless nights--can we make the payrool, will will get any $$ in the mail, etc!

Vee said...

Enjoyed your thoughtful post, Deb. I also read many of the expat blogs from Mexico, and those folks generally sound like a contented lot, despite the inevitable frustrations of adapting to another culture. Thanks for all of the photos. They were a pleasant contrast to the picture painted by the MSM here!

Isla Deb said...

Beck - I don't know what it is about building all the strip malls! It's like they're thinking, "If we build them, they will come." How can "they come" if there's nothing there?!

Nancy - Thanks for visiting my blog...and the compliments! I think I'd feel the same about not wanting to live in the U.S. again after moving away.

Ann - Sorry to hear that your husband is losing sleep during these crazy times...and that you're postponing dreams of Mexico. Makes you wonder when and/or if things will get better.

Vee - Thanks...Mexico living is beginning to sound better all the time.

gil garcia said...

Looks like Debs needs a vacation and a Cerveza!

Isla Deb said...

You got that right, Garcia!

Islagringo said...

Nice, well thought out post. I enjoyed it. Thanks for the shout out and using one of my photos from the Project Warm Hearts. I need to say though that the original photo was taken by John Calypso and sent to me to use.

Isla Deb said...

Thanks, Wayne. I just had to use that photo because that little girl is just adorable.

barry said...

Good morning ,Deb.. What great pics& blog and yes, it sure is a wonderful feeling to spend the time in a world where the smiles are genuine , the "Good mornings" more than just manners, and a sense a "family belonging" that extends to everyone that you met ... its a nice change to be where the most valued items of life are things that can't be dusted... and random acts of kindness& caring are the norm . You packed?