Why did I move to the USA?

Guadalajara Ruins - Leonardo Sanchez Miranda
Ruins in Mexico, I believe this is Guadalajara in 2015 - Leonardo Sanchez Miranda

The big majority of the time, the first question everyone asks me after "Where are you from?" is "Why did you move to the US?".  And I get it, most people that have traveled to Mexico would agree that is a great place full of colorful markets, astonishing ruins & historical places, warm people, great weather and inexpensive margaritas.
Mercado in CUernavaca - Leonardo Sanchez Miranda
Mercado In Cuernavaca, Morelos

The truth is, all of those ideas are true! what do you know?  Mexico is a great place to visit, there are hundreds, if not thousands of places to visit, each one with a unique story.  Markets are AMAZING, not just to find items to bring back to your friends, but to acquire every day's items.  Forget about Walmart, here you'll find restaurants, groceries, services and more.  Most people are really nice, and even when we don't walk with a smile all the time, you just need to say hi and most of the people will be happy to talk with you. Central Mexico is really stable when it comes to weather, and especially the place that I'm from is called "The city of eternal spring" where temperatures are around 70 pretty much all across the year.

Zocalo de Papantla, Veracruz - Leonardo Sanchez Miranda
Central Plaza (Zocalo) in Papantla, Veracruz
So, if all these stories are true, and actually Mexico is one of the best places to retire in the world, why did I move to the USA?  The answer is simple, lifestyle and violence.  Mexico might be a small piece of paradise for tourists, but the reality for people actually living there is different.  And I'm not talking about those with a lot of savings, or the ones living with their parents (yes, it's a big thing), but the struggle is real for the average Joe.

Jobs are not that great, the average family will survive and have some good times, but things that are taken for granted in the USA are a big deal down in Mexico. Things like accessible clean water, ways of transportation and a steady income are something people struggle with every day.  When I lived in Mexico I had a good job, I was in an amazing place, surrounded by great people and earning what I would consider a good salary in Mexico at that point (the equivalent of $750 USDL today... think about that).  That gave me the chance to pay for house expenses, make payments for a used car, be able to travel a little bit around Mexico, and help my parents (yes, in Mexico family is a BIG deal). Still, it wasn't enough to be able to send my son to a good university or to build a small house.  You survive in a decent way.
Zocalo de Cuernavaca - Leonardo Sanchez Miranda
Central Plaza (Zocalo) in Cuernavaca, Morelos
So what? everybody struggles, right? Yes, everybody struggles in this world, some more than others, and that's fine, I consider myself extra lucky to be able to live in a place where I can provide for my family, have a life surrounded by good people and nice places.  But then it comes to the big problem, violence. Over the last decade, at least, Mexico has become a really violent place, especially if you live and work there.  Tourists have a good time, crime knows not to mess up with the ones bringing dollars into the country.  But in the last year I was in Mexico I experienced seeing a person who got shot 5 minutes before I passed there in one of the streets going to my house, an abandoned vehicle with bullet holes and blood a few blocks away from my house, next to one of the best universities in the Country, I watched the news after a grenade exploded inside a nightclub in my city, my dad got robbed at gunpoint in the middle of the day, my parent's old car was vandalized, and military checkpoints were an every week experience.

After all that, my wife, who is originally from Missouri, told me "I want to go back to the US", and seriously, who can blame her.  I said, "Me too!", and we organized everything to come up to Missouri, a 36-hour drive, moving the small pieces of Mexico we could bring. I'll upload the timelapse video :)

I really hope Mexico will get better, I wish to visit my family with a big smile, and I think it will happen, sooner or later.  In the meantime, I'll do my best to give something back to this place that has given me a new opportunity to help my family.

If you enjoy this article, leave a comment and let me know if you would like to elaborate more on something related.

Thank you for reading.

Dorado and Leonardo Sanchez Miranda
Dorado and I say goodbye


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