Being CF And Life In Mexico
So one of my regular commenters “No Kids Please” wanted me to address the topic of my expatriation to Mexico and what it’s actually like to live here and be CF in this country. I thought this was a great topic, so I think I’ll just kind of pick it up and run with it.
First, let’s talk about a bit of background as to how I got here. It’s been a dream of mine to be a professional pilot since I was a little kid. Ever since my first airplane trip, where we got grounded at the airport for three hours, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. My parents took me up to see the cockpit and the pilots and I was just absolutely fascinated. It left a deep impression on me and that’s when I knew I wanted their job.
Fastforward about 10 years and I apply for an FAA student pilot and medical certificate and I was denied because of some health issues. Thinking I’d never get to live out the dream, I was crushed and instead went to college, majored in math, and went into teaching. I taught for two years, one at the high school level and another at the college level. After a failed stint in graduate school, and finding I was never really happy with teaching, I decided to try again for my dream, only to get denied once again.
That’s when I started looking to leave the US. Truth be told I’d wanted to for some time. I never much liked America. I never fit in there. I didn’t like the culture, the politics, and I’ll be honest, the fact that atheists are marginalized in that country. People love to tout equality in America, and it’s just not there. If it is there, I sure do not see it. I started applying to flight schools in more countries than you even want to know. Come to find out that the reason I was denied in the States is perfectly acceptable for “special issuance” in most other countries (well, the US/FAA has the strictest medical requirements for pilots in the world, so that shouldn’t have surprised me). As it is, I got accepted into flight school in Merida and I didn’t look back. I was 23 years old by this time.
When I arrived in Merida I quite literally had almost nothing. I got off the plane and all I had to my name was some cash, the clothes on my back, and a carry-on suitcase full of clothes, toiletries, and such. I had nothing else. I was definitely scared, but not to be deterred. I knew I was going to have to sacrifice a lot but I was willing to do it. Anything to live out my dream, I was willing to do. It was also at this time I formally renounced my US citizenship to make a bold statement that I didn’t like the way things were done in the US. This left me stateless as I had not, and still have not, established Mexican citizenship, and I am still officially stateless today.
So then I get started in flight school and I fell in love right away, and my entire life was devoted to it. Living off of bank loans at the time, I really didn’t have a job. My life was flying and ground school. I was able to devote so much time to it that I went from zero time to private pilot in 4 weeks, and from zero to having a commercial pilot license took me just three months. After that, I logged well over 100 flight hours per month trying to meet minimum flight time requirements of the local airlines as soon as possible, and even did extra training beyond what was required of me. All of this paid off when I interviewed for an airline job at the end of that year (I told you I logged flight hours extremely fast) and was hired on as a First Officer. That’s when I moved to Mexico City and started my professional flying career and haven’t looked back since.
So with that bit of background, what is life like here? Well, I will be the first to admit that Mexican culture is extremely rich and profound. Everything from the ethnic foods here (that are NOTHING like what you get in the US), to their version of entertainment, etc. is steeped deeply in tradition, and I find it quite attractive. Mexicans’ pride in their culture is at least as great, if not greater than, Americans’ pride in theirs. I’ve assimilated quite well, actually. I can also tell you that what you hear in the States about life in Mexico is simply not true. It’s not poverty-stricken, dangerous, or anything like that if you know where to live. I’ve only lived in big cities, and I can tell you that the standard of living is just as good as any American city I’ve lived in, and actually better than a couple of American cities I’ve lived in. Of course, rural areas can be poverty stricken and Mexico has its bad parts, but so does America! Healthcare is affordable and high quality, there’s no shortage of things to do, and the people are in general very friendly. I definitely feel more “accepted” here. I’m not judged as harshly for my differences here. Nobody looks twice at my “odd” fashion choices, my weird hobbies, or me in general.
It’s actually more accepted to be CF here than it is in the States, from my experience. It’s ironic due to the fact that 80% of the population here is in fact Roman Catholic, but it’s not really frowned upon. The locals, despite most of them being deeply religious, are very live-and-let-live when it comes to stuff like that (for the record, things like gay marriage, adult prostitution, and even recreational drug use are legal here, if that gives you any indication). Even though most people here have pretty substantially-sized families, I’ve never really heard anyone get upset at my CF choice. If the rest of the world was like Mexico in this regard, I probably wouldn’t have a need to have this blog.
Oh, and I should say a lot of people do use birth control here. It’s never been, and never will be an issue. Even though it’s a huge political issue in the mostly Protestant United States, it’s not an issue in mostly Catholic Mexico. Ironic, isn’t it?
Well, that’s sort of what ended me up here and what it’s like. Sorry this got really long-winded, but I hope it gave you a look into my childfree life in the awesome city of Mexico City, Mexico. Thanks for the suggestion!