I've been an immigrant for more than half my life - 51% to be exact. In Holland and in Mexico, the immigration laws, the specific dates applicable to my case, and the host country's political relationship with the United States, have always shared an important file ending, or place on my bookshelf.
a wonderful mix of memories
like the set for Lucia or Rigoletto
a bower of green from most windows
Yes, I've felt discrimination and known the threatening feeling of not being wanted.
When the US invaded Panama, that night my home and my large old white van became billboards for the -----graffiti artists. The large black letters directed at me read: FUERA GRINGOS (get out gringos)! Ironically, I was physically out of the country that day and my friend, Jorge, received the job of painting out the messages on the house and the vehicle.
The view from the bar table -- The crane behind the palm tree is building the new Palacio de Musica, a multi-functional concert hall. Next door is the 1900 Classical Italianate opera house, full of cherubs, gold and red velvet. And the towers, visible in the afternoon sun, a what the Jesuits left behind, when they were kicked out of the country in 1767.
My relationship with Mexico has always been intense and appreciative because so much of what I came here to find, I actually found. How could I ask for more, as the adventure quotient spilled over into everyday life. As a tourist guide and owner of tourist infrastructure on the Caribbean and in the capital city, the richness of the tropics filled my days.
Experiences out of the ordinary seem commonplace. At other times it's like a ride on a fantasy machine for someone who was always attracted to the foreign and the exotic. Tropical is the common denominator. Here's the list:
a) a 19th Century historic home within the heart of Yucatan's capital
These steps lead to the room I occupy. A Colonial well, Mayan building blocks, and half of a recycled Spanish gate. The walls are centuries old, from which we've extracted Mayan cut stones.
b) a job which took me into all parts of the Yucatan Peninsula, to Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, down tropical rivers and into Colonial cities
c) a ten year relationship with the oldest cathedral community on mainland N. America as organist in residence
d) a home filled with interesting and exciting people from all parts of the world bringing their language, culture, and ideas -- as paying guests
e) an array of friends from every socioeconomic, cultural, and educational niche
f) a twenty year period of owning and enjoying a working coconut plantation on a Caribbean jungle island
g) the Mayan People
h) and a thirty-six year relationship with my friend and partner, Jorge Manzanero, a Mayan native, teacher and collaborator.
"Purple, green and flame will end in a calm grey blend."
But not today.