Texan says 'adios' to life in Mexico City
Jesus Chairez, a native of Texas and longtime activist in Mexican American and gay rights causes, reflected recently on his decision to leave Mexico City, where he savored the expatriate life for nearly three years.
After first getting an apartment in the megalopolis in late 2007 and then discovering the charms of the Santa Maria la Ribera neighborhood, Chairez says that life here was in many ways a "culture shock." "Time to start another chapter in my unscripted lifestyle," Chairez writes in an "adios" post at his blog.
The word Latino and most especially Hispanic does not exist here. The whole time I was here I never heard these two words used to identify one, unless it was by a visiting friend from Texas.
I found it fascinating how I had been such a Latino activist in Dallas and then when I moved to Mexico City I was now considered a GRINGO -– no kidding.
I often got the nickname gringo and or güero, two common words I, as a Latino, would call white folks back home. I found my nicknames most interesting because I didn’t ever consider myself white, but those words have nothing to do with being white.
In his time in the Mexican capital, Chairez became somewhat of a fixture in the vibrant U.S. expat community, frequently hosting parties at his apartment in Santa Maria la Ribera, with plenty of domestic help.
"I will miss living the life of a rich white woman," he jokes at his blog, where he posted on art, food, and his neighborhood.
Chairez says he plans to write a book about his experiences, and tells La Plaza that he is settling smoothly back into life in Dallas.
-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City
Photo: A view inside Jesus Chairez's living room in Mexico City. Credit: Flickr, via JesusChairez.com