14 June 2009

Visions of Mexico

I enjoy blogging and I especially enjoy reading the blogs of other Americans and also Canadians who have come to Mexico to live. On one end of the spectrum there are the optimists and the"Pollyanna" types who generally tend to describe their experiences and the things that they see in wonderful and glowing terms. On the other end of the spectrum there are the pessimists and the grumblers who seem to take delight in knocking the very country and people who took them in and welcomed them to stay. In the middle are the people who are on some days zippity-doo-dah but on other days are itchy bitchy scratchy in their attitudes. The truth is that we really see only a shadow of Mexico as in Plato's belief that the material world as it seems to us is not the real world, but only a shadow of the real world. Everyone has an idea of what Mexico should be like and when reality doesn't quite meet our expectations it irritates us. The longer we stay and the more that we learn about the language and the culture the easier it gets to maintain an even keel but yet there is always something that we don't understand completely and we say, "Something should be done about it!".

Unfortunately or perhaps fortunately for everyone else, I am not much of a poet. If I were I would like to write a poem similar to that "The Blindmen and the Elephant" by John Godfrey Saxe. In my poem the blind men would not go to see the elephant but rather they would go to Mexico and try to describe it. In a way the blogging community may have already collectively written this poem. The only problem is that ours doesn't rhyme.

The Blindmen and the Elephant
by John Godfrey Saxe

It was six men of Hindustan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind)
That each by observation
Might satisfy the mind.

The first approached the Elephant
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side
At once began to bawl:
"Bless me, it seems the Elephant
Is very like a wall".

The second, feeling of his tusk,
Cried, "Ho! What have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me 'tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear".

The third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Then boldly up and spake:
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a snake."

The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," quoth he;
"'Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!"

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!"

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a rope!"

And so these men of Hindustan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right
And all were in the wrong.

So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

9 comments:

American Mommy in Mexico said...

I too enjoy the many blogs of MX. I like reading about people from all walks of life at differenet phases of their journey. I learn SO much.

I think each is colored by a complex weave of life circumstances - past, present and future.

Mexico has changed me as any experience of this sort should. I am not sure I have changed her - well maybe the kids have created a ripple in the pond at their school - who knows.

Like Theresa recently commented - the "not so mainstream path" is for many of us.

glorv1 said...

It all sounds so exciting to me, living there and enjoying life in a different atmosphere. I know myself and also know that I could never live anywhere else. I suppose if opportunity rose, I might jump to attention but I daresay, I don't think that time will come. I pretty much am at home where I am at. Viva La Casa.

Catherine said...

Hi Bob - just curious as to why you left the English translation on my blog...I speak French and know the translation... I was referring to it a little ironically - ie that it was welcoming in the sense that it was a peaceful place of rest to go in...

Constantino said...

Me a pessimists grumbling zippity-doo-dahitchy bitchy scratchy whiner?
I'll take kindly to that description Bob, I have learned to take every day, a day at a time, and in the big picture nobody cares anyway...what I think and say.....

Great poem!

Bob Mrotek said...

AMM,
When you and your family leave Mexico you are going to leave a mark on the hearts of everyone here who read your blog and followed your family's adventures.

Gloria,
You and your husband have created a little paradise here on Earth. You really know what enjoying life is all about. Don't change a thing!

Catherine,
Please, no offense. I just added it for those who might be curious as to what it means. I am sorry if I stepped on your toes. I won't do it again. I promise.

Constancio,
You are wrong amigo. I always care what you have to say :)

Leslie Limon said...

I think I might be one of those Pollyanna types. I just believe that life is too short to not be happy. Soon after starting my blog, I began to discover other expat blogs. Naive me, thought I was the only one. I'm so glad to know that I'm not, and hopefully those of us who have lived in Mexico for as long as we have, can help those who are just starting out. Mexico lindo y querido!

Bob Mrotek said...

Leslie,
I am to the left of center on a lot of things and I can tell you for certain that I am a lot closer to being a "Pollyanna" than a curmudgeon from the other end of the spectrum :)

Todd said...

Maybe it's like a diamond.
A diamond in the rough for some.
But everyone sees from a slightly different angle, and the sparkle is just a little different for each one.

Todd

Catherine said...

No offence taken at all Bob...I was just simply wondering..nothing more..please keep on visiting and entering the dialogue...

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.