There's a lot of talk these days about building a wall between the United States and Mexico. I'd like to suggest a better idea would be to build bridges with our neighbor, in order to improve relations between our two countries.
One way to build bridges is for Americans to visit Mexico and meet some of the people who live there. Last year Mark and I had the opportunity to do just that, when we rented a gulf-front house from my cousin, Bob Lissandrello, who lives in Mexico with his wife, Cristy. Bob and Cristy met on the internet about 15 years ago. Bob lived in Albany at the time, so when Cristy told him she lived in Mexico, he thought she meant Mexico, New York. He soon learned the truth, but that didn't prevent him from falling in love, getting married, and moving to another country to be with his beloved. Now Bob and Cristy run a real estate business together: Homes for Sale in Yucatan.
|Bob and Cristy with their dogs at the|
Gulf of Mexico.
|Peter and me at the Mayan Ruins|
So last February, Mark and I flew into Mérida, Mexico, where we met our son, Peter, who lives in Madison, Wisconsin. We were met at the airport by Bob and Cristy who took us to our rental house in the gulf-side village of Chuburna. During our week there we met many friendly Mexicans who welcomed us to their country with helpful service everywhere we ate or shopped. One day we visited the Dzibilchaltún Mayan Ruins where our Mayan guide, Juan, taught us much about his ancestors. He was passionate about his subject and obviously loved to share it with visitors. I was especially fascinated with the fact that the ancient Mayans started a "new world" every 52 years by destroying their belongings and making new ones. Juan explained this when he showed us a pit full of broken bits of pottery.
|Juan at the Mayan Ruins|
During our time in Mexico we met quite a few Americans and Canadians who have moved to Mexico permanently and seem to be well-accepted in their communities. I can't help but wonder if North American immigrants and visitors will be quite so welcome If our government builds a wall between us and them. I understand the reasoning some give for building such a wall, as an attempt to cut down on illegal immigration and drug-trafficking. Nevertheless, I feel certain that a wall would damage relations between our two countries, and I have to agree with the Mexicans who have good reasons for hating the wall proposal: Four Reasons Mexico Hates the Border Wall.
Mexico has much to offer Americans in the way of people who are willing to work hard at jobs Americans won't perform, fruits and vegetables that we can't grow in the winter, and a beautiful country to visit when we need to escape to a warmer climate and explore a rich and fascinating culture that's just beyond our borders. I hope that Mark and I will be able to return there one day, and that the people will still be as warm and welcoming as they were last year. I think this is more likely to happen if we treat them as the friends and neighbors they are.
|Mark and me near an old cathedral in Mérida|