Do You Like It Here?

by Judy King 12. March 2010 17:01

decorated-street It happens all the time. Yesterday I was washing my hands in a restaurant ladies' room here at Lake Chapala. When a woman came out of the stall, she said to me, "Where are you from?"

When I explained that I was born and raised in Iowa, then lived seven years in California, and that I've been living here in Ajijic over 19 years, she opened her eyes, wide, and asked my least favorite question.

"Do you like it here?"

I know folks who visit to check out the area for retirement are anxious to discover how the rest of us live, if we have adjusted and how we feel about our decision. I suppose they have real concerns about liking to live here.  I didn’t have any concerns, I knew right away that I wanted to live here. In fact, when I went back home after my first visit, and started preparing to  move, I was homesick…for Mexico.

We don’t have to live here.

Still, they surely realize that none of us were transferred here for our jobs, we weren't born here, we aren’t living here out of habit or because our ancestors founded the town. Most of us don't have extended family here that needs us to care for them; we came by choice and we remain by choice.

Mexico isn’t for everyone

As a matter of fact, Mexico is not for everyone and not everyone likes it well enough to stay for three, five, or ten years. There are some foreigners who move back North of the border every year.

I know what the tourists mean by that question, but I still sometimes have to bite back a variety of snippy and sarcastic responses to the question, "Oh you've been here 19 years, …do you like it?

Thankfully I’m usually well rested and my days go exceptionally well. I’m almost always in a good mood, so I can answer, “Yep, I like it here. This is now my home.”

If you think you might ever be tempted to ask someone if they like living here, please print this page and carry it in your pocket or purse. Then instead of asking the question, you can read the responses the long-time residents would like to give in exchange to the question, “Do you like it here?”

pink-houseThe Silly and Snitty Answers

  • Actually, I hate it here, but because I believe I am a bad person, I’m punishing myself. When I’ve punished enough, I'll go somewhere nice.
  • No, I don't like it, but I'm saving my money and when I have $100 US I'll buy a bus ticket to Texas.
  • Oh, didn't you know? They don't let us go back. Once you cross the border you are here to stay, like it or not.
  • I'm being held hostage.
  • I'm doing a special project. I'm recording silly questions. Thanks for your contribution; now I've met my quota, I can leave.

Thankfully most of you aren’t the type to ask those questions, right?

The Real Answer -- How do I really feel?
Just in case you are still wondering...I love living here in Mexico, and I'm staying right where I am. This is my home and I really do feel at home. I can’t imagine a scenario in which I would be willing to leave – unless something terrible happened and one of my kids needed me to be with them.

As a matter of fact, you couldn't get me out of here with a crowbar.

Dust on My Heart – I’m here to stay!

In one of her books, Neill James, the travel writer who came to Ajijic in the 1940s to recover from an accident and died here 50 years later said, "Once the dust of Mexico settles on your heart, you can never go home again."
That dust has been on my heart since 1990 and I'm here to stay! 

Judy King is publisher of Mexico Insights—Living at Lake Chapala, a monthly online magazine for people interested in Mexico's Lake Chapala region, in the state of Jalisco.

Judy, a 19-year resident of Ajijic on Lake Chapala's north shore, conducts weekly newcomer's seminars and shares her expertise about Mexico in her ezine at, and in the "Mexico Lindo" column of the Lake Chapala Review.

Judy also is a speaker for local organizations and visiting tour groups about the Lakeside area about Mexican customs and holidays.


3/13/2010 7:50:39 AM #

You make some good points, Judy. Anyone who has stayed longer than, say, ten years obviously likes it here.

But I think it's wise of people considering the move to ask as many people as they can. It's a BIG decision and not always easy to reverse. When you move into a new neighborhood, experts advise talking to the neighbors first. How much more important when one is considering a move into a NEW COUNTRY!

When someone asks me if I like it here after 13 years, I think the best answer is the one you gave. "Yes I like it. It's my home."

Eileen Mexico |

3/15/2010 2:41:16 PM #

Judy -

We're still planning to get some of that Mexico dust on our hearts someday soon!

Our last child will be getting married next year, but we're having a new grandbaby, the only one near us, in Septmeber.  Kinda makes it hard to leave, doesn't it?  But then again, Texas is not that far away, and we're ready! Just a year or so to tie things up, and here we come!!

Keep up the good work - these little snippets are great!

Ann & Rod United States |

3/18/2010 2:06:04 PM #

Duh.  Obviously if you've lived there 19 years, you must kinda like it!  Loved reading about how you knew from the minute you first visited that you wanted to live there.  I think most people wouldn't have been so brave to follow their heart.

Charlotte Rains Dixon United States |

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About Judy King

Judy King

Hi There — Welcome to my little corner of the world. I'm Judy King and I live in the centuries-old village of Ajijic on the north shore of Lake Chapala, Mexico's largest natural lake.

I've lived here full time since 1990, and... [ more ]

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