The Americans

AmericansWhen I lived in Honduras, I tried to ignore the phrase Americans when well-meaning visitors from the United States referred to themselves. In reality, Hondurans, indeed, all of us born in the 2 continents of the New World are Americans. Yet, the word, Americans, is used by people worldwide to refer to people of the United States of America. I moved back to my passport country in mid-2014 after nearly a decade of living in Central America. My assimilation is almost complete.

I am an American. Need proof?

I don’t walk to buy groceries, buy a meal, or visit friends. Ever. I live less than a mile from a dollar store and an excellent cafe. I have friends about a 1/2 mile away. The highways I need to use to access these locales have no shoulders, and the speed limit is 45 mph. Even driving on this highway can be dangerous, so walking is out of the question.

In Honduras, the small store that was yards away from my home had almost everything one needed, from buying time on my cell phone to most household and first aid supplies. We had an excellent lunch cafe in the plaza three blocks away from my house. My best friend often walked the 10 minutes walk to visit or borrow something. 

I pay high insurance premiums on everything, including my house, car, and myself. I can’t drive without insurance, I can’t get a mortgage without it, and I am fined if I don’t buy health insurance. In Honduras, I lived without any of these, as the cost of replacement, injury, etc was minimal.

My dog takes anxiety medication. My vet prescribed Xanax for my fur beast yesterday. She offered Prozac, too, but I don’t think BuBu is covered under Blue Cross/Blue Shield. I think he would have preferred to relieve stress by chasing and eating the neighbor’s cat, but we don’t do those things in America. When I posted on Facebook about the dog’s current malady, I had 55 comments. People prayed for my pup. If I had been sick myself, I doubt if I would have garnered more than half dozen “likes.”

In Honduras, my dog caught and ate a few toes off of the neighbor’s parrot. We were not faulted, as the parrot thought foolishly he would hop over and take dips in my pool. I strongly suspect he bit the head off of a curious cat, too. Animals were treated as pets or working animals, not as family members. 

Time to log off and finish paperwork so that a highly paid CPA can submit my taxes. The IRS, though, is not limited to taking my money in the US. They take their share wherever I chose to live, as long as I am a US citizen.

11 thoughts on “The Americans

  1. One of the glorious things I’m looking forward to when moving to San Miguel de Allende is that it’s a walkable city. I have no need for a car there and no desire to own one there. I feel so good when there – getting exercise every day by simply going about my business. I’ve been all over the United States and have lived in numerous places (all gorgeous as is SMA) yet none were remotely walkable cities. How sad. I find I am much more a part of the community when I walk, meet so many neighbors, become part of the landscape. I very much relate to this post. How I long for the “simple” life!

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    1. I find it more and more untenable and unsustainable to live like we do here. We have no transit system other than cars, trains for transporting goods, and buses for the very poor. I would love to take a train into the city of New Orleans, but there’s no option for that. I hope your dream of living in SMA comes true.

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  2. Sounds like you are still adjusting to the culture shock. Don’t think you’re crazy; you’re not. It’s just that everyone (like the slowly boiled frogs) has gotten used to what is truly ridiculous. Insurance costs are out of control because we are a society run by and for lawyers. Don’t think I’m making this up. Virtually ever member of congress and state legislature is a lawyer. Don’t imagine that they’ve done anything to make life even a smidgen difficult for their former colleagues; they haven’t.

    Of all the things you mentioned, I think that Bubu (formerly “Iggy,” no?) being on Xanax is the most Gringo thing of all. I rather doubt that many people (never mind dogs) in Honduras can afford Xanax. But here? While we’re busy flushing the toilets with high-quality potable water, we’re giving our pets anxiolytics.

    It’s a messed up country, and only getting worse in that sense.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we wonder where all this lunacy ends.

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  3. Yes, BuBu is the dog formerly known as Iggy. While getting my hair cut and colored, I indulged in beauty salon gossip with the clients and hairdressers. I discovered that ALL of the ladies in the conversation had dogs on anxiety or anti-depressant meds. Weird! Xanax is affordable like most drugs in Honduras, but it’s not likely to be prescribed nor asked for among the poorer populace. The poor there have a deep inclination to ask and receive antibiotics for every ill imaginable.

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    1. All the dogs are on Xanax?!?! Wow! So I guess that means that even the dogs in Louisiana want to “Laissez les bons temps rouler?” LOL

      What’s next? Botox to conceal pesky “snarl lines?” LOL…

      Saludos,

      KG

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      1. Botox for snarl lines? Oh, you made me laugh at that one. I heard of a US company that has one service – it picks up dog poop in yards. That’s all they do. Apparently people hire them to scoop the poop. That’s absurdly American, isn’t it? In Honduras, in the middle class neighborhood that I lived in for quite some time, the neighbors let the dogs out at down to poop in the street. Everyone did that. Terrible unhealthy and rather like the medieval ages of putting out the sewage in the street, but that’s what my was the custom in my ‘hood.

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      2. I guess if you worked for that poop removal company, you could legitimately at the end of a long day claim that you were indeed, “Pooped out.”

        Saludos,
        KG

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  4. You certainly have touched hard on a number of issues that make Mexico shine as home turf. Of course as you suggest somewhere in here – there are two sides to the coin – there is no perfect place or country. Mexico truly appears to be more economical on the surface – gotta like that.

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    1. Mexico isn’t paradise. Neither is the US. The Garden of Eden has locked to mankind but we have a promise that one day all things will be made new. Until then, we need to find the good and fight for the good to be better in every nation that we find ourselves in. I am grateful for the time I have had in both nations.

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