By Alvin Starkman, M.A., J.D.
It wasn’t the climate. It wasn’t the cost of living. It wasn’t the ex-pat community. And we don’t much care for sun surf or sand. In fact it had nothing to do with even wanting to select a place in Mexico for retirement. To be clear, my wife and I had no plans to ever move from Toronto – until we began our love affair with the people of the city of Oaxaca and its central valleys; urban white, rural indigenous, and everyone in between.
In the early 1990s we began making Oaxacan friends on our visits 2 – 3 times a year. Virtually immediately upon becoming acquainted, they began inviting us into their homes, to their family weddings, and to attend all other manner of rites of passage. Their warmth and welcoming nature served as an inducement for us to improve our Spanish, so we did, by each taking a month’s intensive, private one-on-one classes.
The people of Oaxaca kept drawing us back, as if somehow calling us to become part of their society and multiplicity of rich and diverse cultural traditions. And so when we made the move in 2004, truth be told we already had as many Oaxacan as Torontonian friends.
Alvin Starkman – Mezcal Educational Excursions of Oaxaca