Aftre a few days of chatting up strangers in the jardín, I've had a great day in the field. I had two great interviews today and got stood up for the third (which is part of the game). Nevertheless, I've learned a great deal today, and I'm starting to see some trends in the information I'm collecting.
One of the more interested things that I've been told, especially by women, is that moving to Mexico is a means of reinventing yourself. It appears that moving to a different country where no one may know you and your past gives these women freedom to be themselves in a way that was not possible living in the U.S. In otherwords, they say that moving to San Miguel has allowed them to be themselves completely on their own terms. The women that I've talked to so far have described themselves as people who were typically cautious and even fearful in the U.S., but once they came to Mexico, became more independent and adventurous in Mexico.
I find this curious, mainly because I've never been a big believer that a change in scenery can change who a person really is; for example, if you're lazy in one place moving to another won't transform you into a hardworker or stellar employee. But clearly these women see the move away from the U.S. and the obligations and expectations of society, their families, and (in many cases) the ex-husbands they left behind a means to express themselves in a way that they found impossible in the U.S.
I've also met a number of men and women who simply came to San Miguel, fell in love with the place, and then went home and sold off their worldly possessions and moved here. I haven't spent too much time in Paris or other places with well-known expatriate communities, but I would imagine that this would also the case there (or with any beautiful place). All told, there are a lot of people here who were really looking for a complete change of lifestyle or were burnt out on living in the U.S., and found the perfect place in San Miguel.