A few posts ago I debated getting a roommate. You may recall that The Learning Center, a local NGO that helps poor students, had a young woman who desperately needed housing. And I had an empty "maids room" on the back porch. As a number of you pointed out, the idea of an 18-year-old Mexican female living with an old gringo could...would...raise eyebrows. It wouldn't be a problem for ME, but for her--in the eyes of family and friends--could be a serious problem.
Solution to the problem: she found a room with a female American expat friend of mine, who now has 2 female Mexican university students living with her. They've become friends. And for Janet, who lost her husband recently, she has some friendly young company in the house. There are now several of us in Oaxaca who are housing Mexican students, including my former landlady who houses a young high school girl.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. The director of The Learning Centerhttp://www.tolc.org.mx/ called me to tell me that they had a young MAN, a university student, who needed housing. Would I like to come over and meet him? I did, and after a couple of meetings, discussions with the staff at TLC, and a tour of my place, Jaime (that's not his real name) moved in. That was Monday, the same day I got back from Puerto Escondido. In fact, about 2 hours after I landed. That was a busy day. It's now been a week and all is good. He's clean..just as I am. He helps me with cooking and keeping the house tidy. I offer free room & board. I enjoy the company....watching stupid cartoons together on cable TV, discussing the day's news in Oaxaca. Plus, he's a live-in language tutor. I told him, "Please, please correct me when I make mistakes in Spanish." And he does, vigorously!
Jaime is enrolled as a first-year student at the state university here. I'll see very little of him with his busy schedule of studies, so this shouldn't be a problem having him here. It will be neat having a "local" around to explain to me how things work in Oaxaca. I'm looking forward to a relationship based on respect in which I can learn more about Mexican culture.