Today was my last day in the field. I spent it with two artists, one who has lived here 47 years, the other, five. Both see San Miguel as a source of inspiration for their work, both love the community of expatriates who support the artistic life of the community and the strong social support artists find here. The artistic community is certainly one of the aspects of day-to-day life in SMA that distinguishes from other expatriate communities in Mexico.
My family and I have enjoyed our time here, although Ken and the kids have understandably had more fun that I (I was working nearly every day, Ken was working half-time). But I have been very pleased with what I have accomplished. I formally interviewed 24 people, and informally spoke with forty others. I made an important connection with Sue Beere, who is currently the head of the San Miguel de Allende Oral History Project. Sue and I decided that we should collaborate rather than repeat work on many of the same subjects, and over the next few months she and I will be working together (long distance) organizing oral history interviews from both projects, creating a catalogue of interviews and creating a prioritized list of others in SMA who need to be interviewed. My hope is that Sue and I and others here in SMA can eventually develop a bilingual on-line database of our combined oral histories that will be housed here in the Biblioteca Pública and accessible to anyone in the local community.
After I get back to Virginia and settle in, I plan to start processing my data (i.e., transcribing my tapes and coding the transcripts) and to do a few interviews via phone with those who I could not interview when I was here. I also plan to keep in touch via e-mail and vonage with a few people here about local news and developments. I’ll continue to blog on the news in SMA, retirement, and U.S.-Mexico immigration, while continuing to emphasize the bi-directional nature of these immigration flows.
It is with some sadness that I say hasta luego to San Miguel. This is a wonderful place, it has a unique international community, and a great group of Mexican and expatriate residents. I’ll miss living here, and I’ll miss you all.