The other day, I left my apartment to go hang with a new dude that I've gotten to know briefly from time to time named Andres.
We met at the nearby gym of Pedregal de Santo Domingo and have occasionally gone out for beer once in a while.
On this day, it was just us and nobody else.
Sitting down at this same bar that is close to this taco spot that I really enjoy, we got talking about whatever.
And he mentions at some point that he has a cousin actually that has spent time in the US doing construction work up there.
The cousin is back now in Mexico but has spent some time up there earning USD and having some cash in the bank account that he didn't have before.
Given we were located in a poorer neighborhood -- a barrio popular -- don't get into thinking that Andres comes from a wealthy family.
And, if I had to guess, not many of his family members are either.
His cousin was not likely a fresa moving up north to live the good life of Houston working an office job making 6 figures and who went to Harvard University years before his career got kicked off.
Nope, he worked construction.
So it wasn't like he was a millionaire now either having earned some USD.
But, according to Andres, his cousin seems "a lot better off now."
He showed me some pics of his cousin up somewhere in the US (forgot to ask which state) and it looked pretty normal to me.
Nothing in particular that made it seem that his cousin is "on the up and up."
But, compared to living in a barrio popular of CDMX, I guess it is an improvement materially.
He looked to have some truck that didn't look very new but Andres seemed to be impressed by it or was commenting on how nice it was anyway.
And now his cousin "Manuel" is back in CDMX to visit family and all.
Done with living in the US?
I have no idea.
But back for now with a lot of cash in hand.
Has nicer clothes.
And helping out with family down here giving out tiny bits here and there (a hundred bucks here, a hundred there) to a few family members like his parents that need it for whatever reason.
In short, Andres seemed proud of him and how he is "on the up and up."
But, during our conversation, he mentioned too how "it seems everyone is asking him for money now."
Which sounds typical.
Imagine your lottery winner getting requests left and right and a thousand sob stories about the need for some cash.
While Manuel didn't win the lottery, he apparently is coming across like he has cash.
Maybe has for some time now if I had to guess because it's not uncommon for Mexican folks up there to send cash to folks down here over the years before coming back.
But, as it pertains to Andres and his broader family, that's all I know.
I'm not anymore knowledgeable about their family politics or anything else when it comes to Manuel and his status in the family with the extra cash he has now.
So, while the conversation was left at that and we got talking about other things, I would like to emphasize anyhow that this type of scenario isn't entirely uncommon for some Mexican folks.
I emphasize "some" because, to be fair, I'm not Mexican nor am I as familiar with Mexicans living in the US versus Mexicans I have met in Mexico who haven't even been up there.
But, once in a blue moon, you might get talking with someone who might have spent time up there or has a family member that does and you start to see a particular trend.
A type of common story that comes up again and again and it makes you wonder "is this typical?"
Like I said, I'm not Mexican so I can't tell you how common this type of story is but let's cut the foreplay and get into the broad details.
The Latin American Returning With Cash
And, to be fair, perhaps this happens among nationalities of other countries.
Guatemalans? Salvadorians? Hondurans? Dominicans?
From what I have seen, Latin Americans of South America that visit the US tend to be richer from what I have noticed versus the average one from places like Mexico or Guatemala.
So that might change things also when we are speaking of "the Latin American returning with cash."
Anyway, the trend I have seen anyhow -- or I am talking about -- is when you got the Latin American who comes from more humble backgrounds.
Not a fresa by anymeans.
Perhaps even middle class.
But who doesn't come from money and goes up to the US -- legally or illegally -- and earns a decent amount of money.
It might not seem much in the US but his USD -- when converted to pesos -- seems like a decent amount down here in Mexico.
Especially to a family living in Pedregal de Santo Domingo or any other "barrio popular."
Or anyone living outside of Mexico City in a less affluent area.
Said Latin American over the years has perhaps started to come across as having more money even before his arrival.
Perhaps his photos he shares on Whatsapp or Facebook of him in his vehicle that might not be new in the US but is more modern than the vehicles you see folks driving back home in his poorer neighborhood.
He is now a man who wears clothes that were not sold in the street by small vendors.
Who has a decent watch now that is worth a few hundred bucks.
Nothing crazy but it looks nicer than the watches his family members back home have.
And his phone is nicer too!
Granted, phones in the US tend to be cheaper than in Mexico and, as I wrote here, you have plenty of Latin Americans who ask people heading to the US and returning to buy them a phone up there and they'll give them the money when they return.
On top of all of that, perhaps his apartment looks nicer.
Even his neighborhood where his apartment is -- which might not necessarily be the nicest neighborhood in the eyes of an American -- still looks nicer than the one his family is from.
Finally, let's not forget the sums of money he sends back to the family every once in a while when he can afford it.
A hundred here or a hundred there.
Or, in pesos, be it 2000 here and 2000 there.
By all accounts, even before he returned to Mexico or whichever Latin American country, he appears to have money.
Improved his situation in life.
Then, if he comes back, that impression continues.
But, having said that, it sometimes seems to me that there are some negatives that come with this.
At least from an outsider perspective who isn't Mexican and is just taking this in and learning how it is based on what I see.
The cousin of Andres wasn't the first time I had seen this.
For example, as I casually mentioned in this article here, I used to go on a few dates with a chick I hooked up with from time to time named Ana.
She was Mexican also and also had a family member living in the US doing construction also funny enough.
Not to play on stereotypes but, now that I think about it, "construction worker" seems to be a common job among the Mexicans I hear about in the US from Mexicans telling me about them down here.
Anyway, I had gotten to know Ana a little more personally than I have so far with Andres because Andres and I only go out for beer usually.
Simple conversation and that's it.
With Ana, given I was fucking her mouth quite often, I guess she felt more open to telling me about her family whenever we hung out and watched movies or whatever.
And it was kinda similar to the cousin of Andres.
Some family member goes up there (forgot the exact relation -- cousin? uncle? I forgot) who makes USD, sends some back, works construction, etc.
At first, she was more "hush hush" about it and didn't talk about it as much until the end of our time hooking up.
At some point near the end, we were watching a movie based in the US -- Bad Santa if I remember right -- and it somehow sparked the conversation about life up there.
And so we got talking about the family member working construction and she started mentioning at some point about envy or jealously that some family members have against the dude.
Kinda similar to whenever someone of a more humble background does well for themself and then you got family members who feel insecure and they start talking shit.
Saying shit like "oh, he's just trying to be something he ain't."
Or "he should remember his roots."
A statement that usually comes after bitching about how said family member isn't helping out enough by giving money to other family members.
"Share the wealth" or some shit.
Anyway, Ana didn't elaborate more beyond just that the dude was facing some envy in her family I guess.
The type of envy mentioned above.
Beyond that, there were some other examples that come to mind of shit like this happening.
For example, as I wrote here, there was a UBER driver I met who worked in the US, saved up cash and now can afford to send his kid to a very good school.
In our conversation about the US, he gave a similar vibe that everyone -- even old friends from the 1st grade -- are wanting cash.
Still, it's all the same anyhow.
Be it everyone coming to the family member returning asking for money with a sob story, the returning family member giving off the impression that he has lots of wealth now and other family members perhaps even getting envious or jealous.
But that's as far as my knowledge about this goes.
Like I said, I'm not Mexican nor do I have Mexican family members going to the US and stacking up cash.
Only bringing to light this particular aspect to the life of a type of Latin American you might notice down here.
The one who spent time up north and now has the reputation of having a bigger bank account with all of the benefits and consequences of such.
Not saying this is typical or common among Latin Americans who go north and return but a type of profile anyway that I have noticed over time.
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