“390 Days with my Son-in-Law!” My Side of the Lockdown Story

I am the mother-in-law of Nick Corbishley, author of “365 Days with my Mother-in-Law: Boots on the Ground View of Barcelona’s Economy.” This is my side of the story.

By Sylvia, Nick Corbishley’s mother-in-law, for WOLF STREET:

I am from Mexico and currently live in Barcelona with my daughter and Nick, though I’m planning to head back to Mexico in the coming weeks. The prospect of boarding a plane terrifies me — much more so than the flight I boarded in Mexico for Barcelona, on March 5, 2020. I had no idea then that I was flying at arguably the most dangerous time during the whole pandemic.

Much to my amazement, we are now on Day 390. I have spent most of those days cooped up in a 170 square foot room. Four and a half of the five suitcases I brought with me from Mexico are still unpacked.

My original plan was to rent an apartment in Barcelona and sublet one of the rooms to short-stay visitors from Mexico. I have been visiting my daughter and son-in-law in Barcelona for extended periods, ever since my retirement over five years ago. I have grown fond of this city. Unlike Mexico City, Barcelona is made for walking. I love strolling the narrow cobbled lanes of the Gothic Quarter and El Born. When I reach Barceloneta I sit down on a cafe terrace and gaze out at the Med. Simple food washed down with Vermouth, a wary eye on my belongings — this is Barcelona after all!.

This time, my stay was supposed to be permanent. To that end, I sold my beloved fourth-floor apartment in Mexico City, overlooking a tree-studded park. It had been my home for over 40 years, my pride and joy, the fruit of decades of hard work. But in 2017, I discovered, to my horror, that the city’s new seismic study had identified my neighborhood as one of the most at risk of suffering material damage in future earthquakes. My apartment had already survived two big tremors (1985 and 2017), sustaining only minor damage in the process. I have friends who lost everything they owned in ’85. And insurance policies in Mexico don’t cover all of the damage.

I decided not to test my luck any longer and put my flat on the market. The money raised from the sale, together with the rental income generated by my apartment in Puebla, would provide enough funds to finance my move to Barcelona. At least that was the plan.

Almost all of the money was still in Mexican pesos, when the peso plunged by 25% against the euro in the first five weeks of the coronavirus crisis.

The sale of my flat was executed in pesos, and I had intended to move at least half of the money into euros. First I needed to open up an account in Barcelona. Once I had done that, I would be able to transfer funds from my Mexican account. But during my meeting with my bank manager in Mexico, he neglected to ask me to sign key anti-money laundering papers. As a result, I could not transfer any money despite granting my niece power of attorney before my departure.

By that time, Spain was in lockdown. All I could do was watch as the value of the money in my Mexican bank account plunged against the euro. By now, renting a studio apartment of my own in Barcelona is nigh-on impossible, and sharing an apartment with anyone else is also out of the question due to the pandemic.

So here I am, getting ready to fly back home. While part of me is excited about the prospect of returning to my native country, I can’t help but worry about what I will find there.

Mexico has always been a place of ups and downs. In the lost decade of the 1980s, annual inflation twice soared above 100%, wiping out the savings of a large part of the middle class. In the Tequila Crisis of 1994-5, a sudden devaluation of the peso sparked a massive sell-off of Mexican assets. Amidst the fallout, a string of lenders collapsed. An IMF bailout was quickly arranged to prevent the chaos from spreading to investment banks on Wall Street. Inflation was over 50%.

But the virus crisis, which is far from over in Mexico, could end up exacting an even greater toll. The economy had already stopped growing before Covid arrived. Then last year it suffered its worst slump since the 1930s, shrinking by 8.5%. That’s worse than the worst year of the Tequila Crisis when the economy contracted by 6.3%. It’s also worse than the worst year of the Global Financial Crisis, 2009, when the economy shrank by 5.1%. The virus crisis has also laid waste to domestic consumption which suffered its worst annual decline on record (-11%) — almost twice as large as in 2009 (-6%).

Mexico’s government does not have the fiscal or monetary capacity to provide the sort of financial support programs that have been rolled out in more advanced economies. The government has resisted calls to splash out to prop up the economy, arguing (quite rightly) that bailouts tend to line the pockets of the rich. Instead it has targeted most of the fiscal support programs at the most vulnerable segments of society. As a result, public debt has not soared as much as in other economies.

But it also means that Mexican companies have not enjoyed the kind of support that many companies in, say, the US, France and Germany have. No government-backed emergency business loans, no grants, no furlough programs. Many companies, in particular small ones with little cash, have already collapsed.

My nephew who works in the construction industry in Puebla says that roughly one out of every three street-level properties in the city are currently vacant. Both rents and the value of the properties are falling sharply, he says. In Mexico City, 50% of the office space and 70% of the retail space at the 50-floor World Trade Center are empty.

The construction industry is in trouble. In 2020 activity in the sector slumped 17%. It was already in trouble before then. This January, it registered its 31st straight month of falling activity, according to INEGI. The first blow came due to the reduction of civil works, due to the low investment in public infrastructure. Work on new buildings kept the sector afloat until last year’s lockdown and slump in housing demand brought activity to a standstill. Now the industry faces the added pressure of rising input costs.

The virus crisis has also exacerbated two of Mexico’s biggest problems: poverty and inequality. Even before Covid-19, almost half the population of Mexico City already lived in poverty, according to the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (CONEVAL). The pandemic has made a bad situation even worse: some 63% of households in the country saw their income drop during the worst months of the economic crisis in 2020. And schools have been closed for 13 months.

Last year, remittances, mainly from the US, helped to cushion the blow for many families. This year the hope is that Mexico’s exports to the US and beyond will surge as a global recovery takes hold.

An optimist by nature, I would like to believe this will happen. But it’s hard to be optimistic when you’ve been living with Nick for the past 390 days. By Sylvia, Nick Corbishley’s mother-in-law, for WOLF STREET.

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  70 comments for ““390 Days with my Son-in-Law!” My Side of the Lockdown Story

  1. Javert Chip says:


    Yea , Nick…and Sylvia.

    • Javert Chip says:

      Clarifying my above comment:

      “Fabulous” is not referring to the all to real damage & required sacrifices resulting from the pandemic.

      “Fabulous” is in reference to Sylvia’s very clear & articulate understanding, and resilience in the face of an extremely unpleasant reality.

      Never was “Vios con Dios” more heartfelt.

      • urblintz says:


      • Joe Saba says:

        love how she describes how FIAT CURRENCIES(ie not reserve currenc) get wiped out
        remember the Tequila crisis
        1st 93-94(right at xmas) devalued from 1 to 3 pesos to 1 against dollar
        then again 94-95 3.5 to 7 to one(OVERNIGHT) right before xmas again
        wiped 99% out
        of course 1% just RAISED PRICES TO COMPENSATE
        hope she has sufficient funds to get by in Mexico today

  2. John says:

    Thanks for your writing! Wish you safe travels. Good thing you sold when you did. Our world is upside down now, but I am also an optimist.

  3. qt says:

    Good luck to you Sylvia! Have a safe flight home.

  4. JOHN says:

    Sylvia, thank you for the great review of the past 12 months. Wonderful but sad recap of the world crisis.
    Blessings to you and your family.

  5. Randy Oldman says:

    Very good read, smart and insightful. All the best!

  6. Jack says:

    There is a 90% chance in 6 month ya Peso will increase & go back it’s previous value, maybe 6 months, the rate Christine Lagarde is dismantling the Eurozone it could be even higher than before the plunge.

    • Blockhead says:

      Absolutely Jack.
      With targeted aid to the needy and restraint from overblown money printing as in the US and EU, Mexico is most likely to recover more vigorously post Pandemic and likewise the Peso.

  7. Ron says:

    Please check COVID deaths before going get input from relatives I don’t know your plans but be safe go back to Spain safer when things deteriorate there will be chaos oh no second amendment rights good stuff how do 3 people live in 170 sq ft

    • Wolf Richter says:

      HER room is 170 sq ft. The apartment overall is much larger, but still tight for three adults.

      • William says:

        Hi Wolf,
        May be I am naive and know too little about Mexico and Europe, but I want to let Sylvia and Nick know my view:-
        (1) Sylvia’s real problem is the difficulty or impossibility to move money out of Mexico, no matter what. I suppose she was not allowed to exchange pesos for US$ or euros or other things as soon as her apartment was sold. And that’s why she has to return to Mexico now to be with her money.
        (2) The drop in peso’s value is a lost cost and there’s no point in thinking about it any further. However, to return to a place where you have lost hope for and haven’t seen any good reasons yet is a decision which you can make not to do. DON’T go back. Try to get the pesos out to where you want to live.

  8. Seneca’s Cliff says:

    Thank you for this Sylvia. Your description of the ups and downs of the Mexican economy is a good lesson for Americans in how things work when the government ( and its partner the fed) can’t just creat money (credit) out of thin air. Things are much different when the balance of trade must even out, and the government can only spend what it can raise in taxes, or convince actual third parties to lend it. This is coming to the US one day and few are ready for it.

    • Jack says:

      The Fed doesn’t create money from thin air, who gave you that idea, they buy bonds & give banks reserves, all banks can do is make loans against the reserves, only commercial banks create money in the form of loans.

      This myth that the Fed creates money is driving the psychology of markets, people do not realise it’s all borrowed money & think all the Fed need to do is “create from thin air”, how can markets drop, it’s a win win game of speculation, oh how wrong they are, oh how much it will hurt when all them margin calls get triggered and markets fall off a cliff.

      • Bobber says:


        The combination of Treasury and Federal Reserve actions is money printing. The Treasury runs deficits and issues debt, then the Fed buys that debt with newly created money.

        It’s money printing, plain and simple.

        As you indicate, however, it only does harm. It’s a ploy of spineless politicians and bureaucrats to paper over problems.

        • Jack says:


          It’s not, money circulates in the economy, the Fed buys bonds from banks & gives them reserves, pays them 0.1% on those reserves, they cannot use them or touch them, they remain in a locked system and never enter the economy, so it’s not money.

          The Gov’s issues bonds and spends the money in the economy, this is why people speculate like crazy, what people see is massive borrowing by speculators driving markets higher, Stocks & Property even food & commodities, the law does not allow for money printing, they want you to believe that, as long as all the reserves are locked away and only used by banks as capital to loan money out it has zero effect on money supply, the M2 growth is Gov give aways, corporate borrowing placed in accounts, people not paying mortgages, rents, stimulus checks and less spending. If the Fed was doing money printing the day they try the Dollar would collapse in anticipation, even before the devaluation occurred.

          The Fed is just playing people, knowing they will behave in a certain way, who would loan the US Gov funds if they believed they would print money & dilute their funds, who would even hold Dollars or accept Dollars if that was the case, I’ll give a clue, NO ONE.

          All the price surges are because people are using massive debt to speculate, that simple.

      • Seneca’s Cliff says:

        Jack, this is basically just semantics. My point is not weather money comes out of thin air or is loaned in to existence. The point is about government/banking credit creation. Only a few countries can do this by themselves ( U.S, EU, Japan, UK) and the rest must borrow on the world market. Mexico can’t just sell its own bonds back to itself the way we can, nor can most of the countries in the world. This is an exorbitant privilege we have and are quickly burning up on the bonfire of extend and pretend.

        • Jack says:

          How is it semantics, what I say is facts, I’m not here to defend Gov’s I deplore their psychological manipulation of the people, hence explaining their slight of hand, QE can be done by any nation, it’s serves zero purpose, I explained why, banks are just swapping an asset(Bond) they own and can sell or loan out and earn income for a reserve of the same value which they can only loan against, it a non transaction, does nothing at all, but psychologically if you convince people they are devaluing the money they go spend it, or if they think the Fed can just print to save the day invest it, even if the economy has collapsed.

          It is not a privileged the countries you mentioned have, it’s stupidity, it’s the inability to face facts, like debt can only reach a certain level before it has zero effect & destroys the economy, any country can create a culture of massive over borrowing, Gov, corporate & people, if that is what ya mean I agree, other countries do not allow such high debts, everything on credit, leveraged investing.

          The US, EU, Japan, UK are finding out right now that there is a limit to how much money is available in the world to borrow, that is why yield are rising, it has nothing to do with inflation, many will disagree but that’s the truth, all Gov can’t borrow simultaneously, there isn’t enough money in the world for that, it’s already run dry, if people believe these bankers can just print they fail to realise the true extent of the crises they are in, who can they actually borrow money from?? :/

      • jrmcdowell says:

        The Fed absolutely does create money out of thin air and uses it to buy treasuries and mbs. Those reserves going to the banks are the money created out of thin air.

        The huge amounts the Fed buys causes the bonds to rise in price through supply/demand changes and front running by others. Therefore, the Fed is giving the banks more money (reserves) for the bonds than they are worth on the free market, thus creating new money.

        Also, the primary-dealer banks go out and buy bonds from third parties to sell to the Fed. This again creates windfall gains to the third-party sellers as they receive the “Fed price” as opposed to the free-market price. That newly “printed” windfall gain can then be used to buy other assets.

        Further, the Fed remits (less expenses, IOER) the payments it receives on the bonds it purchases back to the treasury thus effectively “printing away” the interest payments on that portion of the debt. Some have called this debt monetization outright fraud.

        In essence, the Fed creates new money and gifts it (by paying above market prices) to bond sellers who can use the money directly or as the reserves to make new loans. The resulting surge in money supply is helping to drive asset prices higher.

        Google: “Sven Henrich Twitter Never Forget” and watch the short 60 minutes clip where Powell acknowledges that they are printing money and increasing the money supply.

        • Jack says:

          The amounts you talk are a tiny fraction, I made my views clear, your talking of a tiny fraction of profit which covers the works they do, no money enters the economy, banks make loans when they see fit, the Fed absolutely put downward pressure on yields but that is not working, Yields are rising.

          Banks can make the same loans whether the bonds they paid for are on their balance sheet or are reserves, nothing changes, I don’t need Sven to explain anything to me, I know exactly what is going on & you can believe what you like.

          The discussion was about QE not tiny fees banks might collect or tiny little profits which they would have collected anyway had they sold, they get a tiny bit of pay for the work they do, that is far from printing money.

          To many people brainwashed with this Fed printing money, the Fed is controlled by congress, if they have issues contact your representative.

        • Jack says:

          You say the Fed pays above market prices but they do not, they pay the going rate like any private buyer, besides bond prices have been falling, how can you front run the Fed buying when the price is falling, you buy and after a week you lost 5% and the Fed buys at the lesser price, at least I know the process from my own work, you listen to others like Sven, Sven is in the business of making money from advising, he talks nonsense half the time and changes his views many times over a few months, one minute it’s a bubble and the next he’s saying it’s not, recycling other peoples views is all your doing & you wanna teach me, I don’t think so.

        • jrmcdowell says:

          it’s not Sven explaining it to you. It’s Powell. You seem to be saying that the Fed buys many trillions of treasuries and mortgage-backed securities but that it has little effect on the price of the bonds.

        • Jack says:

          Powell has been lying since he took the jobs, I explained that they play psychological games, I have explained the process, believe me or don’t, it’s up to you, I don’t get paid for this, I have zero to gain, I’m just trying to help the common man/women not to fall for their deceit, imagine what I think when people are so brainwashed they continuously quote other people.

          Powell is a liar, he looks into the camera & lies to the American people, he does it because I said above, it makes them behave in a way that he wants, it’s that simple, all the bubbles are from people borrowing massive debts and gambling, it has zero to do with money printing, plus all the Gov borrowing.

        • Jack says:

          NO. I said it absolutely pushes yields down, so that’s me saying of course it has an effect on bond prices, that’s the intention of QE to force the yields down, but guess what?? The yield have risen substantially, their effort is redundant cuz it hasn’t worked, the market forces have blown them away, they lost control, if they ever had any, but I did say yes they have an effect but risen yields suggest not much anymore, I said above the limited available money in the world is pushing yields up as Gov’s worldwide compete for the remaining funds, plus those who normaly buy bonds are saying NO, they don’t like the risk, the stupid Gov spending, countries have no money to buy them either.

      • Seneca’s Cliff says:

        Jack, I will close my argument with the most recent wise words of our gracious host, “ Central banks getting nervous about the Fed’s drunken Money Printing.”

        • Jack says:

          Seneca, I’m not arguing with, just sharing my views and what I know, I don’t get that comment, how can the central banks be getting nervous about the Fed’s drunken money printing, if ya talking about bond buyers getting nervous about the Fed stupidity & Gov stupid borrowing I would agree, the Fed is dumb, always have been, but it’s congress & the Gov who are making bond buyer nervous, but thanks for entertaining my comments.

    • Raj says:

      Thank you for a wonderful article Sylvia. Wish you a very safe journey back. Here in India too, impact on the poor is much larger due to the pandemic. Similar to Mexico, the Central (Federal) Government has restricted relief to large corporations thru’ loan moratoriums and some tax breaks – certainly not at the scale of many Western Democracies. Meanwhile, most state Governments have been able to provide adequate medical support to the the more vulnerable sections of society. Overall, things are not great at the moment, but we are hopeful a recovery is imminent, if not already underway.

    • Gerrard White says:

      @Seneca’s Cliff

      Well China investments especially infra into Mexico can help – increasing as poor benefits from NAFTA and other tensions have declined US attractiveness as a partner

      China-Mex trade deal in the works

      US should copy not war monger

    • c1ue says:

      A number of fundamental misconceptions in your original comment.
      1) Sovereign governments absolutely can create money out of thin air. They do it all the time.
      Mexico is more constrained because it has borrowed heavily in other nation’s currencies. This debt is something like 8% (or more) of GDP.
      2) Balance of trade has no requirement to even out. So long as other countries are willing to give you material things for zeros in a central bank computer – this is bad? Note a significant part of China’s miracle was the it neither borrowed heavily in foreign currencies nor was unwilling to “print’ money to grow its economy. Ultimately printing isn’t the issue – it is the use to which the printed value is put to.
      3) Government can only spend what it can raise in taxes: Categorically no.
      Governments can print. They can tax. They can confiscate. They can redistribute. Sovereign nations are not the same as individuals or corporations.
      4) “coming to the US one day” – yes in theory. No in reality.
      Until there’s an alternative, there is zero chance of this day coming.
      Even once there is an alternative, it takes time to unwind the billions and trillions already outside the US and even more time for people to want to switch away from using dollars in trade and as hedges against their own government printing.

      There are many examples which underlie the above:
      a) World War 2. The US printed like mad. We’re talking 100%+ inflation every year. Yet the US ended WW2 and the largest economy in the world, by far.
      b) The US was going technically bankrupt when Nixon took the US off the Bretton Woods international currency gold exchange standard. Yet the US not only didn’t suffer – it came out with the US dollar on top.
      How can this be if “balance” and all that other Austrian nonsense matters?

  9. gwillard says:

    I was reading eagerly to the end for the ‘ropa sucia’ that only a mother-in-law could dish up! But seriously, many thanks to Nick & Sylvia for such incisive reporting — I’d love to be a fly on the wall at your dinner table. Best of luck for your return, Sylvia, and to Mexico … proverbially so far from God, so close to the tender ministrations of its northern neighbor.

  10. Dale says:

    Terrible what happened, including the loss of so much money because the banker failed

    I’ve recently had a lot of experience with around a dozen US financial institutions, which basically breaks down as follows:

    1. The household names have pretty good processes, and generally follow through.

    2. The various others, including some who previously had great reputations such as USAA, completely failed during this crisis. It’s like they are staffed entirely by idiots now.

    My prior belief was not that the bigger firms were necessarily better (rather the opposite), but that has been my personal experience over the last year. ymmv

  11. MiTurn says:

    Thank you for your effort Sylvia. Best wishes to you! I hope that things go better than anticipated in your return to Mexico.

    I think that you also explained why so many Mexicans are trying to emigrate to the US: remittances. You put things into a proper perspective.

  12. The Colorado Kid says:

    As a geologist, I’ll just say I would’ve done the exact same thing re. being in an earthquake zone. I’ve spent a lot of time in Mexico, including Mexico City, and always thought the people there were fantastic. Great commentary. Safe travels back.

    • Jack says:

      Mr Colorado Kid!

      Correct me if I’m wrong, isn’t part/s of Mexico City built on ( recovered land)?

      I’ve read somewhere that it was a swampy area until European settlement?

      Please do let us know. Thank You.

  13. MaxS says:

    Hummm…Mexico… Brazil… Argentina… and everything in between. Economic basket cases. All of them. Banana republics.
    In the end, the only difference between the US/Canada/EU and LatAm is that the former have a lot more $$$ to burn that the latter.
    When I was a kid and people asked “what do you want to be when you grow up”, I used to answer “an immigrant”.
    As an immigrant, I can tell you first hand that there is no “safe” country. You have to keep moving as the sh*t hits the fan. Truly. A citizen of the world is the only solution… and even that one is not nearly enough.

    • Javert Chip says:


      “…Banana republics. In the end, the only difference between the US/Canada/EU and LatAm is that the former have a lot more $$$ to burn…”

      Your comment indicates you really don’t understand economics, so I won’t burden you with even a shallow explanation for mine:

      The major difference in those economies is the more successful ones actually have something that people in other nations are willing to pay for.

      • MaxS says:

        “Javert Chip
        The major difference in those economies is the more successful ones actually have something that people in other nations are willing to pay for.”
        Sooooo little wisdom… soooo many words. I won’t even attempt to explain it to you.
        But any how, tell me, how many years have you, personally, lived in Banana Republics to issue such pearls of wisdom? Because, obviously, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. None whatsoever.
        You don’t understand history.
        You don’t understand economics.
        You don’t understand markets.
        You don’t understand politics.
        Got it.

  14. Rcohn says:

    170 sq feet=

  15. Aussie Andy says:

    You could purchase somewhere in the Spanish countryside and go back to Barcelona every now and then. However I’m sure you have covered all options. Good luck and hope you get what you want!,,,

  16. Thank you for the wonderful insight. Best wishes and luck.

  17. Mr. Wake Up says:

    Why not just squat in one of Blackstones vacant units?

  18. jrmcdowell says:

    Thanks to Sylvia for telling her story.

  19. David Hall says:

    There are other asset classes besides Mexican pesos. There are U.S. dollars, Swiss francs, euros, precious metal funds, stock market index funds, actively managed funds, real estate, individual company stock, commodities, ETF’s, etc. George Soros and Jim Rogers knew how to trade commodities, not me.

    The dollar dropped compared to the euro last year, but seems to be rebounding. Europe shuts down. The US started to open.

    Venezuela is printing million bolivar bills due to hyperinflation. The USD is the unofficial currency of Venezuela.

  20. shandy says:

    Silvia’s plights although I am not up to speed, seem odd.
    There is just to much presented such as IMF, pandemic, earthquakes, Pesos converting to Euros, the move to Spain.
    Many fleeing Mexico don’t realize that keeping personal wealth is best preserved by the Mexican Libertad.

    • Javert Chip says:


      Apparently Sylvia lives in the real world, and all those “odd” moving parts you mentioned were, indeed, moving & destroying value as Sylvia made the move.

      Sometimes seeming inconsequential (bank) mistakes and bad timing actually happen to real people.

      In the mean time, I haven’t a clue what you mean by “personal wealth is best preserved by the Mexican Libertad”. I’m guessing I’m not alone.

      • Petunia says:

        The Mexican Libertad is a silver coin minted and sold by the Mexican govt. It is probably the best way to hold Mexican currency. I love and own Mexican silver jewelry, another way to preserve capital in Mexico.

        • Javert Chip says:


          Fortunately or unfortunately (depending upon your point of view), this wasn’t even the first time I was wrong today.

        • Nick Corbishley says:

          Couldn’t agree with you more, Petunia. The Libertad is truly a beautiful coin. Plus, it’s easy to buy since it’s on sale in most branches of Banco Azteca, which belongs to Ricardo Salinas Pliego, the son of Hugo Salinas Price, arguably Mexico’s biggest silver bug. Plus, in Mexico you don’t have to pay VAT on silver as you do here in Europe.

        • Stephen C. says:

          Can a citizen of the USA go into a bank in Mexico and buy him/her some of that silver? If so, what’s the fee? And how safe would the trip home be. Hmmm.

  21. nodecentrepublicansleft says:

    Thanks to Sylvia, Nick and Wolf for sharing some real world observations.

    I like to hear from regular people, it’s refreshing.

    I hope we all come out of this, slightly wiser for the wear.

    Perhaps the silver lining in this terrible experience is to put a greater focus on problems we can’t kick down the road anymore. Time to face up to reality.

  22. shandy says:

    I still don’t get it?
    Is she a wealthy financial refugee?
    Perhaps a fictional character brought upon us?
    Perhaps a non fictional life as you subscribe?
    Anyway the Mexican Libertad will be her and her family’s best preservation of their wealth coming and going to moheco.

  23. WES says:

    Hi Sylvia:

    Hopefully housing/apartment prices in Mexico have fallen more than the value of your Mexican pesos have! Maybe the Mexican bank manager screwing up the paperwork turns out to be a blessing in disguise?! Maybe someone up there has been looking after you after all!

    These are my “armchair” observations, while hibernating in my cave here in Toronto, Canada.

    Most likely you sold your apartment near the top of this Mexican housing cycle and now you are buying at the bottom when nobody else in Mexico wants to buy! You are timing this correctly even if this wasn’t your actual plan when you first started! Sell high. Buy low. Perfect timing! Take it and run!

    As for being afraid of traveling back to Mexico on an airplane. Ironically there is probably less danger of flying back to Mexico now than when you first flew to Spain!

    First we know more about the virus and how to avoid it (N-95 masks and carry bottle of alcohol hand sanitizer) and how to properly treat it, if you should get the virus. There are less unknown knowns now than before. So that is working in your favor to reduce the risks you are taking.

    I would view your return journey to Mexico (the new world) from Spain (the old world) as a necessary “calculated” risk, one you need to take! So Good luck!

    Now as for Nick! Sylvia your leaving is all part of your son-in-law’s very carefully laid out super duper secret plan (that he never thought of) to get his mother-in-law to leave on her own! Great job, Nick! Two win-win plans!

    • WES says:

      Thanks, Wolfe. Good editing job! I never thought of you editing my comment! Hopefully the rest sent privately?

  24. Uncle Salty says:

    Make damn sure your mother-in-law doesn’t miss her flight.

    • monday1929 says:

      That should be our National Motto:
      Make Sure Your Mother-In -Law doesn’t Miss her Flight” : -)

  25. raxadian says:

    I live in Argentina and we are heading to yet another default. To be fair no country in South America is doing okay due to the pandemic,. Even Brazil, the richest South America country with the strongest economy, won’t really start recovering until 2023. I think Uruguay may actually recover first due to small size, small population, not being in a huge debt, being extremely motivated to vaccinate everyone as fast as possible as tourism is really important and finally learning they cannot trust tourists to keep quarantine protocols unless forced to.

    Inflation? 50% or more every year since 2015 minimum no matter what the official numbers say.

    Add to lockdown crushing the economy and let’s just say I expect at least another five years of the local situation going down the drain.

  26. SpencerG says:

    “But it’s hard to be optimistic when you’ve been living with Nick for the past 390 days.”

    LOL… I absolutely LOVE that!!!

    • kitten lopez says:

      “But it’s hard to be optimistic when you’ve been living with Nick for the past 390 days.”

      –i know, i smiled wide at that and thought, “Ah! Thereby hangs THE tale!”

      Thank you, Doña Sylvia!


  27. William says:

    Hi, I live in Asia (Hong Kong) and know South America only by what is on a map and in the news. Can someone enlighten me:
    (1) Why was Sylvia not able to convert pesos to euros or US$ immediately as soon as she has the money, even while the money remains in Mexico?
    (2) Are there no other ways to remit money to a foreign country, other than fly to that country and open an account there?
    (3) Sylvia’s real problem seems to be that she can’t get the money to leave Mexico, which is the reason she has to return now?

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      @William: Regulations against criminal money laundering make it challenging to transfer large funds internationally unless correct protocols are followed.

      • JM says:

        Money laundering is more of an excuse for many countries to prevent money from leaving the country, which is not the case in Singapore.

  28. Mira says:

    Thank you Sylvia for an insightful view into Mexico .. I know practically nothing about Mexico & I see the nation as chaos INC. & I feel for the people in that chaos.
    Mexican children have not been to school for 13 months .. this is not good .. perhaps Mexico could have gone the way of Sweden & looked at COVID-19 with more caution & a soft approach.
    They have a 10 million population & annual deaths total approx: 8.000
    When I looked in December 2020 the death toll for that year overall had 2.000 odd to go to reach the normal average deaths .. without COVID-19
    Go figure.
    Good luck for the future.

  29. lenert says:

    Heh. Thank you.

  30. cb says:

    Excellent content and well written. Thank you.

    I am curious to know if your apartment has increased or fallen in value since you sold it. Your peso’s may have fallen against the Euro, but they may now buy more property in Mexico that they would have.

  31. Total Nobody says:

    “An optimist by nature, I would like to believe this will happen. But it’s hard to be optimistic when you’ve been living with Nick for the past 390 days.”


  32. malibu says:

    Sylvia good luck to you! Looking forward to some of your Mexico updates. Buy some Bitcoin!

  33. Mira says:

    I forgot to say .. “I also like a Vermouth”

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