Jodi Cilley is the founder and president of Film Consortium San Diego and an adjunct professor at San Diego City College. She lives in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico.
Since moving to Tijuana, I’ve been called crazy, stupid, adventurous, brave, and a pioneer. I’ve been called güera, a gringa, and a gabacha, all on the same day. (That’s three variations of White girl or American girl.)
By making that cross-border move in the early 2000s, I opened the floodgates for people’s opinions of my decision, which often led to intense questioning of the thought process that made me believe moving here was a good idea. I tried to explain my reasoning in terms that an average person would understand: the lower cost of living, higher quality of life, my desire to learn Spanish, and my enjoyment of Mexican culture. However, it rarely mattered what I said.
Most people just could not comprehend my point of view. Their entrenched negative image of Tijuana would not be overcome by anything I said, no matter how perfectly true and valid it was for me.
Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune