In their own words
By Inside México Original Print Publication: February, 2009
For the "25 Mexicans You Should Know" edition of Inside México (November 2007), our editorial team sat in a room for hours, proposing and debating names of candidates, eventually whittling the list down to a mix of well- and less-well-known figures, each illuminating some aspect of this country.
For "25 Expats," we decided to do something different. We put the word out. We invited you, our readers, to tell us who to highlight. E-mailed nominations poured in from around the country, and several of you even called.
This inaugural group of 2009 finalists is a diverse bunch in terms of where they are from, where they live and what they do. You've helped us round up the expat equivalent of the "butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker." In this case, however, it is the activist, the developer, and the expat filmmaker...and the dog rescuer, the theater founder, the birder, and the book store owner. The list goes on.
The common thread running through each selection is the effort these people make to build community between expats and Mexicans. We think that by doing so, they are helping to expand the definition of Mexico. That is what immigrants do.
Expats: Anado McLauchlin & Richard Schultz
Studio: Casa Las Ranas
Richard Schultz and Anado McLauchlin
- 25 expat voices: Anado McLauchlin & Richard Schultz
- 25 expat voices: Attilio Tuis Berto
- 25 expat voices: Barbara Franco
- 25 expat voices: Barbara MacKinnon vda. de Montes
- 25 expat voices: Caren Cross
- 25 expat voices: Ed Krause
- 25 expat voices: Father Vincent Schwahn
- 25 expat voices: Henry Wangeman
- 25 expat voices: Jeanne Chaussee
- 25 expat voices: Joanie Barcal
- 25 expat voices: Kevin Pickolick
- 25 expat voices: Lee Carter
- 25 expat voices: Maggie Galton
- 25 expat voices: Marcia Hass
- 25 expat voices: Marie Dwyer-Bullock and Ray Bullock
- 25 expat voices: Milou de Montferrier
- 25 expat voices: Molly Fisher
- 25 expat voices: Paul Crist
- 25 expat voices: Rachel Micah-Jones
- 25 expat voices: Ron Buchanan
- 25 expat voices: Susana Trilling
- 25 expat voices: Susana Valadez
- 25 expat voices: Umair Khan
Anado: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I fled at 19 to New York City, to India, and to places beyond, so long as they weren't Oklahoma City. Richard is a third-generation San Franciscan.
Live in: We live in a colorful mosaic-covered house in La Cieneguita, a small rancho outside San Miguel de Allende.
Living in Mexico: Seven happy years.
Why did you move to Mexico?
We had been planning to live in the Four Corners region of Arizona, but chance brought us to Mexico for Christmas 2000, and we fell in love with the festive, artistic, joyous culture that continues to seduce us to this day. We bought our house in the campo six months later.
How and where did you meet?
Richard: We met in an AOL chat room in the late 1990s. After a few months we met in person under the redwood trees in West Marin County, where Anado was living. To paraphrase Rumi, we had been waiting all our lives to meet.
Tell us about life at Casa Las Ranas. What was the inspiration? What's a typical day there for you both?
Anado: We found this great old property in absolute disrepair and knew we were going to have some fun. We were inspired by the indigenous and folkloric culture of Mexico, mixed with all the places we had been around the world. We have a really great time doing pretty much whatever we want creatively. It is quite important in a sense, because we get to contribute in our way to an amazing lineage of art and culture that sets Mexico apart from what we left behind up North. I parted ways with my inner editor at the northern border, which was very liberating. Our creations bring lots of joy to both Mexicans and expats, especially children.
A day here is spent working in the studio, taking care of our critters, overseeing the gardens, designing new projects, and co-creating their execution with my assistant, Carlos Ramirez Galvan. Richard is oftentimes at his computer. He teaches Art History online to three private schools in the Bay Area.
What other organizations, activities, or hobbies are you involved in here?
We have a menagerie of six cats, six dogs, and four burros... they take up lots of space. A sizeable portion of our time is involved in creating the environment we call Casa las Ranas, as well as helping to raise money for charities such as the Audubon Society, children's day care, and the local schools here in the campo. We also like to explore Mexico City in our free time, especially the Centro Histórico and Colonia Roma.
Do you have a specific Mexico "moment" that makes you think, "That's what I love about this place"?
Anado: My first year here, a child came running towards me in the Jardín here in San Miguel screaming, "Santa! Santa! Santa!" When she reached me, she hugged me around the knees with a love so genuine that I knew I was home.
Richard: A couple of years ago Anado led me down to the middle of the property and presented me with a most amazing birthday present, two rescued burros. We named them Lolita and Barbarella. It was a true Mexican moment—definitely not the norm in gentrified San Francisco. They are now an integral part of our composting team at Casa Las Ranas.
What are both the best and the hardest things about being an expat in Mexico?
The best thing is being in a culture that values family, art, expression, and spontaneity. The hardest part is that we stand out like two Santas, and we get "ho, ho, ho'ed" wherever we go—which is both a curse and a blessing!