Interview with Corinna Levine Dahlin

Where is your hometown?
Since I’ve lived here in Puerto Vallarta ten years full time, this is home but before that I lived in Toronto, Vancouver and grew up in London, Ontario.

What do you say when you talk about Mexico?
It’s beaches and great food and more recently after a trip to Oaxaca, the pride of the people and the rich culture and art.

What do we need to understand and / or change as Mexicans?
That preservation of its culture and beauty is vital to its sustainability especially here in Puerto Vallarta as a major tourist destination

What is something that captures / reflects Mexican identity?
Its food, its relaxed vibe, any excuse to celebrate!

What we have learned or been surprised by in recent history in Mexico?
I have been surprised by the blatant “out in the open” violence exhibited by the drug cartels.

What are you most proud of being in Mexico as a resident or citizen?
That I have immersed myself into the culture, learning the language and travelling to not just tourist destinations but all over Mexico and have come to realize what an incredibly beautiful and diverse country this is! Con orgullo!

Compared to Mexico, what is better and worse in your own country?
#1: The weather! Hate the cold!
#2: The number of hours I had to work, just to pay the bills was overwhelming. I have so much more free time here.
#3: People are happy! Perhaps it’s the sunshine but compared to Vancouver there’s a lot less depressed people walking around. No hibernation involved here!

What is the biggest challenge for Mexico as a country?
Ending the corruption and narrowing the gap between very poor and very rich, creating more of a middle class.

What made you choose Mexico as your place of residence?
I had always wanted to live in a tropical climate. I had an aunt 7 yrs older than me who lived as a translator in la Habana Cuba. I visited her a lot and never wanted to come home. I always felt more comfortable in my own skin there than in Canada. It was too difficult to make a living there due to its political situation. I had experience in hospitality, I had worked with Marriott hotels and knew there was a Marriott in PV that perhaps would employ me, I had backpacked around Mexico in 96, loved it, knew I’d come back someday. Having never visited PV, I wanted to see what the pacific side of Mexico had to offer. I sold everything, and never looked back.

How long have you been in Mexico? Why have you stayed?
I have been here 10 years, working with the Vida club, (aka. Mayan palace resorts) mostly in Puerto Vallarta, with a few months in previous years in Sonora. I am a very good promoter for the resort and I enjoy my job. I have a comfortable lifestyle I could never have afforded in Canada.7 years ago I bought my first car last year I purchased a condo here, my first home. 6 yrs ago I met my “media naranja”. 1 year ago the YPO group started. Now I have it all. I am truly happy.....A home in a beautiful place, someone to share it with, and friends to enhance it all.

Why do you want to become a Mexican citizen?
when my employers pagadora renews my fm 2  every year it costs 3000 pesos and it’s always a huge hassle, they misplace it,  it takes months longer than it should, I have to hand over  my passport, they tell me the wrong photo size, etc. etc. I want to avoid that.

What is the biggest challenge for you as a foreigner in Mexico?
Overcoming stereotypes such as the white woman looking for the “exotic” sexual experience, or that I’m rich and don’t need to work or that I’m a “sugar mama” to my Mexican boyfriend.

If you went back to your home country, what would you miss the most about Mexico?
The food! The outdoor lifestyle, the sunshine, the ocean,  the happy, friendly people, my friends I’ve made here, the flexible work hours, the bright colours, the flowers, the plants, the language, the passion.

Interview with Corinna Levine for Caras de México. Click here to read more interviews examining Mexican identity.