That day three years ago, I’d just moved to Vegas a few weeks ago, and woke up to a flurry of texts from Katie Stone.
“Have you seen this yet?!”
In a groggy state, I logged onto 2+2 and clicked on an hours-old thread with hundreds of replies.
I had to see for myself. I went to the PokerStars website and was met with that fateful seal of seizure.
Like other bad poker news in the past, I hoped I was just blowing it out of proportion. Even though I had already been a disillusioned libertarian for quite some time, there couldn’t be any way the government would just steal my job in an instant, right?
Over steaming mugs of ironically Mexican coffee, Collin helped calm me down, but as the day wore on, I was glued to poker websites and my usual optimism was fading away. Signing a check to pay my taxes felt a like a cruel twist.
Three years later, and the pre-Black Friday era is spoken of by poker players like we’re aging frat boys harkening back to the “good ole days.” While many steps are being taken in the right direction, I can only hope that we make further progress to accessing world-wide internet poker in America in the next three years than we have come in these first three.
My life has changed a lot in those three years— as I have chronicled on my blog and various articles, I’ve moved to Rosarito, México. When I first arrived, full of American naiveté, I found it tough to get used to things like an internet company missing their window for arrival for the 5th straight time. On the flip side, I was immediately drawn to the friendliness of strangers and their warm acceptance of my broken Spanglish.
I’ve found that I feel more at home living in a foreign country every day. However unscientific the studies are, Mexico is continually ranked higher than the US in terms of general happiness, despite that the median income for a Mexican is almost 1/10th of the median income for an American.
I’ve learned a lot by watching and befriending people here (thanks in no small part to my vast improvements in speaking Spanish). One person I admire is a man that gets groceries for me. He used to have a stained glass business downtown, but after September 11th, the border security was vastly increased at the Tijuana crossing and tourism fell sharply as the wait time back to get back into the US rose.
He was forced to close the business he was so passionate about, but explained to me that he is actually happy about his new job because he spends more time now with his wife and kids. This is despite the fact that he makes 10% of what he used to make years ago.
While we unpacked groceries together this week, his excitement extended beyond finding perfect purple eggplants for me. When I ask him how his week was, he answered with a smile that “every day is a gift.”
It turns out that the gift to me three years ago today was to get to live in a country where I’m inspired by the man that gets my groceries– where the focus of the culture is on happiness and finding el sol even on a cloudy day.