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Kicked Out of El Banco: When Rejection Strikes

A few years into Baja living, my husband learned to roll with the inconvenient punches, knew exactly how to pay all the bills in person, and understood the cultural norms. 

But of all the places we visited in the city, going to a Mexican bank never felt fun. 

  • Funky restaurants? Yes. 
  • The Italian gelato shop? Always. 
  • The pediatrician whose colleagues delivered babies downstairs? Sorta.
  • The gas stations where they pumped your gas and washed your windows? Maybe. 
  • The bank? Never. 

Between 230 cars jockeying for 13 parking spaces, sketchy holes in the sidewalks and a general feeling of being a tad nervous carrying too much cash, I preferred to stay in the car. Or at home.

At least their banks had real police officers packin’ heat at the front door. None of this rent-a-cop packin’ snacks nonsense you find in the States. 

ANY-who… one day my husband drove into Ensenada, did the parking spot dance, greeted the guard in Spanish, walked into our bank, and stood in line. The sound of dress shoes and high heels reverberated off the tile-only floors. It felt like a chore to always leave his flip-flops behind, but when in El Banco de Baja….

This particular bank had an agreement with Bank of America that allowed customers to bank in both countries without fees. So convenient! Our typical routine included taking cash out of our account in the States and then exchanging it for pesos in Baja. Easy breezy.

My husband waited for the teller to call him over for a typical transaction he’d done dozens of times. But this one went from normal to sideways faster than he could say hola. 

He slid his card and envelope of American dollars across the teller threshold and asked her to please deposit it into his account. He then asked for that same amount in pesos. 

She ran his card, looked at her screen, and politely excused herself.

Minutes later she returned with a larger-than-normal envelope, gave a half-smile, and looked timid. “Señor, you only deposit American money, only take out pesos, and you’re not using your card around town.”

“Si? And?”

“You can’t do that,” she said.

My husband looked baffled. “Porque?”

“Because you can’t.”

She slid all of our cash back across the teller threshold and stood her ground. 

“We’re closing your account. Here’s all your dinero.”

Photo by Sandra Gabriel on Unsplash

And that was it. Packed up, closed down, kicked out. 

Frustration bubbled. Even if she broke out her cheery voice and sang, Go on, take your money and run, the thought of opening an account in another bank with no connections to the States would have still furrowed my husband’s brow. He would have loved to stand there and politely spar about why this didn’t make sense, wasn’t fair, and felt discriminatory, but arguing in another language requires a different level of linguistic knowledge. 

When I was in middle school I got kicked out of our little town’s public library for talking too much. And too loud.

When my husband was in middle school he got kicked out for selling something slightly illegal on campus. 

But getting kicked out of a bank as an adult because you’re exchanging dollars for pesos and not using your card enough? Loco rejection. 

Which Got Me Thinking…

Besides the normal complicated chaos of friendships and family-ships, it feels like 2020 grabbed us all by the throat and threw us out on the street. Rejection at its finest. 

  • Our plans? Deleted.
  • Our vacations? Canceled. 
  • Our jobs? Furloughed.
  • Our non-life-threatening procedures? Postponed. 
  • Our jobs, round 2? Laid off.

Our kids got kicked out of their classrooms, off the playground, and into the kitchen.

Our teachers got kicked into the guest room… the den… the basement.

Our nurses got kicked out to the hallway… the parking lot… the courtyard.

We were all forced to deal with being kicked out of places—forced to deal with rejection. 

  • Church on the couch
  • Reduced restaurants
  • Closed theaters
  • Delayed deliveries
  • Empty shelves

How did you deal?

In the county where we live, churches now have to meet outside again, but tattoo parlors and salons can stay open.

To be clear, Governor, we can’t sit far apart with masks on and listen to a Christian talk from a stage 50 feet away, but an aesthetician can get within 50 millimeters of our spittle to wax the eyebrows off our faces?

Noted. 

Time to Bounce

Will we bounce back? Of course we will. We’re strong, resilient and determined. 

Until we’re not. 

  • Have we given ourselves permission to despise the sting of rejection? 
  • Have we given each other space to mourn the losses?
  • Have we sometimes felt like God has been silent?

Do you see us down here? We’re gettin’ our butts kicked!

If you’re a “pull up your cowboy bootstraps” kind of human, you might be tempted to let your eyeballs roll away while muttering something about being wussy and entitled when people complain. I’m married to an Enneagram eight; I get it.

But remember, sometimes those with hard shells have soft interiors. Therefore, I made a kinder quote. One might annoy you, the other might resonate with you. I respect you either way.

What have you been kicked out of recently? Are you feeling rejected? I’d be happy to pray for you if you want to share in the comments. 

P.S. Click on “Comments” right next to the title. 🙂

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