Some things about living in Mexico are amazing. I love the Tuesday market stalls, for instance. You can find fresh fruit, vegetables, clothing, cleaning supplies, handwoven baskets, almost anything you can imagine at these roadside markets. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well here. People often sell things out of their cars, or just pick a corner and set up a folding table. The police mostly leave them alone, except for very congested areas downtown.The climate is gorgeous as well. Average temperature, year round, is between 60-85F. We don’t have heat or air con at our house, which was built to stay cool and shady even when it’s terribly sunny out. Everything is natural. Consequently, we have fewer colds. There are always flowers blooming here as well. I have roses, bougainvillea, hydrangea in my courtyard, along with a Noche Buena tree, and other blooms for which I don’t know the names. The gardeners bring their carts along the walk, and when they ring the bell, I just point out the ones I think are pretty, and they plant them.
What else is good about life here? Well, my mother in law throws the best parties. Saturday, we went to a bash at her place. They had a band, tables on the terrace, and they cleared the furniture in one of the salons so we could dance. My husband and I boogied for a good hour after dinner. The kids danced too. My little girl performed this wild salsa step with her abuelo that I didn’t even know she could do. Girl got some Shakira in her hips, and she was the center of attention for like fifteen minutes. People actually stopped dancing and ringed her and my father in law to watch their wicked moves. I was like, damn, in five years, she’s gonna be dangerous moving like that.
And that’s the cool thing about parties here. People age, but they don’t seem to get old. I lack a sense of the generational divide. You’ll find a seventy year old grandmother out on the dance floor doing the tango. Everyone drinks, everyone dances, everyone parties. My father in law taught my son how to do shots. Abuelo drank tequila and the boy did shots of diet Sprite. You should have seen him. All of seven years old and he had fifty people cheering him on, shouting, “Todo! Todo! Todo!” while he chugged his Sprite Cero. Much screaming and clapping commenced when he drank it in one gulp. People make kids feel like a part of things here. They aren’t shunted off to back rooms or babysitters. In Mexico, you party with all your friends and family, whatever age they may be.
For me, the not-so-cool part of living here comes in two flavors. First flavor, since I’m not fully fluent in Spanish yet, I have ample opportunities to embarrass myself. For instance, saying “Soy aburrida,” versus “Estoy aburrida,” offers the difference between “I’m boring,” and “I’m bored.” Isn’t that awesome?
I recently found something else out from my language tutor. I had labored under the impression that “Me gusta” works for “I like…(whatever).” Synonymous. Right? Not for everything. It works for things and places, but for people it takes on the connotation of romantic attraction. So if you ask a man, “Te gusta Rodrigo?” you’ve inquired whether he’s sexually drawn to him. I cringe in retrospect. Now I know I need to use “Te cae bien?” instead. I also wish to bitch at the Spaniards. Did you know one word means two things here? Esposa = wife and …you ready? Handcuffs. I was so pissed when I figured that out! My husband remains unwholesomely amused by my outrage to this day.
The second thing that makes me sad about living here is the shortage of English books. My Spanish teacher has assigned me to read Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea in Spanish, though, so I won’t have time to whine about this much longer. Have ya’ll ever lived in another country? How did you cope with the customs? Feel free to ask anything you want to know about life in Mexico and I’ll do my best to answer.
If you can’t already tell, Annie lives in Mexico. She says so in the first line.
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