You’re Never Too Old to Learn

I have lived in Mexico for over four years now, and I have learned a few things along the way. Life is very different here than in the United States, where I am from, and some things have been harder than others to get used to. For example, things take longer to get done here and sometimes the process does not make much sense. For those of you who live here in Playa del Carmen, you might consider the recent process of getting your license plates. For many, a time consuming process that seems abnormally frustrating. But, for all the frustrating things we encounter, there are a million other small gifts we receive and even some life lessons learned. Here are just a few of the things I have learned from my beautiful, adopted country of Mexico:

  • A fork is unnecessary if there is a tortilla available.
  • Taking a left from the middle or right lane is not unusual, especially if it´s a taxi.
  • A blinker is not necessarily an indication that someone is turning. It may mean a variety of things: ¨Go ahead and pass me¨; ¨My blinker says right, but I’m actually going left¨; ¨I have been driving with this blinker on for days.¨
  • When in doubt during a conversation in Spanish, just say orale.
  • Music should be played at ear splitting levels in the pharmacy or deli.
  • A caguama is a much more fiscally responsible purchase than a couple of beers.
  • A small abarrote is better than a big grocery store for things like, well most things.
  • Walking is still the best way to get around.
  • Dishwashing soap should be watered down so that you can make it last longer.
  • Hot water should never be taken for granted.
  • It is polite to say buenos días or buenas tardes when getting on the small colectivos, entering a waiting room, entering a small store, or anywhere where a few people may be gathered.
  • It is also polite to say provecho when you walk into a restaurant and people are eating when you walk by their table.
  • Getting out of your comfort zone is required to survive here (or anywhere) as an immigrant.
  • Cash is king and still the best way to pay for just about everything.
  • When you see a line, relax and settle in. Having a hissy fit isn’t going to get you through the line faster.
  • Gorda is a term of endearment (although, still not completely sold on this one).
  • Salsa casera, avocado, media crema, tortillas, and queso fresco can make any meal just that much better!
  • Being an immigrant is way harder than you think.
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Originally from Connecticut in the New England region of the United States, Rebecca has been living in Playa del Carmen for five years. While she misses her big, crazy family back in the States, she doesn´t miss scraping ice and snow off her car in the winter!

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