Four years ago my husband and I moved to Mexico. Many of our friends and family insisted we were crazy. The media fed into their fears with horrifying stories of violence and terror. Now mind you, there are some areas in Mexico that are quite dangerous, but the majority of the country is a very peaceful place. I try to make the comparison by saying it would be the same if someone told you not to move to Bozeman, Montana because they heard it was very dangerous in Detroit, Michigan.
People warned us that it would be very difficult to adjust to a different culture. Some things were difficult. The thing we fought with the most was “tranquilo”. People from the USA say they want peace and quiet, Ha! We have no idea what peace and quiet is. People from the states cannot completely relax.
Really drove us nuts! “Tranquilo” “relajarse” “suavizar”. We had no where to go, but dammit! When our home gas tank needed refilled I called and ordered a truck to come out “Hoy?” I asked. “Mas o menos.” was the reply. (Today? ..More or less.) QUE? What? how can a delivery be more or less today? It took 2 days for the truck to come. I now have found a company that will promise me to get it there the same day (but never a time).
The maximum speed allowed on the municipal freeway that circles the city is 80 kilometers an hour (sounds good until you convert to MPH = 50). I felt like I was crawling everywhere. When you go to dinner with friends you had better plan on 4 – 5 hours to do it. Locals like to talk, drink, more talk, drink, appetizers, talk, more drink, dinner, talking with drinking, dessert and coffee is a must, and of course you must talk even more with your coffee. To add to all of this, dinner doesn’t even start until 8:00 pm.
Crime indeed! A neighbor drove too close to my car parked out on the street and scratched the side of my mirror. The audacity of the pair to come ringing my doorbell at 10:00 pm to tell me they had committed this offense.
So how I ask, do you adjust? You just relax. Now I order my gas before it runs out. Yesterday I swore at a young kid driving like a madman “He must be driving 100!!!” (a whopping 62 mph). I finish dinner now around 10pm. And I have been fast friends with those neighbors after I made cookies for them and thanked them for their honesty. (And it wasn’t even a visible scratch).
I had to go back to Arizona briefly this past Fall. I felt so much anxiety and tension the minute I walked off the plane. I had blood pressure through the roof as my son drove me on the same freeways I daily drove an average of 80 mph. I love my son more than words can describe but I was relieved to get on the plane back to my home.
It is my lovely home with lovely people and lovely customs.