5 things foreigners get wrong in Mexico

Do you want a smooth transition into your new life in Mexico? Well, if you go by our following 5 tips, you can avoid these all too common gringo blunders. 

Street Taco stand in Mexico
  1. Not making an effort to adapt to the country.

        Don’t be that foreigner who refuses to adapt to Mexican society. You may come across as an out-of-touch entitled gringo if you do. Mexico is not like your home country, no matter if it shares a border with Mexico. You will find Mexican culture to be vastly different from your own, and different from what is portrayed on TV. Adapting to the culture shows respect. You don’t have to lose your identity in the process. I, for one, still have US gringa quirks like smiling big and waving at others like a dork, while Mexicans tend to do a quick nod and a smile while wishing you have a good day. Adapting is allows you to go along with the rhythm of the culture and minimizes any confusing cultural differences. It also helps prevent you from being taken advantage of with special gringo prices. Learning Spanish is an important part of adapting. Even learning the basics will help you out greatly in everyday living. We all know a handful of foreigners who have never learned Spanish. While they may be enjoying their time here, they’re missing out on so much of the Mexican experience, and may find themselves paying exorbitant prices because they don’t have the Spanish to protect themselves.

Avoiding politics and riots and gatherings in Mexico.

2. Bringing politics to Mexico.

        Many foreigners may tell you that you are on the “right side of the wall” when you come to Mexico. Mexicans will ask you who you voted for in your country or if you agree with them. Most of the time, this is just a light banter and joke. This is why it is advisable to keep political talk to a minimum when speaking with new people. You’re now in a foreign country with a different set of rules and history. You’ll come across all sorts of political opinions from Mexicans, as you will in your home country. If you come across someone who shares your political beliefs than that’s wonderful for you. It’s just not a good idea to be pushy with politics when you’re first getting to know people. You never know what people may be very passionate about, of if they’re connected to a political group. While you may feel like an outsider to Mexican politics, it’s important to understand the basics of what is happening in Mexico. It may have an impact on your life as an immigrant.

3. Not having the patience to adjust to Mexican “Ahorita” time. 

        It’s clear that Mexico has its own set of rules when it comes to time and scheduling. This will be frustrating to many people who are not used to Ahorita time. So what is it? What does Ahorita mean? Ahorita literally means “in a little bit”, not “right now” which many foreigners think and may be confusing. When you ask someone a question about time and they answer Ahorita, it means that it will happen sometime soon, years from now, or never at all. It’s an indefinite answer that perfectly sums up Mexican culture. Mexicans aren’t strict on time like many foreigners. Time is just a suggestion in Mexico. If you tell a group of your friends to come to your house for a party at 7 pm, the foreigners may be there on time but the Mexicans may not come until 9 pm or 10 pm. Those of you who are sticklers for time might find yourself going crazy. If you learn to incorporate some flexibility into your life, then you will get into the flow of ahorita time and your life in Mexico will be enhanced because of it.  (bureaucracy)

4. Thinking that people back home will be excited about your new life in Mexico.

        As much as all of us love to tell our loved ones back home about our exciting adventures, you may find that they won’t be as excited to hear about Mexico as much as they would be about a European country. Many foreigners find that their family just wants to talk about the corruption, danger or cartels of Mexico. They don’t want to hear about the beautiful beaches, architecture, culture, people or food. Some of the reasons why might be racism or good old scaremongering news about Mexico. For those of us who have settled down in Mexico, we know the true beauty it holds. We may not gain acceptance from those we know, but we certainly found our happiness in Mexico. It’s not exactly a secret that Mexico is a great place to live and retire, heck, there are at least 1.5 million US immigrants living in Mexico, but there will always be naysayers to your dream life in Mexico. Just brush it off and go back to your personal paradise.

5. Bringing too much stuff down to Mexico.

It’s very normal that people want to move all of their stuff to their new home in Mexico. The reality is that it can cause a bigger hassle and can be more costly than it’s worth. Consider selling your belongings before you move down here. You can find the same department stores in Mexico as you would find in other countries. You can also get beautifully handmade furniture in Mexico that is less expensive than what you’d find at Ikea. The best thing to do is to come down here with a clean slate with only sentimental belongings. 

What about you? Think of anything else you can add about foreigners getting their relocation to Mexico wrong?

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