More Americans live in Mexico than any other foreign country in the world.
Despite the country’s cultural stereotypes, there are many benefits to living in Mexico like low cost of living, high quality of life, and close proximity to the United States.
The old adage says that “there is no place like home”, which is mostly true. Every foreign country has its cultural differences. You may like some of the differences and dislike some of the other ones.
I have lived in Mexico for almost two years in different parts of the country. I also have been with my Mexican girlfriend for six months.
If there’s one thing that I could advise you, it would be this…
If You’re Living in Mexico, You Should Know That…
Feelings are more important than facts. Yes! You heard that right!
Initially, I learned about the cultural norm from the book, When Cultures Collide. After living here for a while as an expat, I recognize that the statement is generally true.
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Maya Angelou (Writer & Civil Rights Activist)
Mexicans are very emotional in different ways. For Americans, they may be more commonly recognized as having sensory processing sensitivity, also known as “highly sensitive persons.”
Conversely, the sensory sensitivity could have a different origin. Perhaps, the origin could be primarly based in cultural history.
From living in Mexico for almost two years and having a Mexican girlfriend, this is what I can tell you with certainty.
- Be relaxed about time (and don’t show anger when they arrive late).
- Example: 10am can mean 10:15am, 10:30am, or even 11am.
- When a Mexican says “Ahorita” (meaning “right now“), remember the first rule.
- Accept lengthy conversations (and show interest even if you aren’t interested in what is being said).
- Avoid taking most general conversations as literal (expect sarcasm and many exaggerations).
- Know that physical closeness isn’t usually an act of intimidation or sexual interest.
- Accept social invitations, meals, and gifts (refusing any number of times may discourage future contact).
Mexico is a culture with a lot of pride. So, remember to save face (or avoid humiliation and embarassment) as it will win you favor and acceptance in the Mexican community.
Like the U.S., Mexico has many subcultures within its country. So, consult with a local Mexican for some specific advice.
In the meantime, check out this video playlist of my adventures through Mexico.