As a 10-year Permanent Resident and grateful guest of Mexico, I would like to share a few of my observations of the demanor of some of the visitors, transplants and expats in Mexico. Please understand that my comments come from a desire to facilitate cultural understanding, appreciation, and most importantly, respect.
While my experience of living as an immigrant to Mexico is in large part based upon my upbringing, my travels, my profession and my choices as an adult woman to raise my children in this magnificent land, it is not such a difficult to understand concept that when visiting or residing as a guest in another country (i.e. Mexico), that it is best to do so with some mindful forethought and preparation.
“Leaving Your Ego at The Border” is to arrive open-minded and open-hearted to the opportunities of experiencing another culture and all that is has to offer. Making demands of your host or expecting that everything will go exactly your way or how you were accustomed to in your home country, is highly unadvisable. People will not want to acquiesce to your every want and desire, trust me.
Moving to Mexico 101:
- Be mindful of the living room you are walking into.
- Make an effort to learn Spanish.
- Learn the national currency so that you can conduct your financial transactions with comprehension, respect and patience.
- Be a keen observer of the cultural norms (and nuances) and modify your own behavior/assumptions in accordance with them–always remembering that you are a visitor and–ideally–a welcomed guest.
- Understand that yelling at the barista, wait staff or service provider in irritation and/or indignation will not make your order come faster, assure its delivery in your desired state, nor make you a decent person. Quite the contrary.
A Course in Manners Is Not to Be Underrated: KISS
I have witnessed enough distasteful interactions of people in search of “fun and freedom” south of the border that are cringe-worthy and simply shameful. As a former middle-school teacher, allow me to share an important acronym passed along to my students: KISS
Keep It Simple Silly:
- Be here legally Do not assume that your stay in Mexico on an expired FMM or Temporary Visa is a badge of honor for “skirting the system”. Quite the contrary, it is a total lack of respect and regard for the laws of this country, not to mention the fact that the possibility of being detained and deported doesn’t sound like such a fun memory to add to your #tripreport.
- Contribute to the local economy in a thoughtful, additive, sustainable way.
- Volunteer, become involved in your community, extend a helping hand to humans and animals alike.
- Improve and care for the environment by being a socially-conscious observer, consumer and action taker.
- Leave your ego (and fear) at the border, the dividends will be great and the rewards immeasurable.
I am aware that as a Writer & Mexico Relocation Consultant, I am part of this process of a continual uptick in folks moving to Mexico. Would they have found their way here without me? Most likely.
I indeed feel a great responsibility to guide these “reinventions in Mexico” in a thoughtful, mindful and respectful way so that the footprint that we expat individuals, couples and families leave is one that carries with it the highest regard for and contribution to Mexico and her people.
Mexico’s reverence for community, family, history, tradition and conversation is palpable and something I will always hold near and dear to my heart, treasure, protect and honor.
Gracias, mi Querido México for being home to so many of us that came looking for a better life.
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