When you move to a foreign country, you need to be open to appreciating the characteristics of a different culture. In the case of becoming an American expat in Mexico, you will have to adjust to some odd customs and beliefs, many of which belong to Canadians.
They are definitely underfoot here, having not read the American memo that Mexico is under siege from drug cartels. The following are some things I’ve learned. Brush up on them. They could save your life.
1. Do your research. Many on-line resources in America will provide recipes that include maple. Make sure to bring a few and make them. Be a responsible expat and try to adapt to your new environment.
2. A blank stare from a Canadian means, “I hate you right now and would like to kill you.” That’s it, all the warning you get.
3. Don’t get into a bet with a Canadian about where’s colder. I have lived in Colorado and the mountains of West Virginia where temperatures get below twenty degrees below zero. That still only constitutes a three-of-a-kind against a Canadian's meteorological full house.
When the subject of weather comes up, don’t let the blank stare encourage you. No matter where you have lived in the continental United States or Alaska, you don’t have a hand and they know it (and you’ve been warned about blank stares anyway).
4. The issue is not that they have lived in Mexico so long that they are forgetting English. It’s how they talk in Canada. Try to learn a little of their local dialect. Start with the word “past-ah.”
Fortunately, several commonalities will help you bridge the cultural divide. You will probably find Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in their pantry - they invented it - and they probably love 70’s rock and roll as much you do. Concentrate on what you can agree on, what you have in common.
Understanding these critical historical and cultural intersections will help bridge the gap and develop the trust necessary for meaningful relationships, maybe even friendships.
I hope these tips will help you be more safe and comfortable during your stay in Mexico.
For updates and information on living in Mexico:
Up Next: How Mexico decreases your grocery bill.
Recent post: How understanding your cognitive biases can help you make better decisions, including the one about Mexico.
Hi, I am the author of "If Only I Had a Place" on renting well in Mexico and the "Interactive Guide to Learning Spanish Free Online" as well as these Ventanas Mexico blogs, which provide insights to people considering full or part-time expat life in Mexico.