When you’ve spent a lot of time somewhere, you naturally notice smaller details that others who are just passing through don’t. Being away for a couple of years, there were some things I had forgotten about life in Mexico.
I don’t know how I had forgotten this, but Mexican culture has an affinity for noise. And lots of it. Being a people who like to share, music is never played at a level suitable for just the listener. Music must be shared which means blaring it so the whole neighborhood can enjoy it.
And if they can get the bass setting so that your windows rattle appropriately, even better!
Needless to say, this isn’t one of my favorite parts of the culture. I love the Mexican zest for life, but I’m very OK with not being forced to listen to my neighbor’s music all day long. Especially when it’s ranchera which has the same beat over and over and over again.
Freedom for children
Tigger’s stomach was growling as we walked to the grocery store. When he spotted the large McDonald’s next door, he immediately begged me to have our dinner there. Since it’s been a while since we’ve eaten in one of their restaurants, I let out a sigh of submission and smiled at his even bouncier steps.
Once inside I saw several young children running around the restaurant. They were yelling and chasing each other while laughing. And barefoot.
I laughed to myself as I imagined how this behavior would be received in some other places we’ve been.
In the grocery store, I stood in the fish section carefully deliberating whether I should buy the salmon I had spotted. Out of the corner of my eye I spot Tigger skipping back and forth along the frozen food section. In Europe, his bouncy ways always elicited stares and odd looks. I’m quite sure people wondered if he was mental. Especially since he’s often laughing to himself as he remembers funny lines from videos.
Tigger often lives in his own, happy little world. And in Mexico that’s just fine.
While he’s hopping from corner to corner, other kids are chasing each other and making plenty of noise. One little girl bounced off my cart, her parents laughing and saying “I’m sorry” as I stood there practically mortified that she might have hurt herself.
Here kids are allowed to be kids in all their messy, noisy, happy glory. And I love it!
It’s also nice to not be the only parent with a kid bouncing around in the grocery store.
Now, I had not forgotten just how friendly the Mexican people can be, but it has been thoroughly enjoyable becoming reacquainted with it. A sweet old lady reminded me of it today when we were in the store and I asked her if she knew where they were hiding the sugar.
We discussed which aisles I had already checked. She was dumbfounded it wasn’t where we both figured it would be. I thanked her and decided to go in search of an employee, but she told me to wait. She made it her personal mission to find it.
I also love the look of absolute relief from some people, especially cashiers in the stores, when they discover I speak Spanish. Their grin is huge, and their shoulders visibly relax. It’s completely understandable, but it’s also really kind of cute.
It’s also lovely to be somewhere that has a cultural norm of greeting people. It’s so enjoyable to walk around and be greeted with a “Good [insert proper term for the time of day]!” or to see someone’s face light up when you beat them to it.
It’s difficult to have a bad or grumpy day when everyone you meet is smiling and wishing you happiness.
What is your favorite part of the culture in Mexico?