Gringos · language · Mexican · Mexico · Spanish

Mexico Living

I’ve written before that nothing is easy or quick in Mexico, and I would love to blame it on someone other than myself.

However, my inability to speak Spanish and my continual resistance to learning a new language could be 99% of what makes getting things done here difficult.

Ya’ think?

My sister suggested I at least learn the words for peso amounts, but I can’t seem to master even that rudimentary task, but instead I trust the honesty of the vendor when I hold out some coins and see if they want more or give me back a few.

Dealing in pesos is like playing with Monopoly money: I never know or care how the amount translates into our dollars. If I stop and work it out, I get it, but still it has an unreal ring to it.

I have figured out that $100 pesos for lunch is a good deal. Depending on the day’s rate of exchange the U.S. dollar equivalent is about $5. Iced tea is another 30 pesos, so for $6.50 +/- your tummy will be full and your billfold a bit lighter.

Along with currency confusion, or ignorance, comes the Mexican desire not to disappoint. So, when asked for a definite completion date on a project, the answer will be somewhere in the range of reality and what they think you want the date to be. And that can vary by months or perhaps a year. Who knows?

It is better if you just nod and say, “It’s Mexico”.

Life is much simpler if your expectations are not firmly set in manmade concrete.

Another barrier is when attempting to order something online from Amazon.MX (which is not the same as U.S. Amazon), because everything is in Spanish. I have learned to have pages translated, thanks to Google Translate, but the translation may be a bit skewed, so it is beneficial if you have a vivid imagination or the ability to shrug your shoulders and hope for the best.

I have also learned taste buds are trained at the tender age of infancy, or why else could these Mexican kids be able to eat hot, hot peppers without one tear loss or gasping for breath. I can just smell some of the sauces and I begin drinking ice-cold liquids. When asked if something is ‘caliente’ never believe a shake of the head. These folks have no idea what hot means! Or perhaps its my pronunciation that is the problem.

Yes, life would be easier if I would learn the language, but I was not a star student when taking French in college, so my thinking I’m going to master Spanish at 77 may be a trip through fantasy land.

Meanwhile, I meander through each day hoping I’m not overpaying for carrots and cantaloupes and wondering what I will receive in the mail from Amazon.

The joys of gringos living in Mexico.





18 thoughts on “Mexico Living

  1. Although I find learning new things more difficult now – actually it’s not the learning, it’s the remembering – I would feel compelled to learn the language, or at least the important phrases that are used daily. Or have a translator app on my phone to translate for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Carol you are right, but because I can’t remember much I have a tough time remembering words in Spanish. However, this is part of my learning curve, so I’m muddling through. I’ll get there, just not quickly! Thanks for your response.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved this post! I believe it took a lot of courage to move, in your 70’s to s country where you don’t speak the language fluently. But stories like this are invaluable, combined with all your photos. We get to actually experience the reality, at least, your reality.

    I was in MX in 1977, a dollar was worth 20 pesos then. We stayed in Cancun, barely classified as a resort then. My high school Spanish got me through. Taking the “ferry” to the Isla Mujeres and back was an adventure into itself.

    Keep up the stories, and the pics! Always looking very them!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I took French in high school, was very very bad at it. Tried Spanish a couple times as an adult, the last time, with a better teacher, was better, but I’m still very very bad. I think some people are good with language and others are less. But I think living in a place where Spanish is the predominant language would help. See…you used caliente! The peso thing would be frustrating, but if you maintain your sense of humor, which I can see you have, you’ll be fine.


    1. Just finished having lunch with a couple of friends woo spoke. Spanish most of the time. To say I understood any thing they said would be a major overstatement. But I keep hoping some of it will rub off on my brain.


  4. I am enjoying the vicarious experience of moving to Mexico, thanks! As for the language, I would find it very hard too. This week I was astonished to realize that my visiting friend was doing three short Spanish lessons on her Ipad each day just as a matter of course. One day I hope a willing teacher will cross your path and meanwhile, remember how long it takes a baby to start talking. We all understand more easily and quickly than we speak even in our native tongue.


  5. You’re so funny! I am Mexican and just for reference hot is translated as “enchiloso”, maybe “caliente” was not the word that would give you the answer you’re looking for lol


    1. Well, no wonder I get tacos that set my tongue on fire: the servers haven’t a clue what I have asked them…and apparently, neither do I! Thanks for the Spanish lesson. Now if I can just remember ‘enchiloso’ and learn how to pronounce it!

      Liked by 1 person

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