It’s hard to believe that next month will be my 3-year anniversary of living in Mexico! I love a lot of things about living here while simultaneous missing a lot of things about the US (Chick-Fil-A is on my mind today).
Here are some recent thoughts on what life for me is like here:
On Ritmos Latinos: Ritmos Latinos is a class similar to Zumba offered at my gym. I attend 2 or 3 times a week and really enjoy it. If you’ve ever been to Zumba, you’ll know that every class has the “diva.” The diva is the woman that arrives early so she can save her (front and center ) spot on the dance floor with her water bottle. The diva is the woman who exaggerates every hip circle and turn. The diva is the woman who, in some cases, thinks she dances a lot better than she does. Multiply that woman by 10 or 20, depending on the day, and you get Ritmos Latinos! A lot of the women do dance very well, to be fair, but some classes seem like a silly and unnecessary competition between the divas.
I always purposely stand in the back. This had always worked out great until the horrifying day last week when the teacher “reversed” things for half a a song, parked himself right next to me, and I was suddenly front and center, trying not to throw up and semi-do the steps. There was also the time when the instructor asked me to dance on the stage for one song. He either felt sorry for me, wanted to racially diversify things, or I might not be that bad of a dancer. Anyway, I refused.
Color-coordinating your workout clothes is more common here. Recently there was a lady in class wearing a neon orange workout shirt, neon orange workout shoes, and orange lipstick (her hair might have also been down and curled, but I digress). If it had been another color lipstick, I might have thought she had been wearing it all day and just kept it on for class. But it was obviously planned.
On Spanish: I really hate to refer to myself as “fluent in Spanish,” or quantify my knowledge of the language, because it seems like the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know. But with that being said, I do speak it very well now. Sometimes when I can’t figure out how to say (or type) something quite right in English, I find myself thinking, “I would totally say it like this in Spanish!” or vice versa. The other day, we spent a few days with Carlos’ cousin and at one point I realized that I wasn’t translating anything into English in my head. I even made myself mentally translate from Spanish to English for a few seconds, and I couldn’t keep it up. It was so hard and made my head hurt. I have come a long way!
On Greetings: I used to think it was sweet that Mexicans greeted each other with a kiss on the cheek. But, it can be stressful. Like when you walk into a party on the late side and you have to walk around and greet everyone in the room. If you’re the first to leave, you have to do the same thing. It can also be awkward. For a few months, I was definitely NOT turning my head far enough to the side when I greeted people. Carlos finally told me when I came precariously close to planting a kiss on his co-workers’ lips. I also find it awkward to greet someone I don’t know well with a kiss on the cheek. It seems too intimate and forced (not to mention the whole personal space issue).
On Time: “Mexican time” is real and I haven’t quite wrapped my head around the concept. I’m always stressed about being late to baby or bridal showers or weddings and even if I’m 30 minutes late, I’m usually the first or one of the first people there. Last year Carlos and I went to a concert that officially started at 9 PM, and the opening act didn’t start playing until after midnight. I joked that we could have sued for false advertising, since it technically began a day late. Just today, I thought I was going to be late to my Ritmos class at the gym at 9, and the gym was DEAD when I walked in. I even double-checked on the board that I got the time of the class right. Of course I had, but the teacher and most of the class arrived at 9:15, no one seeming to be in any hurry.