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shoe


May 18, 2005, 5:44 AM

Post #1 of 12 (5120 views)

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Just wondering WHEN?

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For those of you that are living in Mexico full time:

WHEN did you stop feeling like a NEWBIE and WHY? That is if you ever do stop feeling that way. I just wonder.

I am wondering if this great learning experience in Mexico will ever stop and it will become "old hat" so to speak.

Thanks,
shoe

Nothing is intrinsically good or evil, but its manner of usage may make it so.
-St. Thomas Aquinas



alex .

May 18, 2005, 7:03 AM

Post #2 of 12 (5085 views)

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Re: [shoe] graduating from newbie status

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1.When military checkpoints became merely a nuisance to me, nothing to get nervous about,
2. When swapping paint with taxis in traffic circles and swearing at them in Spanish is just a normal part of one's day,
3. And when I accepted that I get invited to various social functions as "Padrino" because I'm a dependable resource, not because I'm so endearing to the Mexican people.
Alex


Carron

May 18, 2005, 7:32 AM

Post #3 of 12 (5066 views)

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Re: [shoe] Just wondering WHEN?

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When I made the anniversary of my first year. After that things really began to settle down for me and I realized that I would stay in Mexico for the long haul. That was six years ago.

When I was first in Chiapas there were a number of other Americans there in assorted official capacities. There was a government-supported fly sterilization program that had been in place for many years and there were also helicopter pilots from the US on stand-by in case of problems with the annual spring burn off by the farmers. They all hated living down there and couldn't wait for their 1-year duty to be up so they could leave for the States. They thought I was crazy to plan on living in Chiapas longer than that.


donwilliston


May 18, 2005, 7:51 AM

Post #4 of 12 (5058 views)

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Re: [shoe] Just wondering WHEN?

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It seems as though being a “Newbie” is an Off-and-On state. Not just for Mexico, but in every place I have ever lived.

When I lived in Berkeley the most common question when meeting someone was “Where are you from?” That’s the same question that the pulmonía driver here in Mazatlán always asks. Certainly makes me feel like a “Newbie”.

When I ask a question in Spanish and get an answer in English I feel like a “Newbie”. When I’m addressed in Español then I’m not.

After being in New Hampshire for three years a woman once opened a conversation with “My family has been here for four generations. How long have you been here?” Obviously I could never be anything but a “Newbie”.

On the other hand, when I go to the market here the butcher greets me by name and when I walk home the children shout “Hola Don”. Many pulmonía drivers know where I live. I’m no longer a “Newbie”.

The woman at the local liquor store knows the brand of tequila I like (I’m not a “Newbie”), but with others it’s a struggle to explain the simplest of things (Now I am a “Newbie”).

I feel least like a “Newbie” when I have a conversation in Español and most like a “Newbie” when I have no idea of what the other person just said.

Also, if the “great learning experience in Mexico” ever stops I guess I’d have to move to China. There’s very little possibility of that. I’m not going to live that long.


---
"It's good enough to be true" Gracie Maurahan 1970
---

(This post was edited by donwilliston on May 18, 2005, 7:56 AM)


Esteban

May 18, 2005, 8:24 AM

Post #5 of 12 (5042 views)

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Re: [shoe] Just wondering WHEN?

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The more Spanish I learn, the more I know where I stand in the grand scheme of Mexican life. It's like the old saying: "the more you learn, the more you realize how little you know".

In almost six years, I've been to the US only two times. They were short trips and those two times were in the last 12 months. The US looked like a perfect Hollywood set. The lines on the city streets were so perfectly straight, all the cars looked new and almost everything seemed almost too clean. It all looked so foreign.

When friends come to visit, they want to do something everyday.


Marlene


May 18, 2005, 9:05 AM

Post #6 of 12 (5021 views)

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Re: [shoe] Just wondering WHEN?

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A foreigner will always be considered a foreigner, but how you choose to live your life and conduct yourself here will impact how you are perceived and treated. Some foreigners behave like newcomers forever, never bothering to step far outside the expat social circles and continually commenting on how "they" do it here in Mexico. Those expats are generally always treated like tourists. Others go on grand adventures, exploring Mexico and truly getting to know her culture.

For those who moved to Mexico to retire, the experience is something quite different than for those who moved for other (various) reasons. The rose colored glasses come off pretty quickly when you get up at 6 a.m. to commute to work or attend your own business premises where you must handle the ever challenging day-to-day management of being a business owner in Mexico. Life becomes routine fairly quickly under these circumstances, but that's not to say it isn't just as enjoyable.


gpk

May 18, 2005, 11:10 AM

Post #7 of 12 (4978 views)

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Re: [shoe] Just wondering WHEN?

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I have been full time for 5 years and part time for 3.5 years. I learn something every day. I do feel that I am "at home" in Mexico and I certainly will not ever leave voluntarily. Obviously, Spanish is a prerequisite to ever feeling like I really belong--I'm working on it.


johanson


May 18, 2005, 12:40 PM

Post #8 of 12 (4953 views)

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Re: [Esteban] Just wondering WHEN?

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Esteban Wrote: "The more Spanish I learn, the more I know where I stand in the grand scheme of Mexican life." Boy "aint" that the truth. Speaking Spanish (although poorly) sure has made my life easier in Mexico and in the US.

As I posted 5 months ago, I spoke my poor Spanish when I applied for a new FM 3 at the Mexican Consulate in Seattle. The Mexican Government officials there, bent over backwards to help this gringo because he (I) was almost speaking understandable Mexican Spanish.

But back to Mexico. One of the hardest things for me to adjust to had been shopping. I could never find what I wanted because I couldn't explain to the clerk what it was in Spanish. Often I found it easier to purchase what ever I wanted in the states and bring it back with me. Now that I can find of sort of speak Spanish, I can shop at Liverpool's, Costco, Gigante, etc and find most of what I want at these stores.

My point? The better Spanish you speak the sooner you will adjust to Mexico and the sooner you will feel part of the community.



Pat9

May 18, 2005, 3:19 PM

Post #9 of 12 (4919 views)

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Re: [shoe] Just wondering WHEN?

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WHEN did you stop feeling like a NEWBIE and WHY???

When local Mexicans stop me (obviously a gringa) on the street and ask me for directions in their town.


Adrian

May 18, 2005, 6:18 PM

Post #10 of 12 (4882 views)

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Re: [Marlene] Just wondering WHEN?

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In Reply To
The rose colored glasses come off pretty quickly when you get up at 6 a.m. to commute to work or attend your own business premises where you must handle the ever challenging day-to-day management of being a business owner in Mexico.

Amen to that!

I sometimes wonder whether I am living in a completely different country to the one described by some of the posters in these fora.

Adrian


Ed and Fran

May 18, 2005, 6:24 PM

Post #11 of 12 (4874 views)

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Re: [Adrian] Just wondering WHEN?

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Just a different area!!!


That's okay, don't lose heart, chin up and all that.

Regards

E(&F)


Carron

May 19, 2005, 8:02 AM

Post #12 of 12 (4787 views)

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Re: [johanson] Just wondering WHEN?

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My husband, a self-labeled "shopaholic", took much longer than I did to adjust to living in Mexico. The thing that finally saved him was being able to communicate on the most basic level with the clerks in Mexico's ubiquitous ferreterias. It took him a while, but the results were amazing. He now knows and is known in every hardware store and building supply house in town! "Tools" (toys?) are a universal language among guys, aren't they!!!

Some of his secret methods: take a digital photo of what you need and show it to the clerk; always take in the broken part you are trying to replace; use the "digital point and click" method (meaning you simply point up or down with your index finger) in the stores which have a large peg board behind the counter showing all the wares. Know when to nod or shake your head. Make a take-off diagram of the project you are attempting. (Hubby does this on graph paper.) Convert sizes into metric format at home and write them down on a notepad for easy reference and to show the clerk. Use your Spanish/English dictionary at home to memorize the names of popular tools and gadgets. Go out for a cerveza to discuss your needs with the store owner. Easy!

Also know some basic vocabulary such as "algo similar", "lo mismo", "algo un poquito mas grande, por favor" and "si, es perfectamente!" Works every time.
 
 
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