Welcome to Mexico!
By Victoria Schmidt
Change is one of the constants in the Universe. Every day change is in our lives. As expats, when we reached out to live in Mexico, either as a “snow bird,” a “sun bird,” or as a permanente, we all took on big changes in our lives.
Here at Lakeside, we have expats from many nations. We have a wonderful mix of Nationalities here, and we live in the rich culture of Mexico. We all handle the changes differently. Some learn Spanish, others do not, still others attempt to speak Spanish but they don’t feel confident.
We often joke amongst ourselves about the many rules or laws here that change so often. First we don’t pay for parking, then we do, now we don’t…. but maybe we will. Immigration is in constant flux. We watch administrations come and go, and the clean sweep of a new administration, yet life does manage to go on.
Yet one thing many of us are guilty of is trying to impose our own culture onto the pre-existing culture here. As USA Citizens, or Canadian Citizens mostly, we try to re-create what is familiar to us here.
However many of us, including myself, have at one time or another assumed that “our way” is the best way to accomplish a task or a goal. When what is really good is to take the time to learn the Mexican way, to understand that there are customs and traditions for us to learn to better fit into the surroundings and harmonize with others. We might even find out that there is a different way to accomplish a task…even an easier way and most of the time it is a less stressful way.
As expats we represent our Country of Origin. What we do reflects on us. I recently read in a weekly periodical, that someone anointed herself as the “poster” police and runs around removing posters from posts, etc. because they aren’t supposed to be there. Me? I read the posters to find out where and when the event is. I admire the graphic designs used. She sees it as trash; I see it as a poster someone paid good money to produce. And, as a resident of Mexico, I don’t feel it is incumbent on me to enforce Mexican laws. In fact, I was told that it is best if we expats don’t help unless asked.
I’d like to end the issue of the “noise” in Mexico once and for all. I’d be willing to bet there are few countries that know how to party and have fun like the Mexicans. They have deeply held religious beliefs, pay tributes to many saints, and they celebrate. If you are an expat who wants peace and quiet… why did you chose to move to Mexico… a country known for its loud music, dancing and fireworks?
Do I love the nine days of Carnaval? Not always, since I live a half block from the bandstand. But the people are excited, friendly, happy, and enjoy this celebration and they deserve to do so. There is so much excitement in the air. The Queen Candidates collect funds for their handpicked charities. So if we may not love the noise, we can arrange to be elsewhere for the part of the celebration that may keep us up far too late. Better yet, go and join the fun.
Remember, the only constant in the Universe is change. Enjoy it while you can.
Column: Welcome to Mexico
Victoria Schmidt came to Mexico with her husband, in 2007. She is a graduate of Moorhead State University, Minnesota and graduated Cum Laude with a BA degree in Radio, Television and Film. At 23 she was hired at multi-national media corporation, where she worked 10 years as their Director for Operations and Finance. She then ran her own business consulting company. She has won multiple community service awards. Writing has been a passion of Victoria’s since Junior High. She has been active in the writing and publishing business for over 40 years and has been a columnist for the Ojo del Lago since 2008.