These are generalizations and not necessarily true all over MN or Mexico, but they are observations our family has made as we return to MN after living the last 5 years in Mexico. Our boys were 2 1/2 and 4 when we arrived for our last home assignment, so they are especially noticing things that are different than life in Mexico. These are in no particular order, and don’t include the bigger things, like language, food, and dress, but it was fun to put together and I thought it may give you an idea of some of the reverse culture shock we are experiencing.
10. Greetings and goodbyes don’t include a kiss. However, the boys tell me it still takes me just as long to say goodbye in MN as in Mexico.
9. WATER!! There are drinking fountains everywhere, in parks, office buildings, the mall, school, etc. and the water from the tap is safe to drink! Also, there is no need to worry about the water running out on you in the middle of a shower.
8. There is a shoulder on the side of the road, wide, open freeways, and people stop, for quite a long time here in MN, at four way stops. Also, it is very rare for people to honk their horn at you if you are slow at moving after a light turns green.
7. People are no longer stopping to ask to take pictures with the boys, or to touch their hair.
6. Second hand stores and garage sales are awesome! Mexico has their version of these, but most of the things sold are overly used and almost as expensive as the department store.
5. No more walking a block or two to the market or the neighbor’s (tiendita) store for ready to eat avocados, mangos, papaya, homemade corn tortillas, or Oaxacan cheese.
4. There are toilet seat covers on ALL public bathrooms and you can flush the toilet paper!
3. No bells and whistles advising you that the garbage truck is near, so you can run quickly with your garbage and dump it in yourself. Matías came in today and said with amazement, “Mom, you’ll never believe it! I just saw a mechanical hand come out of the garbage truck and dump it in all by itself!”
2. When arriving to pick your boys up from soccer camp 15 minutes late, you are the last mom to arrive and your boys are waiting by themselves on the curb – sorry guys! In Mexico, 15 minutes late would have made me one of the first moms to arrive. Also, related to time is that church services are exactly one hour, not the two, three or even four hours they can last in Mexico.
1. Options overload! It takes so much longer to shop here because there are so many different brands and kinds of everything, like ice cream (which I love!), types of swimming suits, even options for health care, and it can become a little overwhelming.
Please pray for us as we adjust to life back in the USA! We are very happy to be here, even as we miss Mexico too!