It’s been over a week since I returned. I was in Mexico City for three weeks, the longest biz trip I’ve had overseas. I wanted to share some of my observations.
My Spanish comprehension skills have significantly improved. I can pick up what others are saying at about 70% accuracy. I am comfortable trying to speak Spanish with the locals bc I know what words to say to assist them to assist me. The great thing about Latin American culture is that they are so patient! I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of Americans speak to non English speakers in a condescending tone (I’ve witnessed this at plenty of Starbucks in LA). It saddens me with how impatient Americans can be when foreigners are so excited to visit here and be greeted with such animosity.
I’m impressed by how many people in Mexico City speak English. Well, keep in mind that I worked in a very office oriented area and I was in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city! I feel like in the US people take for granted how difficult it is to learn a second language and they should be fortunate that English is used worldwide. Imagine having been born somewhere where English is not the main language and you want to travel! The fact that people from places where English is not the primary language and these people make a concerted effort to learn already makes them seem to care more than an average American. I was even shocked when some people even knew the lingo that people in the states would use. I.e. “Would you like to have a seat or are you cool with standing?”
So another thing I notice is the passion. For instance, everyday I am in the office and say hi to someone, I must greet them with a kiss on the cheek. This is normal! Imagine doing this with your coworkers everyday! In the US this would almost feel like harassment! The great thing about this is that it forces you to interact in a more intimate way. Because you do this everyday, isn’t it hard to suddenly hate someone if you have to touch them? This also translates into the personal relationship dynamics. I see how much love people are OK with openly expressing in public. People in Mexico are definitely not uptight!
One more thing. Chilangos are so trendy. I know I’m in a pretty upscale part of the DF (Polanco) but the office (located in the south area of the city) is full of such fashion conscious people! I LOVE when guys take care to put a bit of thought into their wardrobe (not more than a girl though bc that’s disturbing) . I feel like if I actually lived here I could possibly become trendier!
As much as I enjoyed my time in Mexico City, I am glad to be back in the US!