Thursday, May 8, 2014

Cultural diferences

In her post "13 Differences Between a Normal Friend and a Mexican Friend," Susannah Rigg lists various observations of cultural differences between Mexican culture and (what I read as) U.S. culture. I'm not a fan at all of the author's use of "a normal friend" (What is normal? And Mexican is therefore not "normal" since the two are being compared?), but by replacing "normal" with "a stereotypical American friend" (and knowing that "the Mexican friend" is also working off of generalities and stereotypes), it was an amusing read that I could definitely relate to. 

I've added some of my own comments in blue.



by  on MAY 7, 2014

1. A normal friend will decline an invitation if they can’t make it. A Mexican friend will tell you, “Yep, I’ll be there,” knowing full well they can’t make it — just to avoid hurting your feelings.
Yesss. All the time. 
2. A normal friend might socialize separately with their family or with their friends. A Mexican’s family are his best friends…and therefore yours within minutes of meeting them.
3. A normal friend would take at least a year to give you a nickname. A Mexican friend will do it within seconds. In fact, so will the plumber, your doctor, and anyone you meet, really.
Had I mentioned previously that while "Becca" is a normal nickname for "Rebecca" in English, here it's "Rebe"? 
4. A normal friend will pass you a knife to cut your birthday cake. A Mexican friend will shove your face in it. It’s your birthday, so you should have the first little bite, right?
Check out my post from celebrating my birthday in Maltrata (here) for an illustration of the "mordida".... 
5. A normal friend will ask you if they can bring a friend to your party. A Mexican friend will turn up with their whole crew without so much as a phone call. Why have a party if you don’t want people there?
6. A normal friend will give you a call to let you know they’re running late to meet you. A Mexican friend will turn up 40 minutes late, without even a message to let you know. But at least they turned up at all!
Also, in most contexts in Mexico City there's about a 15 minute grace period where it doesn't really count as being late, generally due to the fact that the city is ginormous and transportation and traffic are unpredictable. 

7. If you express interest in a job, a normal friend will wish you luck and offer to look over your application. A Mexican friend will tell you “the brother of the ex-girlfriend of my cousin used to work there, let me just makes some calls.”
It's all about connections. 
8. A normal friend will describe their house and their stuff as belonging to them. A Mexican friend will describe it as if it’s yours, literally talking about their sofa as follows: “Your sofa is black leather.” Mi casa, su casa and all that.
9. A normal friend will make you tea with honey and lemon for a cold. A Mexican friend will pass you their stash of antibiotics. It’s fine though, because their sister / uncle / neighbor is a doctor.
Also, tequila and mezcal (at least jokingly) cure all....
10. A normal friend will schedule a date to see you with two weeks’ anticipation and note it on their calendar. A Mexican friend will say, “Wanna meet in 5 güey?”
11. When a family member dies, a normal friend might avoid you, feeling awkward that they don’t know what to say. A Mexican friend will turn up at your door to talk and listen and to accompany you in your grief.
12. A normal friend will leave their phone in their bag when having dinner with you. A Mexican friend will leave it on the table and happily answer it every time it rings…. “The first one to touch their phone pays the bill” should solve all that.
Or in class... Or in a meeting...
13. A normal friend will add salt or butter to their popcorn at the movies. A Mexican friend will drown the popped kernels in valentina hot sauce, whilst slurping on a fluorescent blue icey. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.
Valentina goes on chips as well (though I suppose that's not usually a movie theater food...)

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