Preconceived notions

We all do it. It’s ok, you can admit it.

We all judge our neighbors. We have elaborate theories about their lives. Just ask my housemates about the Conrads from across the street: We “know” plenty of things abound about them! NB:  Conrad isn’t their actual name, we made that up too.

There’s something so human about neighbor-curiosity.

I decided to start my blog by thinking about neighbors, since I plan to move in with my neighbors, and will live with them for 2+ years! No need to stress, Conrad family, I’m not about to infiltrate your home. I will be moving to America’s neighbor down south.

I will begin by brainstorming a list of my preconceived notions about Mexico. I am curious to see how my perceptions evolve along with my changing relationship with my soon-to-be home. As of now, my non-exhaustive notions of Mexico are:

The country

  • It is hot and dry in most places.
  • The bus system rocks
  • You can buy almost anything on the street; it’s like there are human vending machines for snacks, songs, plastic items…just about anything really
  • Eating lettuce – or anything that water touches – can give you the runs
  • There are lots of roaming chickens
  • The food is spicy, lots of beans and meat. Also, chili powder is added to most food, including fruit and candy
  • Siestas happen after big lunches (I hope this one proves accurate)

The people

  • Due to machismo, men are totally chauvinistic compared with what I am accostomed to
  • Mariachis, dancing, and fiestas in the park are all evidence that this is a fun-loving people
  • They misunderstand Americans as much as we misunderstand and stereotype them. It’s a neighbor thing, duh!
  • They speak Spanish super fast
  • They are more ethnically diverse than you’d think
  • They’re big on Catholicism
  • They’re even bigger on family. This includes fierce loyalty, fierce feuds, and tons of cousins

The politics

  • It’s violent and scary in places
  • It’s pretty corrupt with lots of bribery
  • They have an elected President and are also called the United States

Relationship with El Norte (USA)

  • It’s LOADED! Many Americans are suspicious of Mexicans, and vice versa
  • Mexico is, both directly and indirectly, the homeland of many of our cooks, dishwashers, day laborers, housekeepers, farm workers, etc. and the American economy could not function in its current capacity without these tough toilers. But it’s also the origins of many of our other coworkers, friends, lovers, and yes, our neighbors
  • The whole American “spring break in Mexico” thing can be pretty obnoxious, but brings in some money for Mexico I guess
  • This is where a good percentage of our illegal drugs come from
  • This is where, in the 1990s, many of our manufacturing jobs went
  • Not everyone approves of where the border lies, how it came to be, and how it is currently managed. That tricky little line…

How does this compare with your notions of Mexico? I’m really curious what you think about our neighbor to the south. Please share in the comments, even if you disagree with me!

“All generalizations are false, including this one.” Mark Twain


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