Saturday, March 29, 2008

How Mexico Has Changed Me - Part 2

I thought I should do a follow-up to my post the other day about ways that I've changed since moving here. While those things are all true, they make it look like my life is all palm trees and piƱa coladas. So here's the flip side.

I've Become a Rude Pedestrian
I'm generalizing here, but a lot of the locals here don't pay any attention to other people when walking on the sidewalk or down the middle of the street. There are also people who purposely put themselves in the way, actually take a step to the side so they are in your path and you are forced to get out of their way. After months of this happening (especially the young men & woman who try to nudge me off the sidewalk) I decided to fight back. I hold my ground while walking and make other people get out of my way. If people refuse to move (usually teenage girls) I make sure to say something. This may not sound like anything groundbreaking, but I try hard to be polite and I feel bad I've stooped to their level. I do get around much faster though.

My Body Has Weird Scars
I have a big one on my thigh that appeared overnight last spring, as well as a couple smaller ones near my knee. We think it may have been a jellyfish (long story) so that's the story I tell people. Recently a strange mark the size of a silver dollar has appeared on my side. It doesn't hurt but it's noticeable. I always have random bug bites, especially around my ankles, but there's a clump in the middle of my back that won't go away. Oh, and my toenail is still missing.

My Social Life is Nearly Non-Existent
I've always had a busy social life, whether going out to restaurants or dancing at night or playing sports during the day. Here we didn't make our first friends until November and I didn't find my first girlfriend until two months ago. I spent months and months sitting in front of the computer, reading, and watching movies. All pastimes I enjoy but I would have much rather been out having fun. Ibis and I would do things every now and then but we weren't earning any income at that time and it's tough to spend money on anything but necessities when you're in that situation. Now I've been going out a lot more and he thinks I'm trying to make up for lost time. Even so, I spend more days at home than I do out and about.

I No Longer Flinch at the Sound of Gunshots
Don't get me wrong, I still react, but now when I hear a gun fire in the neighborhood I merely turn my head to make sure nothing came through the window. Their frequency has lessened since the holidays passed, but around Christmas and New Years we heard at least 20 to 30 shots per day. New Years Eve I think each person with a gun personally fired that many. We just stay away from the windows and go about our business.

I No Longer Cry When I Hear a Dog Being Beaten
Sadly, this is another common occurrence. I do flinch when I hear the sudden cries of an animal but it no longer disrupts my day. I pause for several minutes and wish I could do something, but really, there's nothing to do. Animals are not viewed as they are in the US. The streets are filled with strays and kids learn early that it's ok to take a swing (or kick) at four-legged creatures.


Capt Gary Hooyenga said...

All signs of growing roots even when you think your resisting them. Carefull someone might think your planning permanancy in Mexico

Melanie Avila said...

If anyone has read a word I've said I don't think they'll misunderstand that I have any intention of staying here. I don't, and you know that.

Turkey Lurkey said...

It is amazing how the same species can be so different in other parts of the world. Even switching states can be an eye opener. :) Thanks for sharing these experiences with us. I am fascinated by the way other cultures live their day to day lives.

Doreen Orion said...

As a dog lover, I was particularly touched by that last point. I can completely understand how that happens (ie no longer crying), and am sure I'd experience the same thing. But, it's still so sad to think not only that beating dogs happens, but that one can sort of get used to it. I think it just goes to show that one can get used to anything if exposed to it long enough.