Tuesday, March 25, 2008

How Mexico Has Changed Me

Sorry for taking so long to post, this day has been non-stop. Overflowing the washing machine - and therefore flooding my three downstairs neighbors patios - is just a highlight. But here I am, as promised, with a sampling of how living in Mexico for the past year has changed me. Feel free to add to the list in comments if you think I've missed anything.

I Rarely Wear Makeup
I was never one to coat myself in makeup suitable for theater, but I rarely left home without the basics. After one summer in Mexico I've discovered why Mexican women wear so much eye makeup: it's the only thing that doesn't slide off your face. I don't own eyeliner, although I have been experimenting with darker shadows, so I tend to stay bare-faced.

I've Learned to Cook
I could cook before moving here but I didn't experiment very much. I could follow a recipe and not burn things but I didn't try things without knowing how they'd turn out, especially when cooking for someone else. Now I can cook several traditional Mexican dishes and don't even hesitate when dinner time rolls around and I need to whip something up. Perfect example: tonight I'm cooking fish in foil on the stove top. I've never tried it this way but I'm tired of fish tacos and the fish always falls apart if I just cook it in the skillet. It'll taste good, even if it looks scary.

I Can Drive Like a Mexican
Today I drove a few people to the airport and the traffic was particularly disorderly. I maneuvered through without batting an eye, talking to the people the entire time, when one of them commented I drive just like the locals. I think he meant it as a compliment because he also threw something in there about being aggressive. Go me.

I'm Much More Relaxed
Or so they say. You really can't be uptight and try to live here. Everything moves slower, takes longer, and sometimes can't be done till mañana. When I was home over Thanksgiving a friend commented that they've never seen me so calm. I'm not sure how they reflects my personality before, but I guess it's a good thing.

Oh Yeah! Spanish
I can function on my own in a Spanish speaking country. I still get tripped up on certain words but I can even understand the radio!

I Don't Mind Killing Bugs
Or ingesting the occasional ant (said as I pick an ant out of my water glass). This doesn't mean I like bugs, just that I don't scream and run when I see them. Today at the market I saw a mouse running through the produce, I pointed it out to the lady, and we shared a laugh over the ratón trying to eat the avocados. That's funny right? Please tell me that's funny. Anyway, not so scared, I just clean things extra well.

I've Become a Housewife/Taxi Driver
Every morning I sweep, put away whatever has been left out from the night before, and do endless amounts of dishes. Some days, like today, I spend hours doing laundry and mopping the floor. Although today I mopped because of the washer, but whatever. I know other people do this, too, I'm not claiming to be anything special, just pointing out how I've changed. The taxi driver bit... well, I've spent a lot of time ferrying hotel guests around town. Perhaps that's why my driving has improved.

I'm Talking Like a Canadian
This is a recent change, all thanks to my lovely girlfriend from Canada who says 'ay' every other sentence. I'm also saying 'sorry' with a long 'o'. Didn't think I'd pick up a Canadian accent in Mexico, but I did.

So, did I miss anything?


Turkey said...

Yes... you forgot to mention your tan.

Turkey - Tired of living under gray clouds.

Melanie Avila said...

Right, right, right. I have a tan. :D I drove again this evening after posting and realized the driving is almost second-nature now. Scary.

spyscribbler said...

That is so cool. I'd love to do live abroad for a year. Or more. I'd love to live all over the world!

I haven't worn makeup since I was sick in my twenties. I put it on when there's a special event, but even the hypoallergenic stuff makes me go nuts.

BUT, confession time, I swear I haven't been spending an extra cent for three months. But I accidentally fell off the wagon and bought some of those Bare Minerals makeup. Oh. My. Gawd. So worth it. I just dust on a teensy-tiny bit of powder every day, and not only does it make my skin look better, but I'm not at all sensitive to it. And supposedly, it's actually healthy to leave it on!

I'd tried the cheap "minerals" makeup in the drugstore, but they have some chemicals I'm allergic to. The real stuff, though, is wonderful!

So for a week, I've actually been wearing makeup. We'll see if it lasts, but it's kinda fun. :-)

Melanie Avila said...

Spy - that's what I use, too. But not the expensive stuff. I have L'oreal Bare Naturale mineral powder and that's usually all I have on, aside from my eyes.

Ashley Ladd said...

Why are you living in Mexico now? I'd love to visit.

Melanie Avila said...

Hi Ashley, and welcome! How long have you got?

Short story, we're here waiting for immigration to grant my husband his visa so we can return to the US. I'm sure I have a blog post explaining it in greater detail but I'm very unorganized.

I should probably put a list on the side of key posts so people like you can catch up!

SAAM said...

That all sounds like fun, eh?

Melaqueslim said...

I am also living abroad in Mexico, I have been here for just about 7 months and will be for another year atleast... I too have notcied to changes over time. Much more relaxed and patient with people, "better" driver aswell lol but I know lots of it wouldnt go well back in Canada and also got my tan goin ha.. All I know is it has changed my life quite alot, much more personal and find it easier to meet people, my spanish is not going to well unfortunately but that ok, all in time.. Where abouts in Mexico are you living?

Melanie Avila said...

Hey Mela! We're in Zihuatanejo on the Pacific. What about you? And whereabouts in Canada?

Melaqueslim said...

Hey, I am not quite sure were Zihuatanejo is, I will have too look it up. I am in a small town called Villa Obregon, San Patricio next to Melaque and Barra De Navidad, all in the bahia de navidad. It is about 3 or 4 hours south of Puerto Vallarta. And regarding Canada, I am from Vancouver B.C. where rain never stops (glad I am not there right now) but we go in for summer wen it is beautiful there, becuase its gets way too hot and rainy here in the later months of summer. We just missed a massive flood by about a 3 weeks when we fisrt got here. The town was still recovering but came together pretty fast for what had happened.

Melanie Avila said...

You're close to Manzanillo then. We're about 5-6 hours south, 1 hour south of Lazaro Cardenas and 3 hours north of Acapulco. It's beautiful up where you are!

I've heard Vancouver is rainy but that sounds heavenly after nearly six months of no rain.

Melaqueslim said...

Yes, just 1 hour North of Manzanillo. Nice small town, I do not like the big city seen, if I wanted to be be in a big busy city I would have not moved here. It is beautiful, with great fishing, which I enjoy. We are going to check out further South next year. Have you been to Puerto Escondido? we were thinking of looking for a place there.

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