Mexico Expat Woes
August 1, 2003, after living my entire existence in the United States of America, I moved to Mexico with my wife of 20 years. We settled in Guanajuato, Mexico, for the simple reason that we could no longer afford to live in the United States. Afflicted with a chronic illness, we could no longer afford the medical treatment. It was like trying to buy the Kansas City Chiefs football team.
Guanajuato is a wonderfully friendly, well-preserved colonial town with mountains that give me a nosebleed just looking at them. Named by an Indian tribe called the Tarascans, it has beautiful plazas scattered throughout the city and an impressive university nestled amid Baroque and neoclassical buildings.With all of this came the attraction that I would never have to get into another car and drive for as long as I lived--that was a big draw. Affordable medical care, cheap cost of living, friendly people, and good restaurants were also just a few of the reasons we fell immediately in love with this central Mexican town.Moving to another country can be an unsettling experience.
There are so many charming and strange sights and sounds here that you did not have in the old hometown. You begin to discover there are all sorts of oddities about the culture and language that you missed in your pre-move research. You fumble over the different currency wondering if you are paying a small fortune for some cough drops.
You cringe at the thought of getting your first haircut and wonder if your Spanish is up to the task. The thought of going to the dentist or doctor is enough to make you want to hire a team of interpreters.That which rattled me in our first 8 weeks living in Mexico as expats was the use of Spanish verbs.
Now, you must understand that we prepared diligently before moving to Mexico. We took 3 years to research and study Spanish before coming. My wife, bless her heart, endured semester after semester of junior college Spanish while I studied on my own. I had taken Spanish in high school and college but had forgotten most of it. I thought I would review privately to save some money.
Both of us, I think, did rather well and felt at least better prepared for the linguistic problems we knew we would face. Or, so we thought.What happened is that I (my wife somehow was spared this humiliation) went around town during our first 8 weeks here using the verb coger. Now, this is a lovely word and I had learned to pronounce it well--like a native. I had learned it years ago when I studied in school. It was one of the few Spanish verbs I remembered from my college days.
I reviewed this word and all the uses before beginning our expatriation adventure and was confident in using it. I had even made up all sorts of practice sentences and imagined all manner of circumstances in which I thought I could use coger. So, picture it, there I was walking around Guanajuato using what I thought was a suitable word."¿Podria coger la caja de Kleenex para mi?.
I was so proud of myself. I was just beaming all over the place. It wasn't until I began taking some Spanish classes here at one of the local schools that someone told me that this verb coger, which means to grasp or grab, has a suspicious meaning in Mexico. It means to have sex. So, what I was asking in the example above was, "Would you have sex with the box of Kleenex for me?".
And, I was using this word everywhere! How was I to know? Spanish textbooks in the States do not make these clever distinctions!.Ah, the joys of expatriation!..Expatriates Doug and Cindi Bower have successfully expatriated to Mexico, learning through trial and error how to do it from the conception of the initial idea to driving up to their new home in another country.
Now the potential expatriate can benefit from their more than three years of pre-expat research to their more than two years of actually living in Mexico. The Plain Truth about Living in Mexico answers the potential expatriate's questions by leading them through the process from the beginning to the end. In this comprehensive guide, you will learn not only how-to expatriate but will learn what to expect, in daily life, before coming to Mexico. BUY BOOK HERE: http://www.universal-publishers.
By: Douglas Bower
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