When I arrived in Mexico City 10 years ago on a temporary asignment of 3 months, many prejudices about México quickly melted away like mid summer snow, while exploring the beauties of the beast.
And when I met Lidia in my second month, I really felt inmediately in love with her and this amazing country; it’s culture, it’s history, it’s people, it’s food, it’s diversity.
So here we go, after 8 years of marriage:
7 (thousand!) Benefits of being married with a Mexican – a homage to my beautiful Mexican wife Lidia and Mexicans in general
🇲🇽 1-There is always a party somewhere! 🇲🇽
Mexican families are generally large, so with 1500 direct or indirect family members, there is always SOME event going on. Sometimes a giant party, like a Wedding or a Fiesta de Quinceañera, but mostly just simple parties at somebodies home (or -my favorite- closing a part of the street in front of a home and putting up a party tent, with disco lights and giant speakers…). But they quickly convert into some of the best parties you have ever been to, with great (live) music, amazing food ‘n drinks and -most likely- dancing all night long.
🇲🇽 2-Even tragic moments convert into magic moments 🇲🇽
Even in the saddest moments we can learn from our fellow Mexicans. It’s amazing to see how Mexicans help each other in the darkest of times. Where in The Netherlands you generally just go to a church or a funeral home, a couple of days after somebody died, Catholic Mexicans will mostly go right away moment to a Velorio or somebodies house, where the coffin is beautifully lit with candles and flowers. And they will normally spend up to 48 hours with their deceased loved one, with singing and prayers, while sharing food and drinks. Following the burial or cremation, family members continue to come together for nine consecutive days; these events are called Novenas. I think this is an amazing way not just to give respect to the person that has died, but also a great way to help those who are left behind; nobody stands alone! On the last cremation we went, they even put coffee and sweet bread in the altar, so the deseased could ‘have a last moment with us’. Yes… I was in tears and it gave me goose bumbs, to be part of this special moment. Obviously there is a strong connection here with the Day of the Dead traditions, one of the most touching and most unique traditions in the world.
🇲🇽 3-Take your gourmet experiences to the next level 🇲🇽
The best Mexican food is not served at the best rated restaurants or at the most popular street stalls, but at the homes of Mexican families. Especially when there is… another party. I had some of the best Taquizas, Pozolle, Mole and Mixiotes, when family and friends welcomed us at their homes. Not to forget the traditional Christmas dinner with the entire family, with amazing Pierna Adobada, espagueti en 4 quesos, ensalada Rusa and Cocktail de Frutas. Ok… I am getting hungry now…; I guess it’s time that we visit my mother in law today, one of the best chefs in the world :-). Or to organize some more cooking classes with her again!
🇲🇽 4-Learn to enjoy the bright the side of live 🇲🇽
In The Netherlands, my ‘happy moments’ where principally when having holidays ones a year, when visiting my parents ones a month, or when visiting my friends ones a month. The rest of the time, life felt more like an obligation: working, resting, working, resting; almost like living like a plant… Maybe it sounds like a cliche, but from Lidia and most Mexicans I really learned to enjoy more the voyage than the destination (did you ever danced in a Metro, on the music of a guy selling pirate discs?). To focus on the beautiful views, instead of whining about every bumb in the road. To learn to dance in the rain instead of hiding from the storm. To really live and enjoy life at the maximum; everyday, every minute…Yes, in México you don’t really need to take classes of Mindfullness; just watch it’s inhabitants, learn and participate!
🇲🇽 5-You will slowly turn into an Anthropologist 🇲🇽
One of the first tougher discussions I had with my wife was ‘If you want everything the same as in your home country, why didn’t you stay in your home country? Or do you want to change the beheaviour of 132 million Mexicans?…’. The best way to find a shortcut to happiness in Mexico (and to have a healthy marriage 😬), is to stop judging and to turn yourself in an Anthropologist. That means: don’t get anoid if things don’t go as expected or when they are different from your home country. Instead, just try to identify and to even apreciate the differences, and take into account that a lot of beheavier and traditions of Mexicans have roots in it’s rich prehispanic past. For example: you don’t like the screaming of the salesmen in markets, metros and streets? Investigate about the Tlatololco market that was where now is the Plaza de 3 Culturas and learn that this comes from prehispanic times, when Tlatelolco was the largest market in the times of the Aztecs: “This city has many squares where there is a continuous market where they buy and sell. It has another square as big as twice the city of Salamanca, surrounded by portals, where there are daily over sixty thousand people buying and selling … ” (Hernán Cortés).
🇲🇽 6-There is always a Plan B.. or C.. or Z…🇲🇽
From Lidia and Mexicans in general I learned to depend on nobody, to think out of the box, to be more creative and to always look for plan B or C.. or Z… For example: if in the Netherlands you loose your job, you normally receive help and money from the government and you normally sit on your arse untill you find another job, at the same or better level, with the same or better pay. In Mexico, due to the lack of social security, you can’t depend on nobody, and that’s not necesarely a bad thing. You can’t find inmediately a new job? Go teach Spanish, organize events, do translation work from home, wash car windows… But at least DO something and stop whining all day :-). Is something not working? Try to repair it first , fix it with duct tape and don’t throw everything away on it’s first malfunctions. There is no budget to decorate an entire Call Center for Christmas? Give 300 pesos to your co-workers to buy stuff at a paper store and be amazed by their creativity!
🇲🇽 7-You can explore Mexico the Mexican way 🇲🇽
One of the biggest advantages of being married to a Mexican (or travelling with a Mexican!), is that they show you Mexico the Mexican way, exploring off the beaten track destinations that you normally would’t visit, showing you traditions that you normally would not be aware of and giving you the oportunity to try food that you probably would not have heard of. Well.. I guess that it helps if she / he is a certified tourist guide :-).
About Lidia (México 🇲🇽) and Peter (The Netherlands 🇳🇱)
Together we run a small travel agency in Mexico City, called Azteca Travel Tours Art. Apart from offering national and international travel packages, we organize day, weekend and road trips, with our travellers club Aztec Explorers, to off the beaten track destinations and highlights in and around Mexico City. All in small groups and in English and Spanish. We can also help with private trips and tourist information. Creating unique experiences to learn more about Mexico’s culture, it’s places, it’s people, its food and drinks, while you can make new local and international friends.
We look forward to meet you somewhere soon!
Meanwhile: Live life like a Mexican!!
“Life is not the party that we had in mind…
But now that we are here… Let’s dance!!!