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Retire in Mexico and Every Day is Opposite Day Cultural Differences in Daily Communication

"Yes" means "no." "Now" means "later.".My English student came by at the time of her lesson and pronounced this carefully rehearsed question: "Will you give me 30 minutes?" I wasn't completely sure that she meant she needed 30 more minutes until the class started or that maybe she meant she could only stay for 30 minutes.

"Do you want to have class now?" I asked, trying to clarify the situation while still using English."Yes, now," she replied."Ok.

Come on over," I gestured to my door."I have to eat first.".Do you get it? Why did she say "now" when she really meant 30 minutes later? When you first live or retire in Mexico, you might be confused by this. After 4 years here, I got it right away.In Spanish, when someone says "ahorita" they actually mean "in a bit.

" My student was using an English word to express a Mexican cultural concept."In English now means right away, like in 30 seconds," I told her, snapping my fingers to illustrate the point.Of course this happens to us north Americans when we are speaking Spanish. Forget whatever impressions you may have left over from your high school Spanish class. Cultural differences define the ways things are expressed in Spanish. If someone tells you they will do something "ahorita" don't hold your breath.

It may take them a few hours to do it.Another great opposite is "yes" means "no."."No" is a taboo phrase, and is therefore rarely used in Mexico. Instead people just say "yes," albeit more vaguely.

"How can this be?" you ask. Let me tell you, it can be a real shocker when you first live or retire in Mexico. The real damage comes in when you, as a person from a country where "no" is an acceptable response, use the poisonous little word. I've flubbed up on this one many a time and, let me tell you, people's faces fall.

They feel terrible when you tell them "no.".If you want to say "no" STOP YOURSELF. Try to say "yes" first, then add something that keeps things very vague. If saying "yes" feels too much like you will have to follow through on the "yes" then just give lots of excuses, say "thank you" over and over and leave the "no" out.

At first you will probably feel like you are lying, but if you KNOW HOW TO 'NO' it will be much more comfortable for you. When interacting with others tune in to when they are being vague and take note of the hedge words they use. By observing others you can build a "no saying" dictionary that will allow you to maintain good relationships with friends and acquaintances.--jt.

.Julia Taylor has been living in Mexico for 4 years as an American expat. She shares her extensive cultural knowledge with those who want to live or retire in Mexico.

Visit her website at http://www.home-sweet-mexico.com to learn more about cultural differences, safety, making friends, setting up a home, getting around, and much more.

By: Julia Taylor



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