Everyday Behavior and Language

I want to stress some everyday behavior, appropriate for Gringos in Mexico:

• Be polite to everyone.

• Don’t assume just because someone doesn’t have a formal education they are not smart as someone who does.

• Treat others as you would want to be treated…

…. And that pretty well covers it as far as I’m concerned!!

On this site, I include a lot of Spanish words relating mostly to driving and road information, but also everyday courtesies. You may want to review them now and then.

I just remembered one special word – gringos – do you know where that came from? This is the folklore I heard: During the Spanish-American War, 1898-1901, the Americans were all singing the song “Green grows the lilacs, all sparkling with dew, I’m lonely”…etc. “Green grows” translated to “Gringos” for the Spanish who heard the song – ergo – white folks = gringos. It’s not that disparaging to be called a gringo in Mexico – sort of depends on what the rest of the sentence is.

Just a bit of history: April 25, 1898, the United States declared war on Spain following the sinking of the U.S. Battleship Maine, in Havana harbor on February 15, 1898. The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898. As a result, Spain lost control over the remains of its overseas empire — Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippine islands, Guam, and some other islands. The war was at least partially caused by sugar interests in Cuba and the United States.

I heartily suggest you learn some basic Spanish before you go to Mexico. The people of Mexico appreciate any attempt of using their language – and you’ll be surprised, they can usually guess what it is you’re trying to say. So, don’t be afraid of trying to communicate.

Try getting a tape so you can get a little bit of a handle on the pronunciation and the rhythm. Try a book for conversational Spanish. We keep a translation book handy – one that has Spanish to English and English to Spanish. Someone may be able to point to a needed answer. And it’s good to know what you’re actually ordering for dinner. We have a little computer-type thing that we can put words into in English and it translates to Spanish or whatever language you choose. Ours was not expensive …and fits easily into my purse. There are some great free aps for those of you with IPods, etc.

An email from a “Gringo”:

used 2007-10-30 P.V.  hilly street-webHi,Barbie, My husband and I (and our dogs and cats) have now been just outside of Ajijic since Sept. AND WE ARE LOVING IT!! the Mexican people are so friendly, and the support from the expatiates and the local clubs, like LCS, are great.

I think our children and other relatives first thought their parents were crazy, but more and more we hear from everybody how much happier we sound since we no longer deal with all the issues in the States!

The big question has always been”yea, but what about crime?” well, we feel much safer here than in Little Rock, AR!

Your information certainly has been helpful! Maria

But, crime is something you must consider. That subject is delved into on this site. Barbie

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