Hillary and I went to an expat meet and greet the other day and met some really great people from all walks of life! It was clear in speaking with many people that there were stark differences between many of us.
One difference seemed to stick with me long after the meeting.
That disparity was between the expats that attempt to use Spanish and those that don’t. If you’re only using Spanish in Mexico to order a beer, you’re doing it wrong!
If you can’t tell, the people that don’t attempt to learn or use Spanish annoy the heck out of me! These are the same people that complain when Mexicans speak Spanish back in the States!
You can’t have it both ways!
If you have no desire to assimilate into a different culture, why in the world would you move abroad?
I could have a few of these people pegged all wrong, but if you want everything to be just like it was back in the U.S., Canada, or U.K., please return to your native land. Retire in Fort Lauderdale if you are too afraid to get out of your comfort zone and speak a new language!
Neither Hillary or I are pros at language learning or fitting into new cultures. Honestly, we don’t know what the heck we are doing! We haven’t traveled to as many places as most of the expats that we met, or lived here for as long.
Maybe that makes it easy to stay humble and willing to consider new ways of life?
It would be impossible for Hillary and I to completely fit into a Mexican neighborhood (have you seen how white we are?) However, attempting to speak Spanish is the least we can do to fit in.
You will feel silly when you attempt to speak spanish at first. I know that I still feel stupid when I speak Spanish. For myself, feeling like a dumb gringo is minor in comparison in being able to speak to locals about their family and their day to day life.
That’s when traveling becomes life changing!
People travel for many different reasons. For Hillary and I, traveling is about learning about different cultures and ways of life. We attempt to assimilate into the local culture the best we can, even at the expense of looking stupid.
We hope you will do the same!