1 Jan 2008

The End

Posted by Deborah

After Oaxaca, I returned to Cuernavaca to celebrate Christmas with my host family. I’m glad I came back. It really felt like I was coming home after I’d been away for over a week.

I was thinking about all the cultural nuances I’d learned over my time here. Just for your entertainment, here are a couple that stood out to me:

*Things that took a while to get used to:

Throwing toilet paper into the trash instead of flushing it
Never drinking tap water
Beautiful mansions hidden behind plain brick walls.

*Things I never got used to:

Getting whistled, honked at or talked to in English
How much control TV and government has over people here
The style of discipline with children that seems to have fewer strict punishment
The lack of seatbelts in the back of taxis, and sometimes even in the front

*Things that surprised me:

Pets are meant for defense rather than affection and often live exclusively outside
If you’re not married by 30ish, you’re unusual
The pervasive machismo culture, which means women can’t insure their spouses but men can insure both a spouse and a concubine.

Could I live here forever? I don’t think so, not because of the toilet paper or the poisonous scorpions, but for the lack of individual independence, especially as a woman. I’ve gotten used to being able to drive my own destiny, to choose my own curfews or go out on dates without having to bring my beau home to meet dad first. Here, families stay together as much as possible. If you’re not married, it’s very difficult to even get your own place, much less a roommate. People consider you to be gay if you want to live with another person of the same sex – unless you’re a foreigner. And it just makes me sad that there’s such a rich history here that doesn’t appear in the mainstream culture. How can any Mexican child learn to appreciate their heritage when the only baby dolls their parents can buy them for Christmas are white as white can be?

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to come back to Mexico or even live here again for a while. What I’ve learned from being here has led me to so many ideas for articles or research projects. I’ve written two more stories that I’m waiting to see in print and I’m looking into even more freelance pitches right now. I certainly hope I get the chance to come back and work on them. In the meantime, I’ll see you back in the U.S.


My friends from school on my last night out in Cuernavaca

Subscribe to Comments

One Response to “The End”

  1. Next stop…Israel 😉



Leave a Reply