My 4th year expat-anniversary is coming soon and although it sounds like a short amount of time, it feels like I’ve been here longer. Oddly enough, I guess you could say that the longer I’m here, the more Mexican I become.
Now I am able to experience what it means to be Mexican abroad and how much our culture and cuisine are appreciated outside of Mexico.
If you’re a Mexican living in a foreign country or planning to do so in a near future, here are the 10 things you will miss about Mexico when you live abroad.
1| The endless sunshine
Europe’s winter albeit magical, can get quite frustrating quickly. When I was living in Mexico, I used to avoid the sun and day-dream about the sight of clouds. Now, the whole opposite happens. I miss Mexico’s sunshine so much!
2| Warm and friendly people
I used to find small talk annoying, but every time I go back to Mexico now I realize how endearing it is. Now that I have a little baby to accompany me wherever I go, it is unavoidable to meet a couple of new friends every time we go out.
3| Spontaneous social gatherings
Most Europeans like to prepare for things ahead, that is why social gatherings are usually planned weeks in advance. This gets specially tricky when you’re newly acquainted because you can’t seem to match your calendars together at the beginning. In Mexico, the opposite is true.
Although you can plan things in advance for special events, most friendly get-together are more spontaneous as in one phone call away, “Hey, are you home? I’m headed there right now” is pretty much the norm every time I go home. Doing something like this in Europe might even be considered disrespectful in some cultures. I miss those spontaneous calls, even if I do understand why disrupting someone’s routine can be quite rude.
Sunshine, friends & last minute trips: my favorite things!
4| The smell of fresh tortillas
This is going to sound weird but, I invite you to spend some time at a tortilleria next time you go to Mexico. It’s like something resembling the smell of fresh bread just a little bit more intense. You can thank me later.
5| Sugar in your lemonade
As far as I knew, lemonade always had sugar. You could order lemonade without sugar in a restaurant but that probably means you’re on a special diet that limits your sugar intake. Well apparently, all Europeans follow this diet. If you order a sugar in your lemonade here, you will get extra small sugar packets for you to add them by yourself. And that, ladies is gentlemen, is NOT how lemonade is made.
6| Ice in your drinks
And while we are on the subject of drinks, why is ice not a thing in Europe? Look, I get it that it is often cold but people still get ice cream during winter. And restaurants rarely have air conditioning during the summer, so how come you never get ice in your drink unless you ask for it?!
All the things I miss in one: ice & sugary Jamaica, fresh tuna & ceviche and ugly delicious street food!
7| Delicious and affordable street food
I will get controversial right now, but I think that for a country’s cuisine to be considered excellent the street food has to be good. I remember being deeply disappointing in France because most of the local street food were cold baguettes. So I never could got why French cuisine is so renowned and expensive when it’s not easily accessible. Any street foodstand that you visit in Mexico will be delicious, I guarantee it and that is what makes its cuisine extremely valuable in my eyes.
8| The taste of fresh fruits and vegetables
The endless sunshine makes it possible to have fresh produce all year long. The variety of the fruits is also quite spectacular. Here I haven’t been able to get fresh chilies, guayabas or jicamas and my heart feels heavy.
vegans look away! this T-bone steak may not be suited for your eyes!
9| Carne Asada for any occasion
Is your birthday coming up? Then have a carne asada. Is it almost time to celebrate Christmas? Then let’s have a Christmas Eve Eve carne asada. Are you moving to a different country? Is it Mother’s Day? Are you on vacation? Is it Sunday? Are you a normal human being? Then, let’s have a carne asada! Any excuse is a good excuse to grill some Sonoran steak and invite your friends over.
10| Multicultural heritage & history
Mexico is a melting pot. Every one of us has some degree of indigenous and Spanish roots. But did you know that the Dutch, Italian and French also tried to get a piece of Mexico? Let’s not forget about the inflow of African slaves that are part of our history too. As well as the immigration waves that came after the World Wars in Europe, the Middle East civil wars and the Chinese who settled in Mexico looking for stability.
All these cultures brought along their cuisines and traditions making Mexico the great multicultural integrated country we are today. Even if we all came from different places, and might not look ‘sterotypically’ Mexican, we still call Mexico our home. Like Chabela Vargas, the great Mexican rancheras singer used to say every time reporters reminded her that she was born in Costa Rica: “We Mexicans get to be born wherever the hell we want!”.
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