Saturday, August 15, 2009

What does iHola mean?

As Allan and I were driving back from Cancun he noticed a sign that read " ¡Hola Riviera Maya!" Allan inquired what "ihola" meant. I explained that in Spanish when writing sentences ending with question marks or exclamation points one also needs to begin the sentences with the same mark but in an upside down form. In other works when writing "fire!" in Spanish one would write " ¡fuego!"

Allan wondered why? I pondered his innocent question and then reversed the logic back on him. "Why do we as Americans say soccer when the rest of the world says futbol? Why do Americans use Fahrenheit and miles when everyone else uses Centigrade and kilometers?"

I was trying to get at the point that just because we are accustomed to something different does not make someone else's customs wrong or abnormal - just different. I know Allan was not criticizing Mexican culture or customs. As mentioned it was just an innocent question. However, we've found living in Mexico that many foreigners easily judge and complain about how things are done south of the border. Rather than trying to assimilate and understand a different way of life many choose to stay in the comforts of what they consider normal and safe and shy away from anything foreign.

For example, yes I have waited in line at the bank and ATM in Mexico for over a half an hour. Yes, I can very impatient and it was a very trying experience. However, I should realize that most Mexicans get paid every 2 weeks and do not have direct deposit. Therefore if I choose to use the bank on the 15th or 30th or any given month there is surely going to be a line. Furthermore all companies operating in Mexico have to perform all sorts of accounting tasks at the close of each month which requires bank visits, thus compounding the bank's foot traffic. So, yes, I may not have to wait so long to use an ATM in the US, and yes waiting for one in Mexico is a hassle, but if I stop and look at perhaps why there is a line I might actually learn something and perhaps learn to be more patient.

1 comment:

066pop said...

I never knew about the ATM thing, opened my mind a bit