So yesterday I had a really bad day. As in the universe-is-out-to-get-me type of day. We’ve all had them – and we will all have more, but basically a bad day here in Mexico is just like a bad day back home. Honestly, I figured the universe would be nice to me a little while longer as we’re adjusting to our adoptive city (surely that’s enough on my plate right now…) but apparently not.
Yesterday I received a big dose of the Mexican mantra: “mañana“. Mañana means “tomorrow” – but, it’s also a state of mind here. We’ve been experiencing it first-hand since we got here, and we’ve also been told (warned) about it from loads of people. My simplest explanation of this mañana experience: it seems to be a very laid-back attitude about getting things done. My favorite explanation of this mañana-outlook was from a really nice young man who assisted us in our cultural training back home. He is Mexican; grew up partly in Mexico, and partly in the U.S. He is a professional writer and also spoke English muy bien, and when he talked most of the time you could barely even hear a Mexican accent. But when he shared a funny story from his childhood, the accent came out that we really enjoyed. Anyway, he told us that this mañana attitude was of a religious nature: that most of the population in Mexico are Catholic, and that their faith tells them that most things will be done/taken care of mañana. Why do it today when, if you just wait and are faithful, it will be taken care of tomorrow? I think in many ways it’s a beautiful sentiment, and for someone like me who is an anxious person with a touch of OCD and who has a hard time relaxing, trying to subscribe to this attitude will be refreshing, and maybe even good for my health. However, when the plumber doesn’t show up and our sink is leaking, and the electrician doesn’t show up and we’ve got some lighting issues, and no one even calls us to let us know they are not coming, it’s hard to try and remain faithful. Another interesting tidbit that has been shared with us is that the U.S. is one of the most time-conscious countries (so, I’d advise those of you living in the U.S. to appreciate that fact). So besides my own inherent personality fighting against this mañana-mantra, I’ve also got 39 years of U.S. cultural experience fighting against the idea. But, I’ll keep trying to find my faith, if for no other reason than to lower my blood pressure. Just another quick comment about “mañana” – that sentiment apparently doesn’t apply when these people are behind a wheel of a vehicle (their mañana gets thrown out the car window while they are running red lights, cutting me off and edging me off the road). There is no slow, laid back position when driving around in this city – nothing faithful about it whatsoever except maybe for the possibility that we are all praying in fear for our lives while driving – at least I know I am. But the subject of transportation and driving around here will be a separate blog in and of itself.
Besides our plumbing/electrical problems that still are not resolved, yesterday I went to a gas station for the first time. Unlike back home, here you pull up to a gas station and an attendant pumps your gas. It’s a little strange, and honestly, probably a brutal job for those attendants (standing in this hot weather all day long, pumping people’s gas? Ug). Anyway, to add some excitement to this otherwise dull event, both my U.S. debit and credit card got declined (this is, of course, after he’s already pumped the gas, so the option of returning the product that I can’t pay for right now is out of the question). Again, thanks to “mañana” and other reasons, we haven’t been able to open any Mexican financial accounts yet. Hubby and I have both made multiple calls to our bank back in the U.S. letting them know that we are in Mexico now, and please give us full access to our money; and regardless of those calls, emails, etc., they still decide to decline me periodically. The panic that set in was pretty intense, as well as the fact that I’m on my way to pick up my girls from school, so now I’m also panicking about getting my kids from school late. Obviously, due to the fact that I’m not typing this in a Mexican jail right now for stealing gas, I was able to resolve the matter – but again, would ask the universe to please think of my blood pressure before throwing me into that type of situation again anytime soon.
Yesterday I also lost half of the day trying to troubleshoot a VPN router I purchased online to connect to our WiFi modem – so as to be able to access all the websites, streaming videos, etc. that I could back in the U.S., that I can’t here in Mexico. About the only streaming website we can access is Netflix – and even that is limited. So, I purchased an already-configured VPN that was supposed to be really easy to install. It wasn’t. Too add insult to injury – apparently the entire time I was sitting at the computer (frustratingly focusing on yet more instructions from a support department that didn’t make any sense), I was being feasted on by a flying intruder. Let me tell you something about the bugs here: they are super-sized from anything we have in the U.S. Super sized, super stealthy, super smart. I didn’t realize what was happening until it was too late, and when the itching started, I discovered a line of bites down the entire left side of my body. You can connect them all the way down, and see the feast-journey this little bastard took. You don’t see these flying menaces coming and they don’t conveniently buzz in your ear first – so you don’t get any warning until it’s too late.
This blog is now getting too long so I’ll start wrapping this up. Not to get too sappy or anything, but I’ll share how my day finally turned around. Towards the end of the day (after also experiencing a temper-tantrum by our 6-year old and yet another exhausting Spanish lesson – which STILL is not sinking in) there was no way I was cooking dinner. So we go to our stand-by, which is to go down the end of our street and get some taquitos. I decided to take this trek, and was able to communicate well with the waitress, and decided to buy a piece of pie. While driving through the guard station back into our neighborhood, I gave the pie to the guard (there’s a rotation of about 4 gentleman). This guard is my favorite – he’s the oldest, has a big bushy mustache that really could use a trim, and is missing several teeth. The missing teeth and hairy lips doesn’t hide how friendly his smile is, though, and I appreciate it every time I drive past. I gave him the pie, and even though we don’t speak the same language, his gratitude and smile over a simple single-serving pastry was so warming it canceled out my entire previous atrocious day.
Quick advice: when you are having a really bad day, rather than trying to find the proper “mañana” or wait for the universe to finally take pity on you – do something nice for someone else. Ok – sap time over.
Now I’m really going to stop this blog here, because I think I’m seeing that little bastard from yesterday flying around my monitor. Hopefully after gorging on me half of the day yesterday it will be slowed down, and if I can help it, no mañana for this bug.