I’m not sure how to go about this post because it’s a topic that I still don’t understand after six years in Mexico.
During my time in this fascinating yet incredibly frustrating country, I’ve noticed that Mexicans have their own subtle ways of communicating that straight-shooting Americans like myself will never comprehend.
On Monday I woke up not feeling well, so I sent my boss a text message asking for the day off. He answered me with the following message: “Don’t you have your interview today?” (some survey thingy our department is doing)
I texted back “No, not until tomorrow.”
I then sat around for a few minutes waiting for my boss to text me back with an answer. “Why doesn’t he say anything?” I said to Jorge.
Jorge responded with a casual, “He already gave you permission not to go in today.”
Me: “No he didn’t. He asked about my interview, and I said I didn’t have one until tomorrow.”
Jorge: “That means yes.”
Me: WHAT?!?! How does a question mean “yes”??? In the US, it doesn’t mean “yes” until someone says “yes”.
My boss never texted back and asked me how I was doing at work the next day, so I guess it did mean “yes”.
When I was in college here, this happened to me a lot with my classmates. There were several occasions when I might make a comment to a teacher, only to have my classmates later tell me, “Don’t you remember we agreed not to say that to the teacher?” Turns out there had been insinuations and clever nuances in previous conversations that I wasn’t even aware existed. I appeared to have broken some sort of code.
On weekends we go out a lot with my in-laws. Frequently we’ll get into the car to go somewhere, like Jorge’s aunt’s house, for example. We’ll then head in the direction of a supermarket. Conversations go like this:
Me: Where are we going?
Me: I thought we were going to your aunt’s house?
Jorge: Yeah, but my dad said we have to stop by Walmart first to pick up some snacks.
Me: When did he say that?
Jorge: Right before we left.
Me: But WHEN did he say that? I was with you both the whole time!
I used to think it was a language barrier. Maybe my limited Spanish was preventing me from picking up certain sentences. Now that I speak fluent Spanish, I see that’s not the case. Mexicans have a way of saying something without directly saying it. I wish I could go into further detail, but I still have NO IDEA how it works.
Ok fellow expat bloggers in Mexico, tell me you know what I’m talking about!! What is this secret language and how does it work?