Reader Photo Request: Falling in Love with Mexico

Continuing with the Reader Photo Requests, Lisa of Seeking So(u)l asked to see a photo that represents the moment I knew I was in love with Mexico. (GREAT request!)

I can still remember the first time I ever saw Mexico. The summer after my high school graduation, I went to Acapulco to work as a missionary intern at a street child center and an orphanage. It was an amazing and extremely challenging summer that has lots of great memories for me, but that’s a story for another time.

I vividly remember the car ride that took me from the Acapulco airport all the way over to the other side of the city when I first landed. I was overwhelmed by the bay views from the highway, and as I rode along the Costera (Acapulco’s main street that goes along the beach), I instantly fell in love with the high rise resorts and the beachy vibe. Ever since that moment, I knew that tourism was going to be my passion.

Now, here I am in Cancun, another Mexico destination filled with beautiful beaches and immense resorts, working in the tourism industry just like I dreamed 8 years ago.

I combed through my Acapulco photos (printed, not digital… that’s how long ago it was) and couldn’t find a picture of the bay I fell in love with, so here’s a photo I stole from Google:

I love that city.

 

 

Should Immigrants Learn the Language?

**Note: When writing this post, I struggled with accuracy between terms like immigrant, expat, American, English-speaking, native English-speaking, Mexican, hispanic, etc etc etc. I did my best with the terminology considering that different definitions exist for many of these, so please bear with me.**

You know how in the USA, many Americans complain when hispanic immigrants don’t bother to learn English?

Turns out… Americans aren’t much better!

Over the past few years in Cancun, I’ve spent more time with local English-speaking (American/Canadian/British/Australian/etc) expats, and the fact that many of them do not bother to learn Spanish is a popular topic in the expat community. In my time in Cancun, I’ve known 5 English-speaking expats who learned fluent Spanish, myself included. A select few speak somewhat advanced Spanish, while most speak light conversational Spanish or just a few key words.

"Hola Jorge. Mucho gusto."

Personally, this isn’t something that bothers me. I feel like many immigrants tend to gravitate toward their own culture when they move to a new country, so whether it’s Mexicans in the US or Americans in Mexico, there’s often no need to learn the host language. In Cancun, almost all of the locals speak excellent English anyway.

It’s also interesting to me that while many Americans are angered by immigrants not learning English, Mexicans (at least the Cancun locals) really don’t seem to care whether immigrants to their country learn Spanish or not. On the contrary, most of my Mexican friends are more than happy to practice their English!

I’m not really trying to make any points here, to be honest. I just find it interesting that the whole “not learning the host language” is not exclusive to one culture.