If you are living here in Mexico for several months or longer, you will most likely experience at some point a degree of culture shock.
Many times, a very simple experience or interchange with a national, can throw you into alienation, confusion, or surprise from encountering unfamiliar surroundings. This is a normal reaction.
You can overcome the feeling by practicing patience and keeping a sense of humor. You will find that getting enough rest and physically adjusting to the climate goes a long way in your mental attitude in adapting to a different culture and your ability to cope.
Vacationing vs Living Abroad
Living in a new community is quite different from vacationing once or several times a year. Events will happen that you are not prepared for, or that will surprise you. Know that this is a normal experience, which happens to everyone, everywhere.
This same experience happens to people from other countries moving to the USA or Canada. After you experience living abroad, you will find that you can more easily relate and empathize with this universal experience.
Previous to your own experience abroad, you may not have been able to fully appreciate the experience others were going through. Had any one of us been more aware of the other person’s situation, we could have been more understanding and more helpful.
You can follow some steps to ameliorate your adjustment into a different culture:
- Compile a list of names of recommended doctors, dentists, and hospitals.
- Get a map of the city and walk, take the bus, or drive around to find the stores and services that you will need on a regular basis.
- Compile a list of phone numbers. Who do you call to report the telephone or electric out of service? You will want to learn the telephone numbers or addresses of the electrician, plumber, and carpenter. If you have pets, you will want to research the name of veterinarians and pet supply shops. Where do you buy the pet food your “best friend” needs?
- If you want to attend church or religious services, you need to research what is available and ask for recommendations.
This process of sourcing continues during the time you live in your new environment.
“Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience. He who travels into a country before he has some familiarity with the language, goes to school, and not to travel.”
~ Francis Bacon 1561-1626
Learning the Language
There will be many opportunities to find fellow Americans or Canadians or English-speaking natives. The temptation will be to follow into a pattern of only speaking your native tongue. This common language can make your adventure easier in the beginning. It can make it more difficult in the long term.
You can develop a barrier to meeting and learning from other people who don’t speak English. If you only socialize with English speakers, you will limit your experiences. You will not be living an adventure but living in an expatriate outpost.
- You need to keep your legal papers of ownership where you can find them. You will have an escritura, which in most cases will be a fidecomiso, trust. You should know where the bank is that handles your trust and how you pay their annual fee. Some banks allow you to pay locally; some require payments in another city.
- Always get receipts; always get correct receipts, save them. Remember: In almost all cases, you are going to need your ORIGINAL RECEIPT in order to have ANY rights to your claim of payment. Know the difference between a temporary receipt, a factura and nota. Be sure you put the utilities in the name of the owner as shown in the deed. Keep all the original receipts, whether or not you personally pay them.
This article is based upon Flex MLS reporting, legal opinions, current practices and my personal experiences in the Puerto Vallarta-Bahia de Banderas areas. I recommend that each potential buyer or seller of Mexican real estate conduct his own due diligence and review. If you have any other questions, contact me through my website.Harriet Murray