Photo: Isaí Moreno

15 Things That Mexicans Are Tired of Explaining to Foreigners

by Juan Pablo Mazorra Dec 9, 2015
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1. Our geographical location

Mexico is NOT part of South America or Central America. Our country is part of North America (which is not unique to Americans) and yet we are still Latinos. So do not call us South Americans because we are not.

2. Mariachis

In an exchange trip to Argentina, one of my teachers opened the class by asking the Mexican to stand up, then he asked me the following questions “Which part of Mexico are you from?”, followed by, “you’re a Mariachi, right?”

Foreign friend, although it is a tradition in Mexico, NOT all Mexicans are mariachis, we don’t all sing like mariachis or play instruments like mariachis.

3. How to write México

I know it’s confusing because the “x” sound like a “j”, but in case you haven’t noticed…Mexico is written with “x”. Do NOT forget!

4. Neither Americans nor Spanish

Although Mexico was conquered by the Spanish for many years and although our border and trade are mainly with the United States … we are NOT Spanish nor American.

Foreign friend, if you have these kinds of thoughts, I invite you to visit Mexico to discover its endless culture, the wonderful language and all the customs of our beautiful country and forget those completely absurd thoughts.

5. The spiciness

Don’t be afraid to come to Mexico because you think all the food is spicy. That being said, I think there is nothing more annoying for a Mexican than having to explain why we like chili peppers. Please do not question it, we just like it… yes, we love it, without further explanation.

6. The National Anthem

Mexican friend, it may surprise you to hear this, but I have met people in other countries who truly believe that Cielito Lindo is our national anthem. I know that you’re going to fall off your chair after reading this. When you recover, I invite you to assimilate it, because someday, somebody is going to ask you that question.

7. Día de Muertos

This is something I’m really tired of explaining. It is true that in Mexico (especially in the north) it is more common to celebrate Halloween, but it’s not the official celebration in Mexico. The real national tradition is Día de Muertos. We celebrate the opportunity to be once again with our loved ones who have died. It’s a party for us, it’s a day of happy memories and I swear it is the most incredible tradition that my country has.

8. The swear word pinche

We know something characteristic of our country are our wonderful swear words and I’m sure it is going to be the first thing you will ask a Mexican to teach you to use. I beg you to pay attention when learning how to use pinche, because if you don’t you could end up creating poorly structured combinations and fail to insult anyone!

9. The different tomatoes

This may be difficult to digest for you, but for Mexicans there two kinds of tomato: red tomato, jitomate, and tomate, the green one. Foreign friend, please do NOT laugh every time you hear a Mexican say jitomate.

10. Saying Manito

I know you think (wrongly) that all Mexicans are like Cantinflas, and it’s even worse if you think we all talk like him. Let me tell you that the majority of Mexicans have a very different language than the one you’ve seen in movies. You will never hear a Mexican saying manito. When you imitate our accents, avoid using the word manito in all your sentences. It is NOT something representative of our language!

11. Independence Day

Our independence is celebrated on September 16, NOT on Cinco de Mayo. If you need to write it down in your agenda, please do it. I never want to receive a message in my inbox congratulating me on the wrong day.

12. El Chavo del 8

Mexican friend, if you have never traveled outside of México let me warn you when people from other countries discover that you’re Mexican, they going to ask you if you know El Chavo del 8 and you will also be identified because of the telenovela ‘Rebelde’. I recommend traveling with several brochures explaining that the Mexicans have nothing to do with Chespirito, and we do NOT sing the word guey like Anahí does.

13. Guns and sombreros

Thanks to American movies there are people who really believe that in Mexico we are all narcos and that we carry weapons, wear sombreros and drink tequila all the time. I get tired trying to convince people of the opposite. I will only say: NO!

14. Speaking English

Not all Mexicans speak English like not all French people speak Spanish, not all Poles speak German and not all the Russians speak Chinese. We are neighboring countries, but that doesn’t mean that we speak the same language.

15. Insecurity

Mexico isn’t all about assaults, kidnappings, and hitmen. I know that you have many violent ideas about Mexico in your mind. It’s true that we have many problems, but I do not know of a single foreigner who has come and has not been amazed by our culture and friendly people.

So get rid of all these incorrect ideas about Mexicans from your head, read these 15 points again (so you will not earn the enmity of a Mexican with uncomfortable questions), and say YES to coming and discovering how wonderful my country is.

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