To a degree, I think moving out of the US before you ever had your own apartment or your own career up there does limit your experiences back home to compare things to.
There are moments where I do feel it would be right to criticize some of my critiques of life in Mexico by saying “well, that happens in the US also.”
Like what I wrote in this article here about people parking in the middle of the road in Mexico.
Does that happen in the US?
I’ve never seen it but the US is a big country and maybe it’s not as big of an issue where I grew up.
And the same thing could be asked about any other detail I bring to light on regarding life in Mexico.
Of course, that doesn’t make it right when something negative happens in Mexico.
Just because it happens in the US, regardless of if it does or not, doesn’t make it right in Mexico.
That’s a side point anyhow – some people will defend all things Mexico and all the shit that comes with the country because “CMON MAN!!! IT HAPPENS IN AMERICA TOO!”
Who gives a fuck?
Then both the US and Mexico have a problem.
Either way, going back to where I was going with this, there are times where I feel a disconnect with folks back home.
And the disconnect isn’t bad necessarily.
There’s no negative association I’m applying to the word.
Just that, due to different life experiences (especially in my case), one should remember how that influences different perceptions of things.
Like complaining about things in Mexico but failing to remember that they might happen in the US also to be fair.
Or, when discussing life with family back home, how certain details to each other’s lives might be surprising.
Let’s look at examples on both ends.
A Life Abroad to an American Back Home
Given few folks in my immediate family have travelled abroad outside of my dad once visiting Mexico decades ago and a few uncles and a cousin from Florida who have travelled, there isn’t too many people I know of in my family who have been abroad.
Especially not to the degree I have with the years I have been down here.
There’s only really one family member I can recall who died over a year ago that spent time in many countries around the world.
Outside of her and her husband, living abroad isn’t very typical in the family.
So, whenever I talk with different family members, sometimes you might get comments or questions that either seem weird or are not weird but still show a surprise to basic details to traveling.
For example, I remember sitting down at a Mexican restaurant with my mom once and her asking “isn’t everyone in Mexico indigenous?”
Or, when I returned from Colombia, some uncle of mine asking “Colombia huh? They sure got a lot of cocaine, don’t they?”
And a grandma asking me before I went to Mexico if “people down there have cars or not?”
All of the questions above being a bit weird to me but can’t complain. In actuality, they are funny because I can easily imagine the reaction of locals down here to those questions being asked.
On the last question anyway, I even wrote on the topic here regarding people in the US doubting that Latin Americans have very basic things like cars, phones, computers, etc.
Then, beyond the silly questions, you got those questions that aren’t silly but are still slightly weird because they ask something so basic to traveling that you think “of course that happens.”
It’d be like if someone asked you “if the sky is blue in Mexico.”
But I don’t classify these questions as being absurd because, if given a lack of experience, it’s understandable why they might be surprising to anyone who has never entered an airport.
Especially an American one with all our extra scrutiny we give to people flying.
For example, I remember talking with my sister maybe over a month ago or so back in my last place and I casually said something to her about going through the airport in the US and Mexico.
How, as you arrive, you’ll perhaps be asked questions by some airport employee things like “nobody has asked you to put anything in your bag right? You aren’t a terrorist?”
Shit like that.
And she found it funny.
Like why would anyone ask those questions?
And I agree.
If I was an aspiring terrorist, I probably am not going to confess that to an employee making &11.50 USD an hour.
It’s a bit similar to how, when an ex-girlfriend of mine named Marcela from Colombia was applying for a visa to the US, they asked her questions online like….
“You aren’t going to be a terrorist over here, are you?”
“Any plans on overthrowing the US government?”
Thankfully, Marcela had no plans to show up with an AK-47 to overthrow America.
But, even if she did, why would she admit to that?
Would the 9/11 hijackers admit to their plots before they acted on them?
At any rate, that’s one example in which my sister, who has never been abroad, finds surprising about traveling.
Even though airport security is as part of life traveling as seeing a blue sky outside the airport windows.
Not that I fault her for finding it surprising – it’s understandable if you haven’t been inside an airport to travel abroad.
But it does reveal to me how, at times, I can be detached also when I speak about life abroad.
It’s not just a matter of “oh, she doesn’t relate to what I’ve seen” but also a detail to how you should reflect on the possibility that, as you speak about your life abroad, you might casually mention details that might seem normal to you but seem odd to those listening.
For example, when talking with my sister again, I shared with her some photos of life in Mexico a few months ago.
One of the photos was this one here.
In that photo, everything looks normal to me!
But not to her.
One thing she noticed that was “off” was the amount of low hanging cords.
She remarked how it “seems like a poorer area” but, to me, it looked normal.
In fact, the low hanging cords wouldn’t have even crossed my mind as a detail to give attention to.
I’ve seen so much of that down here that, even in slightly nicer neighborhoods like this one here, you see the same thing.
And I’ve seen that in even nicer neighborhoods than that one!
I only just started paying attention to the “low hanging cords” out of curiosity to see how common it really is because she found it strange and I never did.
Among other details to life down here that, to someone back home, might feel strange or different.
So, when describing life abroad or traveling, you should keep in mind that you shouldn’t assume necessarily that the other person is going to think everything you are describing is normal or even get any references you are making about the experience.
Be it small details like low hanging cords or airport security to bigger details like the demographics of Latin America or how many people do cocaine can all be things that folks back home either misunderstand or don’t understand at all.
But, having said that, it goes both ways.
Not Understanding Life Back Home
Though obviously I am American and have spent a majority of my life in the US, there are small things I have not experienced back home because of how young I was when I moved out of the country.
For example, I never had to get my own car insurance my parents handled that from 16 to 18 and I didn’t have a car afterwards when I went to college.
Never had my own apartment.
Never had a real job beyond Subway, language tutor, Jimmy Johns, a pizza place dude, some minor work in a factory spot, hospital volunteerism, etc.
But no real job though like an actual career.
Never worried about my credit score nor do I even know what my credit score is as it’s useless down here as far as I’m aware.
So on and so on.
With all that said, you do then have times where I’m “out of place” with things back home.
For example, whenever my sister discusses getting an apartment back home, she goes on the higher requirements to get one.
Like when I told her that I was moving out of my last place so soon, she was like “oh really? Well when you moving?”
And, to her, it seemed to me that she found it different how I could just pack my bags and have a new place to move into by tomorrow if I wanted.
No pressure whatsoever.
Yet, to her, supposedly it takes people back home months to find a new place or something and the landlords want everything and your second cousin’s left arm to qualify for rent.
Obviously, given the lack of driving experience I have outside of high school years, hearing her stories on driving back home offers interesting insight to differences.
More that it really just makes me even more glad to live down here and not have to deal with driving bullshit.
Like a cherry on top.
As of recently, inflation is another topic.
Down here in Mexico, this lady I have been buying doritos from whenever I buy a chicken sandwich to go along with it has increased her prices.
The small doritos bag used to be 10 pesos but now it’s 12!
A total of 10 cents inflation, brooooo!
But that probably pales in comparison to the amount of inflation she talks about going on back home these days.
And, beyond that, there’s other small details too.
Some of which shouldn’t be as surprising but can be interesting to see after a few years away from home.
Like the last time I saw the neighborhood around where she lived through live video and her neighborhood in Iowa just looked so green and clean.
It was impressively green and clean.
My initial reaction was “damn that’s one nice looking area….that’s where those lovely white people live!”
Actually, I was just trying to make a Boondocks reference from here but I don’t think my sister understood the joke.
Uncle Ruckus is a Mexican
But it did look pretty damn green and clean!
I was literally impressed even though I shouldn’t be as the neighborhood I grew up in looked clean also.
Must be one of those “be away from home for so long, you are surprised when you see it again” or some shit.
Outside of that, another difference is politics.
Well, for me anyhow.
My sister loves talking politics.
I don’t mind it either but, as I get older, the more I feel incentivized to not discuss politics with anyone given how autistic most folks react to different political opinions.
Not meaning my sister specifically but just people in general.
Either way, when discussions happens, sometimes they do involve politics.
And, when they do, sometimes we have our differences.
Be it that I enjoy when politics in America gets crazier because it’s entertaining abroad like what happened on January 6th while she doesn’t find that so entertaining as she lives up there.
Or, in other cases, when I don’t get what she is referencing.
Usually something that made the headlines that hasn’t down here.
In those cases, I just nod away because I don’t have any comment as I wouldn’t get what she is talking about due to Mexican news not talking about it.
Among other differences anyhow.
So on and so on.
Either way, the point is that, from time to time, when the folks back home describe life to you in the US, you will feel disconnected in your own way due to being away.
Or, in my case, you might also sometimes feel disconnected due to not experiencing certain things like renting your own apartment up there or having an actual career.
Whatever the difference stems from.
Anything to Add?
Either way, there’s nothing else to say.
It’s a small detail to living abroad that I’ve probably referenced before but felt like making an article about.
If you have anything to add, drop a comment below in the comment section.
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Thanks for reading.