Some odd months ago, my sister texted me the usual ol’ “what’s up?”
A few texts sent back and forth.
Then I say as always “want a call?”
Then we get on Whatsapp.
Through the conversation, she mentioned some random Mexican family that she knows about in Iowa.
And, to get to the point, she mentioned random details about the family and used them as a basis for what she thinks Mexicans might be like down here.
The details being the type of music they listen to (some specific type of genre I have never heard before in Mexico), how religious people are (this family apparently has religious symbols all over the house or something) and how clean people are (their house was very clean).
Now I already discussed the cleanliness of Mexicans in this article here.
But there’s also those points about the music and religion.
And, after mentioning those details of this specific family, she asked me something along the lines of “do you hear that type of music often in Mexico?”
I’m only paraphrasing by the way because I honestly don’t remember what the specific type of music was.
But I do remember saying to her “no, I haven’t ever heard that type of music down here.”
And, along the same line, I differed from her in terms of just how religious Mexicans really are.
In my years living here, the usual Mexican I have hung out with has not come across as religious whatsoever.
Any dude I have talked with doesn’t come across that way.
Any chick I have hooked up with or dated was never religious whatsoever.
Take for example my last girlfriend.
In the entire time that I dated her, I never remember her going to the church really unless she was back in Hidalgo where her family forced her to go to church on the weekends.
Her parents were definitely very religious!
But not her.
She wasn’t an atheist.
Nor do I remember meeting any atheists in Mexico (though they do exists obviously).
It just comes across to me that most Mexicans believe in god but don’t really practice religion.
But therein lies the problem – what I just said in that sentence.
That sentence is probably factually incorrect.
As you can read in this article I wrote here, plenty of people in Mexico and broader Latin America are religious and do take their religion seriously.
But, similar to the musical tastes of most Mexicans, what you’re going to see among them is obviously going to vary heavily by who you hang out with.
Going back to music, my sister brought up some type of music that I have literally never heard in the streets down here.
Now, to be fair, maybe the music is more regional and specific some part of Mexico where that family comes from.
It could be a regional thing.
In the same way that a person living in Queens, NYC might hear more hip hop than 1970s country music.
But I would also say that it’s likely an age thing.
An Age Thing?
I started traveling to Latin America when I was 18.
I am currently 27 and only actually began living in Latin America year around when I was 22.
Obviously, I am young.
And that age factor also likely does mix in with regional variances.
For example, I have spent 4.5 years of my 6.5 years in Latin America in Mexico City.
One of the biggest cities of Latin America.
And in those other 2 years?
They were spent mostly in urban cities also outside of the occasional small trip to some rural area.
So who am I most likely to have met in my time down here?
Young folks (though not always young) in large urban areas.
Obviously, I’m not spending my days with avocado producers in the rural countryside of Michoacán discussing Jesus (the religious one, not the street taco making one).
Instead, I am spending my time with other very young people in Latin America who are in their 20s.
Either going to the bar with them, hanging out at the gym or hooking up.
And, among each interaction, there isn’t much discussion about Jesus and there is usually plenty of music that younger people might like.
Not the music that my sister talked about.
But more like music like this here.
The point being that, as you talk about life in Latin America with other people, you need to be mindful of differences that don’t make anyone in the discussion right or wrong.
I’m sure plenty of Mexicans listen to the music that my sister brought up and plenty are religious.
But those differences usually come along the lines of (but not limited to):
- Your age and the age of the people you hang out with
- Not only the country you live in but the specific part of the country you live in.
- Your lifestyle
And, sticking to the age factor, there is another way that it influences perceptions about life in Latin America.
The Young Gringo vs the Old Gringo
In my time living down here, I’ve met gringos much older than me.
We have our differences.
For example, I remember going to some event for foreigners in Mexico City not too long ago and there was an older gringa in her 50s at the event.
At some point, she began talking about medical concerns.
Insurance related issues and handling some health issue she has (diabetes) in Mexico.
Now, being a young gringo who is 27, I have no issues with diabetes.
Doesn’t even come on the radar.
Never have I once thought about healthcare related issues in Mexico or anywhere in Latin America outside of purchasing TRT or bribing pharmacists.
But it is an issue that older folks do think about.
A year or more ago, my dad brought it up to me.
Mentioned how, in a few months, I’m going to be off his health insurance because I’ll be 26.
For the non-Americans, you basically are on your parent’s healthcare insurance plan until 26 and then you got to cover it yourself.
Anyway, he was just giving me a reminder that I’ll be off it soon back then.
But it didn’t bother me and it doesn’t bother me now.
I’m very healthy.
Typical of a young blood, I know I’m invincible!
No need for healthcare insurance!
Get out of here with that silly talk, old man!
My young Alpha genes will protect me!
Now excuse me – I got pussy to smash, brooo!
In all seriousness anyhow, it’s an obvious difference between young and old expats in Latin America.
That was one moment not too long ago where, when listening to this older expat lady at that event in Mexico City, I realized that she is talking about things that don’t even come to my attention.
Probably because of age!
And I could go on and on.
Older expats who have kids to raise down here or they are interested in purchasing property.
So on and so on.
Issues that I am creeping up on but yet not on the radar due to my age and different life experiences.
Consequently, my reality of living in Latin America is very different from their reality.
As we see again, the factor of age is a great influence on how our expat experiences in Latin America vary greatly from person to person.
Anything to Add?
To summarize, the age factor influences at least two aspects to the aspect life:
First, it brings the difference from the generational gap between the locals in Latin America that you know personally and those other know personally.
In practice, this means the locals you hang out with around your age will have some differences in cultural tastes and also life experiences (such as the difference between talking to a Mexican who was born in 1960 versus 1990).
Second, there is the difference in how age impacts your priorities living down here. The young expat who is 22 and primarily concerned with fucking the next Tinder gal versus the 35 year old expat focused on getting the finances to work for buying a house for your family of 5 in Latin America.
Either way, that’s all I got to say.
Got anything to add?
Drop a comment below in the comment section.
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And enjoy this song I was listening to as I wrote this.
MC5 -- Looking at You
Thanks for reading.