Things I’ve learned Living in Mexico

I’ve been thinking about some of the little things I’ve learned since moving to Mexico.  Here is my small list of some of the random things I’ve learned.

-A shower is possible in the freezing cold.

(It’s hard in the winter months and I must admit there were a few handful of times I boiled water and used that.  These days I wish the water was colder – it is so hot here!)

-You can flush a toilet by putting water in the toilet boil.

(When it rains here, and sometimes even when it doesn’t… We lose water.  Sometimes for a few hours, sometimes for more than a day.  Most homes have a Tinaco which is a tank of water that sits on the top of the house.  This comes in handy when the water is lost… We however don’t have one.  So instead, we have to poor water down the toilet to flush it.)

-It’s possible to shave without shaving gel.

(This is a silly one… I’ve always used shaving gel but in Mexico it’s approx $7CAN for a can of gillette…Soap will do!)

-Fruit and Vegetables taste MUCH better when they are not imported and come direct from a farm.

(We purchase all of our fruits and veggies locally and the difference in taste is huge.  Especially the watermelons from Ricardo’s dads farm.)

-Hard work is not based on the money you make, but the JOB you do, and your attitude when you do it.

(I’ve watched Ricardo and the majority of the population work for what Canadians would consider pennies. What I’ve noticed is in general, they work much harder than people back home and are HAPPY doing it.)

-You can open a tin can with a knife, no need for a can opener.

(One night I was in a panic making Curry Chicken for dinner late at night when I realized I couldn’t open the can as we didn’t have a can opener.  Ricardo to the rescue: You don’t need a can opener just take a knife and stab the top of a few times. Oh, I see.)

-Cinnamon helps to keep the ants away.

(I just discovered this 2 months ago when our house was attacked by ants. Sprinkle cinnamon to the area: problem fixed.  However, I’m not sure if this will work with ALL types of ants.)


-Sugar or coffee grind mixed with liquid body soap or lotion makes a great exfoliant.

(This one I just learned last night from my Cunado (Brother in Law in Spanish)…)


-It’s possible to adapt to your surroundings.

(This was a difficult one for me.  At first, I did not want to go outside as my surroundings made me so sad.  The people, the animals, the garbage, the housing… everything.  I often wondered how Ricardo could go out without feeling depressed and wondered if I would be able to get to that point someday.  I’ve adapted, or I’ve become numb… but either way it’s possible to function in the situation you’ve been dealt.)

-Sometimes, it’s better not to know.

(I’m having a hard time with this one still.  The stray animals still make my heart break into a million pieces.  I was completely oblivious to this in Canada and did not know there was such an animal problem in Mexico and many other countries.  I would like to go back to that place of not knowing, for my own selfish reasons.  Because it’s easier…because it’s less heart breaking.)

-Family Visits are Hard.

(I’ve only had the chance to visit home once since I’ve moved.  I will however be going again this summer for my brothers wedding.  Trips home are hard.  It’s hard to leave Ricardo, and it’s hard to leave my family.  When family come here to visit, it’s hard too.  The time flies, and the good-byes aren’t easy.  One downside to having our family now in Canada and in Mexico, we’ll always be missing someone.)

**I want to finish this by saying this list is based on my personal experience living in Mexico and may not be true for everyone in a similar situation.**

What have you learned through traveling or living in another country?

If you participate, please leave your blog link in the comments below!

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12 thoughts on “Things I’ve learned Living in Mexico

  1. I really enjoyed this list, especially the last topic about missing someone, somewhere. I can really relate to that because I find that is something that follows a person daily. Whether your in Mexico, or in Canada – you will always be missing someone. The key is to find balance.

    On the bright side, its really nice to know at the end of the day, you have two different places in the world to call home.

    • Yes, LOVE this! And I love your bright side, there will always be 2 places in the world to call home <3.

      M, you should do a similar blog and post your link here too!

  2. I have great respect and admiration for the Mexican appreciation & love of life in general. They seem to approach everything with a great attitude and are grateful for every day and every dollar. They are always friendly & smiling and seem so happy even though they are working their butts off. There is more to say about this, than words can describe for me really. That reason, more than anything else, is what Mike and I have gotten from our 5 trips. The resorts are beautiful and pristine (kept up by the workers) the food is deliciously prepared (by the workers) & served with great, friendly service that is rarely seen here in Canada (by the workers) all is done with a smile and an “Hola” to greet & welcome you like your family. I know we have never been for a long visit like you Shelly, but the people are the reason Mike and I are so in love with Mexico, the people and how they’ve shown us to be happy and grateful for what we have. I wish every Canadian could experience that at least once, because unfortunately for the most part as a nation, I don’t think most of us get that from life. Many here are so unappreciative, synical & moody most of the time. The difference is so apparent I find just getting off the plane when we come home. That’s why we need our mexico “fixes” so often. We consider you very lucky because of this, and you have a sweetheart from that wonderful culture to bring back with you, that’s even better than lucky, that makes you blessed 🙂

    • I got goosebumps reading this! Or as Jennifer Lopez would say on idol, Goosies LOL.

      This is all so very true. It doesn’t take longer than a couple of hours in Mexico to fall in love with the people and their culture. Living here you do see a lot more of the hard things about Mexico that really need to be changed. But, i think Mexico can change a person, even in an all inclusive fancy resort. Just with the service alone. But not many take the time to think “behind the scenes” when on vacation – I love that you and Mike do that!

      I was that classic Canadian you refer to. I still am to a point. I always had to have the latest Iphone and things had to be nice and perfect. I know I will adjust back to Canadian life when I move home, but I hope to some degree the way I’ve lived here in Mexico doesn’t leave me. I may have kitchen counters and nicer things when I move home, but I hope my perspective doesn’t revert back to the way it was.

      There are so many lessons to be learned when you travel outside of your home country. We are both blessed for being able to experience other cultures that is for sure as many aren’t fortunate enough.

  3. Great list!! I agree with you and Milena on always missing someone no matter where we are. I love that we will always have to places to call home though, thats cute. And yes I am missing the cold right about now, I swear I have been melting for about 3 wks now lol.

  4. I have learned so much in 6 months, Im not sure I can even remember it all though! How quickly we adapt and things become second nature.

    I have learned…the beauty of learning a second language as an adult, in a culture which embraces and encourages people when they are learning spanish, no one has ever made me feel uncomfortable with my spanish skills, and everyone is always so encouraging! Always! Strangers even!

    • Tricia I just LOVE your comment and it’s so funny that you mentioned learning Spanish and how people have reacted to that. Perfect timing for me and my new mission to learn Spanish =) thanks for sharing, it’s so encouraging to hear this 😀

  5. Shell… I always love reading your posts for many reasons. I personally loved your little disclaimer at the end… hehe… I’m sure nobody is going to sue you over your opinions in your own blog…. you are always so professional…. (((((Hugs))))) Miss you lots!

  6. I have to say that much of it made me laugh out loud and I had to read them to my hubby, superficially the flushing the toilet one. Also the disclaimer was pretty funny. I think you were pretty right on. I really need to do a what I learned post considering I just had my Mexican anniversary. Instead Ill just keep getting updated on yours and many others I have neglected to read.

    • LOL Amanda. The disclaimer at the end was put there because I’ve had some people get upset about what I’ve written before because it was “not correct” or was not what they had experienced so I thought I better add it in lol. I can’t wait for your “what I learned” post 😀

  7. Cold showers = Ahhhhh! I lived in a place that had cold showers when I first moved to the city. It was awful because it was winter and I kept tensing up when I was in there so I’d come out with the worst headache!

    “Fruit and Vegetables taste MUCH better when they are not imported and come direct from a farm.” – YES! Who knew how fragrant and delicious fruits and veggies could be, right? I always get mine from the local market. 🙂

    I agree about the work thing. People here work unbelievably hard and for such long hours. And whenever I ask them about their jobs, they’re happy doing it. Most people back home hate their jobs and are constantly looking for new ones.

    I think what I’ve learned from living here is that I’m not as brave as I thought I was. I’ve always been a perfectionist and prided myself on being able to do things well and quickly. But that’s because I’ve always done easy things. Mexico has definitely made me face a lot of challenges that have needed longer to get used to and practice. I definitely learned that I can be a bit of a chicken and want to throw in the towel if I can’t do something straight away. But I need to change that and get used to needing practice and working hard at something. 🙂

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