Living AbroadMexico

15 Unexpected Habits You’ll Pick Up Living in Mexico

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Anyone who has lived anywhere that isn’t the place they were born and/or raised can attest to the fact that living in another country can change your perspectives, habits and opinions on things you thought were unshakeable truths of your life. Living in Mexico, for me, has been no different.

Who knew that two short years in and I’d want to eat pineapple with salt sprinkled on top, or enjoy dancing?! Well, I certainly didn’t. Here are just some of the unexpected habits you’ll pick up living in Mexico.


UNEXPECTED HABITS YOU’LL PICK UP LIVING IN MEXICO

BINNING YOUR LOO ROLL

Despite the fact that ill-informed readers continue to fight me on this, you cannot flush your loo roll everywhere in Mexico. If there’s a bin in the bathroom or the cubicle, the likelihood is you need to chuck it there rather than down the toilet.

Anyway, this is one of the weird habits that you’ll find hard to adjust to at first, until you find yourself accidentally throwing dirty toilet paper on the floor at home, that is. Yes, I have done it. And so has everyone else who’s lived in Mexico for an extended period.

SAYING SALUD

I am not a person who typically says ‘bless you’ when someone sneezes, but I can’t shake the habit of saying the far less religious salud after living in Mexico.

EATING FRUIT COVERED IN CHILI

Some exceptions, like mango, aside, I have (finally) picked up the habit of eating chili flakes with my fruit. In fact, pineapple and watermelon taste infinitely better with salt too. Who am I?

Related Post: A Meat Eater’s Guide to Vegan Mexico City

living in mexico

NEVER COOKING, EVER

This is one that is perhaps unique to me, as many other people revel in the abundance of cheap and fresh food available in Mexico. I, on the other hand, revel in the affordable and abundant street food and my greasy face and depleted bank balance can attest to that.

Related Post: Unmissable Mexican Street Food You Must Try (COMING SOON)

SAYING MANDE

I say this in English and confuse both myself and everyone around me as a result.

USING A MOLINILLO

Because no hot chocolate is better than hand whisked, ultra-frothy Mexican hot chocolate.

living in mexico

EATING BREAKFAST

I am not a breakfast person. I prefer sleep. But Mexico opened my eyes to the virtue of a good breakfast and now I can’t get enough of tamales, chilaquiles and chocolate conchas.

EATING LATE

I like my lunch at 2pm and my dinner past 8pm now, thank you very much. Although I’m pretty much happy to eat at any time of the day or night, to be totally honest.

Related Post: Why You Have to Eat Fast Food in Mexico

SITTING IN THE AISLE SEAT ON BUSES

This is frowned upon in the UK. Instead, you must sit next to the window, freeing up the aisle for anyone who gets on after. Alternatively, if you had the audacity to plonk yourself in the aisle seat, you have to shuffle along if someone asks to sit down.

Now? I’m guilty of employing what I like to call the tuck and twist, a.k.a. tucking in your legs and turning to the side so the person wanting to sit down can squeeze past you to the window seat.

living in mexico

BUYING BOTTLED WATER

Tap water is off limits in Mexico, so I’m slowly killing the planet with my bottled water habits. (Seriously, Better People Than Me, buy a reusable water bottle.)

DRINKING FIZZY DRINKS

There’s something so refreshing about anything fizzy when it’s hot and Mexican fizzy drinks are insanely addictive because of all the unregulated sugar content. That has led to my unsettling and unhealthy addiction to what is essentially fizzy syrup.

Related Post: An Introduction to 35 Traditional Mexican Drinks

TELLING PEOPLE THINGS AREN’T THAT SPICY…

…as if I’m some balls-to-the-wall Mexican spice queen. Yes, I have probably told you things aren’t too spicy to look tougher than I am. And yes, I have probably stifled my tears and swollen lips after dousing on too much hot sauce. Even so, I still class myself a spice fan…just one that likes to go a bit overboard at times.

living in mexico

DANCING

To banda. Yes, really.

DRINKING BEER

I never drank beer before moving to Mexico and now it’s pretty much my drink of choice everywhere I go. This may or may not apply to pre-Mexico beer fans everywhere, but for you non-beer drinkers, be warned, it’s a habit you’ll surely adopt at breakneck speed.

Related Post: A Quick Review of Popular Mexican Beers + Guide to Beer Drinking in Mexico

NOT USING A SEATBELT

Don’t @ me, OK? It’s a terrible, awful habit that I’ve picked up in Mexico and I judge myself for it. Don’t be like me on this one.

Unexpected habits I picked up living in Mexico aside, there are still truly unshakeable British traits that I just can’t get rid of. For example, I still don’t like to arrive anywhere late (although I embrace the use of the word ahorita, especially for things I don’t fancy doing), I prefer bread over tortilla and I find peeled cucumbers both delicious and unsettling. And vaporub? No thanks.


What habits did you pick up living in Mexico (or just, you know, anywhere that’s not ‘your’ country)? Tell me in the comments!

15 comments

  1. Sarah Daisey 24 February, 2018 at 01:51 Reply

    Ive definitely picked up the bad habit of running late.. I was never a very timely person so moving to mexico has just given me a great excuse to always be late because Mexicans are never on time

  2. Cassie 24 February, 2018 at 14:48 Reply

    Awesome. And yes to almost all of these habits. I have finally caved in to the call of the papaya and am practically addicted to it.

    But back in the UK I always performed the bus dance to ensure I could sit in the aisle. Screw the window seat…unless I wanted window open control! Muhaaa.

  3. Lorial Roballo 25 February, 2018 at 22:45 Reply

    Wow!!! This made me want to move to Mexico! Just reading chilaquiles made my stomach growl and now I want to eat pineapple with salt and chile powder. I feel very Mexican in my soul (I grew up speaking Mexican spanish, eating traditional food and watching the novelas) so this hit home for me!! Loved this post

  4. Becca 27 February, 2018 at 09:21 Reply

    Yeap, I now do all of them! As well as saying, “no” after I ask a question or make a statement. “It’s freezing today, no?”

  5. Rosie 27 February, 2018 at 23:17 Reply

    Drinking a caballito of tequila EVERY DAY before lunch. Just one, as taught me by my ex-husband’s grandfather in the early 80s when I arrived to live in Mexico. Have never been able, or even wanted to kick the habit. Even when in London, as right now, I do it. Hooked!

  6. Bob F. Wilson 1 March, 2018 at 21:10 Reply

    Thanks Lauren! You brought back many memories. I moved to Mexico with my family when I was 15. Then to Cancun for 5 years and now I want to move permanently back. Maybe by “blood” my mom was Mexican. To make a long story short, I am desperate to know all about how to ship (no furniture at all) my nececary belongings. If I held or become a Mexican national, do I still pay U.S. taxes? How does one find a decent apartment and pay deposit and 2 months rent ahead while still living in the U.S? And is there a way to receive my social security direct deposit to an American Bank in Mexico? And have a way to draw that money anywhere I go? Each month? How do permanent ex-pats just do it? Step-by-step to live worry free in Mexico??? My most heartfelt thanks for your precious time and gracious help! Bob.

    • Lauren 1 March, 2018 at 23:17 Reply

      Hi Bob! Thank you for reading 🙂 Unfortunately, I really aren’t sure how to ship belongings to Mexico as I haven’t done it myself, nor am I from the US (the process is probably different!). I BELIEVE that all US nationals have to pay double taxes (i.e. in the US and the country of residence) BUT I certainly recommend you checking that to be sure, because I may very well be wrong.
      Well, as for the finding an apartment, it definitely needs to be done in Mexico. I’d recommend renting an Airbnb while you hunt and, yes, you will then have to put down several months deposit AND need an ‘aval’ (cosigner). It is super tricky, to be honest.
      Social security deposit = i have no idea! But you can do transfers from foreign accounts into Mexican bank accounts, which may be a way of getting around that problem.
      Good luck with the move and you’re very welcome!

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