Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Stranger In A Strange Land

Life is all about changes and the time has come for me to start my new adventure.  My seasonal part-time job begins this week and I will head out for McAllen tomorrow.   I need to pick up some things from the rv and I will do a little shopping in the afternoon.   Monday morning I will head out for San Antonio where I will spend most of the week.   Tuesday I will watch a co-worker give a seminar and then on Thursday I give my first seminar in Seguin.   I am really looking forward to it although I am a bit cautious at the same time.
I have had some reservations about the work.  Not the work itself but what goes along with it.   You have to remember I have lived here for many, many years and have adapted and actually grown up with this culture.  How many changes have I gone through in terms of economy, technology, relationships, rving, just to name a few.
I had the opportunity to have a phone chat with a very good friend.  She is from Venezuela but has lived in Mexico for many years.    We work together with the publisher and often cross paths in work and pleasure.   I decided to ring her up as I knew she had gone to or was going to Miami.   She accepted a transfer with the publisher and will be living in Florida.   She too has the same reservations as I do although I won't be living in the U.S.   As she explained, things are so different there.  One of her first tasks will be to hire a staff for the office.   She said she had doubts about it and had to read a book on hiring practices in the U.S.   Here in Mexico, we can ask people if they are married, if they have good credit, and anything else we want.  We don't worry about someone sueing us because they are looking for quick cash.
I made a slight faux pas last month in one of my training sessions.  In the presentation I will give, there is a section on what to take to the official test location and one of those items is a watch.   Well, kids don't wear watches as they have all the technology that comes with a clock.  It is recommended that they take a watch to track the testing time.  So in my presentation run I used the old expression, "beg, borrow or steal".   It came to a screeching halt.  I couldn't say "steal" for fear that some student may steal a watch and then say I told him it was okay.  Then I or the company could be sued.   Oh god!  You have got to be kidding.
Also, here in Mexico it is all about touching.  We shake hands, we exchange kisses, we pat students on the head or the back.   In the U.S. all this is a big no-no.  
So I am going through "reverse" culture shock.   I know I will get used to it, but the U.S. is no longer my culture.  Sure, I can adapt and I know I will.  But it will be hard to understand. 
Just the emails alone are funny.   One word responses.   I never had one of those. 


  1. Chris.. I had the same experience a few years back. I worked in the Mental Health field in Canada and when writing the initial report on the patient, I would write.. "so and so presented as a white 16yr old girl etc etc" When I moved to California and worked in a similiar position I was told using the word "girl" was a big no no and was to use the word "female"

  2. I don't envy you having to hold back what comes naturally. It will be an interesting journey but sad I think. Good luck.

  3. Chris, How are you going to handle the income Tax issues? Just interested, seems like it could be a deal breaker.

    rocmoc n AZ/Mexico