Units of Time My grandmother told me to convert the hour of her flight arrival so my aunt would know at what to pick her up at the airport once she landed in Mexico. She was afraid of miscalculating the time and therefore having to wait at the airport. My grandmother is aware of the clock differences between Los Angeles (12 hour clock) and Merida (24 hour clock) and was able disregard how she would habitually look at the clock.
When planning a party many of my family members tend to tell people to arrive at 12 for example, but in reality the celebration won’t start until around 2 because they know the guests won’t be punctual.
There is no perception of time and time is very flexible.
Reference/Points of Time
Many of my family members get vacation time during religious/national holidays for a few weeks.
Measurement of Time A couple of times I noticed my aunt was running late due to her fast paced movements. I walked outside a few minutes later to go to the store and there I saw her, standing on the corner chatting with a neighbor who she had not seen for a while. Personal relationships are more important than work.
Value of TIme
Lunch is one of the most important meals of the day; it’s the biggest. Even if everyone is done eating, conversations will last a long time. Being surrounded by family during lunch time is very common.
Conception of Space I remember going to the movies with my cousins in a VW van or “combi” when all of a sudden 6 more people got on as well. I then realized why the middle row had been taken out of the van. The missing row allowed for more people to squeeze in. The van looked like a sardine can with everyone rubbing up against unfamiliar people. There is no such thing as a personal bubble. People will often be in your space.
Boundaries I was sent to the “torilleria” many times while on vacation in Mexico. Usually kids or women are seen buying tortillas. I noticed people would simply cut in line to avoid waiting since they knew someone in the front of the line. They didn’t care if others had been waiting for a much longer time.
Psychological Space People usually give kisses on the cheek when they greet each other, even if they barely met. I remember meeting my aunt’s friend for the first time and she gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Also, when I was about eight or nine I remember one of my older female cousins had recently got engaged and her fiance gave me a kiss on the cheek when she first introduced me to him.
Land Arrangement In the capital many cafés and buildings look French. Sometimes it felt as if I were in Paris and not Mexico City. In very rural areas people tend to stay inside on rainy days in order to avoid getting their cars stuck in the mud due to the lack of paved roads.
Recording Communication When I used to stay at my aunt’s house during the summer I remember the washboards/ hand laundry stations were located on the roof of the apartment complexes. All the women would tend to wash at the same time so that they could gossip with each other. The preservation of ancient Mayan cities like Chichen Itza is also a form of recording.
Contracts/Agreement My cousin told me that many forms have to have her picture, even her CV.
Formal vs. Non-Formal Reality People drive in imaginary lanes and pedestrians cross the street wherever and whenever they please. One time I was at a park with a few kids and they decided to cross a very busy street to get some soda at the store. Of course they did not use the crosswalk.
Comparability My cousin is a doctor and she has her own little medical office where she checks patients and fills out prescriptions. Everyone calls her, “Doctora Liliana” even if they already know her well. They respect her title and when in that office they do not disregard social power.
Planning One of my cousins has been wanting to come to California for years and will finally come this December. He hasn’t been able to come due to family matters.
Systems Those who cannot afford contemporary medicine rely on herbal cures and remedies and still would not purchase “western” medicine if they had the resources simply because they don’t believe in it.
Technology My cousins from Merida regularly skype with me. This past summer we skyped often; I can still hear them complaining about the heat. My cousins have learned how to repair their computers or bikes whenever they get broken, they never think of buying a new computer or bike. As long as it works there is no need for a new one, regardless of how old/ugly it is.
Mexico has many trade agreements like NAFTA with the United States.
Abstraction When something good happens people tend to say “gracias a Dios” (thank God) all the time. My aunt tends to say “primero Dios” (God willing) whenever she plans to do something like travel to another city to go visit her daughter.
Rules and Principles People pay cops in order not to get a ticket.
Religion/Ethics Religious decor is very common in the house. My grandmother met my cousin’s boyfriend for the first time since she is visiting from Mexico and was not to content to find out they are living together and not yet married.