It has been an odd week for me this past week, but more on that later. I don’t feel like getting too deep today. I had a friend die in Cancun in an accident, and he was supposed to come to Mahahual for a visit. More on that tomorrow. Today I feel like some humor.
1. Start every casual encounter with a “buenos días” (good day), “buenas tardes” (good afternoon), or “buenas noches” (good night). If in doubt, just say “buenas.” Remember that this rule’s importance is inversely proportional to the size of the town you’re in.
2. Use the formal voice “usted” whenever you’re talking to someone older than you.
3. Use the informal voice “tú” whenever you want to promote familiarity. If friendship is already in the works, take things one step further and start using the even more informal voice “güey.”
4. Put chili in everything. Those pain receptors in your mouth aren’t gonna go numb based on your good intentions, so you better get started.
5. Use diminutives at will, because everything sounds prettier in diminutive form.
6. Buy a “comal” and learn how to use it… and no, it’s not the same as a pan.
7. Learn “Las Mañanitas” by heart and demonstrate your performing abilities in every single birthday you assist.
8. Take all the kitchenware scattered around your place, put it in the oven and leave it there until Christmas or the next time you want to bake a cake.
9. Say “buen provecho” (bon appétit) to everyone and for everything during lunchtime: say it to people taking their lunch break at work, say it when you leave your office, say it when you enter a crowded restaurant -pay special attention to the people on the table next to you-, say it to people who are already leaving the restaurant and don’t forget to say it to the everyone who is still in the restaurant when you leave.
10. Write the following at the top of your shopping list: two kilos of tomatoes, two kilos of onions, two kilos of limes and a quarter of chiles. All of these ingredients should be used within the following week.
11. Forget about giving outright negatives. Be extremely polite and try to avoid a convincing “no” until it’s unavoidable.
12. Start giving nicknames to every single person you know.
13. Refine the delicate art of arriving elegantly late.
14. Respect your mother and the “virgencita”… but especially your mother.
15. Forget Cinco de Mayo and start thinking about what you’re gonna prepare for dinner on September 15.
16. Learn how to use the most ambiguous word ever invented: “ahorita”.
17. Prepare your Day of the Dead altar since the last days of October…and start learning how to pronounce “cempazuchitl.”
18. Use the word “madre” (mother) at least ten times a day and try to use it to name something different every single time.
19. Go out to take a walk without any specific means. “Dar la vuelta” has a lot of charm.
20. Spice up your vocabulary with weird phrases like “Andas como pepita en comal caliente” which translates as “you’re like a sunflower seed on a hot comal” and means you look kind of anxious.
21. Learn the difference between chipichipi (mild rain), chubasco (medium to heavy rain of short duration) and tromba (the mother of all rainstorms).
22. Start giving up dinner and start promoting “merienda.” Which implies that your night meal is gonna favour coffee and “pancito” (sweet bread).
23. Keep calm and begin mastering “albur.”
24. Learn to eat your tacos on hard difficulty setting: standing, holding your plate on one hand and the taco on the other without spilling any salsa.
25. Show your love for Mexico with everything you got and to everyone you know!
Thanks for reading,
Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina