Monday, June 17, 2024

Catching the Mexican beat: 3 common phrases around time

If you’ve heard something along the lines you will read below, you know what I’m talking about. In Mexico, if a dinner invitation is at 7 p.m., Mexicans will most likely show up around 8 – or even 10 if you’ve invited my aunt. I’m generalizing, but trust me, I’ve been there. 

It’s important to note that not all Mexicans are unpunctual. I am one of those few for whom punctuality is extremely important. I used to get super upset if I were five minutes late, a trait that might have stemmed from childhood experiences of thinking none of my friends would attend my birthday parties. Little did I know, their moms just didn’t want to be the first ones to arrive, partially to avoid having to help glue the last balloon on the entrance door, place the napkins on the tables, and sit by themselves, waiting for everybody else to show up. 

What’s even funnier is that it’s almost like everybody agrees to get there 40 minutes after the established time and come all at once. But here’s the kicker: the hosts aren’t ready either! They’re either missing the sodas, the plastic glasses, or some more ice, or they’re still getting their makeup done!

However, as with everything in life, there’s a big lesson to learn behind the little annoyances. I understood that the stress I felt was created by living in my own reality because the people around me were living in a different one, with their own sense of timing.

So, I decided to stop stressing and started living life in a more laid-back way. My best advice is simply to accept the culture as it is and send a special invitation to your Mexican friends. If you want them to arrive at 5 p.m., the invitation should say they should be there at 3 p.m. This way, you’ll have your punctual friends arriving at 5 and your not-so-punctual friends arriving at 5, too (you know who they are). It’s all about finding that perfect balance between our expectations and Mexican time’s wonderful, unique rhythm. After all, embracing these quirks makes our cultural experiences all the more colorful and memorable!

Before I go…Here are three common Mexican phrases around time you will surely hear at some point during your time in Mexico. 

  1. “¡Ya voy para allá!” (I’m on my way) 
  2. “Ahorita llego” (I’ll be there soon, ahorita almost never means soon)
  3. “Hay un buen de tráfico” (there is a lot of traffic) 

Paulina Gerez is a translator-interpreter, content creator, and founder of Crack The Code, a series of online courses focused on languages. Through her social media, she helps people see learning a language from another perspective through her fun experiences. Instagram: paulinagerezm / Tiktok: paugerez3 / YT: paulina gerez 

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