Reflecting on my holiday in Canada, I am struck by two idiosyncrasies I saw in the country:
- The way Canadians handle their economic challenges
- Their forthright defense of any criticism aimed at them
And because I live in Mexico, I can’t help but compare the way these peculiarities are dealt with here.
The Canadian economy cannot be called buoyant by any stretch of the imagination. Like every other nation on earth, “the true north strong and free” has seen jobs disappear, deals with an unstable market and insecurity all ‘round. The life style most of the population enjoyed is no longer as easy to maintain. But you’d never know it to look at them.
When other nations’ press criticizes the “Canadian way”… well, “them’s fightin’ words .” Canucks take great pains to do all things “their” way. And they are proud of their achievements, their resilience and their hospitality.
I would say that Canadians are great at “pulling together” in hard times. They support their neighborhood businesses and buy locally. They get defensive and speak up when they are maligned.
In Mexico we have even more serious economic and national identity issues and our country is not held in the same high esteem as our NAFTA partners. In part, perhaps it is because we don’t stand up for ourselves and demand the respect we are owed.
The Mexican culture is one of the most diverse and interesting you’ll find anywhere in the whole world. The colors, music, food and folklore are richer and more complex than that of most other nations. But many outsiders caricaturize our cultural treasure. The Mexican lifestyle is viewed in a depreciative way. If you were to believe all the footage on international stations, you’d conclude that Mexicans never leave home for fear of being shot… or worse! But as you know, we are going about our business as usual and living our lives. And when I say “we”, I am including the international community – we all live here.
The economic sector in Mexico is suffering terribly from “la crisis.” International residents could help a lot by doing some purchasing and eating out at local establishments. Visit the wide variety of tourist attractions and entertainment spots. The markets and smaller shops often have a surprisingly extensive inventory and the cuisine in some of the neighborhood restaurants is superb.
Even if your Spanish skills are not “advanced”, you’ll find many people speak other languages and they will be amazingly comprehending of your linguistic ability, no matter how limited it may be. At first it is daunting to “step out of the box” but you’ll find it fun and liberating!
And perhaps we could go a step further by challenging the negative press? Yes, Mexico does have a lot of issues to overcome but many of them are not of the country’s making. The celebration of Mexico’s bicentennial should be all over the Internet, not more and more horrible “narco” reports. This incessant negativity is demoralizing to the citizens of this country and I feel many have lost hope. I think perhaps they aren’t “pulling together” because they fear theirs are not the voices that will be listened to. Wouldn’t it be brilliant if the international residents could use their voices and their pens and tell the world what Mexico is really like? Any comments?