One noticeable difference here are greetings. At least greetings between friends or at church. Women almost always grab each others right hand, press their right cheeks together and kiss the air. Some women hug, especially if they are friends. Men and women also greet each other this way often. I think I like it, because it forces you to step out of your comfort zone almost immediately, and maybe it's just me, but it makes me feel closer to a person right away which is nice when I have so few things I can say right now!
The meal schedule is different too. At first look it seems like Mexicans just eat all the time. With food so good, I can't blame them. But really, they have 3 planned meals a day, with 2 optional snacks/small meals as well. In the morning, they "Desayuno". For this some might have a cup of coffee, a piece of fruit or a small bowl of cereal. Something light. Around 11 or so, you may have "Almuerzo". This could be something small like a sandwich if you are hungry. Between 1 and 3 seems to be the biggest planned meal of the day, "Comida". Around 4 or 5 you might have a coffee or a pastry for your "Merienda". Sometime around 8 you eat again, not a heavy meal, but something filling enough to finish off the day, this is called "Cena". We want to switch to their meal times and are slowly making steps that way. It is common for neighbors or friends to stop by for a visit in the evening when Americans would normally be eating dinner and we want to be available for that!
Because of the amount of theft in Mexico, houses are gated and barred. Every window in our house has bars on it. Our front yard and carport have a high fence/gate and our backyard has a tall cement wall. It's nice to have that extra layer of security.
We can pay our bills at the grocery store! It's pretty weird, but convenient. When we get our water bill, electric bill or internet bill.. we can just take them with us to the store and pay there. Somehow the store works it out to get the money to the company I guess. They are not very lenient about late bills though, you are actually supposed to have them paid a few days before the due date listed! I'm glad someone told us that!
Another notable difference. When you enter a room or gathering, as Americans we might just say hi to a few people we see right away or get around to saying hi to others after we've been there a while. But here, everyone greets everyone, children included. We are supposed to teach our children to say hello and goodbye to everyone at a gathering from a young age. I think this is pretty cool, even though it is hard to retrain yourself! For kids, it might help ward away shyness, since it's taught at such a young age! Lily is beginning to learn the greetings, but still needs to work on her 'Adios' or 'Hasta Luego'.
Here is Lily all dressed up for Independence day!
I'm sure we'll learn so much more as the weeks go on, and probably be corrected on other things we thought we understood. It's fun learning a new way of doing things. We always need to remember that "It's not wrong, it's just different" and be willing to exchange our ideas of normal in order to be culturally relevant. :)