When you move (or visit) another country, you are often faced with cultural differences that can be challenging. For example, in Mexico, the concept of ‘mañana’ can be difficult (or impossible) to understand, particularly if you come from a country that is rigid in its notions of time.
When someone says to you, “I will see you, mañana.” That can mean many things from the direct translation of “I will see you tomorrow,” to “I will see you sometime in the future, possibly never.” Exceedingly frustrating for foreigners who have hired a plumber to fix an overflowing toilet, for example.
But one of the beauties of the concept of Mexican time is that it is fluid and matters of urgency are relative, particularly where the quality of life comes into play. Is your overflowing toilet more important than a family gathering for the plumber in question? Possibly not.
In my years, I find that this interpretation of cultural differences boils down to two things, more communication and less expectation.
Go with the flow.
When I need something done, I try to express that need in a couple of different ways; I look for acknowledgment that my need/timeline has been heard and accepted. I also remember that there is no accounting for other people, and the best you can do is hold up your end of the deal and hope for the best. And really, this applies anywhere, anytime.
Sometimes I use the concept of mañana to my benefit. Taking an extra day (year?) to finish a project. Or extending a much-needed vacation and hoping those who rely on me will ‘go with the flow. It truly is one of the beautiful expressions of Mexican culture, when understood in the context of living in the moment.
Wasn’t Paco great? He did an excellent job of taking on the editing of the newspaper. He did it with limited resources and a prayer. I know that while I appreciated the break, I also enjoyed the extra effort he made in translating local news and curating issues around bold Mexican themes like ‘the torta.’ Who knew a sandwich deserved so many words? No one on Keto, obviously.
Paco excelled at communicating his knowledge of Mexico’s art and food, and I hope you all had a chance to read some of his work in these pages. If not, you can find all of it on www.vallartatribune.com
For me, I’m continuing my sojourn in the old country. This week I’m in Montreal, and then I head back to Vallarta. I have many things to share with you, but not yet. Perhaps mañana.
A heartfelt thank you to Paco Ojeda for all his well-crafted words. And a million hugs to Marcia Blondin who steps in at the last minute to carry on in my absence. You are very much appreciated.
And all of you, readers in print and online, I thank you for the emails and comments and your continued support today and mañana.