When we decided that Cancun would be our adopted town for the year, I was wondering if we would have as much exposure to Spanish, given that it’s such a sought-after destination for tourists, especially from the USA. Well, I needn’t have worried. For one, we live in a neighborhood with Mexicans, not the hotel zone. We see some expats at the store sometimes but they seem to be here like we are: living among Mexicans. And when we are out and about doing the business that it takes to live here, it’s definitely in Spanish. Here are just a few of the situations I’ve been navigating. I say “I” but it’s really a joint effort. I’m in the communication driver’s seat but Dan is my co-pilot, feeding me things I need to say. Maybe for Christmas Dan will get the gift of Spanish lessons. He says that’s not happening. Anyway, here’s what we’ve been up to:
- I’ve been coordinating with the handymen about fixing our water heater (done!), adding more new outlets to two bathrooms and the kitchen (done!), adding some shelves to three kitchen cabinets, a shelf in a central location for the modem/router and fixing the leak on the 3rd floor balconies that leak so bad it rains in the house during a storm.
- I’ve been talking to the gardener about the cost to maintain our 4 x 4 patch of grass (that’s feet, not meters). He got right on it and now the grass is nice and trimmed AND he straightened up the rocks. So cute!
- I’ve been talking to the pool guy about getting the pool cleaned and filled. All done!
- I’ve been communicating with a future housecleaner/cook about how much she charges. Minimum wage in Mexico works out to about 50 cents an hour.
- I’ve been communicating with the guards at the neighborhood front gate to get the sticker that activates the automatic gates to enter quickly so we don’t have to wait in line each time we come home. We got that done literally as the office was closing for Christmas holidays. No more waiting in the visitor line. Yeah! But I will miss my daily smile from the friendly guard who seems to appreciate the gringa who speaks Spanish.
- I’ve been coordinating with my new BFF, also known as the laundry lady, on when the clothes will be ready. We see no need to buy a washing machine and dryer with such good prices on services like that. And the value of having it picked up, washed, folded and delivered back to house? Priceless. If we were going to be here more than a year, the economics of that service wouldn’t work out. Whew! Just in time!
- I’ve been communicating – a LOT – with the guy from Mapfre insurance where we went to buy our car insurance. This guy speaks softly so he finally had to put me on the phone with his colleague in another office. She only spoke Spanish too but at least it was clear and slow. It’s a good thing we have insurance now (see #9).
- I was trying to communicate via the intercom in the parking garage of the mall when our paid parking stub was not being accepted by the machine to get out of the garage. You know how hard it is to understand people via intercom in the drive through lane, right? Yeah, try doing it in another language. In a concrete bunker. With a very low quality intercom. With noisy traffic in the background. We finally had to give up and go in reverse (making all the cars behind us do the same thing) back into the garage to figure it out, which meant I then had to…
- Communicate with the lady whose car we backed into, telling her that I was aware we hit her car and no, we were not going to flee the scene (we were in “parking garage jail” anyway with the malfunctioning ticket). Dan seemed to remember the word for “sorry” in Spanish very quickly. Tempers calmed quickly as Dan got out his wallet and the lady realized that our plastic bumper did no damage to her plastic bumper because we were going a whopping .00005 miles an hour. Her car was all black and parked in an already dark garage in a dark corner. It was borderline entrapment, really.
So as you read my blog posts and my English seems awkward or there are spelling errors, blame it on the Spanish. Having an excuse for poor 1st language skills is one of the many benefits of learning a 2nd language. #esbueno