Eliana Learns About the Life and Culture of Mexico

Eliana Learns About the Life and Culture of Mexico


As I prepare to make my trip to Mexico, to experience the culture, people, and customs, I have decided that one of the most effective ways of understanding how I should get ready and what I should have in mind is to talk to people who have a direct experience with the country itself.

I talked to a woman named Maria, who is in her late 20s and is originally from none other than Mexico City, where I'll be heading. She moved to Portland a couple of years ago. One thing Maria made very clear was that her experience growing up in a city was certainly different than growing up in the smaller towns of Mexico, but since the city is where I’ll be staying, her descriptions were relevant.

When I asked Maria what she thought the biggest differences were between the U.S. and Mexico, we talked about several different things. From culture to religion to the difference in mindsets, perhaps the most surprising thing she said was that she thought the pace of life was actually faster in Mexico than it is here. In her experience, she didn’t have much leisure time living and working in Mexico; it would take two hours to drive to her work because of how much traffic there is in Mexico, and she’d return by eight o’clock, then eat dinner and sleep. Here, she says, she has time to work out, spend time with friends, be involved in other activities, and have a fuller life. Maria’s account of this part of her life surprised me more than anything elseI had expected her observations to be flipped. Though she did partially attribute this difference to being from the city, her other observations were more general across the country.


The other important points Maria brought up were the importance of family and togetherness in Mexico. This ties into the cultural importance of religion, and more specifically, the Catholic religion. The holidays celebrated within the culture and religion are yet another opportunity for families and friends to spend time with each other, eat good food, celebrate, and enjoy themselves. We don’t have the family ideals to the same degree here in the U.S., and that is one thing that Maria misses most. Both widespread Catholicism and the value of a tight-knit family are some of the biggest differences between the two countries, and both are good to keep in mind as I travel across the border.  

Talking to Maria gave me a better idea of how Mexico City presents the differences between the two countries. It is only one of many cities in Mexico, each with their own qualities, but this has only made me more excited to go and learn as a part of the culture about such a unique country.