Two Yucatán Today readers share their experience as one-half of a Canadian-Mexican couple residing in Yucatán.
A couple of years ago, life gave me the most wonderful gift in the world: love. I found the woman, who I now call my wife, in Canada; she, a Mexican flower, and I, a snowflake. I wanted to understand her and this is why I decided to live in her country; so a year and a half ago, in the madness of the pandemic, I moved to Mérida.
I didn’t know much about this place, just that it was hot and safe. While many want to forget 2020 and 2021, I have the best memories of my life here.
I learned many things: solidarity, resilience, and adaptability. One of my best memories is when I went to the beach in Telchac with my friends. We had one of the most wonderful views of the world in front of us and I, being a good Canadian, had all the problems of the world on my mind and I couldn’t stop complaining. One of my friends interrupted me and taught me a lesson I never want to forget: “The problems of the world will always exist, but you and I are here on the beach and we can’t fix them. We can only be the best version of ourselves in the moment that belongs to us.”
I admire the Mexican people for their strength, their ability to move forward despite all the obstacles.
In my life, I have lived in several cities in different countries, and it has never been easier to meet new people than in Mérida. While the pandemic has isolated people to the point that many are afraid to even see their own family, Mérida has welcomed me with open arms. I have met almost all of my friends simply walking down the streets, which has never happened to me in my own country: beer friends, artistic friends, sport friends or even friends I can call at 5 am if something happens.
Some of these friends are another Canadian-Mexican couple, Brain and Deya. Despite the difference of age and situation, I found a little of ourselves in them. In these times of changes and uncertainties, it is good to be able to share your human experience. Isn’t that the purpose of friendship?
This is Brian.
It’s no surprise that Mérida is one of the safest cities in the Americas. It was the last to be conquered by the Spanish and nearly half of the population of the state still speaks Maya. As a foreigner/resident, Mérida has been a place of calm surprises and sufficient limits, as well as quality people, places, food, community events, and cultural experiences. As I wander the streets by car, foot, or bicycle, I find new gems in the scenes, people, and businesses that occupy the hidden spaces of the city.
I came here many years ago, while on an adventure through the Americas, and Mérida captured me with its ease and goodness. Like a siren singing an enchanting song, I was drawn in. But it was not easy, it was hot for a cold Canadian, and the pace was different than I was used to. But as I adapted and integrated, I’ve found the magic of the place, its incredible history and culture. Being an expat means that my friends are diverse in age, place, language, and beliefs. From locals to other expats and beyond the people that come here all have something in common, they appreciate that feeling that Mérida offers, like an ethereal whisper of smooth jazz.
Like all things in life, it requires some adaptation to be here; behavioral, physiological, and structural. I have to learn Spanish to improve my brain, but also to avoid missing out on the people and culture of the place: there is always so much going on. I like simple foods, but there is no shortage of favorites to be made here and I have become accustomed to habanero peppers. And the heat of the sun, it’s intense in a way that after a year here the winter requires a toque, even though it’s hotter than a Canadian summer. But what is the most important adaptation for me is not to bring my ideas to change what already exists, but to help enhance it. This might be the hardest, but also the most important contribution I can make. Fortunately, there are great people around to help me achieve that.
Pascale Tremblay, Professor.
Brian Archimedes Mendoza Dominguez, Ph.D. in Social Sciences who chose to take his Mexican wife’s last name.
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