GROWING APPRECIATION
—For Life at Lakeside!

By Barbara Hildt

lago de Chapala

 

Our love of life here in Ajijic stays strong, as long as we don’t take the benefits for granted and forget to appreciate the great weather, the natural beauty and the people and many other positive qualities of life in this Mexican community.

I particularly love the amazing variety of creativity expressed in so many forms and mediums: murals on walls, ceramics, weavings, sculptures, etc.

We appreciate how naturally friendly and polite most Mexicans are. Our impression has been that most natives don’t mind having so many gringos here. Many are aware that with our presence come jobs and assistance for those in need.

Recently I have wondered if I’m not picking up some feelings of resentment from encounters with Mexicans in stores, on buses and on the streets. Even when I try to connect with a smile and greeting, the response often feels less friendly and more reserved, perhaps cautious. But I wonder if some local Mexicans haven’t developed negative feelings from adverse dealings they’ve had with the gringos.

As the community grows and changes, the attitudes and behaviors of some people may not be as positive as they have been. Lately, I’ve seen gringos act impatiently and insensitively toward Mexicans. It’s disturbing and embarrassing to witness behaviors of foreigners that show ignorance of the culture and basic Spanish language, as well as disrespect toward Mexicans. The insensitive, demanding, impolite behaviors of some foreigners are most likely causing many local Mexicans to have mixed feelings and even resentment toward the invaders.

As long as development is allowed to continue along the lake, we can expect more traffic congestion and a few more inconveniences waiting for services. We can’t do anything to prevent more foreigners from coming to this wonderful area and Mexican community. But we can set good examples for them by our actions and attitude. We have heard from friends who live in San Miguel de Allende that relations between the expat and Mexican communities have deteriorated. We shouldn’t let that happen here!

We can all help to keep relations between foreign immigrants and Mexicans friendly, appreciative and mutually supportive by fostering better feelings with our own positive attitudes and behaviors. Here are some easy ways we can each grow our love for this place while fostering more positive and respectful relations with all people here at Lakeside: Open your eyes wide to take in and appreciate all the beauty.

  1. Allow yourself to feel gratitude and happiness that you are in this good weather.
  2. Smile and say hello - hola, buen dia or buenas tardes - to all people you meet.
  3. Say “perdon” or “con permiso” with permission, when you need to pass
  4. When you need help say, “por favor, puedes ayudarme.”
  5. Be patient. Try not to be in a hurry.
  6. Express gratitude, by saying “gracias” or “muchas gracias” every chance you get.
  7. Smile and make eye contact when you pass anyone on the street.
  8. Don’t expect things to be the way they were where you came from.
  9. Accept the unexpected. And laugh as Mexicans do at whatever, “ni modo”

By staying positive, flexible, with an open heart we will feel happier and more peaceful. If the majority of foreigners are kind and generous, showing respect and appreciation by using words of gratitude when relating to others, particularly Mexicans, we can do a lot to foster mutual trust and respect.

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