If you want to make a fried egg…

by Anna Cole, Universidad de las Americas, Mexico

Calling Mexico home has taken a lot of adjusting to. The biggest challenges so far have mostly been compromises.

When I arrived in Mexico, I had ticked off my endless list of To Dos and Don’t Forgets but I didn’t know much of what else to expect. I arrived in Casa Roja, one of the international houses in Cholula, and was greeted by one of my house mates who showed my course mate and I around our new home. We sat in the kitchen drinking a cup of coffee he had boiled on the stove, which he used a lighter to ignite, and laughed along with him as he attempted to welcome us. In amongst our friendly welcome to Mexico chit chat one thing he said that has proven to be strangely accurate is that:

‘If you want to make a fried egg here, well… that will be quite difficult’.

Apart from stating the obvious, that the mismatch of pans available in the house where no longer non-stick at all, this anti- fried egg business nicely sums up getting to grips with life in a foreign country, specifically Mexico. If I want eggs for breakfast they’re scrambled, and if I want anything else for that matter, that’s scrambled too.  

It’s Spanish not English, pesos not pounds, cash not card, seven hours behind not seven hours ahead, Uber not public transport, the market not Fallowfield Sainsbury’s, gra-see-as not gra-thee-as, send your laundry to the laundrette not DIY, live-while-your-young not save-yourself-for-the-weekend, Its Mexico not England. It’s scrambled not fried. The same but different.  

This largely unfamiliar place is proving quite difficult to navigate, however, in the process I have certainly learnt a lot. It is exciting, but such a challenge. To know all these distinctions already shows me that you can learn quickly, though adapting can be hard. You have to get used to compromise.

No one could write out all the endless differences that distinguishes your exchange country to home, but I guess that’s what we’re here to find out. It’s only been 3 weeks and I’m learning more and more, but hopefully come the next 3 I will have gotten a little more accustomed to this new normal. I probably could buy a new non-stick pan to make a fried egg, but that would just take away from all the fun, wouldn’t it?

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