Dogs and attitude

September 13, 2010

We are loving our new pack member, Coco.  We had Marthita the mobile pet groomer come on Saturday, and I thought I’d take a few photos to show you.  Unfortunately, that’s harder than it looks!  They are always on the go, playing and messing up my photos!  Oh well, here’s what I have!

Paul and I have talked over the years about how (knock on wood) easily some things have gone for us in our transition to living in México.  There isn’t any one thing we can put our fingers on to explain this – except attitude.   I think we usually go into any new venture as prepared as we can and as open and positive as we can.  We prepare ourselves for speaking Spanish, thinking about any unusual words we might need to look up.  And we try to always be relaxed and smiling, with an open expression on our faces.

Do you know what I mean?  If you’re all tense about an interaction it usually goes badly.

We have talked about this with regard to my trip to the US last month – my impression was that many people walk around with a “closed” expression on their face.  They probably don’t even realize it, but it makes a difference!  I sometimes feel myself “closing” a little and physically adjust my expression – and guess what, people respond to it!  I get lots of smiles and pleasant interactions  with strangers that I wouldn’t get if I was more closed down.

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Henry from the side, Coco head on.

No matter what we’re doing we are always thinking about our preparation and  attitude and how we’ll be perceived.  I also give some thought to my clothing – to be dressed in a way to not be disrespectful.  Even if I am on my way to the beach after a meeting, I don’t look it!

There are lots of times when this has been helpful to us.  We just changed from an FM3 to an FM2 (actually now it’s called inmigrante) and we were as prepared as possible when we walked into the office.  The whole process was too easy to even mention – even with driving to the bank and making the payment and visiting the Kodak place for pictures our total time investment was two hours!  Now I know some of that just luck – our renewal is in the summertime when the offices of INM are not very busy, but part is that we were open and relaxed and built rapport with the people there.

People in Mazatlán are just nice, I know that.  Really, whenever we travel we realize that the people here are just the best.  But still a positive attitude, open expression, and some Spanish makes a big difference.

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I call this one “goldfish dogs.”
More about Nancy

I'm Nancy, a US expat living in San Antonio Tlayacapan, Jalisco after 11 years in Mazatlán, México.

10 Comments
    1. Attitude makes all the difference. I wish that people would understand that when living nd visiting other cultures and countries. I thnk this says a lot about immigration stuff here in America. For reasons imagined or groomed. America is thought to be be a nation where all can come and never assimilate to the culture, but yet change it to their own. Not unlike what some American believe when they go elsewhere. I hope and pray for the day that we can all appreiciate those things that are different, but yet stand up for what is good and true and correct the other stuff by example. I know i am a hopeless romantic.

    1. You hit the nail on the head regarding attitude and preparation of a situation. I try to make every encounter just a little more than “business”, either by conversation (as limited as my Spanish is) or a smile. Ask a question, nod, walk down the street as if you are just happy to be alive and be in Mexico. It comes back tenfold. My husband has a naturally ominous expression (he is the furthest from that) and I am always exhorting him to “smile” “greet”…it makes the world of difference. A friend looked at our Zacatecas pictures and even commented, “I saw three pictures of John smiling widely and I liked seeing that”. You and Paul have all the right pieces in place.

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more. Attitude can essentially equal your level of happiness, or lack thereof.

      When we first moved here my attitude wasnt’ the best. I found myself constantly comparing Mexico vs. Canada. No comparison when it comes to material objects (shallow, I know), and structure. However, in time I realized (thank goodness) that if I didn’t change the way I looked at things, I’d never be happy here. My attitude has changed completely, and I am a lot more relaxed, and can see the better in things…. You said it VERY well 🙂

      1. Chrissy, Zoe, Lauren – I know you all get it! Sometimes I get an evil little grin though when I see someone who doesn’t! We’ve all been there, right?

    1. Your pups are precious!! They are the salt and pepper.

      I agree that attitude is everything almost anywhere but here in Mexico where we are at a language and cultural disadvantage it is really important. You guys are waaaay more organized than we are, I remember being so impressed with your moving organization. I tend to just wing it but I wing it with a smile and an easygoing attitude, it seems to work really well. It’s been so long since I’ve been in the US that I think I would have some unsettled moments if I returned.

      I remember one of the things that most impressed me on an early trip to Mexico. I was walking up to a corner that had about 10 young men hanging out in front of a store with baggy pants and beer. I was still in US mode and I considered crossing the street to avoid them. It was hot though and I was on the shady side so I kept walking. As I approached, one of them looked up and said ‘buenas tardes’ and moved aside for me to pass. I smiled and answered him and the rest also mumbled ‘buenas tardes señora’ and they moved for me to pass. I was bamboozled!! This would not happen in the USA. After that day, I always greet groups of youngsters and they always answer me respectfully and smile. It’s freeing to live here, really freeing.

      1. Jonna, I admit, Paul and I are pretty organized. But partly it’s better for us because we get too frustrated if we get sent home for more documents or whatever.

        Your example with the young men has happened to me, too. A huge crowd of young people drinking and smoking outside one of the favorite local bars at midnight is not intimidating to walk through… and during the day, you’re right – lots of greetings. With so many people kicked out of the US we are also finding down and out types looking up from their nap on the sidewalk and saying something nice to us in English! (And other types, too…)

        Another example is in cars. If you pull up next to a car here, chances are pretty good that if you catch each others eyes, both of us will smile. And I can’t tell you how many people in very random places have told me how much they like my tattoo.

        I just feel lucky that I ended up in Mexico. What a great place to live. It would only be better if you and Mimi were nearby.

    1. Hi Paul & Nancy,
      I came across your blog because of our mutual friend Zoe. We’ve recently started (restarted) a blog and I’m interested in looking at other blogs to get hints on ours. Just a quick comment, I really like how your blog is layed out and how easily it is to read it.

      Joel (my husband) and me will be arriving in Mazatlan in a little less then 3 weeks. We will be driving down. This will be our 3rd season in Maz, and it gets a little longer each time. I’m sure we will meet through Zoe or… at one time or another. I look forward to it.

      Janice

    1. Nancy & Paul,

      I love the pix of the two dogs. Their haircuts are very nice and summery, too. Your kitchen looks wonderful. We’ll take you advice about being open to the adventure and being patient and learn a bit of Spanish every day. Actors on telenovelas really can speak very rapidly, though! I love the titles of the programs, too.

      1. Janice, Hi! Nice to meet you! And it will be nice to meet you in person one day, too. I appreciate your kind words on my blog, it has been a work in progress, more than four years now! Your blog is looking good, I like the old window you used.

        Diane, Yes, most dogs down here have summer haircuts! We’ve never done too well with telenovellas, we do better in Spanish with the news or a travel or home repair show. See you soon!

    1. Hi Nancy, your dogs are so lovely! I’ve been reading your blog for a while and I really enjoy it.

      I love english! so your blog helps me to “practice”, Thanks! 🙂

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