Has it ever happened to you? Somebody tells you, “I will do it tomorrow,” but somehow that day never comes. Well, if it hasn’t happened to you it’s because you haven’t spent much time here, where expats in Mexico meet the world of tomorrow.
Mexico is forever the land of tomorrows, promises of things to come, but somehow those promises don’t get fulfilled. If you’ve hired a Mexican worker to do any job in your place, you may know what we are talking about.
Now, how do we say tomorrow in Spanish? We say mañana.
Here in Mexico we tend to take our promises very lightly. A simple thing like, “Sure, I will give you the name of the restaurant mañana” or “I will fix your air conditioning unit mañana” are both treated in the same manner. Of course everybody has different opinions on what´s important and what´s not, but expats in Mexico agree that when you promise something, you should do everything possible to keep your word.
This is one of the main differences between Mexican culture and northern cultures like American and Canadian. Latinos take their word more lightly than expats do. This might be a problem when you cancel all your appointments for mañana because mañana the worker is coming, or at least he/she said, “I will come mañana to fix, repair or replace whatever you have hired me to do.”
Mañana comes and you wait and wait, and then wait some more. You decide to call the person but – if you don’t speak Spanish – you won’t understand a word said on the answering machine. You will be frustrated, but don’t get angry. He/she will come in the end and do the job happily, like nothing has happened. He/she might say: “Sorry ma’am, Mexican time, you know.”
Don’t’ be discouraged. This happens to everybody: Mexicans, expats, the rich and the not so rich. It´s part of our culture and we learn to live with it. The job will be done, but it will just take a bit longer than expected. In the end, you just have to accept that it’s part of the Mexican culture. You might get a bit frustrated at the beginning, but little by little you’ll be able to work around it.
People deal with mañana in many different ways. We recommend that you use this time to meditate or catch up with the activities around your house, like Mexicans do. It’s not a good idea to sit down and wait impatiently. If you do, you’ll ruin your day. Ultimately, it’s your decision whether or not you get involved in a negative vibe or transform it into a positive one.
For Mexicans, It´s much easier because of the language, and we have lived with mañana all of our lives. However, that doesn´t mean we are happy about it and it’s often as irritating for us as it is for any expat in Mexico.
We truly understand how annoying this can be, especially when you really need a service performed on time, or to get something done right away. However, we remind you that here in Puerto Vallarta, for example, we are very laid back. Our people are extremely polite and kind, and even if they arrive mañana or the day after mañana, they will always give you a big smile and be very helpful.