Long distance relationship with happy ending

Today I want to talk about the time of Gus’ and my long distance relationship. There is a saying in mexican Spanish: “Amor de lejos es de pendejos” which means “Long distance love is for idiots”. When you hear this, the motivation sure gets a boost.

I just want to lay out the situation for you: Gus and me had a long distance relationship for a little more than 3 years. This was the time when I was studying in Giessen, Germany, and he was studying in Mexico. You might ask, “Why didn´t you, Hannah, study in Mexico or why didn’t Gus study in Germany?” Well, for Gus it was not possible at that moment to leave Mexico and go study somewhere else, luckily, this now has changed 🙂 And me, well I have to tell you that there are clear advantages to study in Germany – it is a lot cheaper to get a good education than in Mexico, the careers are much more flexible in the sense of internships, student exchanges etc. and a lot of careers we have in Germany, simply do not exist in Mexico or they only exist in very few universities through out the country.

So whilst we both were students, we were geographically seperated. Anyone who has had a relationship like this would always coma and ask us: “Isn’t it difficult? How do you do it?” To be honest, it never seemed very dificult to us, at least it wasn’t something impossible to do and we both new that it was worth so much to wait a little bit until we would see eachother again. On average, we saw each other every 6 months during this time. Sometimes it was just 3 or 4 months and sometimes even 7 or 8. When we saw eachother, the time together was always very intense – at least one of us was on holiday and therefore had a lot of time for the other one. Time was precious and we used it 100%. We did an awful lot of travelling during this time, especially around Europe. We spend the whole time together, just without going to the bathroom together. When we were apart, the most important thing for us was to let the other one be a part of your life even if he or she is so far away. So we communicated daily via facebook and WhatsApp, we talked on Skype once or twice a week and invented the ‘photo of the day’. By sending one picture daily of anything regarding our day, we had the feeling to be more a part of the other one’s life than with just talking and explaining. Over the years we had a lot of ‘photos of the day’ from food, our friends and family etc. Communiction is super important for a long distance relationship. So if you ever are in one – do not let all the circumstances interfere with your communication between one and the other. Gus and me also had the difficulty of the time difference. When I woke up in Germany, Gus was still sleeping (7 hours difference) and when I went to bed he still had half a day to come. We got into the habit of writing something for the other one to read when he or she woke up. I really loved to wake up and the first thing I would do was reading from Gus.

A key to surviving the time without eachother is to keep yourself busy. We both had a lot going on with our studies, work, hobbies etc. which makes time go by faster and therefore it feels like you see the other one again sooner. So since we were both pretty busy with our lifes and had a place for eachother for example when talking on skype, the only thing we both really really missed was physical contact. You might be surprised, but I don’t mean what you might think now. No, just a plain old hug, a kiss or taking the other ones hand would be totally enough. Because you know that sometimes you just need a hug and feel better immediately…

Another very important point is to know that this is just a temporary situation and that you will not be seperated geographically forever. The goal was always to have a ‘normal’ life together and you definitely need something like this to make things easier. Also it helps during the long distance time when you know when you will see the other one again. Once I or Gus had booked the flight ticket, it was always so much easier for me, because I knew the exact date when I would see him again and the countdown could began.

I have heard of a lot of long distance relationship in different situations and I have to say, that I think it helps, althoug it is not always necessary, to have a good foundation before starting this episode of your relationship. For us, it really helped, that I had already been living together with Gus for about 10 months in Mexico, before we started the long distance thing. But I also know couples who didn’t have this kind of ‘basis’ and it also worked out well. So, as always – things depend on the people who are involved and ther is not one solution for everyone.

The last thing I want to tell you about this kind of relationships is the goodbyes and the reunions. A long distance relationship is much more intense than a ‘normal’ relationship, because you are either seperated for a long time or together 24 hrs a day. So, the moment when these intense feelings reach its climax is the goodbyes and the reunions. Whenever I had to say goodbye to Gus at the airport and I knew we weren´t going to see each other again for several months, it just literally ripped my heart out. I didn’t want to go, I was weeping and wanted to stop the plane or bus or whatever. I was crying during the flight and people were looking at me like I was crazy. Then, a couple of days after, it was already a lot better, because we would both return to our daily lifes. And after a month or so I was already planning what we would do the next time we would see eachother.

Now the reunions: I have never felt so intense as in the moments before seeing Gus at the airport. It didn’t matter if I was receiving him or if was going to Mexico. During the trip to the airport/ the baggage claim/ the immigration/ etc. etc. everything was too slow, I was incredibly impatient and my heart started beating faster and faster. Until the moment when you stand in front of those doors and you know he is behind there. Whenever we saw eachother in this moment and had the first hug after months, all the tension went away and I was just crying out of happiness in his arms. This huge amount of happiness and luck and love was suddenly in my heart and I just wanted to embrace the whole world.

So, as you can see – a long distance relationship is not for wusses 😉

 

 

 

 

Deslices lingüisticos

Llevo casí 6 años aprendiendo español y cómo lo aprendí aquí en México, hablo el español mexicano. Al principio hice muchísimos errores pero de los errores uno aprende. Considero que hablo muy bien el español y lo estudié en la universidad durante 3 años. Sin embargo, el lenguaje mexicano me complica las cosas hasta la fecha con sus doble sentidos y el lenguaje coloquial. Aparte de eso, tengo un esposo a quién le encanta hacerme bromas y burlarse de ciertos errores o cosas que me cuestan mucho trabajo con su lengua, así que aquí les van algunas historias de mis deslices lingüisticos:

Malentendidos

Cuando uno aprende un idioma en el mismo país, es decir no por medio de un curso o algo así pero simplemente por vivencias y pláticas, mucho se trata de escuchar alguna expresión o una palabra desconocida y entenderla por el contexto. Al usar esa expresión uno mismo, a veces se descubre que lo había entendido mal desde un principio. Así que para explicar que algo se va a dividir en mitad y mitad entre dos personas, en vez de decir “micha-micha” dije “miche-miche” y el otro estaba esperando una michelada!

A Gus le gusta mucho usar las expresiones cómo “¿Todo chicles?” “¿Que hongo?” etc. En una ocasión me dijo “¿Que hay?” y yo quería entrar al juego y le contesté: “Nariz de pelo gris.”

Cómo mi esposo se aprovecha de que a veces no entiendo

A Gus le encanta jugar conmigo y aprovechar de la situación que a veces hay expresiones coloquiales que no entiendo y que no puedo checar en un diccionario porque el lenguaje mexicano es simplemente tan diverso, tan ambiguo y las expresiones dependen tanto del contexto, que no las hay ni en diccionarios ni en internet. Así que una vez cuando ya teníamos sueño y me quería dormir, me dice Gus: “Que onda, mi amor, ¿vamos a hacer cochinadas?” Yo no sabía que significaba eso así que le pregunté y me explicó: “Ah pues es cuando vas a dormir con tu pareja, le das unos besos y unas caricias.” Yo le creía. Así que cuando fuimos a una fiesta después de eso, ya queríamos irnos y me preguntó Gus “Que onda, ¿ya nos vamos? ¿Vamos a hacer cochinadas?”, yo le dije con todo el entusiasmo del mundo: “¡Siiiii!” Después de meses, casí años, me dijo la verdad… La vergüenza cayó sobre mi al pensar en todas las ocasiones que usamos esa expresión así en público. Lo bueno es que todos sus amigos de Gus quedaron impresionados cuando yo le contesté que sí con todas las ganas del mundo….

Lo mismo intentó Gus unos años con “vamos a hechar pata” pero ahora no caí 🙂

Ultimamente, empezamos con un pequeño “entrenamiento” en detectar y entender doble sentido y albur. Una noche me pone Gus el ejemplo de “Elber Galarga”. Yo ya detecté que hay algo ahí y que tiene (como todo) un doble sentido sexual, pero cómo no sabía las palabras, no lo descifré tan rápido y repetí muchas veces “Elber Galarga. Elber Galarga. Elber Galarga.” con diferentes acentuaciones. Gus se estaba moriendo de la risa y me dijo: “¿Te puedo grabar, amor?”. Por lo menos se divierte él mientras yo no sé que onda…

Lo peor de todo

Una noche, yo llevaba más o menos un año viviendo en México apenas, estuvimos en nuestra cocina – Gus (mi esposo), su mamá, su cuñado, sobrina y yo. Tuvimos una pequeña discusión y como Gus ya no quería hablar de ese tema me dijo: “Ay, ya chingada madre, Hannah.” Yo sinceramente no sabía la diferencia así que le dije “Ay, chinga tu madre!” – en presencia de su mamá! Su mamá de Gus era muy linda y me dijo: “Te voy a perdonar porque no sabes lo que estás diciendo.” Fiuuuuuu!

 

Als weiβe Frau in Mexiko

Mexiko ist ein Land indem viele, viele Menschen auf ganz unterschiedliche Weise leben. Ich habe schon mal angesprochen, dass Mexiko ein sehr vielfältiges Land ist. In Bezug auf Haut- und Haarfarben ist das allerdings nicht der Fall. Natürlich gibt es hier und da einen Weiβen oder einen Schwarzen aber die allermeisten Mexikaner passen auf jeden Fall in das klassische Bild des Latinos oder der Latina: dunkle Haut, schwarze Haare. Ausserdem ein oft rundliches Gesicht (eher die Nachfahren der indigenen Einwohner), eine eher rundliche Statur und die Körpergröβe ist auch insgesamt auf jeden Fall niedriger als in Europa.

Dieses ‘kollektive’ Aussehen der Mexikaner kommt durch ihre Geschichte zustande: Die allermeisten Mexikaner sind Nachfahren von Mestizen. Mestizen sind die Kinder, die aus der Verbindung eines Spaniers (meist Männer) und eines Ureinwohners (meist Frauen) entstanden als Spanien Mittelamerika erobert hatte.

Was bedeutet das nun für mich, eine dunkelblonde, hellhäutige, 172 cm groβe, junge Deutsche? Während man sich in Deutschland mit diesen Attributen eher im Mittelfeld aufhält und nicht sonderlich auffällt, ja – sogar als Durchschnittsdeutsche durchgeht, zieht man in Mexiko garantiert die Blicke auf sich. Es ist sofort klar: “Die kommt nicht von hier.” Man fällt auf, das ist einfach so.

Alles im Leben hat Vor- und Nachteile, so auch hier: Manchmal will ich einfach nur in Ruhe gelassen werden und bin von den Blicken (und Sprüchen) genervt. Manchmal finde ich es witzig, zum Beispiel wenn ich jemanden in flieβendem Spanisch anspreche und ich in seinem Gesicht die Fragezeichen sehe: “Die spricht wie ich, aber sie sieht so anders aus.” Manchmal finde ich es unpraktisch, wäre gerne besser gegen die mexikanische Sonne geschützt und finde keine Schuhe in meiner Gröβe. Manchmal finde ich es blöd, von Menschen auf seine Hautfarbe und Herkunft beschränkt zu werden. Manchmal kann es gefährlich sein, denn meine Hautfarbe vermittelt vielen Mexikanern die Idee “Die muss viel Geld haben.”

Aber meistens ist es schön und bringt mir viele Vorteile: Es öffnet unheimlich viele Türen und Möglichkeiten, die Menschen sind nett und offen zu mir. Sie vertrauen den Ausländern merkwürdigerweise oft mehr als ihren Landsleuten. Ich treffe fast immer auf hilfsbereite Menschen und wenn man ehrlich interessiert fragt, weil man zum Beispiel etwas nicht verstanden hat, bekommt man auch eine ehrliche und gute Antwort. Man(n) hält an und lässt mich über die Straβe gehen und mir werden Türen offen gehalten. Ich kann sicher sein, in einer Menschenmenge von meinem Mann schnell gefunden zu werden und sorge für allgemeine Heiterkeit wenn ich denke, ich habe ‘ordentlich Farbe’ bekommen.

 

The sombrero, the donkey and the tequila

This is the post excerpt.

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I honestly don’t know where this stereotypical image of Mexicans comes from, but this is the idea a lot of people have about Mexico: A dark skinned guy leaning on a cactus in a desert-like landscape. The sun burning while he is taking a siesta with his sombrero on his head tapping his eyes. Next to him lies a bottle of Tequila and his donkey stands close-by.

To be honest, I also had this idea before coming to Mexico. I was expecting emerging cities and industries but I thought that in the rural areas I could actually see this image. Until today I have not solved the question why we have this idea in western Europe. My husband has no idea where it comes from so this is a true riddle.

Another idea, basically promoted by news we see and her about Mexico in Europe is that it’s an incredibly dangerous place – dead People lying on the street because of a war between drug dealers and cartels.

I am just going to cut to the chase here – both ideas are not true. Well, concerning the drug war I have to say that there were times when in some cities in the North of Mexico the situation was truly horrifying. This was during the time that Felipe Calderón was president of Mexico (2006 – 2012), before and after this most presidents just let the drug cartels be and don’t bother them too much, but Calderón decided to fight them which let to an escalation of the situation. Anyways – more on mexican politics in another post.

So what I am trying to say is that Mexico is nothing like this – Mexico is huge for european understaning (it fits about 30 european countries, I think) and incredibly diverse. This diversity is visible in culture, clothes, arquitecture, landscapes, climate zones, altitudes, language, history, mentality and food. There is desert and jungle, people working on their land with donkeys and modern industries, handcrafts and made in China, Catholicism and indigenous Religion and traditions. We will look into mexican history, geografics, etc. later, but I just want you to know: Mexico is an incredibly beautiful country and definitely worth a visit!

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Another very popular idea of Mexicans is that they are unreliable and lazy. That they are unreliable is mostly true – of course it depends on the person and the situation, but I would definitely say that Germans are more reliable. However, lazy is definitely an adjective that is not true for Mexicans: Most people have to work incredibly hard and long hours in order to supply for their family because of very low wages. In some rural areas, indigenous people are still growing plants and food with their own hands without any agricultural machines. Most students work and study at the same time to be able to pay for University.

So, here is a quick summary of what Mexico is for me: Living in central Mexico means sun (almost) everyday, it means spicy food, relaxed people, it means cars and busses everywhere, almost no bicycles and no train. It means being close with the family, because here in Mexico, family is everything. It means people looking at you like you are from another planet and people welcoming you into their home or helping you in an incredibly nice and welcoming manner. It means dealing with Machismo and with false friends and promises as well as having the best parties of your life and living life to the fullest. It means you can get yourself out of a ticket in exchange for some cash and driving around in a car with 6 or 7 people. It means you don’t have to worry and should just enjoy life instead of worrying about the future like they teach us in Europe. It means very high temperatures in spring and freezing in winter because of the lack of a heating in the house.

Ultimately, it means a lot of adjustment and possiblities, because in Mexico, everything is possible.