Learning Spanish to make Mexican friends or even move to Mexico? Do you really want to blend in? Do you want to hide for a little while that you’re a foreigner?
If you follow my advice, you might be able to pull it off!
There is really no way to ever know if someone is Mexican just by looking at them, and this will work on your advantage.
Porque hay ciertas actitudes, ciertas palabras, ciertas frases, formas de ser que si las dominas pueden hacer pensar a la gente que eres mexicano, o por lo menos, los harás dudar un poquito. (Because there are certain attitudes, certain words, certain phrases, ways of being that, if you master them, might trick people into believing you are Mexican or at least it will make them wonder a little bit.)
I’m Paulisima from Spring Spanish, and today I’ll give you 10 tricks that’ll make Mexicans believe you’re also a Mexican!
The tricks are divided into 4 categories. Let’s take a look at the first one… ¡Empecemos!
1. Key Mexican Expressions
Como la idea es mantener oculto tu estatus de extranjero, te vas a convertir en una persona de pocas palabras. (Since the idea is to keep your foreigner status hidden, you’re going to become a person of few words). But we’re going to make them count.
First. Greetings. Just say: Buenas. Buenas. It means “good ones” but is code for either, buenos dias (good morning) or buenas tardes (good afternoon). It’s informal and only Mexicans use it, so you’ll blend in right away.
To agree with something, you can use ok but make sure you pronounce it like this: okei. When you’re leaving, say: hasta luego (see you later) or bye. Yes, Mexicans say bye as much as they use hasta luego (see you later) or adiós (goodbye).
If you need to excuse me, say: comper (slang for excuse me). Not con permiso (excuse me) which is the full expression. Just comper. And when someone says con permiso to you, answer: propio (go ahead), this old fashion and super Mexican response will help keep you camouflaged!
2. Eating with tortillas and tacos
Siempre me doy cuenta de que alguien es extranjero por la forma en la que manejan sus tacos. (I can always tell when someone is a foreigner by the way they handle their tacos.) If you were to spend “a day as a Mexican” you'd definitely include unos taquitos (some “small” tacos) into the mix.
Primero déjame enseñarte cómo usar las tortillas para hacer un taco.Y recuerda que más que un platillo, los tacos son una forma de comer. (First let me show you how to use tortillas to make a taco. And remember that more than a dish, tacos are a way of eating.) Nothing will make you look more Mexican than making your own tacos when you’re served a dish that comes with tortillas.
If you are in a taquería (a taco stand) you must, first of all, know how to order. Aquí tienes una orden promedio (Here's an average order):
¡Me da 3 de bistec con todo por favor!
(Give me three beef tacos, with everything, please!)
Sí claro señorita. ¿Y de tomar qué le damos?
(Of course Miss. And what can we get you to drink?)
Una coca por favor.
(A Coke please.)
Just with that phrase you could survive in Mexico! Me da tres de bistec con todo. (Give me three beef tacos with everything.) And then here’s how you prepare them:
Tienes que poner la salsa a lo largo de toda la tortilla, lo mismo que el limón, a lo largo. No solo en el centro, repito ¡no solo en el centro! (You have to put the salsa all along the tortilla, same as the lime, all along. Not only in the center, I repeat, not only in the center!)
To grab them properly, use gravity in your favor, keep this angle.
I hope you’re liking this video as much as I like tacos! Subscribe to the Spring Spanish YouTube Channel right now, so we can keep creating content that helps you learn el lenguaje más bonito del mundo que es el español y todo el mundo lo sabe. (The most beautiful language in the world that is Spanish and everybody knows it.)
3. Prioritize comfort over fashion
Tratándose de la moda, yo estoy convencida de que los mexicanos le damos más importancia a estar cómodos que al estilo. ¡Por favor mexicanos fashionistas no me odien! (When it comes to fashion, I’m convinced that Mexicans attach more importance to comfort over style. Please, Mexican fashionistas don’t hate me!)
I’m just talking about people in general, the masses, not about you and your impeccable sense of style.
Yo solo he vivido en dos ciudades de México. En Cancún, mi hermoso pedacito de paraíso y en la espectacular Ciudad de México, donde vivo ahora. (I’ve only lived in 2 cities of Mexico: Cancun, my beautiful piece of paradise and the spectacular Mexico City where I live now.)
En Cancún, todo el mundo usa lentes de sol y aquí en la ciudad de México, no tanto aunque el día esté muy soleado. Pero lo que las dos ciudades tienen en común es que sin importar el clima, todo el tiempo, todo el mundo usa jeans, pantalones mezclilla, y de verdad sin importar el clima, vas a ver pantalones de mezclilla por todos lados. (In Cancun, everyone wears sunglasses, here in Mexico City not so much, not even on very sunny days. But what the two cities have in common is that no matter the weather, all the time, all the people, wear jeans. Really regardless of the weather you will see jeans everywhere.)
In Cancun sandals are basically mandatory, here, in Mexico City, you’re better off with closed shoes and… whatever is comfortable!
Important notes though:
En México usar la bandera nacional fuera de sus fines ceremoniales normales es un delito. (In Mexico, using the national flag outside of its ceremonial usage is a felony.) You will never see a Mexican, at least not in Mexico, wearing the flag in any way. So please don’t do it, not only you’d be breaking a federal law, but also you will stand out and ruin your Mexican cover!
Otra nota muy importante: La modestia sigue siendo muy importante en México. (Another important note: Modesty is still very important in Mexico.) Short shorts are not that common unless you’re in a beach town. Transparent fabrics, spaghetti straps or outfits that reveal a little too much skin are not the norm, especially in conservative towns.
About modesty and how it is still important, I’m going to tell you a story in a minute.
4. Mexican behaviors
Now, let’s imagine two situations in which you might find yourself when in Mexico. Standing in line and having someone try to cut it and buying stuff in a market. How would a true Mexican act in these situations?
- Mexicans will never let anyone cut in a line, if you witness this major betrayal to the rules of society while in Mexico. If someone tries to cut the line in front of you say this:
Yo estoy formado.
(I’m in the line.)
Or if you’re a woman. Yo estoy formada (I’m in the line) and you can add an “eh”: Yo estoy formada eh? (I’m on the line ok?)
If you just see someone trying to do it but not necessarily near you try this:
(Someone is trying to cut the line!)
- Mexicans will try to cut a better deal. If you’re in a market to buy something like a T-Shirt, a purse, a potted plant, etc. Try this:
¿Disculpe cuánto cuesta?
(How much is it?)
¿Y si me llevo dos?
(What if I take two?)
Ok, le doy dos por 150
(Ok, I’ll give you 2 for 150)
Me lo llevo
(I’m taking it)
Now let’s say you bought produce, before it is handed to you tell this to the vendor:
¿Me da el pilón?
(Can I get a little extra bit?)
¡El pilón! El pilón is that extra bit of anything that vendors give their frequent clients to keep them happy and keep them coming!
I’m sure if you ask with a smile and the right attitude, you'll get el pilón!
Remember I was walking in my neighborhood, I was wearing this. I was doing my groceries, just walking about my neighborhood, then this older lady stands in front of me and says:
¡Mira esta encuerada!
(Look at this naked woman!)
She called me encuerada! That’s slang for naked. But I was not naked! Not even close! But this is just to show you that modesty still matters even in big cities like Mexico City.