3/05/2007

Expectations

I have been thinking a lot about how expectation can affect outcome lately. Here's an example:

We were coming out of the grocery store here in the US, pushing our full cart. Before we were able to cross the driving lane in front to the lane where our car was parked, several cars crossed in front of us. We waited, a bit impatiently, I admit. I made some kind of internal comment along the lines of "you jerks." Now, I am normally not a cranky person but for some reason I got cranky at their blithely driving along while I waited. I had expected that they would stop and allow me to cross.

Then, imagine the same scene in Mexico. There, I have no expectation that a car will wait and let me cross, so I don't get cranky if they don't, and I get a happy feeling when they do.

I believe that the illustration above shows that our response to a situation is influenced by our expectation of the situation.

I also believe that our expectations can influence the outcome of a situation. I have a positive outlook on life in general, but I am increasing my positive thoughts about the life change we are experiencing.

I believe we'll sell our home without too much time and trouble. The drive down to Mexico with our menagerie will be fun. Friends and family from the US will come to visit us. We'll find a great place to live in Mazatlan. And on and on and on....

3 comments:

Brenda said...

Quote-"I believe we'll sell our home without too much time and trouble. The drive down to Mexico with our menagerie will be fun. Friends and family from the US will come to visit us. We'll find a great place to live in Mazatlan."
Well, of course it will all go well for you. That's just the way things are. LOL. Kidding aside, we did everything that you are doing in 3 months and it all flowed seamlessly. I am sure you will have the same experience. Good luck and planning go a long way, as do positive thoughts.

Marie McC said...

Absolutely, expectations and a positive attitude can affect the outcome, but it isn't the whole enchilada. The trick is to find out what the new rules are.

I've studied cross-cultural communications, among other things, for my M.A. in international studies. It will help you if you familiarize yourself with culture shock as well as Mexican culture. There are a number of really good books I could recommend if you're interested.

You may not think culture shock will be an issue, since you and Paul have spent time there and love it. But the stages of culture shock are very definable, like the stages of grief, and sometimes it takes months for certain stages of culture shock to rear its ugly head and for things to sort themselves out. Knowing more about the subject will help you.

I've read so many blogs where the American is puzzled, frustrated or upset by something or other or takes it personally because the cultural and social rules are different in Mexico, and it's clear they don't know what the new rules are. They also don't know that the frustration they may be experiencing is part of culture shock.

Although I've not spent any significant time in Mexico, my reading about Mexican culture, as well as living in West Africa, where a lot of the rules are similar to Mexico, have given me the answers to some of those questions.

Loving Mexico and having a positive attitude is a great start, though.

Nancy said...

Thanks Brenda, for your vote of confidence!

Thanks Marie, for your comments. I believe we have a good handle on the culture shock issue, as we have been a part of a Mexican family for more than a decade now! Son Adam first moved to Mexico in 1992. He went to college, met his wife, and got married in Mexico. They moved to the US for a few years, with its associated shifts in expectations and culture shock, especially for his wife. Now they are back in Mexico, in DF, and the changes from the community they had here and the Mexico they knew to DF have been interesting, too. And DF, while not a place they would have chosen to live if it wasn't for his work, has turned out to be a place that they are really enjoying. Even their two dogs have adjusted from two acres to none pretty well.

Part of what makes Mexico so welcoming to us is that we already have friends and family there who are anxious for us to arrive.

I'm positive it will be a good move for us, and Paul and I are looking forward to it all, both the good and the bad.

Nancy