Are We North Americans Really That Different?

 Are We North Americans Really That Different?

We take a look at our neighbors, and us

BY KATHRYN REED

When someone from the United States says she is from America, a Canadian will say, “So am I.” The first “American” looks completely baffled, wondering how that is even possible. The Mexican explains they are all Americans. 

North America is actually comprised of many countries; including those in the Caribbean, Central America and Greenland. Mexico, Canada and the U.S. are the three most populous countries on the continent. 

Mostly it’s in Mexico where these three mix together. It’s cheaper for people in Canada and the U.S. to live in Mexico compared to their home country and for tourists, it’s usually less expensive than going to Florida or Hawaii to warm up. It used to be mostly retirees who relocated; now remote workers are flocking south.

One of the easiest ways to distinguish someone from Canada and the U.S. is the former is overly polite. A Canadian writing this might say, “Those from the U.S. are more rude.” Clearly, it’s all a matter of perspective.

Mexicans fall into the polite category as well. They never want to say “no”. It’s always mañana. But mañana isn’t really tomorrow. It’s just some undetermined day. This can be frustrating for those who have a more defined sense of time, and want work done on a specific date.

Canadians are always apologizing. Sorry seems to be their favorite word. They are sorry when there is nothing to be sorry about.

Those from the U.S. think they know what’s best when often they don’t know all that much. They don’t take the time to learn. Instead, they tell others how to do things and think their way is the best without considering alternatives or trying to understand why it is being done another way.

The English speakers aren’t that quick to learn Spanish whereas the Mexicans are eager to learn English. 

In Baja, at least, those from the U.S. have no problem being called gringos. Canadians are said to prefer extranjero, or foreigner. There was a time when gringo was less than a flattering word when said by a Mexican.

Mexicans seem to be baffled by the concept of a fully stocked pantry. Why put all your money in food? Maybe for the two northern countries it has to do with colder climates and a history of preserving food for the winter months. So, now it’s routine no matter where one lives; they ignore the fact that grocery stores year-round have everything one needs.

Mexicans will put a start time down for a party, while expecting people to arrive two or three hours later. Canadians will say sorry if they are more than 10 minutes late. Punctuality seems to vary by generation in the U.S. with older people being more on time than younger.

Parties going to the wee hours of the morning during the week is perfectly normal in Baja Sur. Mexicans celebrate a birthday or other special occasion on the actual day. They don’t wait for the weekend as is more the norm in the U.S. 

Animals of all kinds seem to have more freedom in Mexico. That’s why it’s advised not to drive at night; you might run into a cow or goat or something else. It’s not unusual to wake up to horses chomping on your vegetation out front. And the dogs. So many street dogs.

While there are plenty of leash laws in Canada and the U.S. and rules about cleaning up after one’s pooch, it seems to have been forgotten at the border. 

Those from up north are big on fences no matter where they live, including gated compounds. Mexicans not so much. Maybe it has something to do with them being more trusting, or that they are more family-oriented and in general more welcoming.

Clearly, Mexicans are more hospitable. The U.S. just wants to build walls and keep people out. 

Yes, all of the above are generalizations. But you might admit there is some truth to what’s been written.