In our “Jamaicans to the World” series, Jamaicans.com founder, Xavier Murphy, speaks with Turner Francis and Theresa Barrett. They are Jamaicans living in Mexico.
Xavier: What is it like being a Jamaican in Mexico? Hi, I’m Xavier Murphy, the founder of Jamaicans.com. And today in Jamaicans to the World I talked to Turner and Theresa two Jamaicans living in Mexico. Turner and Teresa, welcome. How are you guys doing?
Theresa: I’m doing well.
Turner: I’m doing well. Thank you for having me.
Xavier: All right, great. So, Theresa, love the Ackees, love the representing, you know? So, I’m going to ask you Turner the first question. And I will get to you, Theresa, the same question is, which paat (part) a Jamaica yuh cum fram (you come from)? And also, if you went to school, what was the school you represented?
Turner: Right. So maybe I don’t know about Teresa. I might be the first person on the show, who says they’re not from Kingston.
Turner: Every time I watch it, I’m from Kingston. I’m from Kingston. Anyway, basically, I am what you would call a child of Wind rush parents. And if you’ve been following the news, you will know that Wind rush is to do with a lot of the Jamaicans and Caribbean people that moved to the UK in the late 40s and 50s, and even into the 60s. I was actually born in London, but went to Jamaica to live when I was 10 years old. I did go to school in Jamaica, I went to school in Spanish town, and the famous “carry mi Ackee go a Linstead market.”
Theresa: Linstead Hi.
Turner: I lived in Linstead for my childhood days, and I also lived in Ocho Rios during my working life, so my professional life was in Ocho Rios. My school life was in Linstead, went to school in Spanish town so I have a bit of both.
Xavier: All right, I think is the first time Lindstead has been represented here. So, big up Linstead.
Xavier: Theresa, how about you?
Theresa: I am from Kingston Riverton to be specific, Riverton meadows. And the school I’m representing is Camperdown High School.
Xavier: All right, Camperdown. Well represented today. So next question is how did you end up in Mexico? So I’m going to again start with you Turner, how did you end up in Mexico?
Turner: Well, I wasn’t supposed to be in Mexico is a huge, huge mistake. I actually have been an expat in Dubai for 16 years. And as expats do, you have to find your next bolt hole, where are you going to go afterwards, where you’re going to retire, where you’re going to move to? So for over 10 years, we had Belize on the radar, we fell in love with Belize never been there before. We just loved the vibe the fact that they speak English, they have a dialect that is very similar to Jamaican patois so we were hell bent on going to Belize. That was three years ago, we decided that we wanted to go and have a look at property and see what it’s like. And it was just at the time when there were some changes in the United States. And in order for us to fly from Dubai to the US because we are British passport holders, we have to get what we call an ester. When we apply for the esta which is not a visa so some special entry into the US, my husband who is a scuba diver was diving in Sudan, which is a sanctioned country and you’re not allowed to enter the US if you’ve been to sanctioned country. So we thought let’s find another way to get to Belize without going through the US. So we decided that would fly to London, from London we would go to Mexico and drive from Mexico to Belize. That’s how we discovered Tulum we went to Belize and spent like a couple of days came back and said we’re going to we’re going to go to Tulum. And in three years we made full circle sold our house, built a house in Mexico and here we are.
Xavier: Amazing, amazing and Tulum, it’s on the Caribbean side that’s one thing I know, right.
Turner: Yes, and it reminded me of Ocho Rios, there was so much elements of Tulum that made me feel like part Bali part Ocho Rios.
Xavier: Excellent. Teresa, how did you get there?
Theresa: Wow. Coming to Mexico, for me, I’d apply for jobs all over the world and it boils down to Hungary and Mexico. I chose Mexico because they had offered a good benefit at the time, as well as they were just four hours away from Jamaica. So I chose Mexico. And then after coming here to contract with the company was for one year, and I decided to stay longer, even though I’ll be responsible for all the other paperwork. And as a result of that, I’ve been here seven years now.
Xavier: Is it amazing, and you’re in Mexico City?
Theresa: Yes. Initially, when I came, I was in San Luis Potosi and then I moved to the city. I’ve been in the city for about five years now. Yes.
Xavier: Wow. So I know you have a special thing you do. And you have what they call a Casa step restaurant. Tell me about it now, a home restaurant that the food, Jamaican food. Yes, yes I’m going there right away.
Theresa: Wow. So when I started, I love cooking and sharing with people. And when I was in San Luis, I had sent out an email list inviting my coworkers only when they confirm, I’ll give them the address. And so they showed up, they enjoy it and they were like, Ah, this can be a business. And I was like, No, no, I’m not going to do this as a business I’m doing this so you can enjoy a piece of Jamaica, a piece of me. And so that was like in 2015, 16 and I forgot about it. Then I moved to the city and why walking throughout, where are you from? (De donde eres?), I was like, I’m from Jamaica and people like I’ve never had Jamaican food but then at the time when I would say (Spanish 06:56). When I look back now, it wasn’t the most eloquent way but I mean, Google translator, thank you, people accepted that I said, hey, gi mi your money and I show up. And so that’s what I’ve been doing ever since before I had it on meetup, you know where people would firm and then they will show up. So that’s how I initially started and now it’s something I do full time. It’s the only thing I do, and I love it, I enjoy.
Xavier: So folks, Teresa has a kind of home restaurant she does on the weekends. And she cooks and takes Jamaica to Mexico City.
Xavier: Turn, tell us tell us a little bit about what you have been doing there in Mexico?
Turner: Well, it’s funny that we’re both foodies.
Turner: It’s amazing. So, I just like Theresa had a corporate life, etc. And I just wasn’t in love with what I do anymore so what I do now is actually a continuation of what I started in Dubai. And being in Mexico, it’s maybe just a little tad more complicated in terms of like, getting yourself super established by having a full on business per se. So what I do, I offer Airbnb experiences, whereby I do vegan experience. So I focus on vegan brunches and they’re all plant based and I have elements of Jamaica that I throw in. for instance, I make vegan cream cheese, I make it spicy with jerk seasoning.
Xavier: I sense the operation coming.
Turner: And I make Mexicans are very much into “Jamaica” (pronounced hamaica), which is actually what we call sorrel in Jamaica. I actually use my Jamaican recipe as a welcome drink.
Turner: And I have lots of Mexican friends and all the expats that I know, it’s a signature thing that I do. I have two to three bottles of sorrel in my fridge all the time. And I’m telling you, everybody, German, Mexican, what have you when they drink it, they don’t know what to expect. When they drink it you see this like shock on their faces, how can this drink? My neighbor calls it the red juice. He says do you have any more of the red juice?
Theresa: Lovely, lovely.
Xavier: Yuh know it’s amazing that you know we had an article on this on Jamaicans.com where it’s called Jamaica. And apparently it used to be I think it was shipped there. There’s a history behind the whole thing why they gave it that name. But yeah, look at this as a piece of Jamaica that is there and it’s a popular drink year round.
Turner: Yes, it’s year-round, because we only have it in Jamaica, as you know, during Christmas time, but for some reason, I don’t know if it’s because of the different climates in Mexico, it is a 365 days of the year crop. So you may have Jamaica water, which is not with alcohol, and it’s everywhere.
Theresa: Yes. Yes.
Xavier: Let’s talk a little bit more about Mexico now. So I want to start with you, Theresa. We’re going to talk about the people tell me about the people tell me you know, what you like about the people there and so on.
Theresa: Number one, very friendly, super helpful, even if they don’t understand. For me personally, when I just arrived, I had no knowledge of speaking Spanish and it was a struggle. Even with Google translator, it was a struggle. And so with people, they were always helpful, very kind you’re like family, basically. And it depends on region as well, your life family, but it depends on region, because you have some region, Mexico, when you go, you say Buenos Diaz, and they will not answer you. But if you’re here seven days a week, and they see you on the last day, they’re like, Oh, you live here?
Xavier: They’re know who is in the community?
Xavier: Turner, what’s been your experience with the people?
Turner: Well, I’ve had different process sets of experiences. You know what it’s like, for instance, if you built a house in Jamaica, you know it’s going to be like one of the most trialing times that you’d ever have. So I’ve had the experience of dealing with workers as well as just dealing with people from all walks of life. And, yeah, I mean, the people in Mexico where I am in Tulum. They are not called Mexicans, they actually call Mayans. They speak of different languages It’s kind of like, even if you try to put something that someone’s written to you in Mayan, into Google translator, from Spanish to English, it doesn’t translate well. So it’s a kind of different sort of language. And I think the Mayans in particular are very welcoming, yeah, it’s just very nice, warm people, you know. And even though we have a language barrier, there’s no divide nothing at all, except the fact that you know that we speak a different language and we have slightly different skin tones.
Xavier: All right, so you open up the door on the skin tone now and there’s a little history there. You know, I learned this couple of years ago and I don’t know if you all have visited any of the areas, maybe you can mention some of the areas. But I know there is a large African descendant Mexicans mix that is there. And so I’ve heard about cities, I don’t know if any of you have visited them, I’ve come up on any of that. But I know that because they were slaves brought there and so they are descendants of slaves in Mexico. Any experiences with that are not yet? Looking to get there?
Turner: Yeah, I haven’t been I mean I’ve only just been in Tulum since 20181. And literally, half of the time was trying to get the house sorted out. And then the next thing you know, COVID came. So, you know, we restrict where we go to we haven’t been out that much. So once I kind of know that that is the case. I haven’t been anywhere where I personally can say to you that look, this is the influence. But it’s amazing because when you look at Mexicans and for instance, I know Mexico City, the features of Mexicans in Mexico City look more European. And then here in to Tulum it’s amazing that the Mayans look very Filipino. And I’ve seen Mayans before, but I kind of think Oh, am I in Dubai? These people look like people from the Philippines. And when you ask them, in their mind there’s no connection, but you can tell that there’s a whole influence of different races in Mexico.
Xavier: Theresa, have you met any of the black Mexicans?
Theresa: Yes, yes. And I also agree with Miss Turner as it relates to if you say hey, here’s a little piece of the history they will deny it. In Guerrero, Wanaka and part of their cruise going down to Chiapas, there are indigenous community and as well as you will see a few of the black Mexicans. For the black Mexicans I encountered them in 2019 at school because I was taking Spanish classes, and I tried to communicate with them. I don’t know if it’s that they don’t identify as black or is like, why are you talking to me, but they are hearing numbers. And I want to say they’re not fully incorporated in society, but they do get opportunities like normal Mexicans to go to school and stuff like that, but I think they not fully incorporated. But if you do go out to these places and you see, you will see it and you will also see it in their art.
Xavier: Very interesting. Very, very interesting.
Xavier: I’m going to move on to food, which we started with a little bit. I started a little bit about the Jamaican food and so on, but let’s talk a little bit about Mexican food now. And Theresa, so what would be that Mexican food you’d sey to me, if you come to Mexico? And don’t tell me tacos? And don’t tell me all the little stereotypes that, you know. Tell me what you would say Listen, you have to go try this, or here’s some things that I would recommend you try. And for me, I’m not going to eat the grasshopper, I hear there’s grasshopper, and I’m not going to touch the grasshopper and I’m not touching anything that moves.
Theresa: Oh, my gosh, you know what grasshopper was the first thing I was going to say to try.
Xavier: I might not try but somebody else might so I leave you alone.
Theresa: One of the things I love here and I was taken aback by it, and this when I heard that Miss Turner specialties vegan, I was like, Oh my gosh, this is perfect for her. It’s Nopal. Nopal here in Mexico, In Jamaica, we use it to wash our hair. But in Mexico, I saw it in a salad with corn and chili. And I was like, standing on the corner of the road watching to see what they’re going to do with this. They serve it and it’s something that they eat. They have it in salad, they have it in soup. So I would definitely recommend Nopal, I love Nopal and mistana. I’m going to give you something you can put on your menu. It’s Nopal and plantains, because I love both of them together ripe planting.
Xavier: So you can see that you have already, you’re speaking in Mexican now, because you’re saying Nopal and I don’t have a clue what nopal is, and you both know what it is. But I have no clue. But obviously it’s something that we have in Jamaica and so. So what is nopal?
Theresa: So it’s a part of the cactus family and there are different types. There’s the one with the ladle and from that also, you get tuna. The tuna is a prickly pear and in Jamaica tonight is the thing you use an wash yuh hair.
Xavier: Aloe Vera?
Theresa: No, it’s not the same as Aloe Vera.
Xavier: Okay. All right. I mean, we have cactus and I think that description is good. At least now I know the Mexican name. Turner what would you say is the thing you’d recommend?
Turner: Now it’s very difficult for me to recommend a meat eater what to eat in Mexico? Because I have not explored obviously, I don’t eat meat. Okay, so maybe you would probably try Ceviche because ceviche is very, I mean, I’m probably what you call a flexitarian. So now and then I will have something slightly with fish, but very limited. So ceviche is actually, don’t get turned off by this because it is actually raw fish but it’s been marinated. And it’s like super soft and it’s got so much seasoning on it so it’s not bland. It’s Yeah, so ceviche I’m not sure if it’s totally Mexican. It might be Peruvian, but it’s huge in Mexico.
Theresa: Yes, yes.
Turner: So ceviche and also as a Jamaican, you know how we love our tamarind juice?
Turner: The Mexicans make the best tamarind juice. When I go to a restaurant, because I don’t drink alcohol I’m like the tampering juice, it’s just Phenomenal. They do a very, very good job with tambrine juice here.
Xavier: So, I gwen move away from food beccah it get mi hungry. But I’m going to talk a little bit about music and so on. Do you hear reggae first of all, and then also, what’s the music scene like is there you know, reggae Mexican bands or you know? I’ll start with you, Theresa.
Theresa: Before the pandemic, before the panorama there were a lot of reggae concerts and reggae shows but they were like underground. And there are few Jamaican band players from the whalers who are here who live in the city are they travel a lot between Miami and here. And there’s a lot of reggae music here, a lot of reggae bands.
Theresa: Yes, they love reggae music, and some guests, when they used to enter the house, it would always be a Bob Marley song. “One of one heart.” Yes.
Xavier: Turner, anything to add?
Turner: Well, I’m sure you live in Miami. So reggae ton is huge in the Latino world, right? Reggae ton, and reggae time is basically reggae music, sung in Spanish. And apparently, the history of it is from Panama, when a black Panamanian started to sing over shabba ranks? Yes, exactly. He sang over that song and that’s how reggae ton came about. But it is as a result of reggae. So for instance, when I go to Zumba classes here, it is not unusual, the whole entire class would be a serious Zumba whining reggae ton class. The only difference is, is that they’re singing in Spanish. Other than that, the beat the rhythm is what we’re used to. They love music here like Jamaica. So you go to the supermarket, and I live in a party capital. Tulum is party capital, right? You go to the supermarket, you’re shopping and there was a loud speaker in the background blasting out reggae ton music.
Xavier: So I go into some serious question in now. And the first one is what do you love the most about where you live in Mexico and Mexicans? What do you love the most? Two parts of the question? And what do you not like? I will start with you Turner.
Turner: For me, I mean, I left Dubai, which was a much built up very sophisticated, fast going place and in Tulum. I love nature, the jungle is everywhere. I am probably 15 minutes away from the ocean. I just love the lifestyle I mean, it’s literally like in a pandemic. This is probably the worst thing to say. But it’s like you’re on a vacation every day. That is what it’s like in Tulum, because we don’t have like, it’s not city life so there’s no high rise building. There are no huge traffic jams, no one’s in a rush to do anything. So, yeah, I don’t know what the rest of Mexico is like yet and I’m sure there’s probably other places like that but Tulum is so on the map now. Anyway, it’s one of the most instagrammable holiday destinations. Yeah. So we are very fortunate to be here.
Xavier: What do you like the least?
Turner: So maybe two things, having lived somewhere before where it’s very sophisticated and digital savvy where everyone’s gotten. I mean, there’s an app for everything, when we lived in the UAE you could stay in your house for a whole year and not leave and you could get everything done. If you’re a smoker, you get cigarettes delivered. If you want to do laundry they’ve picked up there’s an app or at least on WhatsApp. And coming to Tulum it’s like you’ve gone back 50 years. Everything is just how it was back then and even though you love it sometimes you wish. “Oh, you know why can’t I just put the money through the ATM machine and make a deposit, why do I have to go inside the bank?” And maybe Mexico City is different, but Tulum is a very young destination. It hasn’t been around in terms of modern life and civilization for that long it’s been there as an ancient city, so they had an ancient way of living. And we’re still coming out of that. So, you know they called it first world problems so that’s probably one of my first world problems.
Xavier: Theresa, what about you what you love about living there in Mexico, Mexico City and what you least like?
Theresa: What I love the most about the city is that diverse option of food, before the pandemic every day is an activity, every day there is always something whether going to a concert, a museum. walking on the street and you see a band playing like every day there’s always something so that was nice, the city being very lively. The thing I don’t like the least is I, you know, we set up an appointment and we had 9:00 and you show up at 10:00 No, no, that’s the only thing. like the time don’t really exist.
Turner: It’s all of Mexico.
Theresa: You are so right.
Xavier: A Jamaica time?
Xavier: Worse than Jamaica time.
Theresa: And when you’re about to leave and they show up, is like nothing happened.
Turner: No message to say, I’m running late or I’m going to be delayed, but you get there on time, and then suddenly you realize, yeah the usual.
Xavier: So, what’s the experience when you know you meet someone or you meet people and they learn that you’re from Jamaica, what typically is the experience and you can tell me about one experience if you choose to? Because I’ve heard a multitude and I know, as I travel the one of the things I realized too is that, almost like a red carpet rolls off sometime once you’re realized as a Jamaican. What’s been your experience there and Turner I’ll start with you.
Turner: It’s funny, I think because I live in Tulum, and it’s such a huge expat tourist destination people don’t really have any preconceived ideas. Or what I would say is what people assume, because people make an assumption about you before you say anything. And the assumption is an American; it’s just automatic that I am in America. And then if I speak, you can see there’s a bit of a drawback because oh, but you don’t sound American. I said no I’m not and I can’t say I’m Jamaican and I can’t say I’m British so I say, I’m British born Jamaican. And then the whole thing comes out and the conversation flows and it leads from one thing to another. It’s just curiosity, and over the years I’ve tried different ways of saying, who I am and where I’m from. and I find that the one that works the best is just to say that because if the conversation goes on for too long, having could explain why you don’t sound fully Jamaican or you’re British but you have a twang, they say.
Xavier: Anything in that British accent just sounds good. Theresa, what’s been your experience.
Theresa: Well, there are so many experiences. Okay so when people ask where I’m from and I would answer them, the first thing they want to do is take a picture. If I’m in a Uber and the driver asked where I’m from. I said (speaks spanish) and then he stops and looks around. Or he’s like, Tambien. So most people when they asked and I say Jamaica. They want to take a picture, they didn’t even ask, they take out dem phone and ready to yuh nuh (you know), so if I go to a restaurant, for restaurant and my husband and I were there and they asked, Where are you from, sometimes we don’t pay for anything.
Xavier: Oh, the Jamaica passport man.
Theresa: Are they separate the bill.
Turner: I need to come to Mexico city.
Xavier: So your husband gets the bill and you don’t?
Theresa: Yes. Or they take the menu and they asked where are you from and I would tell them Jamaica and they go back and come back with (Spanish). Yeah, so those are some of the experiences.
Xavier: If you don’t mind me asking, Is your husband Mexican?
Theresa: Yes, he’s Mexican.
Turner: I didn’t expect that one coming. See, preconceived ideas again.
Theresa: I’ll tell you more later.
Turner: Okay, okay.
Xavier: I know you two are going to be collaborating and I…
Turner: I’m coming to Mexico city now, I want us to have a connection, so definitely.
Xavier: And you just got to the next thing I was going to ask, the language. In all the years and I know it sounds like the Google technology, or Google Translate really has helped you all. but, you know, how has that been for you, learning the language and Turner you’ve been there three years, have you progressed, what would you say, what level you’re at right now?
Turner: Listen, that’s my biggest embarrassment. You know when I think about I did Spanish in college at essay writing level, but then never had to use it. And I think being a sports expat living in Dubai for 17 years where we’ve never ever had to speak Arabic, and come to Tulum where everything is Google Translate. Anyway, I was supposed to go to Sunday school and then obviously COVID came and blah, blah, blah. So I find that when I read things I can kind of make sense of what is written but speaking it and also making sure you’re speaking the right accent is another thing. You know like going to the supermarket I have to, because for me food is a big deal. So, ingredients and stuff like that and if I go to a restaurant I can pick things off the menu, etc. But, you know, I think I got too sidetracked as well I think the worst thing you can do when you go to a new country make learning the language, the very first priority. Once you start getting bogged down in like, you know, having a business and if you work somewhere where it’s not required. And then for me as well I live in what you call an expat enclave, and all my neighbors are English speaking, Americans. And so, we are not as forced to speak Spanish.
Xavier: I see.
Turner: Anyway, I think I’ll get there, the Spanish school here is very good and expats have become fluent in like maybe, you know, one season of going to classes. Yeah, so I think your Spanish would be definitely better than mine.
Xavier: No, no, no I did two years a Spanish first and second form and I regret not paying attention. But I think, Theresa, she probably dreaming in Spanish so you know the language when yuh dreaming in the language.
Theresa: No. Well, I will say that I’ve been here for seven years and three years ago when I decided to take one year off from my business to focus on learning Spanish. and it paid off because I noticed, so I would go to the market, all my time here interacting, they make the effort to understand me in my Spanglish. And when I started doing business by going to the bank, making transactions, like, I would have to schedule for my husband to come with me and I was like no I don’t want you to see my money, all up in my business like that. And so, after learning Spanish I do so many things and I think it also opens up my connection not just a little bit, you know. I’m now considering intertwining all environments of people in Mexico because I speak the language not fluently but enough to communicate get business done. So I would say I have business language, market language and street Spanish.
Xavier: The one thing I’ve heard is people will she (say) you speak the language with an accent. So do they pick up on the accent and say you speak in Spanish, but you have an accent, they do?
Theresa: Yes some people can do it and some people you can tell them something different for example this morning. In Mexico, the chicken, they’re yellow and so I was walking this morning and I asked the guy to explain to my friend, why the chicken is yellow. And so I was talking to him in Spanish and he was listening, and he could tell that I’m from Jamaica, he said, (Speaking in Spanish). And I was like what, how could he tell? so I didn’t want to have another conversation I was like yes, yes. Some people can and for some people, they’re like, ‘De donde eres?’ and I’m like, (speaking in spanish)because they have a different accent so I said (speaking in spanish).
Xavier: You’re going to be my guide, right now if I head to Mexico City you already in it, you already dreaming it.
Theresa: Yes, yes, yes come to the city for sure.
Xavier: So visiting, and again I know, Mexico is a huge place, you’re around the Caribbean side, and you’re kind of in this center I would think. Not really the center but kind of at the center of Mexico City. What would you say, you know where you live for Mexico is an experience that you say listen if you visit. You have to experience it in maybe a local custom. you know, I know customs are a little different, their gift given is like mid-January versus the 25th, you know, so things are different but what would be that one thing you say, hey, if you’re visiting Mexico, or you’re visiting the city I’m in you have to go experience this, and I’m going to start with you Turner, what would you say? And it could be your personal experience, it could be, I love this article experience, the sunset at this particular place is just totally awesome. It could be anything.
Turner: You know, funny because I always think about this like in Tulum we have such high footfall of tourism that all the money made here is from tourism, and there are no all-inclusive hotels here. And I think one of the reasons for it is because there’s so much to do, would be a crime for you to come and stay in an all-inclusive, if there was such a thing. So for instance, there are a lot of adventures, One of them in Jamaica, we tend to call this, I’m sure we have it in Jamaica and we refer to it as a sinkhole. When in Mexico and on the Yucatan peninsula, which is part of where you have Quintana Roo, and other states, is what we call Cenotes. And it’s basically a cave, filled with water, and it has different colors depending on how deep it is and when you tend to go there, they tend to be very unspoiled. It’s literally, you might have like a diving platform, a deck where you can literally dive off the platform into the cenotes. If you’re a diver, you can actually go scuba diving in them. Or, you know, you can just go there and it’s like, you can be like Tarzan, swinging on a rope above a cenotes. And it’s the most picturesque thing to witness.
Turner: And some of them are huge and they’re everywhere. like when you build a house here one of the things I have to do is environmental soil test, because any piece of land could surprise you with a cenotes and you don’t know that you cannot build above a cenote
Xavier: I see, it’s interesting you say that about the land and that survey, because I read some years ago, I don’t know if it’s still true, in Mexico City Teresa, that they’re sinking?
Theresa: Yes, so our apartment is on the edge of the lake. So the city is built on top of the old city from the olden days. So we’re on top of …
Xavier: And it goes like a little story there so I feel like there’s an interesting story there
Theresa: Yes, yes, yes.
Xavier: And I’m going to try to digress I just know that they said the rate of where the city is sinking, is one of the fastest rates in the world again. And that’s the only reason I brought this up because I said oh the city is sinking. But just an interesting tidbit, you’re going to tell us, what would you recommend as an experience, or place to visit in Mexico, you’ve probably been around, you know, what’s that experience you say man I love.
Theresa: In Mexico City because I love history and art, the first thing I would recommend is museo anthropologists, then go into Palacio de Bellas Artes because the building is beautiful and also they have beautiful art inside. the cathedral which is the reason for that is because it has been there for years. It’s beautiful on the outside but inside it has a pendulum where you can see how lean the city is going because of the sink age. So you will see that as well as part of that church is built with gold. Where else, coming into the city, options of food, and the market, the biggest market in Central America, Central de Abasto. listen to people in the market, they are my family. They’re my homeis, anybody that comes to visit me I always say, Look at this magazine, it’s called Donde eres, select the places of interest you, but I will always take you to the market, and the tianguis.
Xavier: What’s the tianguis? Remember now enuh (you know) we are English speakers here.
Theresa: Many people are familiar with the tianguis, the Tianguis are like, they called it farmers markets in the US where the farmer or the vendors will get their produce. and different days of the week throughout the city the entire streets will have fresh produce and people from the neighborhood would come in and purchase.
Xavier: I see. So, ladies, and I know this conversation is so great, I mean I have learned so much and you’re given us some career information here. And, you know I have to wind it down a little bit but I have another question for you. And this is, you land in Jamaica, you get off the plane, what is the first thing that you are doing? and I’m going to start with you, Theresa, what’s the first thing you’re doing he could be a gween go get mi dis, or go get mi dat (that), are I’m going to visit this, what’s the first thing you’re doing.
Theresa: The first thing I do when I get off the airport in Kingston I go round the jelly man I don’t know if he’s still there. The last time I was there was in 2019 and then I go down to Port Royal the Gloria’s or I go to the police station…
Xavier: The Gloria’s is a long wait sometimes. What about you Turner?
Turner: Gosh. I think nowadays, because you can get just about everything that you wouldn’t miss in Jamaica. You know, like if I’m in London I can get food if I want to get it. You know my specialty is, I love disserts so things like a nice sweet potato pudding, gizzada, oh my God, you can hit me with those. I mean I’m not so much big into like, you know, the absolute, as I say food, food but when it comes down to the, I love plantain tart.
Xavier: That’s fine. I tell people all the time one of the things I have to get is my pepper shrimp. I mean it’s jus a muss, yuh nuh (you know). so it’s not big food, but it’s just the little things I have to get, my pepper shrimp.
Xavier: One piece of advice that you would give to anyone looking to move to Mexico. What’s that one piece of advice you’d give to them and this is my second to last question I won’t keep you any longer. But what’s that one piece of advice and I’ll start with you Turner.
Turner: Well, are you referring to anybody or you’re somebody from Jamaica per se,
Turner: Okay so what I would say is, you have to remember that you’re moving into a new country, with a different language maybe, different cultural norms, and a different work ethic, maybe a different religion. You just have to be very open minded to accept that things are going to be different in this country. And, you know, whatever you’re accustomed to try and forget about it and leave it behind you, because that’s the one thing that will hamper your adjustment. and that doesn’t just go for Mexico, you know, whenever you go abroad or anywhere to live, or spend an extended period of time, things going to be so different. and I find a lot of times I live with a lot of expats and I keep hearing people say this. Oh, like they make reference to the home country, and they want the same thing, same food, same brand, same whatever. When I come to Mexico I don’t expect to find Jamaicans so I don’t expect English people I am just open.
Turner: And anybody can be my friend, anybody can be, you know, and I think once you have that mindset you find that even opportunities will come your way, because you have an open mind, you’re not closed and restricting yourself.
Xavier: Excellent advice. Theresa?
Theresa: I totally agree with what Turner said, you know listening to people, I call it complaining I said you know you’re leaving your home, you’re going to another man’s home. When in Rome do as the Romans do and you’ll have a good time. That’s as simple as that, because I’ve heard so much …using different words. It’s not home it’s a new place you’re going to call home, you’re going to adopt to it, you’re going to adjust to it or you’re going to sit and complain you have options.
Theresa: So, as I say when you’re in Rome, do as Romans do
Xavier: Excellent words of advice. So, I mean I’ve learned so much I appreciate you guys spending this time with us and telling us your story about how you got to Mexico, and about the people and so on. Now, this is the most difficult part saying goodbye because you’re going to now teach me…
Theresa: We don’t want to say goodbye.
Xavier: Well you’re going to teach me how to say goodbye in the most informal way and I think my Spanish is decent enough. But it sounds like, I have an opportunity now to get it in two different languages because they’re two different regions, you know, Theresa up there in Mexico City, and you down there on the Caribbean side which you said, there’s a Mayan language. Turner, you’re up first. How do we say bye, bye in Mayan?
Turner: No, you’re going to challenge me now because there’s such an overlap here. You know one of the things that they say in Tulum a lot, De nada de nada. That is like no problems. No problem is literally followed by everything I go to the store, I say thank you, gracias de nada. It’s like the number one; it’s like in Jamaica when we say no problem. You know, and if you say adios, people will understand you. They think you’re making an effort. I don’t know what they say Mexico City.
Theresa: Nos vemos or hasta luego.
Turner: Yes, that’s another famous one, hasta luego, adios.
Xavier: Nos vemos, that one is new to me. I know adios, I know the no problem and the de nada…?
Theresa: Nos vemos, N- O- S- V- E- M- O- S so it means we’re going to see each other soon.
Xavier: All right, I think that is the correct term we need to use because I definitely want to come down there and flow. Listen guys, thank you again for spending the time and telling us your story so it is nos vemos.
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