Wednesday, January 5, 2011

There are no rules in Mexico!

I have officially been back in Mexico for a solid week. In that week I have welcomed a new year, visited Puerto Morelos once, Playa del Carmen once, and yet barely accomplished a thing in Cancun. Oh, I did make it to Costco as our fridge was full of nada!

I did however learn one thing, one very important thing. There are no rules in Mexico. Your'e probably wondering what exactly I mean? Aren't you??? Well...lemme start...
We arrived in Cancun with plenty of luggage, our vans were too busy to pick us up (this is a good thing), and our car too small for a single trip. We had our friend pick us up in his truck but had one quick stop to make at my inlaws. For what? Our car. I guess they borrowed our car while we were gone. No biggie. We pick up our car.
Sooo I ask my suegro how his Christmas was, and what they did to celebrate he tells me "Ohhh we were at your house". I thought I hadn't heard correctly as surely my husband would tell me, right? It's not like I really care as they are family after all, but it's just nice to be in the "know". They had a lot of family visiting from out of town, and our house is big enough for everyone. Okay. Then one of the uncles tells me they were at our house playing dominos a few times. Again all I could say was "oh really".
We arrived back to a more than spotless house which was great, but with an empty car tank of gas! I told myself nothing that a little sleep can't solve. Just go to sleep.
The next morning I went straight for our suitcases as laundry was calling my name. Throw a load in the washing machine, and ask the cleaning lady to switch it for me while I'm out. I return a few hours later to be told we have no more gas! Our lines are dry. No laundry, no hot showers, no cooking. Nothing. It was New Years Eve and I knew we couldn't do anything about it. Oh well, 2 days later and the gas company came. Okay, so I'm a little annoyed now as they also did all their laundry at our house cleaning our gas tank dry!! I don't care again if they had just asked!! I couldv'e told them to schedule the gas guy for us when we got back!!
Well, this brings me to yesterday. Our iron is missing, and I ask our cleaning lady where it is and she advises me my sister in law took it. Okay, we'll call and get that back. After dinner I go to put the food away and we have NO tupperware. I mean none. How did we go from 2 boxes purchased at Costco to none? No clue...
So of course I ask hubby to call his family and ask if they have our tupperware as I know they do, he gets all pissed at me as he thinks it's not a big deal, and really it's not in the scheme of things. I just want to be asked or even told - hey we are using your house for Christmas dinner while your away, okay? We are using your car while we are away. Can we have people over at your house to play Dominos'? Can I borrow your iron? We took ALL your tupperware, but we'll bring it back. Oh , and hope ou don't mind but while you were away we had to use your dryer.....
Am I nuts? Am I being a bitch? I know these are all SUPER small things, but really?? I truthfully don't care about any of the "things", but I do want to know what's going on. They are a GREAT family, and would lend me anything they could, but I would ALWAYS ask first. ALWAYS. Also, I never would have said no to anything not in a million years. It's just a common courtesy - let me know!!

17 comments:

gringationcancun said...

I think you need to have a serious talk about boundaries with your family.

In Mexico yes, people do have more of a tendency to borrow things and far less sense of privacy, but this (and some other things you've mentioned to me) are no longer a cultural issue. In my years here, I've never seen anything like that.

Maybe you're having issues because you haven't been setting boundaries with them, so they assume "it's all good". Not their fault nor yours, just something that needs to be calmly discussed.

If your husband tells you "that's how it is with Mexican families"... trust me, not to this extent. This is out of hand, even for Mexico.

It sounds like you're all loving, generous people. Just sit down and talk about privacy and letting you know so you're not stuck without things you need later on.

Leslie Limon said...

All I could think as I read this post was OMG! I have never heard of anything like that happening. I agree with Gringation...you really need to have a talk with them. Let them know that you're okay with them borrowing everything, including your house, but that they need to let you know BEFORE!

Best of luck to you, amiga. :)

Leah Flinn said...

Oh amiga, I feel you 100%! The Stickies, as I affectionately call them. No, they are not bad people, but you must teach them how to relate to you in your home. And hubby needs to see your point of view and back you up. I have a stack of dish towels sitting beside me know waiting to take back to suegra in hopes they she will stop taking mine.

It really is about boundaries and consistency in enforcement to establish them. BTW those conversations need to come from hubby. They must see this is coming from both of you, that way they see you united on the issue. So get the hubs on your side and have that first talk. It may be uncomfortable at first, but I can say from experience that it is possible.

Hang in there, my friend. Wish we could vent over a bottle of wine. :-)

Carlos Ponce-Melendez said...

I'm sorry you have that experience. I'm a mexican and I can assure you that it is not a "Mexican issue." Now I live in the US and I have meet abusive people in Mexico and here. The same goes for most of the Mexicans and Americnas, they are nice and respectful. As other people said your in laws are probably good people but totally clueless. If your husban doesn't support you in this probably you need drag your husban to a family counselor.

Josie said...

Wooowwwww. Those are not small things. I would blow.a.gasket. All you would see is a mushroom cloud and then my head would be gone. People in my house, family or not, without me knowing, is a NO NO! Just reading this post irritated me, and it didn't even happen to me. *hug*

KfromMichigan said...

I agree w/Gringation. You need to have a serious talk with the in-laws and your hubby. First of all, why do they have a key to your house and car!? Taking advantage is not a good way to start the new year. Good luck with this one Amiga!

ashlied said...

I agree with gringanation... and I would have been very annoyed as well to say the least!

ashlied said...

I agree with gringanation... and I would have been very annoyed as well to say the least!

Jackie said...

You are entitled to feel the way you do. Like you said, it's about common courtesy. If they would have asked first, everything would be totally different. Keep us posted.

On Mexican Time said...

Gringation - I know I need to have one, and to this date i still haven't even muttered a word to my hubby about it. He seriously will not see why it could possibly bother me. Honest.

As far as it being a Mexican thing or not? I hear from certain ppl it SO is, and a few that are forunate (like yourself) that it isn't. Maybe not to quite the same extent, but pretty darn close. I swear.

I need to figure out a way to set the boundaries without coming across as the bad guy. Hubby needs to back me up, and that is my problem. I mean he went and got my iron back, and the tupper ware, and he was so embarassed that he was asking for it back. He didn't get it at all. Made me feel guilty as it was only tupper ware and an iron. ARGGHH....

Yes, my family are real loving and IF they could they would do things in return for us. HOwever, they can't and hate to say unless they won a lottery - never will. I just think it can't always be "take, take take".

Leslie - I'm happy I'm not the only one who was like OMG. Seriously, I left out quite a few things as I was sort of writing in the heat of the moment. Didn't want to put too much, and make it sound like I don't love my family,

Yes, I need to say something. This will drive me straight out of Mexico if I don't!

On Mexican Time said...

Leah - Ohhh I know you know what I'm talking about, and you share some, if not all of the same feelings. Wow, that is a great name for them "The Stickies", I seriously will have to use that from now on. Thanks!!! I definitely need hubby to see my pt of view, and at this point he really does'nt. He thinks I have a problem with his family, and can't understand why. I am not kidding. He thinks all of this and other things are normal. I wonder if he'd have thought that in Canada if the roles were reversed, and it was my family? I think not.

I also couldn't agree with you more. Consistency is key. As is hubby being the deliverer of said boundaries. They will know it's from me, but at least they may see he has an issue or two as well...A happy wife is a happy hubby!

Thanks again for your thoughts as I really know you can relate to what I'm going through!!! I also wish very much this conversation could be had over some wine with you amiga :) One day I hope!

Carlos - I agree that my inlaws are definitely my issue here. It's all of them, the abuelos, primos, tios, etc... Again, I have friends here who relate to what I'm going through, and a few who don't "as much". Hahaha - also, I really got to have a real chat with hubby and get my point across in a way I don't look as though I'm attacking his family!! I'm really not, I love them.

Thanks for the comment :)

On Mexican Time said...

Josie - Aww...thank you for being upset for me, but I'll get through this!! Hahaha - I am honestly just happy that ppl see my side, as my hubby really doesn't. So at least I know I'm not crazy!!! Hugs back :)

Ash - maybe it's the Canadian in us? Are we annoyed easily? Hahaha -think not!

Jackie - Thank you!!! Again, I am very happy to hear other people see my point of view. It's just the common courtesy. I would never say no to any of those things, but please ask me first!!!

I'll keep everyone posted as I've been working on exactly what I'm going to say, without sounding as if I'm ambushing his family!

Elena said...

This is not a mexican issue!! What I can tell is a lack of communication between you and your husband, it´s so easy to expose a problem on a blog but you couldnt communicate how you felt with him.. I hope your husband finds a mexican girl who understands him and you... go back to you frozen country!!

On Mexican Time said...

Elena - Yeah...youre right, divorce is a much better option

Gail said...

It could be that your in-laws were asked to stay at your house while you were gone in order to minimize the chance of a break-in. In my husband's large extended family this is an arrangement that works out pretty well. Family members are asked to move in to your house so that the house is not sitting empty while you are away on a long trip. Otherwise the rateros will soon figure out that no one is home and the house is available for easy pickings. It doesn't take long for the rateros to figure out when owners are away--leaving a light on somewhere in the house is not enough to deter them.
Leaving a house unoccupied in Mexico is always a big risk, especially at Christmas. Using your propane and your car are considered as a pay-back for the job of house sitting. Also, it's likely that the car was brought to their house so they could keep an eye on it so it wouldn't get stolen. I'd not want to leave my car parked at my empty house over Christmas holidays in Mexico, especially if it's a nice car. That would be too risky.
These are only suggested as possible reasons that might help explain what happened while you were gone. It's possible hubby asked his family to house sit, told them to not worry about using the propane, and asked them to use the car to keep it from being stolen, etc. And hubby, for some reason, didn't feel comfortable enough to tell you about it beforehand. The iron very likely could have been borrowed and the borrower really did forget to return it on time, because, well, it's Mexico and people don't worry as much about borrowing stuff. However, that said, my husband doesn't like it one bit when his tools get borrowed and not returned on time, so he would have had a blunt word with the iron borrower about that.
It could all very well be a huge communication gap, which means it's time to sit down and have an honest conversation. Hubby needs to stick up for your feelings and he needs to make sure you're both on the same page about these kinds of things. If he did ask him family to house sit, he was supposed to make sure you knew about it beforehand, and by the same token, it's important for you to come onboard and see that he was trying to do his best to make sure that when you returned home from Canada you didn't come home to a house picked clean by rateros and your nice car stolen as well. It's never fun to find out that decisions were made without your being brought into the discussion loop, so he needs to talk you beforehand, but I think he was trying to protect the house and home while y'all were gone.

Gail said...

It could be that your in-laws were asked to stay at your house while you were gone in order to minimize the chance of a break-in. Leaving a house unoccupied is always a big risk, especially at Christmas. Using your propane and your car are considered as a pay-back for the job of house sitting. Also, it's likely that the car was brought to their house so they could keep an eye on it so it wouldn't get stolen.

So it's possible hubby asked his family to house sit, told them to not worry about using the propane, and asked them to use the car to keep it from being stolen, etc. And hubby, for some reason, didn't feel comfortable enough to tell you about it beforehand. The iron very likely could have been borrowed and the borrower really did forget to return it on time, because, well, it's Mexico and people don't worry as much about borrowing stuff.

However, that said, my husband doesn't like it one bit when his tools get borrowed and not returned on time, so he would have had a blunt word with the iron borrower about that.

It could all be a huge communication gap, which means it's time to sit down and have an honest conversation. Hubby needs to stick up for your feelings and he needs to make sure you're both on the same page about these kinds of things. If he did ask him family to house sit, he was supposed to make sure you knew about it beforehand, and by the same token, it's important for you to come onboard and see that he was trying to do the best thing to make sure that when you returned home from Canada that you didn't arrive back to a house picked clean by rateros and your nice car stolen as well. It's never fun to find out that decisions were made without your being brought into the discussion loop, so he needs to talk you beforehand, but I sincerely believe he was trying to protect the house and home while y'all were gone.

Gail said...

Sorry, didn't intend for this to get published twice, don't know how it happened!