4 Ways Homes in Mexico are Culturally Unique
When relocating to Mexico, you can likely anticipate encountering different practices concerning culture, language, and lifestyle. But another difference that you might not anticipate are the differences in typical housing units between Mexico and the rest of the world. Read below to learn about how housing in Mexico differs -- from decor and facilities, to security.
1. A/C and Heating
One element of Mexican housing that takes expats some getting used to is that most properties do not have central heating or air conditioning. You might assume that central air conditioning would be absolutely necessary in Mexico due to the belief that it’s consistently hot, but on the contrary, many parts of Mexico average moderately mild temperatures year-round. Mexico City actually lies among mountains, which causes its average temperature to be colder than the majority of the country and fluctuate significantly.
When it comes to heat, the most substantial equipment that you’re likely to find in a home or building is a space heater that warms a single room, rather than an entire dwelling. Correspondingly, heating an entire home in Mexico is not easy to do since most are built with single-pane windows and have light insulation. Ultimately, artificial temperature regulators have a lot to do with culture: Mexicans just don’t consider them to be that important, as they believe that heating or cooling the body makes more sense than the space around them. In many cases, Mexicans will dress appropriately and add a couple extra layers to accommodate varying temperatures.
2. Apartment Security
Many apartment buildings throughout Mexico maintain a much higher level of security than in other countries. For example, it’s common for complexes to require a key pass to operate elevators or access residential floors. Security guards that monitor apartment building foot traffic are utilized more frequently, as well. Although these security measures are not uncommon in the rest of the world, their prevalence is especially high in many locations throughout Mexico.
3. Doing Laundry
The need to do laundry is a universal chore, but some cultures practice different methods of doing so. Some washing machines may operate differently than what you're used to, and as an alternative to the dryer, many people in Mexico line-dry their clothes. It uses less energy, is subsequently cheaper, and helps clothes last longer than if they’re machine dried. Conversely, if doing laundry isn't your favorite chore, there are “lavanderias,” or laundromats. Instead of being “self-service,” customers drop off their clothes and an attendant does the washing, drying, and folding for them. The price usually depends on how much the load weighs.
4. Décor and Furnishings
Traditional Mexican homes:
Traditional Mexican decor involves a variety of vibrant colors and primitive patterns. Turquoise, terracotta, yellow, red, and orange compose most tile, pottery, and textile patterns found within homes. This differs from American or European properties that typically have neutral and faded colors are most common, besides pops of color on accent features. Traditional Mexican furniture tends to be simple and modest, while often containing some sort of wooden element and either woven cotton or wool. This contrasts greatly to the plush, over-sized La-Z-Boys that Americans are so accustomed to.
Modern Mexican homes/apartments:
Modern Mexican properties, on the other hand, are not strikingly different than most updated properties in the US and elsewhere. Many have neutral, earth-tone colors throughout and aren’t overly ‘loud’ with patterns or bright colors. The furniture tends to be sleek, simple, and minimal in design. Modern Mexican properties still maintain an artistic appeal, but in a less vibrant and extravagant way, which comes in handy when styling them into your own personal space.
Relocating to a different country can involve making a lot of adjustments in daily tasks. Learning about differences in attitudes, procedures, and practices before you move can help you anticipate those adjustments and will make for a smoother transition to life abroad.
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