When Oranges are Green
I had just settled in Mexico, and I proudly bought my squeezer and was ready to buy one of my favorite ingredients for breakfast, oranges to make my morning juice. After two rounds and two different supermarkets I simply realized that Mexican oranges are green, not orange, and is not because they are not mature enough as it could happen in Valencia, they are simply different and green. So, I had to go with it and bought a nest of them to fulfill my intentions.
But “when oranges are green” is more than a description of a fact, it is a metaphor to honor all the things we face and need to embrace when we head into new adventures, especially living in a different culture or place.
When I lived in New York I used to say that I passed three phases, the first one being the “Wow” when all you see is incredible things and movie locations, and your brain is yet wired to love every single piece. Then it comes to phase two, yes, that one when you need to get some paperwork done or organize a doctor’s visit, or simply be discouraged because there is no way to buy a whole fish or a shelled scallop in the supermarket. That one and pardon me for the expression is when “you want to beat everyone”. This second phase is frustrating and pushes you day after day to wonder what are you doing there, always up the hill fighting with things that you were more than done within your previous life, wondering what’s the first world and what’s not, wondering why do you need to write a paper check in 2021 in the world capital of finance or your chip credit card is simply not chip and pin yet. It is that time when “I love New York, but New York doesn’t love you” Anyways, it is what it is, and no one asked you to be into it, it is like the monopoly game, if you want to buy a hotel, they are tiny plastic red ones, they don’t have blue ones. Of course, there is always room for improvement and opportunities to give your insight into the fields that you master and to transform the world. But what I’m calling here is your mind, or better said, what my mind change was. I was trying hard to see living in NYC with the eyes of the Western European-born standards, and I got it all wrong there, and then I learned about liability and business, and those simple words started to explain almost everything I did not understand from my former mindset, and aha!! There comes the moment that opens into phase three, where you start enjoying things the way they are, and learn positive lessons from them. Embrace what’s from there, understand the way it is, and blend your particularities with the city and what it is. You can then choose to leave or stay, chose to like it or not, but you would have saved tons of mental energy chasing impossible why’s.
I now see coati families (a sort of local raccoon) in hotel lobbies, slow down while driving to allow tarantulas to cross the road, discover new fruits every day, and new relationships with words and time, I don’t necessarily happen to understand everything here in Mexico, but that’s the beauty of diversity, in cultures, in teams, and life, but if anything, there is a rule, as I read this one around the corner of where I am, “we might not share our ideas but we need to share our respect”