How will we perceive each other?

Last time, I questioned how I would be perceived by the people I would come into contact with in Mexico and I’ve decided to give it deeper thought.  What are possible perceptions they would have of me and what would lead them to think that way?  And now I just realized I could easily turn this thought around and ask myself what perceptions and expectations I already have of them.

When I went to Mexico when I was younger, I felt welcome everywhere I went.  Everyone that I met already knew my parents or my relatives, so I must have been accepted by association.  After all, I was only eight, and it is easy to like children.  This time I will be going alone and my parents won’t be around to introduce me to everybody and ease any awkwardness that could possibly arise.  I am left to my own devices in letting those people know who I am as an individual.  In my previous post, I wondered whether people would see me as an American or as a Mexican.  I think I will be able to evaluate their perceptions by the way they involve me with their culture.  If they see me as an American, I imagine they will explain a lot of their customs to me and expect me to be hesitant when it comes to trying new things that wouldn’t be typical in American culture.  If they see me as a Mexican, they probably won’t feel the need to explain their culture, or customs, or food to me.  Hopefully, regardless of how they view me, they will not feel the need to defend their customs or traditions.  I love learning about other cultures and I am going to have an open mind to everything I encounter.  Plus, I feel like I already know a lot about their culture and I’m excited to be surrounded by it.

I know that I will be affected by the way they view me and that it could make a pretty big difference in my experience.  I know that I will have to adjust to their perceptions either way, but I am hoping they see me in a way that would make them most comfortable with answering my questions and giving me of their time.

I know that my experience will also be greatly affected by the way I view them.  I cannot jump into this thinking that I am going to interact with “test subjects” and that they will only benefit me and my education.  They are people that I will live with and hopefully form a bond with.  I really want the relationships I develop to be mutually beneficial.  No one should feel I am using them and I don’t want to be used in any way either.  I don’t think that I am like that, but an experience like this, putting myself into an environment that I am not used to, will really help me to learn how I view others and whether those views are fair or not.  I know that this field study will be all the more enjoyable if incorrect perceptions do not get in the way.

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