Puedes leer este artículo en español, aquí.

I had the good fortune to spend seven and a half years of my life in beautiful Playa del Carmen, Mexico. As a native Spanish speaker, adapting to my new home was pretty smooth for the most part, although I did find some differences between Peruvian and Mexican culture (which is quite normal, of course). Those differences were probably more noticeable in both our accents and terminology. Here, I am sharing a short list with a few expressions Mexicans frequently use that I really like.

1. MI CASA, TU CASA Meaning "my house, your house", this one is by far my favorite Mexican expression because it shows how hospitality plays an importante role in Mexican culture. They use it a lot too! It is not rare to hear someone say, for example, "cuando vengas a mi casa, tu casa,..." (when you come to my house, your house,...). Sometimes they may even skip "mi casa"! For instance, they may just say "tendremos una fiesta en tu casa" when they're actually inviting you to a party at their place, not yours. I know, it may sound misleading but it is widely understood by locals. Although, it can certainly create confusion in foreigners that are not familiar with this use.

2. ¿QUÉ PASÓ? This question is used in other Spanish-speaking countries exclusively when you want to know what went wrong, as in "did something bad just happen?" In Mexico, however, it is the equivalent to "what's up?". It took me a while to realize that, when people asked me that as I walked into places, it wasn't that they were inquiring about a possible incident. It was just a friendly greeting! Soon enough I was using it all the time too, so when I'd visit my parents in Florida I'd take them off guard with the question. Then I'd notice a puzzled look on their faces as they answered with a "¡nada!" and I'd immediately switch back to the "¿qué tal?" or "¿cómo estás?" they are used to.

3. ¿QUÉ ONDA? A very rough literal translation of this one would be "what wave?" or "what's the wave?" meaning, however, "what's going on?". I like this one in particular because, for some reason, it makes me think of hippies and flowers when I hear it and that just puts me in a good mood. Often, you'll hear this expression followed by a "güey" (or "wey", depending on who you ask), which is the equivalent to "dude". This word, though, is one I never managed to adopt while living in Mexico. Sorry, sometimes I can be a snob when it comes to linguistics.

4. ¡A POCO! This is an expression of disbelief, the equivalent of "really?" or "are you kidding?". It can't be literally translated, but poco means little, not that in this particular case it helps much to know that. As far as I know this expression is only used in Mexico and I have no idea how it may have possibly originated, but I think it's really cute.

5. DOS-TRES That is right, this literally means "two-three"! Yes, but can you guess how it is used? No, it doesn't refer to a soccer match score. Basically, this is the perfect answer when someone asks you how something was or how you liked it and you feel it was just ok, nothing exceptional. For example, when they ask you "¿cómo estuvo la fiesta?" (how was the party?), you can respond "dos-tres" if you weren't impressed. I figure this rating is probably based on a 1-5 scale, as 2-3 would fall right in the middle.

With this post I wanted to illustrate that, even when other people speak the same language as you, sometimes you will be able to understand some of their expressions only once you know how they use them. Conclusion: there is always something to learn from people from other countries (or regions) and cultures. I also would like to dedicate this post to all my Mexican friends because September is their national month. ¡Viva México!