Gabi and Till are a Mexican/German couple, living in London with their son Axel. Today, Gabi tells us all about her life in the UK, how different her life would be if she was in Mexico, and how wonderful the English labour laws are (one year maternity leaves!).

 Gabi, please tell us a bit about yourself and your family.

I am Mexican, married to a German and gave birth to an English baby Axel in 2011. I work in banking and at the moment I am off on maternity for…. a year – thanks to the English labour laws!!

 You live in London, but are from Mexico and your husband is German. Can you tell us a bit about how you manage these three different cultures day to day?

The cultural differences on a day to day basis did not have a great impact to us as my hubby and I have a similar education and the same group of friends (ok, except for the fact that I am extremely relaxed about being on time and Till aims to be always on time). Where I noticed the cultural differences is in the important family decisions, i.e. buying a house, discussing education styles for the baby. The way we try to manage the different cultures it to take the best of each or use the person that has a ‘cultural asset’ at the appropriate time, for example, I am used to bargaining so I tend to do the negotiations when buying, renting, etc. Till is more analytic and tends to take a more careful approach when needed.

 What traditions (especially around holidays) do you celebrate as a couple/family? Do you try to keep with traditions from each country? or?

Many traditions like Christmas and Easter are similar, I guess the difference is that Till’s family has a more familiar approach whereas my family has a party approach.  We are both catholic so we have a similar approach to Christening and other religious landmarks. We do celebrate the day of the death and we put a death altar with skeletons and pictures of family that has passed away, and that was a bit shocking for Till’s family, but Till embraces the tradition, as he thinks it is fun. When we have more time, we would also like to attend parties like Mexico’s independence day. We have copied from Till’s family the season’s decoration.

If you would describe yourself as multi-cultural, tell us a bit about what culture you most identify with and why.

Yeah, I guess living abroad (or is it at home now??) and having a German husband, I would be classed as multi-cultural. However, I identify most with Mexican culture, I guess it is because I spent my teenage years there, which is what tends to have a lasting impression to people. I am curious about culture Axel (my son) will most identify with…. we will need to ask him in a couple of years.

Can you describe a typical day for you? How do you feel your day to day would be different if you lived in Mexico vs living in the UK?

Wow, well bear in mind that I have a new baby so my typical day would be to wake up (hopefully rested) and prepare food for both baby and I, try to do house chores when the baby is sleeping and then going out with friends in the afternoon and in the evening when Till is back, spend some family time bathing the baby and having dinner. My day would be super different if I lived in Mexico, I would have family to rely on to look after the baby and more help with the domestic chores. I can’t imagine how professional life would be in Mexico, I am very happy with my professional life in the UK. Other BIG difference is the holidays, only two weeks in Mexico. There are pros and cons in both places.

 What is the best part of living in Mexico? The worst? And what about the UK?

  • Mexico Best – Weather, food and easiness to deal with people
  • Mexico Worst – Crime, corruption and complacent attitude
  • UK Best – Cultural offering, friends, professional opportunities
  • UK Worst – an obvious bad weather and difficulty to move around

 What books or films would you recommend someone who’d like to know more about Mexico?

  • Films – El callejon de los milagros, Amores Perros, Miss Bala.
  • Books – Como agua para chocolate, Pedro Paramo, The Power and the Glory

What language or languages do you and your family use on a day to day basis?

English, Spanish and German

About the author

Carrie is an American who just moved from Bali to Mendoza, Argentina. Carrie caught the wanderlust bug early on from her parents, who raised her in Mexico City. Carrie and her husband David have lived in New York, London, Barcelona, Costa Rica, Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo, and Bali before moving to Mendoza. They are actively working to pass on the travel bug to their young son Timmy, who has already been to twelve countries.