Strawberry fields forever

You may be aware that Mexico is not one of the most egalitarian societies on this planet, and socioeconomic differences are very much a part of the social fabric.  I was fortunate enough to grow up in a middle class family in the capital, with access to good schooling and domestic and international travel.

While growing up I think I tried to make the best possible use of these opportunities, but when I reached my teenage years I realised I truly disliked the pseudo-elitist environment I was brought up in, and got rather fed up with those social standards on what to wear, how to act, what kind of music to listen, what car to drive, when to gossip, etcetera.

Fast-forward 10 years.  I had been living in Finland for a few years and moved to Brussels to study my masters degree.  The school was not very big, so for extra-curricular activities and a couple of courses they tended to band together the undergraduate exchange students and the foreign graduate students for what one could call "economies of scale". 

Two of the exchange students were from Mexico, and one of them embodied pretty much everything I disliked of that environment I had left: the feigned (or real) ignorance and lack of curiosity, the social and religious conservatism, the gossiping and the materialism were all there, and I couldn't avoid this person for half a year.

Needless to say, the beginning was quite hard, but it definitely taught me to face my own prejudices and not only deal with it, but actually get along pretty nicely and (most importantly) sincerely.  While we didn't become best friends, I believe we were able to have a good working relationship, which is one of the most valuable lessons learned from my time there.

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