Last updateFri, 02 Jan 2015 5pm
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A Midwesterner Moves to Mexico: A Happy Shopper

The day will come, I suppose, when I’ll find myself thinking in pesos instead of dollars. When that $169 price tag on the scarf at the Galerias Mall won’t feel like sticker shock.

But that day isn’t here yet. Every shopping trip still makes me feel like I’m sitting in Mr. Morris’s freshman math class hoping he won’t call on me for the answer to the problem: If you see a scarf for 169 pesos and the exchange rate is 0.072, how much is the scarf in American dollars ...            

Trust me, I would have put that scarf back way before Id’have finished the multiplication.

It’s particularly a problem at times like Christmas when I need to buy things other than street tacos and market fruit that I can comfortably buy with a handful of pocket change.

Although it’s not just the math that’s the problem. I’m a bargain shopper by nature, who somehow managed to raise a daughter who has champagne tastes.

Whose wishful-thinking Christmas lists are usually filled with things like Tiffany charms and Gucci purses. None of which she’s ever opened from me.

What she has opened are numerous presents with a large happy face drawn on the wrapping paper – our own little Christmas tradition signifying that this is a present that Mom bought at such a discounted price that there’s no need to even try and return it.

Her list is a bit better this year now that she’s out on her own with a mortgage, utility bills and a car payment. Yet, hidden among a list of household items like a cookie scoop and a citrus spritzer, the champagne tastes sneak in with requests for a Kate Spade coffee cup and Mongolian lamb throw pillows.

Quite a quandary for a mom who likes to see smiles at Christmas but doesn’t like big numbers on price tags.

Although I’ve come up with a plan. I think I can handle the citrus spritzer and the cookie scoop. Maybe even the magnetic ironing mat if I can figure out what that is.

Then I’m going to head back to the Galerias Mall and pick up that scarf. And I’m going to leave the price tag on and prominently displayed. Because I think I’ve found an upside to those high peso prices with dollar signs.

Come Christmas morning, my daughter, who I’ll be visiting in the U.S., is going to be happily surprised. I can hear it now.

“Wow, Mom, $169 for a scarf!”

“Feliz Navidad, honey.”

Jeanne is a transplanted Illinoisian who arrived in Guadalajara hoping for siestas. She was sad to discover that siestas are a thing of the past, but is still finding lots to love about Mexico.