Living abroad shattered many belief systems I had consciously or subconsciously created. One of the belief systems that got altered the most was what Mexico, and being a Mexican meant to me.
I have to admit that I am not a big fan of patriotism but I do have a passion for cultural heritage. The more I travel and meet other cultures, the more I can see how similar we are to one another. Most of these cultural frameworks we created are complicated and abstract concepts that were impacted by external forces like the natural environment, and geopolitical forces.
But I won’t derail into a history lessons now, promise!
The reason why I am writing this, is because I have such a different appreciation for what it means to be a Mexican now. I love the way people’s faces change when I tell where I come from. Despite the fact that the international press wants to focus on the negative. Or the fact that some dumb politician wants to turn us into the devil’s work. I can tell you first hand that Mexicans and Mexico are seen in wonderful ways.
I know for a fact that I didn’t appreciate this enough while living in Mexico. And is funny that foreigners have taught me this lesson. Despite everything you hear, Mexico is a great place to live in! And I am proud of being Mexican!
Here is a list I made of 28 things I love about Mexico that I’ll save for those rainy days when I miss it the most.
1. The small talk the clergy at the store will have with you because she knows your mother or family members. Or if they are wondering where you are from if you are a foreigner.
2. The loud laughter you will heard in restaurants, family reunions, parties, school hallways and even at supermarkets!
3. The daily visits from your friends and family . Because they were just “passing by” and decided to say hello & check up on what’s new.
5. The spontaneous plans during the week and weekends. There’s no need to make plan a week ahead, your friend will just call you up asking “hey, are you ready?”.
6. Sea food for brunch as a hangover cure. Because nothing tastes as good as a campechaneada when you are hangover.
7. Hot wings and beer for dinner to catch up friends. Forget coffee, beer and finger food are the best ways to catch up with friends!
8. Prepared and seasons chips. I don’t know how to explain this, I will just let this picture do the talking. We also do this with mangos, cucumbers and lots of different fresh fruits and vegetables.
9. The food. I know I mentioned it on the point above, but not only is the street food delicious, traditional Mexican food is actually part of the UNESCO World Heritage!
10. The hospitality wherever you go. People will treat you like you are part of the family from day one!
11. Great customer service. If you don’t like something, you can say it, and people will do the best they can to work it out. Plus, the service is fast!
12. The beaches. Ahh, Mexico we are lucky we have such a glorious coast. I don’t have a favorite beach though but I love the Riviera Maya as much as the desert beaches from my hometown!
13. The contrast in nature. Mexico has jungles, mountains, volcanoes, snow, forests, almost everything you can imagine. It is not all cacti and sand (except where I used to live, where it really is like that he).
14. The sunny weather. Okay so my hometown might be the exception because is in the desert, and it is crazy hot. But Mexico’s weather is never gloomy!
15. Las aguas frescas. Hibiscus iced tea or Jamaica, cebada, horchata, lemonade, agua de piña, watermelon, and any kind of fruit you can think of! They are like juices but made with fresh fruits and lots of water.
16. The music. Not any particular genre, just the fact that we are always listening to music wherever we go. This goes together with random dance parties at random places.
17. Fresh Tortillas. The equivalent of fresh bread. Enough said.
18. The hot sauces. I need them all for everything in my life. Yes, we add them to our morning eggs, popcorn, chips, fruits and vegetables.
17. The sense of humor. Our special talent is turning anything into a joke. Some people have such an agile mind, you can’t keep up!
19. The parties with non stop dancing. It is not a party until everyone is dancing. If you have a house party, there will be dancing at some point during the night.
20. The weekend hangover breakfast/brunch. Your friends and you will usually plan the hangover cure location for the next morning even before the party is over. Sea food is best, but any food served in the early morning in the local market does the trick too.
21. Micheladas and clamatos. Beer with tomatoes juice, and hot sauces. It tastes better than it sounds, I promise.
22. The way we greet. A kiss on the cheek for between men-women or women, and a firm handshake and hug for guys.
23. The huge families! So yes it is loud, and maybe it takes you all your childhood to learn all their names. But family reunions are never boring!
24. Raspados. They are like smoothies but more crunchy. They are the perfect cure for a hot summer day.
25. Sunday Funday. Sunday is the day we visit the parks, get some Sunday shopping done, and visit family. The city is usually more lively and relaxed. Something that I often miss here, because the cities and towns are so quite around here.
26. The indigenous heritage. The moment where I felt really Mexican was the day I saw the Aztec Pyramids in Mexico City. Which unfortunately was before I actually saw my own state’s indigenous tribes. They are as unique and transcendental as the Mesoamerican empires.
27. The cultural mix. The “Mexican” identity is something so vast, and will greatly depend on where you live. We’ve also had lots of immigration waves throughout the years coming from from places around the world like Asia, Europe, Latin America. This impacted our food and culture in lots of way we sometimes don’t realize. Our best analogy would be that Mexico is like mole, a traditional dish made up of a vast kind of indigenous and international species and elements, its basically spicy savory chocolate used as a sauce for chicken and tacos. A true Mexican dish!
28. The people’s spirit and positive attitude. I love how Mexicans are always smiling, laughing, starting up conversations with complete strangers. Specially the perseverance and passion they put into their everyday lives. Actually, we are among the HAPPIEST people in the planet! (read more about it here)
Mexicans, there are SO much more things to be proud of. Truthfully, there are some things that I don’t yet have the words for. One thing is for sure though, Mexico is magical.
What things make you proud about your home-country?