Quería una cerveza, por favor, y dónde está el baño?

Sometimes, in order to move forward, you need to take a step back.

I’m about to board a flight to Mexico City where I will, with any luck, connect with my father for a few days and then embark on a months-long journey across Central America, mostly all by myself. In many ways, I expect to be going back in time. Not telephone-booth-time-machine style, although that would be A-MAZING, but in terms of tracing a gnarly little section of my roots and family history in Mexico and, I suppose, even Spain. Right now, I’m sitting in a waiting room full of mostly Mexicans and, more than anything, I wish I looked like them or sounded like them, even just a little. My hope is that a few months in latin America will help me feel like I fit into that culture, my culture, in some sort of authentic and deserving way.

If I can do it while surfing, doing yoga on the beach and taking siestas in a hammock, even better. (If I can do all of those things without bragging or being totally smug upon my return to Canada, check my pulse and give me a medal.)

Of course, my Mexican heritage is only half the story. I am born and raised a Maritimer, and pleased as punch about it. But the East Coast has been like an only child in terms of its freehold on my cultural identity and I feel like it’s probably a good thing that we all broaden our horizons a little bit and make room for a new addition. I never have to convince anyone I’m from New Brunswick – my potty mouth and pirate accent give me away without fail. But I have a much tougher time selling my Mexican lineage. The first proof I fail to provide is an ability to speak the language. I can ask for beer and go to the bathroom, which is a handy combination, but not enough to build a case for my being 50% Mexican. So, priority uno (uno = not even Spanish) is to get me some speaking skills. I’m enrolled in a language school for a week of intensive Spanish training, which sounds way more hardcore than I imagine it will actually be, and am staying with cousins who, I hope, will have some magical ability to impart 35 years worth of culture and family history in 14 days. Stay tuned.

Goal #2 is to get a tan. It will make me look more Mexican, I think. And then, for maintenance purposes, I’ll just have to either move to a place where it’s always sunny or invest in a tour bus with a tanning bed inside, like Britney Spears. (In case you’re not sure, here are a few things you can judge me for, based on the previous sentence: my alleged pro-tanning bed stance, the fact that I know how to spell Britney’s name and that she has a tanning bed in her tour bus, my initial instinct to write ‘tourbus’ as all one word and the fact that I’m anal enough to re-read and edit a blog post 3 times before publishing.)

Third on the agenda is to learn to surf. Well, learn to surf better. Like, so I don’t have to use a board made of packing foam that’s twice as big a a limosine. I know, technically, this won’t make me more Mexican, but it will make me cooler, probably, and that’s close enough.

If I add more items to my Cultural Integration Plan (CIP) I will be sure to keep you all posted. In the meantime, hasta la vista, baby! (Translation: The only Spanish I speak, I learned from an Austrian bodybuilder/American politician, or: This learning curve had better be steep.)

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Categories: rants/raves | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Quería una cerveza, por favor, y dónde está el baño?

  1. Debbe

    #4 on the agenda is to find some lovely Mexican vanilla for me!!! 500ml or so would be great!!! I’ll make you something with it.

  2. Excellente adventura! me voy a México también y quizás podamos reunirse en algún lugar y practicar español!

    Zack

    • Estoy a Cuernavaca, Zack, no D.F. 😦 Voy a ir a Puerto Escondido en dos semanas y después, a Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica y Panama. Tu?

      • Excellente. Me voy a Valle de Bravo hasta octubre 22. Entonces ire a La PaZ, BCS para unos dias y fin de Octubre conocere me amigos en velero. Vamos a gulfo de california hasta fin de Novembre. Premero semana en Decembre Vamos a Costa Rica norte directemente. Entonces Vamos a isla del coco a Ecuador a galapagos, isla de pascua, magareva, tuamotos, marqueses etc para mucho tiempo. Es posible para ti viaje juntos en velero se tu estas intersado no se exactemente para cual quier cosa es posible. Mandarme mensaje. Nos vemos Katie

        Entiendes?

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