When we went to Guadalajara I really didn’t know what to expect. Some close family friends are from there originally and after some research I found it to be akin to Austin. Guadalajara is a city full of artists, poets, musicians, skateboarders, and tattoo shops on every corner.
I can say without a doubt that it was not what I was expecting.
For the first time in my life I felt as though I fit in somewhere. No one asked where I was from (although Shaun got a few questions) and when I did pipe in to say we were from Austin I would get surprised looks that I wasn’t from Guadalajara, Mexico and that I spoke English.
I have NEVER experienced that before. Growing up in El Paso I was always too white to be Mexican and in Austin, I was just confusing looking to most people. People in Mexico can peg that I am Latina. While I have no intention on living there, you have no clue how good that feels. I have never fit in anywhere. I was accepted as part of the community – tattoos and all.
One of my favorite things about our Guadalajara Holidays was how art was so out in the open. Not only was the graffiti fantastic, but the mercados full of artisans left my mouth watering. We almost spent way too much money on a mask when we realized we really don’t have a house to send it to, nor put it up in. I wanted to take everything home.
I found little knick knacks that my grandparents had given to me as a kid that I never knew were from Mexico. Handmade beaded rings, small plates and mugs made of clay for my Barbies… worry dolls. It all brought back a flood of emotion that I had somehow repressed.
In the mercado I took a step back to fully appreciate not only my heritage, but thank my parents and grandparents for all the little toys that molded me and helped create an identity with my culture.
One night we found ourselves roaming one of the major streets (they had art stalls set up in the middle median) and stumbled upon this wonderful crepe place (Nutella and bananas for the win!). While chatting with one of the workers I found out that he had been brought up in Juarez, Mexico while I was brought up in El Paso, Texas, it’s neighboring city. We were reminiscing on how different border Spanish was to the rest of Mexico. While I thought I knew Spanish, I didn’t realize that I really spoke Spanglish. Words like carro (coche/car), wienie (salchicha/hot dog), trucka (camion/truck), soda (refresco/soda) were spilling out of our mouths like giddy 16 year olds talking about the newest cool band.
I am learning so much about my heritage and I am so glad to be in Mexico. I have a feeling it will be incredibly hard to leave.
Disclosure: The link in this post is sponsored.