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I received an email today from someone in Monterrey. She came to me through an inquiry unrelated and as I recognized she was ironically in the Medical Profession in Monterrey Mexico I suggested she read yesterday’s post. In her email to me today she commented “I saw your blog and took an eye on your web page again. I think it is very good, It gives plenty of very useful infromation for people that come to Mexico and what makes it more attractive is that you talk about Mexico in a very nice way, as if your are really proud of it, as if you love Mexico.”
It occurred to me that giving a timeline of my life as it relates to Mexico and the Latin American culture might bring my readers closer to understanding my passion and drive behind the words I write and the topics I choose.
I am not by any stretch of the imagination Hispanic in any way, shape or form, except in my heart. I have always laughed that while I appear caucasion “mi Corazon es puro latina!” Translated, my heart is pure Latin. My mother, a German, Polish mix, and my father an English, Scottish mix, left me with the mix of a predominantly pale complexion and no trace of a good tan anywhere. What my parents did do for me, for which I will forever be grateful, was hire a woman from San Salvador, who didn’t speak a lick of English, to oversee my care and well being six weeks into my arrival and retaining her until I was 18 years old. This woman, my “Noelia” was my caregiver, singing to me about the “pollitos” and feeding me home made tortillas. The sound of hands slapping congealing corn flour, grease and water is the sound of childhood and the smell of them frying is a child song for me. I was raised in her little room at the bottom of the stairs, watching her iron endless piles of clothes and tuning in to the 13 inch black and white zenith television with funny rabbit ears of foil to catch “I LOVE LUCY” and I can guarantee you, I was the only kid on my block who understood Ricky Ricardo.
Being the youngest child, and a 5 year difference between myself and my sister, with a doting caregiver who knew what I wanted before I wanted it, in a household of several languages, Spanish, English and German, I didn’t have a need to ever say much of anything. I just needed to point and grunt and it magically materialized, no matter what “it” was. My parents, concerned by age three, that I wasn’t really speaking on track with the other kids, began to be concerned with the functionality of my brain and questioned half in jest, whole in earnest, if I might be a bit “slow” or challenged. While the motor skills were all well developed, I lacked language skills, until the day I opened my mouth and spoke…in Spanish.
I ended up taking Spanish in school just to maintain a passing GPA.
When I went away to school in Arizona sophomore year of High School, I was told I would have a
“student experience” and one day I found myself in a small town in the middle of the state of Sonora, Mexico. I was dropped in the middle of nowhere, after three days of driving, with the words of my advisor “don’t worry, you will be fine, you speak the language!” I was left in a little town, with dirt roads, and chickens and dogs running loose in the street, to live in a two bedroom casita, owned by the most affluent family in town, and their 6 children. I fell in love. I rode a horse, milked a cow and went to the big city (Hermosillo) down one lane roads in a rusty old truck and endured some slow treks behind crossing burros. I slept in the same bed as two other “sisters”, and I went to the “tienda” every afternoon to get an ice cream for the sit on the plaza and the afternoon town gossip session. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I was in love with Mexico.
When I was 19, my parents introduced me to a man who was on his way into something relatively new in travel and tourism. He was getting into the newest and greatest idea, “Timeshares”. He learned that I spoke Spanish fluently and thought me a decent girl and offered me a job in an exotic place called “Cancun”. I didn’t need to be asked twice, it was in Mexico, on the beach and I was going.
In the end the job fell through, and instead I got married and started having children. I hired a nanny to help me care for the children, from Mexico, and like myself, my children were raised with dual languages. “Mama Chuey” as we came to call her, was an apple doll of a woman, who fed them “huevos y chili’s” sang them traditional songs of the “pollitos” and made them handmade tortillas made of corn flour and love. When it came time for school, I enrolled them into the latest and greatest Charter School, in which the children, blonde, fair and blue eyed, would be completely immersed into a Spanish Language based education and I relished in the fact that they too would have this great advantage and come to know and love the culture I was so akin to.
Univision Television came knocking at my career door one day. I took the job. Sales in Advertising in the Hispanic Market, and it was here I began to understand the business diplomacy of Latin Americans, and the time and energy and love poured into relationships, be it family, friends, or business, they were all the same in this culture. These relationships and my success could only be built on trust, credibility, and values over time and commitment and loyalty.
Realizing that while I loved the job, I did not fit the mold of the public image required to work in the industry, I returned to the industry from which I had been recruited in the first place, Relocation. It was here that I formed my own third party company and began to specialize in International relocations catering to the baby boomers moving south of the border for a retirement of paradise and affordability. The brainchild of this operation came on the heels of a call from my parents, who got in their car one day in Carson City, Nevada and went for a drive, and called me 6 weeks later to inform me that I would need to figure out my own thanksgiving turkey, they had arrived in Mazatlan, Mexico and they were staying. Indefinitely and by the way, could I possibly help them figure out how to get some of their things moved down to them?
When that business venture met its goals, having been written up in glowing reviews in publications, and forums for my dedication and commitment and understanding of the industry and the cross culture diplomacy necessary to ensure everything arrived to its final destination in Mexico intact and complete, I was recruited to work for a company that specialized in Luxury Villa Vacations in Cabo San Lucas Mexico. It was there I learned some difficult lessons about the bias that exists among the wealthy elite, and the incredible tolerance of the Mexican for service. It was there that I discovered not everyone was like minded in the idea and principal that all men are created equal and I was put to the test over and over, to navigate the relationships of cross culture, and conflict resolution.
My entire life has been about a purpose from God. Some call it Universe. Some call it God. Some call it Karma, and others call it coincidence. For me, I call it FAITH. God has directed the walk and I have been called to navigate the path. I love Mexico. I am appalled at those who are ignorant and arrogant enough to believe that the color of their skin or the side of the border on which they reside makes them superior and more intelligent. I am always astounded to learn that phrases such as “those Mexicans” are used in derogatory manner in this day and age and in today’s society. I am embarrassed by those who would think themselves more effective and successful in their professional endeavors because they sit on this side of the border, and I am ashamed to be in company of those who cannot respect nor attempt to understand the cultures and beauty and sheer goodness that exists in a country so close to us.
Some companies derive their income based on the economy of the country of Mexico and continue to disrespect them as a whole, as though it is they who are doing them a favor, when in fact it is the other way around.
Yes, I love Mexico. My heart is in Mexico. My home is in Mexico. My friends are in Mexico. They come from every imaginable background. They come from pueblo’s and they come from cities. They are educated at home, and they are educated by some of the best Universities in Mexico. Some are even educated here in the states and then return to Mexico to MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
My friends in Mexico, my family, as I love to call them, are honest, and honorable. They are brilliant and aspire to greatness. They are true, and loyal, and they would do anything for me, as I continue to prove that I would do anything for them. It is a way of life. It is built upon respect. It is built upon love. It is built upon a star that delivered my little soul to the genetic engineering of a Germanic, English gene pool, who gave me the greatest childhood and upbringing a child could ask for, they gave me the tools to discover that while the star might have dropped my soul into the body of someone south of our border, instead it was delivered into me, because by My God’s grand design, I was supposed to make a difference, one relationship and one life at a time.
I raised my children in this same ideal because I have always benefitted, my soul has always been nurtured with the understanding and love provided by the Latin Culture, and I wanted them to have the very same immeasurable gift my parents gave me.
There is a saying in Mexico, “if you don’t have money, it’s no problem, because in Mexico you always have friends”. It will be the byline of my life. This blogger has had a life that has included affluence and all the benefits of that, and this blogger has known a meager diet of cans of tuna and crackers, working three jobs to survive. But in Mexico, I always have friends. It is why I write this blog. To make a difference, change a perception and bring to light understanding and compassion in the very idea that every man is created equal regardless of the color of his skin, the language he speaks or the country from which he comes.