Fiesta vs Fest

Welcome to my big, fat Mexican life, everyone! I have been thinking about starting this blog for years, from the very first moment I uttered the words, “Can you believe my Mexican life?  I wish everyone could see this.”  I am excited to finally be putting these stories of our cross-cultural life to paper (oops! revealed my age there – who writes on paper anymore?).

Jorge is mi marito (husband), mi guapo (handsome), mi Latin love.  He’s from Veracruz, Mexico, a world away. We met in 2011 while salsa dancing in Milwaukee, and my, oh my, did my life change from there!  I’m sure throughout my posts you’ll get a history of our relationship, but the general timeline is this: we danced (poorly), we danced (better), we danced (pretty well!), we started a hobby farm, we danced, we got married, we had our beautiful baby Camila Sofia, and we celebrated our wedding with our not-so-first dance(s). When I think about my life before and my life now, the best way I can explain the change is that I feel now like I’m living in TECHNICOLOR (is that also showing my age?). For the good and bad, everything has been more vibrant, passionate, and a little bit crazy.I realized early on that my non-Latino friends and family were very amused by all my stories of Mexican culture coloring my life.  I also realized that my Latino friends and Mexican family were equally amused by how I interpreted their culture. My hope is that people on all sides of the cultural fusion will find this blog interesting and funny. I will share anecdotes from my daily life, from stories I have amassed in the five years I’ve known and loved Jorge, and some fun recipes too.  Be warned that food often plays a role in my stories. But who doesn’t like good Mexican food?

To kick this off, I played through the many stories and anecdotes that ever made me utter, “This is my big, fat Mexican life.”  I have sooo many – un monton! But I thought the Fiesta/Fest dichotomy was a good one to set up my life.

I’m half German, and my dad was 100% German and incredibly proud of that. In fact, with his influence, I spent eight years learning German, one year studying abroad in Germany, and a lifetime of choosing German as my foreign language. Ich liebe Deutsch! But as it turns out, Spanish would have been more useful… anyway, I grew up going to German Fest every year.  I had a German dirndl by age 3 (see the adult version I’m wearing in these photos). So now, Jorge gets to play German and dress up with me when we go to German Fest. We drink German beer in huge steins and dance polka. I get my Knoedel and Rotkohl. He orders a brat and beer (did I mention the German beer?). We celebrate my German, totally European heritage with countless rounds of “Zicke, zacke, zicke, zacke, hoi, hoi, hoi! Eins, zwei, drei, g’suffa!”  This year German Fest was the last weekend in July.

A few weeks later, we spent the weekend at Mexican Fiesta. Tables were turned, and I got to play Mexican with my futbol jersey and baby clad in handmade-by-her-Mexican-abuela green dress and red, white, and green hair bow. We listened to cumbia, merenge, banda, mariachi, nortena, etc.  We ate tacos and corn. Oh, the Mexican corn! Que rico!!!  Corn in a cup, smothered in mayo or crema and crumbly cheese, cotija I think. Then add chili powder, and of course, sal y limon (you put this on everything). You’ll be amazed how much mayo shows up in Mexican food. I thought of it as a sandwich condiment but no. Mexicans love their mayonnaise! I digress. We watched as the ballet folklorico danced huapango, and my husband’s feet couldn’t help but stomp and kick along. We heard the gritos (traditional cries of passion by listeners of Mexican music – or however you really define them) of many people excited by the songs booming from the stages. Jorge has a great grito, by the way! We celebrated his Mexican heritage and shared it with our little mestiza (half caucasian, half Mexican). To prove how far I’ve come, I now know to end this paragraph with “Viva Mexico!” instead of “Viva la Mexico!” which is what I thought you said when Jorge and I started dating. After much laughing, I realized that probably wasn’t correct.

corn
She’s eating the Mexican corn!

This little exercise of going to German Fest and Mexican Fiesta every year is such a great example of how we live our life. We live at the fusion point of cultures – language, music, dance, food, movies, tv, gender expectations, holiday celebrations, etc. Sometimes our differences drive us crazy, I won’t lie. But mostly, the differences allow for interesting and hilarious daily life. You’ll see.

Side note: My posts won’t all be this long, but I had to set up the blog a bit.

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