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Family differences


“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.”


–Desmond Tutu

As a Mexican and as a person, my family means everything to me.

Since I was a kid, I remember growing up in an environment surrounded by a big family.

This would include my mom’s parents, her brothers, their wives and kids and my grandparents brothers’s and sisters with their kids as well.

Therefore , whenever there was a family reunion it used to be a big “party”.

There was music, lots of food, alcohol and a little bit of drama.

I also remember that sometimes I used to hate when we used to stay in a party or family reunion way past midnight.

Sleeping on a couch or some chairs while my parents were still having fun.

Now, all that it’s over.

Asking to your mom if you can leave soon
Asking to your mom if you can leave soon

My grandparents are gone and I no longer live in Mexico.

Thankfully, I have my husband and his family.

But now that I’ve had the chance to spend time with my in-laws, I’ve realized how hard could be sometimes to be in an interracial marriage.

I love my husband and his family.

However, I can tell that the difference in our backgrounds has started to hit me.

Indeed, I’d say that I’ve started to feel a little bit nostalgic about those old times and celebrations with my family.

What’s different?

Spending time with my in-laws it’s always good but there are a few interactions that I’d say feel odd to me.

The family reunions are way smaller.

Growing up I got used to spending time with my mom’s side of the family. Therefore, I had a big family and my grand parent’s house was always full of visits.

On the contrary, my husband’s family it’s smaller. Just his mom, step dad and his grand parents.

Mexican families are big!!
Mexican families are big!!

The time spent it’s shorter.

I know that quality it’s more important that quantity.

But it doesn’t mean that you can have only quality in a short period of time.

My uncles used to visit my grand parents every weekend and the time that they used to spend together was long.

They used to play music, talk about family and friends, go out to eat and then come back to keep talking and during all this time they would been drinking beer or whiskey just because .

With my hubby’s family we just get together to have dinner, talk a little bit and maybe have a drink or two but that was it.

They don’t drink coffee!!!!!

Finally, one of the things that’s kinda hard for me is the fact that they don’t drink coffee.

On a daily basis I drink 2 to 3 cups of coffee and when my family used to gather together, in the evening they were always offering coffee to the guests and other family members and if feeling like to, my abuelo would send us to buy bread or a cake to the panaderia for everyone.

Anyway, all those good times in Mexico will always live in my memory and I’d try to adapt a little bit more to my new life and family because you never know how or cultural differences can impact us.

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Mother’s Day in Mexico

“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”


– Abraham Lincoln

Mother’s Day is one of the most important holidays in Mexico.

I would say in my opinion, is the second most important celebration, being Christmas the biggest one.

For Mexicans, the celebration of this day could be a big ritual as well as an exhausting task.

For this reason, I’ve decided to share with you a few facts about this day.

Facts about Mother’s Day in Mexico.

  • Mother’s Day it’s always on May 10th.
  • There’s no Mexican Mother that will forgive you if you forget to celebrate her on her day.
  • About 75% of Mexicans chose to give clothes and shoes to their moms.
  • 12% chooses flowers and chocolates.
  • Around 4% chooses appliances.
  • 9% of Mexicans rather give her money. I am part of this group hehe.
  • Most of the working moms get the day off.
  • The rest of the Mexicans might work for a few hours.
  • In schools, the kids would present songs, poetry, and dances to their moms as part of a festival.
Mother's Day Festival
Mother’s Day Festival at
Centro de Educación Especial Nora Quintana de Velázquez
  • There are always huge lines of people waiting at restaurants. (wait time could be between 1 to 4 hours depending on the restaurant).
  • The city feels “empty” because the traffic gets reduced by about 70 % in the evening.
  • Families gather together to have a big celebration.
  • Mother’s are everything for Mexicans.
  • We love our mother regardless of how strict they can be.
  • They always know what’s best for us.
  • In almost all the festivals, there’s going to be a group of kids that will sing “Señora Señora”- Denise de Kalafe
Madam Madam by Denise de Kalafe.

In conclusion, if you are a Mom, Happy Mother’s Day!!. If you still have your mom, I wish her a wonderful day, and if your mom is no longer within us, I am sure she is looking after you.

Happy Mother’s Day!!

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The truth behind Cinco de Mayo

“Despite Latinos’ best efforts to explain the true story behind Cinco de Mayo, it seems nothing will stop fraternities and the general American public from turning the holiday into an excuse to get turnt up. But we refuse to surrender!” — Carolina Moreno

Since I moved to the USA back in 2013 I realized that a lot of Americans celebrate May 5th better known as Cinco de Mayo.

At the beginning I didn’t care a lot but then everything started to be weird because people used to tell me ” Happy Cinco de Mayo”

Of course , I didn’t know how to react or what to say other than thank you.

This is because Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s independence Day.

That’s on September 16th.

Hence, there’s not really a holiday that it’s celebrated in Mexico.

Facts about Cinco de Mayo

  • The Battle of Puebla was an armed conflict between the Mexican and French Army on May 5th of 1862 near the city of Puebla.
  • The root cause was that Mexico stopped the payments on foreign debts.
  • The Tripartite Alliance formed by Spain, France, and Britain invaded Mexico in 1861.
  • The Alliance fell apart when France wanted to impose harsh demands to the Mexican Government.
  • The French wanted to create a monarchy in Mexico.
  • The French army was confronted and stopped in Puebla by the Mexican Army.
  • The battle delayed the French intervention for about a year.
  • The French won the second battle of Puebla on May 17th of 1863.
  • Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Austria became Mexico’s new emperor.
  • This “holiday” it’s only celebrated in the city of Puebla.
Maximilian I of Mexico
Maximilian I of Mexico

Do’s and Don’ts about Cinco de Mayo

  • Don’t say “Happy Cinco de Mayo” – It’s not independence day.
  • Do enjoy Mexican food.
  • Do drink margaritas.
  • Don’t wear a fake mustache.
  • Do dance.
  • Don’t say Cinco de Drinko.
  • Do not get “accessories” from party city.
  • And an essential one, do enjoy the party like any other Mexican would!!.
Cinco de Mayo celebration
Cinco de Mayo celebration. Photo from
http://tinosvallarta.com/

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Easter in Mexico

“Easter is meant to be a symbol of hope, renewal, and new life.”
– Janine di Giovanni

In Mexico, Easter is one of the most important weeks of the year for the whole country.

First of all, the kids from all ages until 9th grade get to enjoy two weeks off school.

Second of all, some parents might take the whole family to the nearest beach, making Acapulco and Ixtapa the most visited places in the country during the season.

Easter in Acapulco, Guerrero Mexico
Easter in Acapulco, Guerrero Mexico. Photo from Frases Acapulqueñas

Although, there are also people that decide to stay in the city and enjoy the “emptiness of it”.

Finally, Easter better known as Holy Week in Mexico is one of the most traditional and important weeks for the Catholic church.

Easter as a Catholic

While for most of the people that I know Easter was more about vacationing and having fun, for me was something else.

Every year, my family and I used to follow the traditions that the Catholic church said that we had to follow.

During that week, we used to go to the church to observe the week where Jesus Christ died to save us.

The Schedule:

Palm Sunday (Sunday before Easter): On this day, we used to go to church wearing something red, and we were asked to buy palm branches that were shaped like crosses. All this, to commemorate the triumphant entrance of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem.

Palm Sunday in Mexico

Maundy Thursday: Also called as the day of Love by my church. It was the day of the week where we all had to go to the church wearing light colors. This is the day that we observe the last supper.

Good Friday: The day would begin fasting until noon. After that, when the clock stroked 3:00 pm we had to pray (3:00 pm was the time when Jesus died). And Finally, we would go that evening to the church to pray and to mourn the death of Jesus.

Easter pageant
Easter pageant
Photo credit: Pulso DF

Holly Saturday: Also known as the day of the new fire. it’s the last day of the Holy Week that we had to go to the church. The service used to start with a fire and the lighting of the new Paschal candle. We would also pray, sing and commemorate the resurrection of Jesus.

Easter Sunday: This was just a regular day for me. As we went to mass the evening before, that counted as going to mass on Sunday. Hence, the only thing that I really used to do was to watch Easter movies.

At last, after living for so many years going to the church and following the traditions that I was asked to follow, I am happy that I no longer have to do it.

I believe if you do something, it has to be out of love instead of out of imposition.

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Traditional Crispy Chicken Tacos Recipe

“Yesterday I really wanted tacos. Today, I’m eating tacos. Follow your dreams.” – Borracha Mexican Cantina.

Tacos are one of the most representative dishes of the Mexican Culture.

But in the USA, the mix with the TEX-MEX food has created the impression that all the tacos are made with a hard corn shelf and that it always has “Mexican Cheese” on it.

The reality it’s something different and there are too many ways and options to make tacos.

Today I want to share a traditional recipe that I learned from my mom and that it’s not only easy to make but also it’s good for everyone!

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breast (about 2 lbs).
  • 2 tbsp of Minced garlic.
  • 1/2 small white onion.
  • Salt.
  • Corn tortillas.
  • Cooking oil.
  • Sour cream.
  • Queso Fresco.
  • Shredded lettuce.
  • Avocado.

Directions:

  1. First, you need to cook the chicken to put in a pot the raw chicken, garlic, onion, and salt up to taste and enough water to cover the chicken.
  2. Boil the chicken for about 40 minutes.
  3. Once the chicken is fully cooked, let it cool down in a bowl.
  4. Shred the chicken.
  5. Start warming up your tortillas so you can roll them.
  6. In a separate pan, pour some of the cooking oil and turn the heat up to medium.
  7. On the tortillas put some of the chicken and roll it.
  8. Keep doing it until you run out of chicken.
  9. Once the oil it’s hot enough, star frying the rolled tacos carefully (hot oil can be dangerous).
  10. Fry the tacos for about 2 minutes or until they turn gold.
  11. Set the tacos aside on a paper towel if you want to remove excess of oil.
  12. Serve the tacos on a plate and garnish with the lettuce, sour cream, avocado, and queso fresco up to taste.
Crispy Chicken Tacos
Crispy Chicken Tacos

Enjoy!!

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Mexican dishes that Jon doesn’t want to try.

“I’m convinced that anyone who doesn’t like Mexican food is a psychopath.”
― Jim Gaffigan, Food: A Love Story

Now that we live in Omaha, NE, my chances to find more authentic Mexican dishes has increased a lot.

And as a good Mexican, I’ve been trying to teach to my gringo the deliciousness of my culture and it’s food and so far he has been doing great.

Just a little bit cautious on the spicy side.

But it doesn’t matter how good and appetizing some of the dishes are, he refuses to try my two of favorite dishes that I miss the most from Mexico.

Pancita (also called Menudo, mondongo or tripe) and lengua tacos better known as beef tongue tacos.

What it’s Pancita?

The Pancita or menudo it’s a traditional Mexican soup made with cow’s stomach.

The broth also contains some chili peppers, tomatoes, onion, and garlic.

On the other hand, this dish’s also known in Mexico as the best cure for a hangover and that’s why it’s mostly sold during the weekends.

Still, my gringo refuses to try it just because it’s tripe.

Mexican Menudo
Mexican Menudo by Mexico in my Kitchen

Beef tongue Tacos

Beef tongue tacos are a traditional Mexican dish that might sound weird at first, but it’s absolutely delicious!!.

The beef tongue well cooked it’s soft and almost falls apart (due to it’s high content in fat), and its taste like regular meat.

But for most of the people, including my hubby, it’s a pass.

Tacos de Lengua
Tacos de Lengua

Regardless of what he says, I still have hope for him and I trust that he is going to be willing to try them once we go to Mexico.

The Irish battalion that fought for Mexico.

The Mexican-American war was a conflict between the US and Mexico between 1846 and 1848.

The Saint Patrick’s battalion was a unit of mostly Irish immigrants who left the United States Army to fight for Mexico during this war.

John O’riley and The St. Patrick’s Battalion

The Saint Patrick’s Battalion was integrated by 175 Catholic Irish and some German immigrants as well as Canadians, English, French among others.

John O’riley was their leader.

O’riley was an Irish soldier in the British Army who emigrated to the United States and later on enlisted in the US Army.

Although as part of the US Army, the Irish were treated as inferiors and given dirty jobs as well as they were not allowed to profess their religion.

This caused the desertion of several Irish soldiers, mostly Catholics.

John O'Riley
John O’Riley

Mexico’s offerings to the Irish

After leaving the American army, the Irish decided to join the Mexican armed forces because they were offered money, land, and freedom to profess their religion.

However, the freedom to profess their religion was the biggest factor to make them join the Mexican army.

Although the Irish Catholics felt certain sympathy for mexico because as Ireland, Mexico was a poor Catholic country.

The battle of Churubusco and the after math of the war.

The battle of Churubusco was the Saint Patrick’s final battle.

When the Americans attacked on August 20, 1847, the San Patricios fought like demons.

However, they had to surrender when they ran out of ammunition.

Finally, the Irish soldiers that were captured by the Americans were executed.

In spite of that, now a days the memory of those brave soldiers remains.

A plaque with their names was added to the Plaza of San Jacinto in Mexico city.

Also, every year on March 17th and September 13th, the battalion is commemorated an celebrated by Mexicans.

The Saint Patrick Battalion Marker
The Saint Patrick Battalion Marker.
Photographer: J. Makali Bruton

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How to survive to the winter in Montana?

Montana is know by the locals to have only 2 seasons for the whole year.

In a regular place you would have, spring, summer, fall and winter.

But in Montana, Spring and Fall are almost not existent.

After living for over 5 years in Montana I realized that the weather there can be different from what I was used to.

Spring it’s mostly cold, with snowfall for most of the time and fall could still be warmer like Summer and then it could be really cold the next day without any warning.

On the other hand, when I first moved to Helena, MT from Mexico city I didn’t know what to expect for the winter.

I knew it would be cold, that there would be snow but I wasn’t sure how to get ready for it.

About two months before my first winter in Montana I started asking to the locals about the right gear and things to buy for someone that was not ready for that kind of weather.

The answers that I got were different because of course, some of them were used to the weather and they would mention one thing and the people that I used to work with, would say something different.

Finally, I went to Seattle to visit a friend and I ended up buying a lot of expensive stuff that now I know that it was useless.

Montana winter meme
Montana winter meme

Gear tips

  1. Bundle up – Instead of wearing a huge coat, better to bundle up. It will keep you warmer.
  2. Thermal underwear. You can get some special undergarment that will help you to stay warm.
  3. Special coat. Get a coat that has been designed to resist water, wind and keep you warm.
  4. Don’t wear too many layers. It might seem contradictory to my first point, but if you wear too many layers it’s gonna be sweaty and uncomfortable.
  5. Get comfy snow-boots. They would be your allies during the snowiest and coldests days.
  6. Gloves. The thickness will depend on how much time you are going to spend outside.
  7. Hand Warmers. They are going to be your allies in case you can’t handle the cold.
  8. Use a neck warmer. Keeping your neck covered will keep better the heat of your body.
  9. Snow Pants. You would need them only if you are going to ski or to walk by a big pile of snow.

Survival tips

  1. Stay hydrated. Drink a good amount of water because the use of heating systems will dehydrate you.
  2. Tea. Tea will keep you warm and hydrated.
  3. Don’t drink too much coffee. It can cause dehydration.
  4. Eat comfort food. Your body will need the calories.
  5. Have a winter survival kit in your vehicle.
  6. Eat food that has more fat. It will help to keep your body temperature.

Finally, enjoy the weather and the beauty of it because it’s a wonderful experience!!

Us in the winter of 2015
Us in the winter of 2015

Valentine’s Day in a new city.

Valentine’s Day it’s a holiday that I always look forward to celebrating with my hubby, but since we became parents, things have changed a little bit.

Last year, for example, we went out to celebrate to our favorite restaurant in Great Falls, MT and we took our baby girl with us. It was a family date!!.

Valentine's Day Family Date

Valentine’s Day Family Date

Ready for our date !

This year things have changed a lot!!.

We left Montana last November and moved to my hubby’s hometown, Omaha, NE.

In addition to it, I had to be on call at work

As a result, this year we’ve decided to stay home on Valentine’s Day and postpone our celebration.

We agreed that we will be celebrating Valentine’s Day on the following Saturday and that his mom could help us to babysit our little girl!


Our Valentine’s Day traditions:

Now that I think about it, I believe that our dating style and traditions are pretty basic and the only things that we usually do to celebrate Valentine’s Day it’s:

– Go to the movie theater

– Go out to have a special dinner

Sometimes being married or in a relationship with someone that has a completely different background than yours could be complicated.

Although my hubby has his own special way to let me know that he loves me.

Valentine's Day flowers
Valentine’s Day Flowers

Sometimes he would get me flowers out of nowhere or buy me something for a special occasion (my birthday, Christmas, etc).

But what it always says that he loves me regardless if it’s a special occasion or not, it’s the way that he takes care of me and our baby girl and that’s a gift that not everyone can give.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!!

Mexican Burnt Salsa recipe

A good salsa is one of the most basic and common toppings in any Mexican household and ours is not the exception!!

Below is the recipe of a burnt salsa that my husband found and that he loves to make for everyone.

Ingredients

For a small batch of this delicious burnt salsa you will need:

  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 serrano pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro
  • sea salt
Fresh tomatoes on the comal
Fresh tomatoes on the comal

Preparation

  • First of all you need to wash all your fresh ingredients.
  • Set your burner on medium and let your  comal heat.
  • Once the comal is hot enough, put the tomatoes, serrano pepper, and the onion on it and cook them until everything it’s “burned” a little bit.
Roasted ingredients
Roasted ingredients
  • Set it aside and let it cool down.
  • Remove the steam from the serrano pepper, the root from the onion (if it has it) and place it in the blender along with the cilantro and sea salt to taste.

Note: Do not remove the burned parts!! You don’t wanna loose all the flavor!!

Getting ready to blend the veggies!
Getting ready to blend the veggies!
  • Blend it and let it cool down.

Serve the salsa and enjoy it!!!.

You can use tortilla chips to eat it or add it as topping to any food.

The salsa is ready!!
The salsa is ready!!

Total cooking time: 1 hr.

Note: I am not sure that this is s traditional salsa because we Mexicans have too many salsas.

Although this is something that my gringo found in the internet and that he enjoys making for us.