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Is the word Gringo offensive??

As Mexicans, we tend to give nicknames to everyone and to pretty much anything. It’s part of our culture and our way of having fun.

But since I moved to the USA, I’ve noticed that some people will get offended by that word and I want to try to explain its roots since I think no one really knows from where it came from.

Usually, in Mexico, the use of the word gringo indicates that the person or group of people that we are talking about was born in the USA without indicating, race, ethnicity or in a way to offend anyone.

Possible origin

There’s no clear origin for the word gringo, but its believed that could have been one of the following situations:

  • Battle of The Alamo, Texas (1836). The Mexicans were shouting out to the US soldiers to leave by using the words: GREEN GO!!. It was believed that the US soldiers were wearing green uniforms (they were really wearing blue uniforms). But the word gringo still remained as part of the Mexican language.
  • US-Mexico war (1845-1847) It was told that the US soldiers were singing the song “Green Grow the Lilacs” and the word gringo was the result of the deformation of the language.
  • Finally, also during the war between Mexico and the US, it was told that the US battalions were identified by different color names and when it was their turn to attack, their commander will say the color name plus the word go to. Hence, when someone heard the order: GREEN GO! , they thought it was a way to name that group of soldiers without knowing that it was the battalions color id.

In the end, regardless of how the word gringo was born, as I mentioned it before, it has no intention what so ever to insult or offend anyone in any way. We Mexicans say it just because and I think we should better stop being offended by everything.

Peace and Love!!!

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Why I haven’t been blogging lately?

A few months ago when I decided to create this blog, I think I forgot to mention that I was a stay at home mom to a 1-year-old baby girl and that my husband, Jon, was the only working to provide for our family.

Now, that has changed. I got a job in a new town and we moved from Great Falls, MT to my husband’s hometown, Omaha, NE. And of course, that’s a huge change for anyone.

So now, I am the one that goes to work every day, and Jon stays at home with our child. Therefore, by the time that I make it back home, I just want to spend time with them and to try to relax before we start Astrid’s bedtime routine.

So now, after the adjustment period, I will try to make the effort to write more content and I hope you like it!!.

Cultural differences and Marriage

When I first started dating my husband, I didn’t think a lot about our cultural differences. Sure some of them were pretty obvious, like the fact that I love to dance to music like salsa, cumbia, and merengue and he’s more of a country boy. But it wasn’t something that wouldn’t let me sleep at night.

In fact, those little differences were something exciting because it was something new, and the fact that we met in Montana didn’t make those differences that obvious because the amount of Hispanic population is really low so I had to adapt in order for me to “survive”.

Our wedding
Our Wedding Day

So now, after being together for 4 years and having our first child, we’ve realized that our cultural differences have a certain impact on our marriage. Is not necessarily a bad impact, but the two of us had to change or compromise for certain things that probably if we had married to someone from our same culture, we wouldn’t’ have done.

The first thing that we had to adapt to was food. Everything related to the kind of food that we used to eat by ourselves and the time of the day that we used to do it has changed.

Things that changed for us

  • Our breakfast got heavier (not as heavy as brunch but we eat a good amount of food). In Mexico I was used to having a heavier breakfast because for us, breakfast is the most important meal for the day and here in the USA, I noticed that people tend to skip it. So we found an amount of food that would work for the two of us without overeating or feel hungry after eating breakfast.
  • Dinner time starts later. In the USA, dinner time starts at 4 pm ( I guess because in most of the places they give you a huge amount of food that includes either soup or salad and your main course ) but  again, we had to adjust because for me dinner was the lightest meal of the day and would start around 6 or 7 pm.  So we both compromised with the amount of food again and now due to Jon’s work, we eat dinner around 8 pm.
  • We celebrate more holidays. Mexico has about 16 statutory holidays (plus over 30 observances ) during the year, and the US has about 12 federal holidays.  When we got married, we decided that we would celebrate those holidays that we liked the most and that we would have a family that will try to keep as many traditions from both sides as possible.
  • Language barrier.  My family and I are Spanish native speakers and my husband and his family only speak English. Hence, that’s something that affected us a little bit because most of the time I would have to be there with all the family to be the interpreter. Now, things haven’t changed a lot but at least Jon is able to understand a little bit more Spanish and that’s really good.
  • Relationship with our parents. The relationship that I have with my mom it’s pretty close, I talk to her every day over WhatsApp or Facebook and Jon talks to his parents as much as he considers it’s enough (about a couple times a month maybe).

After all, each relationship regardless of cultural differences needs love, comprehension, friendship,  complicity, and compromise if you really want it to work.

It won’t be easy, but it’s worth it.

Peace and Love!!

Mexican folklore: The Day of the Dead

“We are mortal because we are made out of time and history. But there are instant exits through the culture that are a poetic act, which dissolves time, to escape from history and death. – Octavio Paz.”

The Mexican tradition of the Day of the Dead has recently become more popular after a couple movies were released within the past 2 years.

Sadly, movies don’t tell the whole story behind the tradition and just showed us a little part of it.

First of all, the Day of the Dead is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd and recently I’ve seen some posts that mention that the celebration starts even earlier and the rituals and meanings per day go as follows:

  • October 28th – On this day, a white candle is lit along with a white flower to welcome the souls that are alone.
  • October 29th – Another candle is lit along with a glass of water, to honor the forgotten souls.
  • October 30th – A new candle is lit beside a glass of water and white bread for those souls that died in an accident.
  • October 31st – A new candle is lit along with a glass of water, another white bread, and a fruit. This is for our ancestors.
  • November 1st – Better know as “All Saints Day” is the night when the soul of those kids that died come back to visit us. Here is when we put the food in the ofrenda.
  •  November 2nd – Day of the Dead. Is the day where the souls of our loved ones come to visit us.  The Copal is burnt and a path of Cempasuchil petals is left to guide the souls of our loved ones to the ofrenda.
  • November 3rd – The last white candle is lit along with more Copal to say goodbye to the souls of our loved ones and we can eat the food that we used in the ofrenda.

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After all, regardless of how long the celebrations last,  the most important thing is to remember our loved ones because without them, we wouldn’t be here.

If you want to know more about how to build your ofrenda, you can check my post about it here.

Immigrating from Mexico to the US.

My immigration process.

It’s been a little bit over 5 years since I immigrated to the USA from my country, Mexico.

To be honest, I never thought that I would ever leave Mexico, I was really happy there, I had a good job as an IT professional, my whole family was there, I wasn’t rich but I had all that I needed.

But everything changed when at work I got assigned to a project in Helena, MT. Hence my employer had to sponsor my for a TN visa because I had never gotten a work visa for the USA before.

After a couple of years in the USA, I met my now husband and we decided to get married in the winter of 2015. Of course, we had to do a lot of investigation in order for me to get all my paperwork.

Finally, we found a lawyer in Helena, MT who helped us and guided us during the entire process. My husband and I had to apply for what is called an Adjustment of Status (I-485).

Along with the Adjustment of Status form, we also submitted the Petition for Alien Relative (I-130) to establish my relationship with my husband due to my Green Card process was based on my marriage to a US Citizen who was considered my sponsor.

Documents that we submitted:

Along with all the mentioned forms, we also attached to the applications other documents like tax returns, W-2, medical checkup records provided by an authorized institution, our marriage license, birth certificates, my passport, I-94, previous TN visa stamps and a letter from our lawyer.

About 2 months after submitting my application, I got a letter from the USCIS department with my appointment schedule for Biometrics and after 3 months of submitting my application, I got the notice with the schedule for my interview. (I guess for Montana the processing time is shorter).

When it was the time for our interview, my husband and I showed up at the USCIS office along with our lawyer and we took with us documents that will prove that our marriage was a bonafide marriage.

The interview was pretty short and easy and at the end of it, we got notified that I was approved for my Green Card and after about 3 weeks or so I got it on the mail.

Sadly, at that time as my marriage was too recent, I got approved only for a Conditional Permanent Residence and after 2 years I would have to apply to remove that condition in order to get my residence.

Now, I am in the middle of the process to remove such condition but that would be another post.

Note: If you want to check the average timeline for this process you can do it visiting this link.

Celebrating Valentine’s Day in a new city.

Valentine’s Day it’s a holiday that I always look forward to celebrating with my gringo 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!!.

Ready for our date

But 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 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 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.

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

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

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.

“Burned”

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!!

Roasted veggies!

Blend it and let it cool down.

Serve the salsa and enjoy it!!!

The salsa is ready!!

Total cooking time: 1 hr

Why we left Montana?

Montana for me is the most beautiful US state that I’ve ever seen and that I’ve ever had the chance to live in, and at some point, we would like to go back there.

Montana has the most beautiful and stunning landscapes that you could ever imagine.

It’s also the perfect state to live in if you love the outdoors.

The number of outdoor activities that you can do there it’s insane.

Going from the most simple ones like hiking, to the wildest ones like hunting and skiing during the winter.

Rainbow Dam , Great Falls, MT. Photo By Me: @miriam_bade_photography

Montana was kinda our paradise but sadly for our little family, it didn’t have the job offer that we needed.

I was a Software Developer and Jon is an Air Force Veteran.

When I got pregnant, I knew I had to leave my job since I had to travel a lot for work.

Air photo of Bismarck, ND that I took on one of my flights back to Montana.

Our decision

After struggling for over a year, we decided that the amount of money that we were making wasn’t enough to cover all our expenses and most of the time, we had to ask for help.

As a result, we agreed that I would get a job and that Jon would stay at home taking care of our daughter while pursuing his career.

Finally, after a lot of interviews and a lot of work trying to refresh my programming knowledge, I was able to get a job in Omaha, NE.

We chose to move to Omaha,NE because Jon’s family is here.

Therefore, the change would help us not only to have a better life but also to keep us closer to his family.

I am sure, that one day we will be back in our loved Montana.

Peace and Love!!!