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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.

For example:

  • 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.

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.

U.S.Mexican-flags-91818-848x450

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.

Finally, we also submitted the following documents:

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.

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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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