My Mexican Family “Rocks”
I have two brothers here in my time studying in Mexico who both enjoy blasting the hard rock favorites of my tween years. All the time that I thought ACDC was dead they were actually just moving their fan base to Mexico. There’s even a radio station named “station ACDC,” which I’ve been lucky enough to catch at the gym a couple of times.
My host mother also loves music, but prefers songs she can sing along to. And she does, unashamedly and often. One night I returned to my house to find a karaoke party going on in my garage—apparently a voice lesson that was too good to wrap up early.
I find my host family, head-banging/singing or not, to be endearing. Although my host brothers go to a school that according to my host mother is famous for being hard “like Harvard” and are therefore often busy doing homework, we still find time to fake-fight karate style at least once a day. It’s an interesting way to cross the language barrier, but also strangely appropriate given all of the hard rock pulsating from my house.
My host mother loves to teach me almost as much as she loves to sing. The chosen subjects are Spanish and cooking. Spanish lessons are constant. Cooking lessons are every Friday. She is Yucatacan, I am gringa, and therefore she calls anything we create in the kitchen Yuca-gringa cuisine. The first cooking lesson was pollo pibil: chicken marinated in a Yucatacan red spice and cooked in a banana leaf. The latest lesson was lasagna.
On Sundays, the whole WHOLE family gets together. Usually these Sunday reunions go something like this:
We arrive. There’s a table in the center of the gathering that is overflowing with potato chips and coca cola. Around this table are about 20 chatting happy Mexicans (and one uncle from Italy). Around these chatting happy Mexicans are about 10 happy Mexican children running in circles. My host family and I add to the happy chaos by orbiting the entire table to deliver besitos (little kisses of greeting) to every relative, whether we (I) remember their names or not. It’s kind of like a solar system.
But I have to love a solar system that kisses extranjeras that it hardly knows (that’s right, I’m now completely fluent in Spanglish). I’m amazed at how I’ve been embraced, both literally and in a larger sense, by my Mexican family. They suffer through my bad Spanish (but perfect Spanglish) and I suffer through their hard rock, and all is well in the galaxy.