The holiday season is a time for making lists. Wish lists, grocery lists, lists of presents you’ve bought and presents you haven’t, gifts to return and gifts to keep, New Year’s resolutions. The list goes on.
And, in my case, includes nonsense lists like “25 things I’ve learned from living in Mexico.” A list I wrote to avoid making resolutions that I knew I wouldn’t keep. Because, really, who’s going to give up churros in Mexico?
This is what I’ve learned so far.
1. Churros are best eaten without the guilt of a New Year’s resolution hanging over your head ...
2. … and in multiples, with a little chocolate on the top.
3. You can move far away from family, but you rarely move far away from Walmart.
4. “All malls are the same.” Or, as expressed in Mexico, “It shouldn’t be this hard to find an embroidered shirt.”
5. All tacos are not the same.
6. I really want a long, dark braid that hangs down my back. (This one made it onto my wish list too. Santa left a note, “Sorry, kid, too much thinning.)
7. If you travel to the United States for the holidays with a big suitcase full of presents, that suitcase, even when emptied of presents, will not be big enough for all the things you want to bring back from Trader Joe’s.
8. Which means you might as well eat the entire bag of coconut cashews while you write this list.
9. Which is one of the reasons that you feel less bloated in Mexico.
10. Another reason is that your “fitbit” goal of 10,000 daily steps is a whole lot easier to meet in balmy temperatures.
11. Kids are more influenced by nurture rather than nature. How else to explain the popularity of tamarind in Mexican gummy bears.
12. If you need to make a quick trip in and out of a Mexican market, it’s best to leave the blond, blue-eyed baby at home.
13. Gringo is not a derogatory word (or so they tell me).
14. Cucumbers are better on top of tacos than in vinegar. (With apologies to all midwesterners who brought cucumbers in vinegar to the holiday potluck.)
15. Little boys on both sides of the border share a common language. It’s called superheroes.
16. Their parents also share a common language. It’s called tequila. Or sometimes Corona.
17. If OXXO isn’t the Spanish word for monopoly, it should be.
18. Time magazine may disagree, but my vote for “Person of the Year” goes to the person who decided that every Spanish vowel should have only one sound.
19. The person who decided the sounds for the Spanish consonants J, H, V and R should have talked to the vowel person.
20. People who say they miss the changing seasons in Mexico didn’t spend their holidays in Illinois.
21. If you travel to the U.S. for the holidays and have already made a trip to Trader Joe’s, you need to erase the “trip to Target” from your “places to go” list.
22. If you don’t erase it from your list, you need to add “buy another suitcase at Target” to your “things to do” list.
23. There is always something new to learn in Mexico. Like what to do with all those ten cent peso coins.
24. I really need to make a longer list to do justice to Mexico.
25. Because there is indeed a place where you can wear sweaters and long pants in the morning and swimsuits in the afternoon. It’s called Guadalajara, and I’m lucky to call it “home” for however long.
Jeanne is a transplanted Illinoisian who arrived in Guadalajara hoping for siestas. She was sad to discover that siestas are a thing of the past, but is still finding lots to love about Mexico.