30 Things I love About Mexico
I wrote this for Mexico’s Independence Month, two years ago. Now that it’s September again, I pulled it out and think it’s still pretty accurate. What do YOU love about Mexico? Please share below.
I’ve only listed 30, but truth is, every day of my life in this wonderful country I’m surprised anew by the detallitos—the little details—that make life here so wonderful. So, in no particular order, here are some of my favorites:
1. Before walking out of a restaurant, complete strangers will say“¡Buen provecho!” (Bon appétit) to all who are enjoying a meal.
2. Serenades are alive and well. Especially on one of the most important festive days of the year over here…Mother’s Day! A country that is both musically-inclined AND loves their mom is wonderful to me.
3. I can take a 6-hour bus ride that includes movies, a stretch-your-legs-out comfy seat, WiFi, a sandwich, a bag of munchies and a bottle of water for under $40 dollars.
4. Agua Fresca! I particularly love jamaica, limon con hierba buena & pepino (cucumber) but not all together, please. I must add that drinking out of a baggie with a straw makes me feel 5 years old again
5. People still make things by hand—and beautifully. What is your favorite handmade Mexico item? I can’t name just one!
6. The Michelada (beer with lots of lime juice and tons of ice and a few other ingredients). Living by the ocean, this is one of my favorite drinks to have on a hot, sunny day with fresh seafood (and I’m not a beer person). Especially great with marlin tostadas.
7. Being asked to walk on the inside of the sidewalk when strolling with a anyone of the male persuasion, i.e. he is on the street side and protects the girl (me) from traffic with his own body. I like the idea of someone looking out for me and that is just one example of the chivalry I have experienced here.
8. The piñata!
9. Tacos al Pastor (anyone who’s ever had one will understand…)
10. Teenagers that still attend social events with their parents and don’t look like they’ve been forced. Or, to quote writer/friend Jane Onstott “multigenerational Mexico! Grandmas partying down at the neighborhood fiestas, little kids running around until midnight…”
11. Mercados, that’s ‘markets’ for the Mexico newbies. Thanks Mexico for your amazing, colorful, flavorful mercados.
12. I can call—or text, or email—my daughter’s pediatrician any time, day or night, and I get an immediate response with helpful, free advice. Even if it’s just to ask about something not so serious, which as a first-time mom I often do. I feel safe here on many levels and medicine is one of them.
13. I’d like to mention Chilaquiles! I know, I know, I may be mentioning food a bit too often on this list, but let’s face it amigos, Mexico is an amazing food destination.
14. Infinitely fascinating archeological sites. When I was a child, I use to say I wanted to be an archeologist when I grew up. Not sure I even knew what it implied (other than being allowed to be dirty and dusty most of the time) but it has stuck with me and on day 14 of my Mexico Charms list. It feels special living on such mystical ground.
15. This wasn’t my planned #15 but I just have to go with spontaneity… a charming, older Mexican woman (whom I’d love to have as my adoptive grandma) just walked into my office carrying a large plastic container filled with steaming, homemade Tamales de Mole. Need I say more?
16. Children in impeccable school uniform. No matter if private or public school. I love this, they all look so great.
17. The ever-amazing taco – in all its versions! Especially the right-off-the-sidewalk, smell-so-amazing stands that just put you in a trance. Usually, you can dine very well for under $10 dollars.
18. The spirit. The Mexican people’s ability to ‘dust themselves off and try again’ (thanks Aaliyah). It’s not a secret that it’s been a tough year here but I’m impressed with the smiles, light-heartedness and true perseverance I see in so many.
19. Service. Just went to purchase my morning coffee around the corner from my office. The experience provided me with today’s Mexico Charm! I love Mexico because so many Mexicans honestly, wholeheartedly, authentically, love to serve you. Not in a fake smile, “please pay me” sort of way. It’s a true “allow-me-to-help-you” sort of way.
20. The amount of “Mom & Pop” shops (or small, independently owned businesses) you can still find in this country. I love knowing exactly who I’m buying from and what family or community I’m supporting. Plus I love some of the quirkier concepts like one I know that is called Veterinaria y Misceláneo where they not only sell pet supplies but also handmade wooden guitars for children…
21. When at the Lucas de Galves market in Mérida, all the mestizas (the Mayan women who still proudly wear their personally embroidered hipil) selling their locally produced veggies, call me niña (little girl). At almost 60, this always feels good. Thanks for this one, Tina!
22. Within one hour of flying time I can go from a laid-back beach to one of the most vibrant cities in the world.
23. My local movie theater served homemade chocolate cake by the slice.
24. You can enjoy a whole meal in the different booths of a town plaza while supporting at least four different families.
25. That people never frown if you just show up at their house. They smile and feed you, no matter what the number.
26. I love a country that celebrates the radish (See Night of the Radishes in Oaxaca). But then again, I just love radishes.
27. The birthday song. Ok, maybe not exclusively Mexican but you have to love Las Mañanitas!
28. Mexico’s people pull up their sleeves and help each other out when in need.Neighbors, friends, family and even strangers are readily available to help others out. And most impressively, many times those that are helping the most are those that have very little to start with.
29. The entrepreneurial spirit you can find everywhere. In general people try here. They may fail, but they get over it quickly and try again. There is no fear of opening a business and they’ll attempt anything to make an honest living. Plus, the whole family (parents and children) help out.
30. In the 15 years that I’ve lived here, I’ve rarely been made to feel “imported”. In fact, I’ve been made to feel important, welcome and respected countless times.
Ok. so it’s 31! Colour! On my patio. Being able to live crayola-style makes me happy.
So that’s my own personal list, folks. Tell me what YOU love about Mexico. I’m sure I missed some great stuff.