Culture

I Started Yearly Trips To Mexico With My White Husband So We Could Better Understand Each Other

Do you know how long it takes to drive from Southern California to Nayarit, Mexico? Approximately a day and a half. I know this because when I was a kid my family took that trip every year. I have such strong memories of those vacations; leaving our house around 4 a.m.; my mother packing up the car with an immense about of food; Los Bukis’ classics blasting on the radio; getting car sick and devouring Sal de Uvas. Most of all, it was just being together with my family, with no other choice but to remain a unit for the entire car ride until we arrived in my parent’s hometown of Jalcocotan. Now, we’re all grown adults, and those family trips are a thing of yesteryear. That’s why I have started taking my husband to Mexico every year to celebrate my culture, family and home country.

For the past couple of years, I’ve been slowly finding my way back to those memorable ventures by creating a whole new tradition — with my white husband.

Mexico has changed since I was a child. For as long as I could remember, the region where my family is from — Jalcocotan and Tepic — rarely experienced any kind of violence. Around 2009, however, a surge of shootings and murders occurred in the area and the increase in violence kept me away from my home country. Now that things seem to have gone back to normal, I’ve begun to go back and reignite the tradition once again.

I suppose, at the core of it, I miss that closeness I used to have with my family while we visited Mexico.

My siblings and I rarely fought, and neither did my parents. We just seemed to always get along and have so much fun while we vacationed. It’s like our day-to-day problems didn’t matter and simply faded away. So bringing my husband, Aaron, to Mexico, helps me get back to that place of nostalgia and a culture that I adore.

This time around I’m revisiting places I haven’t been to since I was a kid and seeing them in a whole new light, through my husband’s lens.

CREDIT: Courtesy of Araceli Cruz

I’m also discovering new beaches and towns that I never even know existed. It’s quite thrilling to experience memories as an adult and even more bizarre to share them with someone who is completely new to all of it.

The trips back are becoming a yearly occurrence again and this Christmas will be our third consecutive trip. For me, visiting my home country at the holidays is always so special.

Aaron knows a lot about my Mexican traditions like celebrating Day of the Dead and doing a bunch of crazy rituals on New Year’s Eve. He’s the tallest person at our family gatherings, so he was once asked to hold the piñata for all my nieces and nephews to hit. But that was in L.A. Celebrating Christmas in Mexico is going to be way different than anything we could do in the U.S.

There’s nothing quite like Noche Buena — Christmas Eve.

CREDIT: Instagram/@aliciadrc

I’m really looking forward to sharing our Mexican Christmas traditions with him such as drinking champurrado (perhaps spiked with tequila!), singing posadas, breaking piñatas, eating tamales and buñuelos, dancing all night and of course honoring el Niño Jesús.

Although I’m very proud my Mexican culture, I’ve also learned to incorporate Aaron’s traditions into my life as well.

He’s of German descent, born in eastern Iowa and raised in St. Louis. Suffice to say, our cultures aren’t the same. Aaron and I, have lived in North Carolina, and now we’re in Savannah, Georgia. So we’ve added some delightful Southern culinary traditions into our celebrations. For example, this past Thanksgiving we smoked our turkey. Sounds insane, right? But I’m here to tell you that Oprah did it too, so I don’t feel so weird now. Aaron’s family also has a Thanksgiving tradition of reading from William Bradford’s diary before they start the meal. This year we read Abraham Lincoln’s “Thanksgiving Proclamation” in which he declared Thanksgiving a national holiday. Not what I’m used to, but this cultural sharing has to go both ways or it doesn’t work.

To get us ready for our trip, I’ve created a really incredible playlist full of retro ’80s songs.

You’re invited to listen to it too! Enjoy!


READ: Latinos Are Some Of The Most Festive People And These Traditions Prove It

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Google Paid Tribute To Mariachi Music With A Doodle And Break Out The Mezcal Because It’s Gonna Give You Tears!

Things That Matter

Google Paid Tribute To Mariachi Music With A Doodle And Break Out The Mezcal Because It’s Gonna Give You Tears!

ULISES RUIZ / Getty

Mariachi is officially getting the search engine clout it deserves!

Google Doodle’s latest feature celebrates the musical genre of mariachi. As an ode to the anniversary of the week that UNESCO inscribed mariachi on its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The genre of Regional Mexican music goes back to the 18th century.

Google’s latest Doodle features an animated video of mariachi serenading.

Remote file
Google

Singing “Cielito Lindo,” which is a song that encaptures Mexican pride, the doodle features a band of mariachi members.

Together they sing the following lyrics”De la Sierra Morena/cielito lindo, vienen bajando/Un par de ojitos negros/cielito lindo, de contrabando/ Ay, ay, ay, ay/Canta y no llores/Porque cantando se alegran/cielito lindo, los corazones.”

The lyrics translate to “From the Sierra Morena/Lovely sweet one, is prancing down/A pair of little black eyes/Lovely sweet one, is sneaking by/ Ay, ay, ay, ay/Sing, don’t cry/Because singing makes rejoice/Lovely sweet one, our hearts.”

For the doodle, the mariachi band wears traditional trajes de charro (charro suits) while strumming the traditional instruments of the genre.

Plucking away at the guitarrón, vihuela, and violin, other members use a trumpet and harp. According to Newsweek, “The tradition of mariachi originated in west-central Mexico around the turn of the 19th century, though its exact origins are murky. The musical genre began as entirely instrumental, made up of the sounds of stringed instruments, before vocals and the trumpet were eventually added.”

No doubt Google’s latest Doodle has won over the hearts of various searchers.

“What a beautiful tribute… thank you!” one user wrote.

“The Google doodle for today is a tribute to mariachis & it’s a little video that plays cielito lindo I am not okay, cielito lindo is my favorite mariachi song, it’s too cute,” another commented while another user wrote “I was so shocked when I clicked on this last night. What a wonderful surprise.”

Sweetly, the doodle really seemed to hit home for so many. “The Google Doodle today nearly made me cry,” one very happy user noted. “It was so unexpected and made me miss home for the first time since I moved.”

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Here’s How You Can Make The Most Of A Virtual, Distanced Thanksgiving

Culture

Here’s How You Can Make The Most Of A Virtual, Distanced Thanksgiving

Solina Images / Getty Images

Thanksgiving this year is very different for families across the country. The standard family gatherings this year are giving way to safer distanced and virtual gatherings. Don’t worry. There are still ways to make this year’s Thanksgiving memorable.

This Thanksgiving is not going to be the same so make the most of it being virtual.

Credit: A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving / Lee Mendelson Film Productions

This year has been a very different year. This means that the holiday season will not be the same as year past. Family gatherings are going remote and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging Americans to stay where they are through the holidays as Covid spreads in the country. Thankfully, we live in the 21st century and technology is here to bridge the physical gap this holiday season. Here’s how you can make the most of a safe and wise Thanksgiving gathering.

First, create a Zoom link and send it to everyone you want to have with you on Thanksgiving.

Credit: Global Citizen / Giphy

You are already on Zoom all day every day thanks to working from home. We have all become used to our human interaction coming from a computer screen these days. Why should the holidays be any different? After all, it is all about keeping everyone safe so that you can all enjoy a bigger, more wonderful holiday season next year.

Next, share the recipes with everyone so everyone can make the same meal at their homes.

Credit: Schitts Creek / CBC

This is a pretty easy one. All you have to do is get a menu together to share with everyone you’ve invited. This gives everyone a chance to eat the same meal and have the same experience no matter where they are. The CDC recommends that people only celebrate Thanksgiving with their household to try to stop the relentless spread of the virus. Make sure you include a timeline so people can time all of their work for the same time to eat at the same time. This is also the perfect time to finally get the recipe for that one dish that you’ve always wanted.

This also means beverages.

Credit: @accessonline / Giphy

No dinner gathering is complete without the beverages. So, if you are creating an special cocktails or seasonal drinks, include those in the recipe list. It’s not a party if people aren’t letting loose to feel the holiday spirit.

Make sure you remind everyone of the time to start. You know how our families are.

Credit: @latenightseth / Giphy

This one is serious. We all know that one person in the family that makes everything run late. Either they are late or don’t pay attention to things and end up making everything take so much longer. You might want to tell those who are always late that the gathering is earlier than it is so they are finally on time.

If you are meeting people for Thanksgiving, take all of the necessary precautions to stay safe.

Credit: Tacoma FD / TruTV

Some people just can’t help it and need to be around people for the holidays. If you do, there are things you can do to make sure that everyone is as safe as possible. Avoid being indoors for long periods of time. It is better to hang out outside. When inside you should wear a mask the entire time. For dinner, find a way to eat outside. If it is a warmer climate for you, have a nice picnic and with everyone. Create some space to keep everyone safe and you can still have a wonderful time.

We can do this if we do it together. Have a very happy and safe Thanksgiving.

READ: Take A Tasting Tour Of Latin America This Thanksgiving With This Curated Menu

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