Culture

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

Courtesy of Araceli Cruz

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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Organized Crime Is Targeting Mexico’s Avocado Industry But This New Facility Is Designed To Stop Them

Culture

Organized Crime Is Targeting Mexico’s Avocado Industry But This New Facility Is Designed To Stop Them

avocadosfrommexico / Instagram

So avocado theft is one of the reasons that our beloved aguacate has been getting more and more expensive. According to Mexican authorities, the industry loses more than 12 tons of avocados to theft each day! That’s a lot of missed guacamole potential.

So together with the USDA, one Mexican group is creating a new facility and identifying new shipping routes to help cut these losses which are spiraling out of control.

Avocado growers have teamed up to build a facility that helps prevent theft.

Credit: @poandpo / Twitter

The absolutely depressing rise in avocado prices has left many of us nearly penniless but our problems pale in comparison to those being faced by the agricultural industry in Mexico.

Each and every day nearly 12 tons of avocados are stolen between the orchards and packing plants.

Between 2017 and 2019, Mexico reported 440 avocado theft investigations, and because Mexican-grown avocados made up 78 percent of the U.S. market last year, this spells trouble Stateside as well. Producers lose an average of four truckloads of avocados per day because of organized crime intervention. The majority of Mexican avocados that make their way to the U.S. come from the state of Michoacan, in a city called Uruapan, which accounts for 92 percent of Mexico’s avocado production last year,

I mean, apparently, avocado theft is a legit thing.

Credit: @jckichen / Twitter

And we’re not talking about shoving that $1.99 avocado in your pocket at the supermarket or “forgetting to pay” for a few that may have fallen into your purse.

Back in 2017, three men in California were arrested on suspicion of grand theft of avocados after the disappearance of $300,000 worth of the creamy fruit.

Police believe the men were stealing and selling avocados to unsuspecting customers for at least several months. 

The new $12 million facility is meant to finally address the issue of widespread theft.

A new $12 million facility will be built; a venture between the Association of Export Producers and Packers of Avocado from Mexico (APEAM), the Mexican Department of Agriculture and Agrarian Development (SADER), and also house the local offices for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Casa APEAM, as the facility is called, will also be part of Mexican officials new strategy to find safer export routes for avocados out of Mexico.

Silvano Aureoles, the governor of Michoacán, said he is working with avocado producers to plot new trucking routes to avoid the theft of trucks and merchandise. Part of these new actions could be exporting the avocados from the Port of Lázaro Cárdenas instead of the Port of Manzanillo, putting surveillance cameras on the road to Lázaro Cárdenas and increasing surveillance of truck shipments out of Michoacán.

And this news couldn’t come soon enough because prices for avocados continue to skyrocket!

Credit: @wdsu / Twitter

Avocado prices have been soaring recently, with a recent report revealing that the national price of Hass avocados has risen by 93 cents since last year.

On the wholesale side (think restaurants, markets), last year a 25-pound box cost $37 but that price has risen to $89 in 2019. That’s a huge and unfortunate increase for lovers of aguacate.

READ: 24 Ways To Use Avocado That Aren’t Guacamole

One Of Mexico’s Biggest Soccer Clubs Has Banned The Use Of The Homophobic Chant That Has Gone On For Far Too Long

Entertainment

One Of Mexico’s Biggest Soccer Clubs Has Banned The Use Of The Homophobic Chant That Has Gone On For Far Too Long

VillasArmy / Twitter

U.S.-based Mexico fan group Pancho Villas’ Army has inserted a “no goalkeeper chant” clause into the group’s membership and made abstaining from shouting the anti-gay chant a condition for buying tickets for games in their section, in a bid to help put an end to the chant often heard in stadiums when the Mexico national team plays.

This could be progress towards finally ending the homophobic chant heard all too often at Mexican football games.

The group, Pancho Villa’s Army, made the announcement banning its members from yelling the chant.

Credit: @villasarmy / Twitter

In an open letter to its members, the group says: “One area where I think we can improve upon is the infamous PU%* Chant. For me and many others, it is no longer relevant to debate what the word means or doesn’t mean. Its simply a matter of respect and common courtesy. We should do our best to be good guests at all the stadiums that welcome us.”

The group notes that fans already follow several other rules. So what’s another rule if its meant to make sure everyone feels more comfortable.

The group has even added the rule into its code of conduct. In their letter they add: “Moving forward, we will adopt a  “No Pu%^ Chant” clause into our membership rules and code of conduct. While our code generally covers the chant we will specifically list it as unacceptable conduct. The same clause will be inserted into our ticket purchases pages. We already informed all PVA ticket purchasers that our section is a standing, cheering, and singing section. The same page will now inform potential PVA ticket purchasers that our section is a NO PU&% CHANT section too.”

All of this comes as the Mexican team and Mexican fans come under increased scrutiny for the homophobic slur.

Credit: @MikeMadden / Twitter

A section of El Tri fans regularly shout an anti-gay slur as the opposition goalkeeper runs up to take his goal-kick and the federation has been fined on multiple occasions by FIFA because of it, although it was stamped out at Russia 2018 after an educational campaign from the federation, fan groups and players, as well as the threat of Fan IDs being taken away.

But the chant was heard regularly during Mexico games in the United States this summer at the Gold Cup.

Fans that have bought tickets for Mexico’s game on Sept. 10 against Argentina in San Antonio, Texas and don’t want to adhere to the policy will receive a refund for their tickets.

The group says the decision is about being inclusive of all fans, including those from the LGBTQ community.

“It’s about people joining who wish to create an environment that feels welcoming to our LGBTQ Mexico fans,” reads the statement. “As an organization that has LGBTQ leaders and members we take this charge very seriously.”

The reaction on Twitter was overwhelmingly positive with soccer fans from around the world celebrating the announcement.

Most on Twitter were thrilled that at least one group was taking the steps necessary to address the issue. They’re going directly to their members and making it a condition of membership to stop using the chant.

FIFA has warned soccer federations all over the world, including Mexico, that discriminatory chanting will activate the “three-step procedure” that could lead to the abandoning of World Cup qualifying matches if the chant is heard. The referee would first stop the match, then suspend it and eventually abandon it if the discriminatory behavior doesn’t cease. Yet at nearly every game of El Tri you’ll still hear the chant.

Many pointed out that PVA will be on the right side of history with this new rule.

Despite there being an ongoing debate among fans if the chant is meant to be homophobic or not, people are realizing that all fans should be comfortable – and, yes, that includes those from the LGBTQ community.

And as one of the first fan clubs to issue an official rule, Pancho Villa’s Army will have been seen as a leader on this issue. So bravo PVA! And thank you.

READ: Why Do Mexico’s Football Fans Keep Going Unpunished For Shouting Homophobic Slurs At Opposing Players

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