Spending Three Weeks In México Turned Into A Wake-Up Call For My 10-Year-Old Brother

What my 10-year-old brother thought would be just a fun vacation to México last summer, turned out to be a totally different experience – in a good way. Here’s how hanging out with his cousins in México for three weeks, completely changed his mindset and attitude about the type of lifestyle he has in the U.S…

One thing my little brother noticed about his cousin’s lifestyle in México was that they ran errands by themselves almost every single day… by horse or by foot.


My brother’s younger cousins in México are constantly running errands for their parents on their own even though they’re 10 years old. Since they don’t have a car to travel, let alone any sort of license because they’re so young, their form of transportation is either their feet or their parent’s horse – if they’re lucky. For my cousins in México, it’s normal for them to go out to the crowded mercados and buy everything their family needs, and then carry everything back home on their own. Keep in mind the streets in my mom’s pueblo in México aren’t paved how they are in the U.S. Drivers don’t stop at every stop sign they see, and drivers are more aggressive, making it far more dangerous for children to be out on the road.

And when they’re not running errands, they’re working every chance they get – before school, after school, on the weekends, and during their breaks from school.


My little brother noticed this when he was playing with one of his cousins and then he said to my brother, “I need to leave now, I have to go to work.” My brother thought this was strange and silly, responding, “Work? You can’t have a job, you’re little!”

But to my younger cousins in México, it’s not strange or silly at all. Having a job around the same time that you’re in elementary school is completely normal. Since his parents’ income on its own is not enough, he has to make sure to pitch in for basic needs. And if that means that he has to cut his free time short, and stop playing soccer with his cousins because it’s time for work, then that’s what he’ll do.

However, no matter how many hours my brother’s cousins are working, or how much money they’re earning on their own, they always remain extremely humble.


Since it was my little brother’s birthday during the same month that they were visiting México, they decided to have a small party for him in my mom’s hometown. My little brother said it was the best birthday party he’s ever had – mainly for one reason: his cousin Edgar had saved all of his money from an entire day of work and used it to buy my brother a pair of brand new socks for his birthday. Socks! Maybe my brother has received larger and flashier gifts in the past, but the fact that his cousin had saved his money from an entire day of work and used all of that money to buy him a gift, meant everything to my little brother.

And all of this served as a bit of a wake-up call for my brother.


My brother quickly realized that his responsibilities as an elementary school student in the U.S. were nothing compared to his cousin’s responsibilities in México. While my brother sometimes complains about three pages of homework, and simple chores like folding his bed, his cousins were walking from school to work every day of the week. While my brother sometimes complains about not having the trendiest clothes or shoes, his cousins were wearing the same outfit for an entire week. And the more my 10-year-old brother hung out with his primos, the more he started to appreciate what he did have in life, rather than complain about what he didn’t have.

Even though my brother went on this trip expecting a to have some fun during the summer, traveling to México was a humbling and eye-opening experience for him. And this is what makes traveling so enriching and important.


If you’re fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel, do it! If my 10-year-old brother was able to gain a valuable shift in perspective from this trip, imagine how eye-opening and enriching visiting another country can be for you.

READ: This Latina Was Accepted To 11 Medical Schools And It Was Not Because Of Affirmative Action

What have you learned from traveling to a different country? Comment and hit the share button below! 

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Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

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Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

Mexico City is the oldest surviving capital city in all of the Americas. It also is one of only two that actually served as capitals of their Indigenous communities – the other being Quito, Ecuador. But much of that incredible history is washed over in history books, tourism advertisements, and the everyday hustle and bustle of a city of 21 million people.

Recently, city residents voted on a non-binding resolution that could see the city’s name changed back to it’s pre-Hispanic origin to help shine a light on its rich Indigenous history.

Mexico City could soon be renamed in honor of its pre-Hispanic identity.

A recent poll shows that 54% of chilangos (as residents of Mexico City are called) are in favor of changing the city’s official name from Ciudad de México to México-Tenochtitlán. In contrast, 42% of respondents said they didn’t support a name change while 4% said they they didn’t know.

Conducted earlier this month as Mexico City gears up to mark the 500th anniversary of the fall of the Aztec empire capital with a series of cultural events, the poll also asked respondents if they identified more as Mexicas, as Aztec people were also known, Spanish or mestizo (mixed indigenous and Spanish blood).

Mestizo was the most popular response, with 55% of respondents saying they identified as such while 37% saw themselves more as Mexicas. Only 4% identified as Spaniards and the same percentage said they didn’t know with whom they identified most.

The poll also touched on the city’s history.

The ancient city of Tenochtitlán.

The same poll also asked people if they thought that the 500th anniversary of the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlán by Spanish conquistadoresshould be commemorated or forgotten, 80% chose the former option while just 16% opted for the latter.

Three-quarters of respondents said they preferred areas of the the capital where colonial-era architecture predominates, such as the historic center, while 24% said that they favored zones with modern architecture.

There are also numerous examples of pre-Hispanic architecture in Mexico City including the Templo Mayor, Tlatelolco and Cuicuilco archaeological sites.

Tenochtitlán was one of the world’s most advanced cities when the Spanish arrived.

Tenochtitlán, which means “place where prickly pears abound” in Náhuatl, was founded by the Mexica people in 1325 on an island located on Lake Texcoco. The legend goes that they decided to build a city on the island because they saw the omen they were seeking: an eagle devouring a snake while perched on a nopal.

At its peak, it was the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas. It subsequently became a cabecera of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Today, the ruins of Tenochtitlán are in the historic center of the Mexican capital. The World Heritage Site of Xochimilco contains what remains of the geography (water, boats, floating gardens) of the Mexica capital.

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Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

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Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

When it comes to international happiness rankings, Mexico has long done well in many measurements. In fact, in 2019, Mexico placed number 23 beating out every other Latin American country except for Costa Rica. But in 2020, things looks a lot different as the country slipped 23 spots on the list. What does this mean for Mexico and its residents? 

Mexico slips 23 spots on the World Happiness Report thanks to a variety of compelling factors.

Mexico plummeted 23 places to the 46th happiest nation in the world, according to the 2020 happiness rankings in the latest edition of the United Nations’ World Happiness Report. The coronavirus pandemic had a significant impact on Mexicans’ happiness in 2020, the new report indicates.

“Covid-19 has shaken, taken, and reshaped lives everywhere,” the report noted, and that is especially true in Mexico, where almost 200,000 people have lost their lives to the disease and millions lost their jobs last year as the economy recorded its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

Based on results of the Gallup World Poll as well as an analysis of data related to the happiness impacts of Covid-19, Mexico’s score on the World Happiness Report index was 5.96, an 8% slump compared to its average score between 2017 and 2019 when its average ranking was 23rd.

The only nations that dropped more than Mexico – the worst country to be in during the pandemic, according to an analysis by the Bloomberg news agency – were El Salvador, the Philippines and Benin.

Mexico has struggled especially hard against the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Since the pandemic started, Mexico has fared far worse than many other countries across Latin America. Today, there are reports that Mexico has been undercounting and underreporting both the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths. Given this reality, the country is 2nd worst in the world when it comes to number of suspected deaths, with more than 200,000 people dead. 

Could the happiness level have an impact on this year’s elections?

Given that Mexico’s decline in the rankings appears related to the severity of the coronavirus pandemic here, one might assume that the popularity of the federal government – which has been widely condemned for its management of the crisis from both a health and economic perspective – would take a hit.

But a poll published earlier this month found that 55.9% of respondents approved of President López Obrador’s management of the pandemic and 44% indicated that they would vote for the ruling Morena party if the election for federal deputies were held the day they were polled.

Support for Morena, which apparently got a shot in the arm from the national vaccination program even as it proceeded slowly, was more than four times higher than that for the two main opposition parties, the PAN and the PRI.

Still, Mexico’s slide in the happiness rankings could give López Obrador – who has claimed that ordinary Mexicans are happier with him in office – pause for thought.

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