Won’t you be my neighbor…

courtesy of fredrogers.org

courtesy of fredrogers.org

“It’s like Mr. Roger’s neighborhood..!!”

I have said that phrase on many occasions during my stay in Playa del Carmen. I have exclaimed it to my friends in the states and to tourists I met in Playa del Carmen. Everyone there was always so friendly. And chatty. I never felt scared walking home at night. And I walked home a lot of nights since I had left my car back in Chicago. If you didn’t have the right change at the store, they would tell you to bring it the next day. Playa del Carmen definitely had a small town feel – a Mr. Roger’s neighborhood feel.

playa del carmen NYE 2011

playa del carmen NYE 2011

And those words were never more true than on New Year’s Day 2011. I had spent New Year’s Eve with my boyfriend in the center of Playa del Carmen. So many people and music and fireworks. It had been a blast..!! So I was enjoying a lazy New Year’s Day at home since my boyfriend had gone to work. At about noon, I got a text from him saying that his restaurant had run out of ice..!! He wanted to know if I could run out and get 10 bags of ice plus the receipt (for reimbursement). And I said “ok – sure.”

As I left the house I was thinking to myself how peculiar. I was so used to working for a big corporation and there was no way someone would ever call their novia/o to pick up an item and expect a reimbursement..!! There would be too many forms to fill out and too many i’s to dot and t’s to cross. But not in Playa!!

courtesy of thebpmfestival.com

courtesy of thebpmfestival.com

Now you are probably wondering what would make a restaurant run out of ice. Well this particular restaurant was near the beach. And that time of year, one of the beach clubs was hosting the BPM festival. It is a 10 day celebration of music..!! It brings the world’s best DJ’s to the beautiful Riviera Maya. And that brings tourists. Thirsty tourists. Hungover tourists. All wanting micheladas, cheladas, margaritas..!! All requiring ice..!!

Well needless to say I was on the hunt down for ice. The first two places I went to did not have any ice at all. The third store, just around the corner from my apartment, had 10 bags of ice. I bought them all..!! The owner was very surprised and happy 🙂 He helped me take my bags of ice to the street, so I could hail a cab. Remember, I did not bring my car to Playa. Bummer. So I waited and waited. I hailed and hailed. There were so few taxis and the taxis that did drive by did not stop.

I was contemplating what to do when the owner of the store asked me where I was going with the ice. I told him I was going to the beach which was about 6 blocks away. He offered to drive me and my bags of ice. He even brought his daughter to help us carry the ice. He left his wife and son to watch the store. I was speechless.. And grateful…

So we all piled into the car and off we went. What a madhouse it was by the beach. With all the tourists and the festival – we were not allowed to park in front of the restaurant. So we had to park a block away and walk the bags of ice over. The store owner, his daughter and me hauling 10 bags of ice to my boyfriend’s restaurant. Too funny…And at the same time…too lovely. My boyfriend was impressed that I had managed to bring the ice over with additional help. And so was his manager who reiumbursed me and tipped the store owner.

After the store owner and his daughter left, I stayed and had a drink and enjoyed the music on the beach. But on my walk home, I got to thinking about the day. I was impressed at how a community of neighbors yet strangers got together to make sure that people we didn’t know could enjoy their drinks on the beach and listen to great music while they celebrated the new year. Now I know some of you out there might be cynics and say it was all about business and money. The store owner wanted his ice sold, the restaurant needed ice to sell drinks, etc.. But I was there, I lived it and it didn’t feel that way to me. I remember marveling about the day’s events, feeling good about my new choice for a hometown and singing to myself…”won’t you be my neighbor?”

playa del carmen street

playa del carmen street

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Tecate take 4

courtesy of shirtstree.com

courtesy of shirtstree.com

Just in time for the weekend..!! It’s Tecate time..!! This commercial is called Tecate Aniversario or Tecate Anniversary..!!

The plot unfolds with a man coming home from work. His wife has prepared a romantic dinner for two. The man asks his wife what they are celebrating. She in turn asks him what do you think we are celebrating. He, of course, responds, he doesn’t know. The woman becomes more agitated and asks the man what do they celebrate every April 10th. But the man has clearly forgetten it’s their anniversary. And his answer will surprise you..!! Enjoy.! Salud..!!

carta de amor…

moon over playa

moon over playa

Sometimes you can actually fall in love with a place, a country, it’s people…And miss it just as much as a person…that’s how I feel today. So for something totally different…a love letter to playa…

carta de amor

¿Cómo le digo que te amo? Pero eso no puede ser.
¿Cómo le digo que no puedo respirar sin ti? Pero tomo de un tirón más.
¿Cómo le digo que me perteneces? Pero me doy la vuelta y te liberaré.
¿Cómo te digo que tú eres mi media naranja? Pero corté los lazos que nos unen.
Por favor, mi amor,
my love,
moje duso,
créeme cuando te digo que todas esas verdades.
Pero yo creo que también cuando actúo todos esos hechos.
Tal vez un día, las palabras significarán más que los hechos.
Esperemos que mañana. Ojala …

sunrise over cozumel

sunrise over cozumel

translation –

love letter

How do I tell you that I love you? But that we cannot be.
How do I tell you that I can’t breathe without you? But I take in one more breath.
How do I tell you that you belong to me? But I turn around and set you free.
How do I tell you that you are my other half? But I cut the ties that bind us.
Please my love,
mi amor,
moje duso,
believe me when I tell you all those truths.
But believe me also when I act all those deeds.
Maybe one day, the words will mean more than the deeds.
Hopefully tomorrow. Ojala…

feelin the love...

feelin the love…

Pinche blog..!!

**Warning – swear word alert**

worthless fucking bastard - courtesy of tunazilla.deviantart.com

‘worthless fucking bastard’ – courtesy of tunazilla.deviantart.com

I have to admit I swear a lot. Damn has probably been one of my most favorite swear words. It fits perfectly in every occasion. Damn this…damn that…pick up the damn phone. You get the drift.

When I moved to Mexico, I learned a lot of swear words early on. People enjoyed telling them to me and hearing me parrot them back. Some sick twisted game they enjoyed playing with the new gabacha..!! Gabacha refers to an English speaking, non-Hispanic woman by the way. However, I never truly felt comfortable with any of the swear words. That is until I learned about pinche.

worthless asshole teacher - he put me as missing but I answered - courtesy of memegenerador.com

‘worthless asshole teacher – he put me as missing but I answered’ – courtesy of memegenerador.com

Technically, pinche refers to a kitchen boy. It’s the guy (or gal) who cleans up the Chef’s mess. They scrub pans and carry stuff around. Basically, a non-glorious worthless job. It’s still used in this manner in Spain. In fact, in most latin countries, it is not considered a bad word. Though it might be used to describe someone as cheap or a pest.

In Mexico, pinche is an all-purpose insult enhancer. It’s roughly equivalent to the use of *fucking* in English. However, it is also used as an adjective to describe something as insignificant, lousy, miserable or worthless. Pinche is strongly associated with cursing in Mexican Spanish. Therefore, the moment you use it, you give yourself away as a Mexican national or someone who has spent a lot of time in Mexico. See examples below…

pinche puto = worthless fuck
pinche cabron = worthless asshole/dick
pinche hombre = worthless dude/man

worthless americans - courtesy of tumblr.com

‘worthless Americans’ – courtesy of tumblr.com

Or pinche gringo – worthless American. I have to say, I use pinche so extensively that it has replaced damn in most of my swearing repertoire. My Mexican friends thought it was hysterical. I was always pinche-ing something or someone. Pinche perro. Pincho carro. Pinche trabajo. But I guess they were also laughing because of the way I said it. My American accent made them laugh hysterically. At work, everyone wanted to know what was going to set me off that day and make me use the word. Now that I am back in the states, I have been using it so much that my friends here are starting to use it. hahaha. In that spirit, I introduce it to you. I hope you enjoy my pinche blog.. 🙂

Tecate take 3

courtesy of tecate.com

courtesy of tecate.com.mx

What time is it?! It’s Tecate time..!! This one is called Tecate Vestido or Tecate Dress. It’s hilarious..!!

A woman comes out of the bedroom with a dress on and asks her man “does she look fat in it?” He replies that she does look a little fat or un poco gordita. The woman begins to cry all through their evening together while the man spends the rest of the night consoling her. Or does he??? Enjoy y salud..!!

An ode to coffee..!!

courtesy of awkwardyeti.com

courtesy of awkwardyeti.com

My love affair with coffee began when I was a little girl. I loved my mother – she was an amazing woman. And of course like most little girls, I wanted to copy her in everything that she did. Which of course included drinking coffee with her! Needless to say as a small child, I should not have been drinking coffee. So my mother doctored up my beverage with lots of warm milk. Then she would throw in bread which would soak up the soggy goodness of the sweet coffee. It was almost as good as eating a dessert..!! And so a tradition…and an addiction…were born.

courtesy of historyspaces.blogspot.com

courtesy of historyspaces.blogspot.com

The world’s tradition and addiction with coffee began, according to myth, with Kaldi. Kaldi was a 9th century goat herder. Apparently, he discovered coffee when he noticed that his goats had extra energy when they nibbled on the red cherries of a particular bush. Kaldi tried the red cherries himself and became energetic as well. His excitement led him to take the cherries to an Islamic holy man in a nearby monastery. However, the holy man disapproved of their use and threw them into a fire. From this fire, an enticing aroma emanated. The roasted cherries (beans) were raked from the embers, ground up, and dissolved in hot water. And the world’s first cup of coffee was born.

courtesy of coffeeworld.com

courtesy of coffeeworld.com

My personal addiction and the world’s collided in the form of Starbucks. I wanted to own my own coffee shop and I thought why not learn from the best. So I went to work for Starbucks Coffee Company where a career and passion were launched. Working there, I became interested in fair trade coffee and the human component involved in the coffee farms around the world. So I went back to school to get my master’s degree. My thesis was on direct trade coffee and fair trade coffee. This dream culminated in a study abroad trip to Chiapas, Mexico where I visited coffee farms and fair trade co-opertives. It was the trip of a lifetime. However, just as wanting to be with my mother led to my love affair with coffee – my passion for coffee led to my love affair with Mexico which led to this blog. So you never know which choices you make will lead you to your next dream…your next love…so drink on…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

estoy pariendo chayotes!

courtesy of blogs.commercialappeal.com

courtesy of blogs.commercialappeal.com

I have to admit I am not in a good mood today. Since my return from Mexico, I have had to deal with several pressing issues with no clear direction, answers or outcome. I feel like I am behind the eight ball to use a lovely cliché. Or to use a wonderful Mexican saying estoy pariendo chayotes!

Chayotes are a light green, pear shaped fruit with a single, large pit and edible flesh and skin (see picture above). They are similar to summer squash. Chayotes are native to Mexico and used in many types of salads and salsas. They have prickly skin similar to small thorns.

courtesy of deviantart.com

courtesy of deviantart.com

The verb a parir means to calve. So pariendo translates into calving. Therefore, literally, estoy pariendo chayotes translates as I am calving a prickly squash! The term con espinas, or with thorns, is implied. The non-literal translation is to be behind the eight ball or I guess one could even use the saying up the proverbial creek.

But while I love all those American idiomatic expressions. I have to say once again that the Mexican reflection is much more visceral, tangible and alive. You can almost feel the pain of birthing, nay calving, one of those prickly beasts!! Therefore, when you are having the kind of life moment that I am having – the expression fits. And everyone can relate, but in a definitely humorous way. I have to thank my lovely friend R. at work for bringing this expression to my attention. I just wish in this moment que no estoy pariendo chayotes!!

courtesy of ossian29.deviantart.com

courtesy of ossian29.deviantart.com