Tecate take 25

courtesy of tecate.com.mx

courtesy of tecate.com.mx

This week has been interesting.! But I think more than any other week in a long time, I have anticipated this Friday.!! Yesterday was a beautiful culmination of so many important balls I am juggling right now. That this weekend is a relief and a celebration. There are many reasons dear readers, but I will explain next week.!! Suffice it to say, today I just want to wish everyone a happy friday.!! Feliz viernes.!

Todays’s Tecate commerical honors those men who do not understand women or por los hombres que no entienden a las mujeres. The video is in Spanish, but the tone is easily understandable. A husband and wife are sitting together at dinner. The wife is telling her husband a story and is looking for sympathy and understanding. Of course, his answer, “bien“, is not the response she wants.!!

I know this scenario all too well. My father, my brother and mi novio have usually shook their heads at me and not understand the complex issues I am feeling. Well until later that is.. Then I have recieved a “oh I get you now.” So I dedicate this to all the men in my life 🙂 Enjoy your weekend.!! y Salud.!!

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It’s 4pm somewhere.!!

courtesy of primetimekids.org

courtesy of primetimekids.org

When I first learned about chopsticks, I wanted to learn how to use them.!! Unfortunately, I was not very talented. In the beginning, it was like an endurance test. How long could I last.? First it was five minutes, then eventually 10 minutes. My fingers would cramp up. I would sweat. I couldn’t pick up the wet rice at the bottom. At some point, I would surrender and grab a fork or a spoon.

Then I would stuff my mouth with impunity. You would have thought I hadn’t eat in days. I was so impatient to learn and so disheartened at how long it was taking. But finally, after what seemed like thousands of bowls of shrimp fried rice and noodles, I could last the entire meal. I had finally mastered chopsticks. It became a new source of pride for me.!!

courtesy of mostphotos.com

courtesy of mostphotos.com

And then my next challenge came… In the form of the Spanish language.! I started out slowly with the basics. Simple pleasantries were my mainstay such as the weather and how everyone was doing. Eventually, I learned to tell people more about myself such as where I was from, where my parents were from, and how many siblings, neices, nephews, etc I had. I could also inquire about other peoples’ families and origins. They were small, small, baby steps.

At my first two jobs in Mexico, I did not need to speak a lot of Spanish. And most of my Mexican friends wanted to practice English with me. So I became lax. But then two things happened. I became pretty serious with my Mexican novio and he wanted to teach me Spanish. And secondly, at my third and final and most happy job, I needed to speak and understand Spanish. All of our morning meetings were held in Spanish. Plus, a good portion of the hotel staff such as security, housekeeping, and maintenance did not speak English.

courtesy of amazingreviews.net

courtesy of amazingreviews.net

This of course was great because my Spanish improved drastically. This of course was also a nightmare. Let us not forget that in my little pea brain, I already have three other languages – my first (Croatian), my second (English), and my third (French)..!! And sometimes these three languages like to overlap each other. And while my French is pretty horrible at best, it is still inside my mind and likes to rear it’s head at very inopportune times. Usually on those occasions when I use le as a masculine determiner rather than él.

Of course when I would have a few drinks, then Croatian would come out.! Who knew.?! I guess it’s the place I go to first when I am a little inebriated.! Then almost no one would understand me.! However, what I also learned is that just like with the chopsticks, I was slowly building endurance. Everyday, I could last a little bit longer than the day before. Every week, I could understand one more word, one more sentence, and one more expression. I no longer had to cry, “No, I can’t take it. It’s 4pm. No more Spanish today..!”

courtesy of freewebs.com

courtesy of freewebs.com

I was completely surprised at how long it took me to learn Spanish. Is it an age thing.? Is Spanish more difficult? Was I lazy.? I don’t know. But what I did know is that I wanted to learn. Even when I had a headache. Even when my brain overloaded to the point that I did not understand a single word anyone was saying. There were definitely days, I would become so overwhelmed from my inablility to understand what someone was saying. Or a document.

Sometimes, I would mix up my sentences and speak half English and half Spanish. I was made fun of for that and accused of speaking Spanglish. But what I was really doing was continuing to speak the sentence or phrase I had the most skill in to continue to make it part of my daily rhythm. I spoke sentences in English that I had not yet mastered. Or sometimes, I did what most bi-lingual or multi-lingual speakers do, I code-switched. It’s where you use the expression or word that is suited best for the moment and is not easily translated.!

courtesy of swalesperryphotography.com

courtesy of swalesperryphotography.com

I think mastering the language slowly is the only thing that kept me going and learning. I met so many expats who didn’t even try after so many years of living in Mexico.!! I also remember the surprised looks from my co-workers and friends when I would say, “Stop, I can’t anymore. It’s 4pm.” Because I was always trying, so that surprised them. But even marathon runners have to work up to 26.2 miles. They just don’t start out running that many miles. And the same can be true about learning a language.

When I left Mexico, I was at 4pm. That time became my cutoff and my rallying (or surrendering) cry. “It’s 4pm. I can’t speak or understand Spanish for the rest of the day.!” Of course everyone laughed, I’m funny 🙂 But I hope they also understood. Now after being gone so long, I worry that my endurance has regressed. What if now I can only make it to 2pm.? Do I still have what it takes to continue learning? I surely hope so.! Ojala..

bueno, bonito y barato

courtesy of arellanomarketing.com

courtesy of arellanomarketing.com

I am sitting at the car mechanic’s as I write my blog today. Hyperventilating, I might add because once again I find myself shelling out a lot of money to fix my car.! Don’t get me wrong, I love my car.! But, it’s causing me some heartache right now because it’s costing me mucho dinero to fix it. Apparently, letting your car sit around for two years while you are in Mexico is not good for your vehicle. It’s similar to sitting for a long period of time and then getting up off your chair. Your knees are going to creak a little.

And in order to keep myself from jumping into the abyss, I started to write today’s post. Which got me thinking about a phrase one of my really close friends S. used to say at work. When I lived in Mexico, I lived on a strict budget. In fact, that has not changed much since my return to the states. And whenever I am tempted to purchase something, I think of S. and her lovely phrase. She would tell me when I went shopping that I had to look for items that were bueno, bonito y barato or good, pretty and a bargain.!

courtesy of orquestradefrautadegalicia.blogspot.com

courtesy of orquestradefrauta
degalicia.blogspot.com

I have always lived on a budget even when I made more money. But I also always purchased name brands and products even when I could have purchased cheaper generic items. I quickly grew out of this habit while living in Mexico. I would go to the store with my alloted purchasing amount and buy just what I needed. Also, if I was buying soup or pasta, I would look at the dollar amount and the weight of the item to see if I was getting my money’s worth. Something I had never done before.

I recall one day grocery shopping with my novio and I wanted to buy a large plastic container for cereal. He argued with me that it wasn’t necessary. While it was bueno y bonito, it wasn’t barato.! But I gently reminded him of the lovely jungle creatures who loved to eat his cereal also. And then the plastic cereal container became barato because we would have to buy more cereal if the animals were eating it too..!! jajaja….

courtesy of dinero-internet-plus.com

courtesy of dinero-internet-plus.com

I also remember shopping with S. one day at Wal-Mart. We stocked up on so many items and decided to do a once over while we were waiting in line. We started holding up makeup, tolietries and other items to each other to get a thumbs up or down. At one point I held up some mouth rinse and S. gave me a look like I could live without it. And then I held up my hair color, clearly thinking that this would be a thumbs down luxury item. As I looked at S., she was shaking her head furiously up and down and saying, “Oh, you need that”..!! I busted out laughing. It still makes me laugh just thinking about that moment.

And so as I sit here at the mechanics, I am trying to utilize the bueno, bonito y barato expression regarding my car repair. So for one, it is bueno. My car is in amazingly good shape and according to the mechanic will last me another 100,000 to 200,000 miles. Secondly, it is bonito. I have to admit, my car is a very pretty silver CR-V. What’s not to love..!! But is it barato.?? At the moment, the answer is no. It’s costing me a huge chunk of money. But if I don’t fix it, I think of the amount of money I will spend on taxis and buses. And the fact that I still have to pay car insurance even if it just sits in my driveway at home. So I guess the answer is in the long run, it will be barato.! I hope S. approves of my decision 🙂

Tecate take 24

courtesy of tecate.com.mx

courtesy of tecate.com.mx

Happy Friday..!!! Feliz viernes..!!! I had a great week this week and I am so ready to celebrate.! The last few months have been mildly stagnant and it was nice to see some movement this week. Also, I spent a lovely afternoon with my father yesterday 🙂 Moreover, I am positively thrilled that this weekend is finally here because my best friend is in town.! I have no idea what we will be doing. But I am sure even if it’s coffee and lots of conversation, we will have a blast.!!

And in order to start the weekend off right, I bring you this week’s Tecate commerical. It’s in honor of my father who is hard of hearing. Sometimes, I am not so sure though. I think he really can hear, but just what he wants too.!! jajaja… And he ignores the rest.! The commercial is called Tecate – por los que solo oyen lo que les conviene or Tecate – for those men who only hear when it’s convenient.! Enjoy your weekend.! I hope you find yourselves surrounded by great friends, tasty beverage, and even better conversations.!! Salud..!!

este amor…

courtesy of bestwallpaperhd.com

courtesy of bestwallpaperhd.com

I have been thinking a lot about love lately. The good kind of love. The love that nurtures you. The love that helps you grow. The love that makes you feel safe. The love that balances you out. The love that makes you sigh deeply…. Or is it just me that sighs deeply when content.?

I guess there are two reasons I have been thinking about love so much. Tomorrow, the 19th, would have been my parent’s 49th wedding anniversary. I miss my mother immensely. But I know my father who built a life with her misses her so much more. Yesterday, my father told me that he wished my mom was still alive for so many reasons. But the main reason is because next year they would have celebrated 50 years together. And he would very much have liked to have a party with her.!

my mom and dad's wedding day

my mom and dad’s wedding day

Who is this man.? Have I mentioned my father is a macho man.?! Did I mention he got teary-eyed when he told me that.! After all of their years together, he still wants one more day, one more month, one more year. Ah este amor.! But instead, he has to make due taking me to lunch; while, I watch his every move to make sure he’s not too sad. But if my mom was here, love would fill his senses and a smile would ripple across his face.

And I too am sad. I too am alone right now. My love is very far away from me. And I miss him more every day. It was not so bad in the beginning when I initially moved back to Chicago. But lately, I find myself listening to the playlist de mi movio every single day.! All day long.! Just to catch the subtle nuances of the songs and the way he sang them. I replay those memories constantly in my mind.

me at dinner with you and so happy

me at dinner with you and so happy

I remember the little things he did that made me smile. We use to go shopping for ‘provisions’ not groceries 🙂 The way he would correct my Spanish and then tell me I sounded like a three-year old girl was standing behind me and talking.! Lol… The way he would coerce me to make him a sandwich because apparently I made better sandwiches than him.! haha… But then he would go make homemade chilaquiles for us both.! Yummy…

I miss the way we would race each other to the bathroom.!! Because inevitably, we always had to use it at the same time.! I love the fact that on our dining room table we had an assortment of small knick knacks that I was allowed to use as weapons. So when he would say something completely inappropriate, I could throw one of them at him.! The plastic whistle was my personal favorite – I even used it to decorate his birthday cake one year.! And of course I liked that none of these weapons were thrown in my direction if I said something inappropriate 🙂

the whistle weapon aka cake decoracion

the whistle weapon aka cake decoracion

I miss the way he would sing to me.! Something I always thought I would hate and find cheesy.!! But I grew to love and now miss deeply. Especially, when he would twirl my hair between his fingers while he sang to me. Deep sigh….. Soon… I will see him soon. Until then, te extraño mucho mi amor, mi amigo y te quiero y te amo tanto.!!

I leave you with a song by Enrique Bunberry, “Infinito“. It’s a love song, albeit a very sad love song. But I leave you with it not for it’s sadness, but because I hear my love’s voice in every intonation of this song 🙂 And of course, Happy Anniversary mom and dad.!! I aspire for a love like yours.!

el grito..!!

courtesy of imagine-mexico.com

courtesy of imagine-mexico.com

Mexico’s actual Independence Day is celebrated on September 16th and is considered a national holiday. That’s correct folks, Cinco de Mayo is not Independence Day for Mexico! El Grito or The Cry is the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico. The holiday commemorates the day the Mexican War of Independence began with Spain. It is celebrated in every city center in Mexico on the evening of September 15th with the ringing of the church or municipal bells.

Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla was a Roman Catholic priest in the town of Dolores, near Guanajuato. Father Hidalgo was part of a rebellion against Spain. After several of his fellow insurgents were captured, Father Hidalgo feared he too would be arrested. Along with his brother and other radicals, they demanded the release of the captives. Finally, very late on the 15th of September, Father Hidalgo rang the church bells and made the first “shout” for independence. He urged his congregation to revolt and so began the war against Spain.

courtesy of latinbayarea.com

courtesy of latinbayarea.com

For this reason, Independence Day in Mexico is sometimes called El Grito de Dolores (The Cry of Dolores) or El Grito de la Independencia (The Cry of Independence). This is also the reason Independence Day parties begin the evening of September 15th. With the holiday this year starting on Sunday evening, there have also been many parties throughout the weekend in bars, restaurants and peoples’ homes. It is a very exciting time, similar to the Fourth of July celebrations in the states.

Traditionally, Mexicans throughout the country converge in their zócalos or town plazas to reenact that historic evening. In Mexico City, the President of Mexico rings the bell at the National Palace around 11pm. Afterwards, he delivers a speech. As there is no known record of Hidalgo’s speech, most leaders touch upon patriotism and name the founders of the revolution. At the end, the President waves a Mexican flag while shouting “¡Viva México!” Usually, there are also fireworks and music. It is a very lively atmosphere!

courtesy of shutterstock.com

courtesy of shutterstock.com

This celebration occurs in every city in Mexico but with mayors or governors presiding in place of the president; as well as, in consulates and embassies around the world. In Playa del Carmen, El Grito will take place at the Palacio Municipal (City Hall). The festivities begin at 11pm. However, I recommend arriving earlier in the evening if you want to enjoy the entertainment, partake in delicious Mexican food and refreshments, and bask in the exciting atmosphere.

It is a celebration not to be missed if you are traveling in Mexico during this time! Whichever city you find yourself in Mexico, I recommend enjoying the exciting Independence Day activities. The revelry continues through September 16th which is considered a national patriotic holiday. Most every town also has a parade starting at the zócalos. In Mexico City, the parade winds down the Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico’s main boulevard, and passes the Ángel de la Independencia (Angel of Independence). In Playa del Carmen, the parade saunters down Treinta Avenida or 30th Avenue.

courtesy of intheroo.com

courtesy of intheroo.com

After all of the bell ringing and parades, celebrate with some good food and beer. Many restaurants and bars also celebrate Independence Day with drink specials, live music and DJs. You must try a bandera, literally meaning the word flag, on Independence Day! It is a three shot drink of lime juice, tequila, and then sangrita or tomato juice.

The colors of the lime, tequila, and sangrita match the colors of the Mexican flag! The drink is amazing!! Once you have it, you will never drink a tequila shot with lime and salt again. September 16th is an exciting time to be in Mexico and experience how this country celebrates its independence from Spain. I wish all of my friends in Mexico, “¡Viva México!”

banderas - courtesy of my friend D.

banderas – courtesy of my friend D.

Tecate take 23

courtesy of tecate.com.mx

courtesy of tecate.com.mx

Es viernes.!! It’s Friday.!! And I am so glad it is.!! There are some weeks you wish would never end. And there are other weeks you are happy to see finish. I have to say, this has been one of those weeks I am glad has come to a close. It wasn’t a bad week, just challenging.! Every time I turned a corner, I bumped into some new problem or issue I had to resolve. After all, there are only so many issues in a day, or week for that matter, that a girl can unravel.!

And of course admist all this drama, I wrote. Wrote my blog, wrote and submitted other posts, just wrote. I was afraid that this week’s submissions would not be worthy because I felt depleted and stressed. And yet, this week, I received some really great accolades from friends and fellow bloggers alike about my writing. And I learned that I do not crack under pressure. That even though everything around me was dissolving into chaos and requiring my attention, I could still write pieces of quality. What a relief.! And who knew?? I’m a writer plain and simple, come calm or chaos.

And this revelation mis amigos brings us to this week’s Tecate commerical. Once again, it has no title but it is dedicated to those who do not break or conform – por los que no se rajan. I thought it seemed fitting taken the week I had. Apparently, Tecate men do not conform nor play to the status quo.! And even though they know their beautiful bride will one day look like their mother-in-law, they grin and bear it.! jajaja.. And that’s exactly what I did this week – I grinned and beared it.! I think this qualifies me for a Tecate with some salt and lime 🙂 Enjoy your weekend.!! y Salud.!!