The Gringa Diaries

Feliz Cinco de Mayo! Today is the day I celebrate my freedom to pretend to be Mexican. Note the portrait of Ms. Frida Kahlo, and imagine my own visage; our mutual resemblance is undeniable. I love admiring woven, brightly-colored tapestries while sipping horchata and futilely attempting to quell my raging taco addiction. Hoy, soy Mexicana!

I have been accused of being "Mexican on the inside," but I believe that has mostly to do with my dietary choices. Mmmmm...I challenge you to eat a pollo asado cemita and tell me it doesn't change your life. But really, I work in a very Mexican neighborhood, and I love being immersed in the culture.

The two first paragraphs of this post were composed prior to my lunch break. I just returned from a delightful experience at my favorite taqueria. As I was finishing up my vegetarian burrito, a mariachi duo entered the restaurant and proceeded to play a song that moved me nearly to tears. It wasn't a sad song; they were just an especially good pair of traveling musicians and the song was beautiful. Every time I eat there, Asian DVD bootleggers come and go, but never before had I been serenaded by rich harmonies in the middle of the workday. This song that they played reminded me of possibility, that beauty can surprise you at any moment.

This morning, I didn't even remember that it was Cinco de Mayo. Now that the day is passing, I realize that this is my most relevant Cinco de Mayo to date. It's a holiday that could only exist in the springtime, with its vibrancy and...who am I kidding, tequila and cervesa. But, for me, it's not about getting drunk. Hell, it's not even about Mexican independence. I am celebrating freedom and culture, and the opportunity to embrace the cultures that surround me in my own free state.


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