I was going to save this for tomorrow, but I’ll be in Mexico City all day!
I was sitting at the Zocalo before class this morning, half reading, half watching people go by. As I was watching, something struck me that I’ve only kind of noticed before: People here are really affectionate. And I don’t mean this to sound like the stereotypical Latin Passion or whatever…. but seriously, they are. I first noticed it with the couples I saw as I walked down the street. They’ll be hanging out on a stoop, in each others arms and whispering to each other, barely even noticing all of the people walking by.
In the Zocalo today, I saw no less than four mother-daughter pairs walking by and holding hands. These weren’t just young girls, either. Many of the girls were teenaged and older. It was the most natural thing to be walking together down the street hand in hand. It was possibly the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen. I hold my mom’s hand still sometimes, but it’s something I’ve never seen in the US (unless the girl is under 6 or 7). It definitely got me thinking. When I first arrived to Cuernavaca, I wrote about how the family dynamic was different and they didn’t seem to spend as much time together. I think I was measuring family closeness by meal-time, which is obviously not the case at all. When I was in Ecuador, it seemed apparent that the families were really close because they ate all of their meals together and talked a lot. This is often very different than many family situations in the US, so it stuck out more. It was probably really short-sighted of me to assume that because our family in Mexico didn’t eat together, they weren’t as close as our host family in Ecuador. It’s just different.
This affectionate side of families comes in many forms. I’ve really enjoyed watching our host parents interact with their grandkids because of that very affection I managed to overlook my first few days here. In the US, you might hear a grandparent asking their grandchild, “what is it, darling?” Here, my host mom says “que pasa, mi vida?” (or “what is it, my life?”) The first time I heard her say that I just smiled. It really makes me miss my family. I can’t wait to see them again. Mom and Dad, if you’re reading this, I love you guys so much! I’ll see you in a little over week!