Friday, June 12, 2009

Why I Want to be Mexican for a Day...or Two.

I just watched "Tortilla Soup". Wait, let me back up.

I grew up in inner-city Phoenix and the vast majority of my friends were Mexican. If they weren't Mexican, they were black. If they weren't black, they could have been white, but they probably were a mix of something or other. In other words, I don't actually know. And I've already told my friend "Real" this, but it didn't even occur to me until later in life that she is black. It's not that I was/am color blind. I celebrate the differences and love different cultures and quite frankly, miss the diversity that was my world in high school. I find myself gravitating to anyone and anything Hispanic because that was the primary culture I grew up in.

Which is why it stinks that I am not fluent in Spanish. Something I someday intend to remedy.

Anyway, three of my best friends in high school were Monica Holguin, Monica Valdez, and Tanya Sandoval. All three were/are feisty women. All three of them are gorgeous, confident, and slightly crazy. As I watched "Tortilla Soup", a movie about three sisters whose chef is a father, I suddenly had this urge to spend an evening in one of their kitchens cooking Mexican food and learning Spanish. Because after six years of Spanish I think it could be possible for me to be fluent in one evening. Don't you?

My first job was as a hostess in a Mexican restaurant called Carlos O'Brien's. It's still my favorite restaurant in the world and the first place I go when I go home to Phoenix. The owner still remembers me and thinks that I still look 16. He's grumpy and grouchy and scared me when I worked for him, but ever since he told me that I remember him fondly on my more wrinkly days.

My first boyfriend when I was 16 was half Mexican and half white. His mom was crazy and wonderful and loved me. And boy could that woman cook.

My Dave served a mission in Mexico. My mom went to college there for a year at the University of Mexico. Probably 80% of my extended family is fluent in Spanish with service experience in Mexico, Chile, Argentina, and Peru. My mom, aunt, and uncle are all fluent. Do you see where I am going with this? It's in my blood - or should be! I should be a dark haired, dark eyed, pear shaped Mexican woman.

At the very least, it could explain my personality.

1 comment:

Donna said...

Ha! I loved Tortilla Soup tambien. I am very rusty with my Spanish, and get a headache when I have to try to understand or speak a lot. Mario is very patient with me. I would like to take some Spanish classes to review. Of course, if I did that, it would be a sure thing we'd be called on a Spanish-speaking mission when we retire. And what would Uncle Terry do then? He only remembers two phrases from 1st year Spanish, and neither one serves very well in most situations: "Don't worry, I have paper," and "Meatballs, not again!" He has used both in the appropriate context, however, much to his delight.