I started this blog because living in Mexico has meant so much more than the past seven years of my life. It has meant that I chose a different path in my life. This path hasn't always been what I had imagined but it is always full of surprises. When I graduated from college in Buffalo, NY I envisaged my future to be one where I worked for an NGO, the United Nations, or I would be living in Africa with the Peace Corps, I would learn Mandarin Chinese, and of course, travel the world. But I decided to stay in Mexico to live my life and it has been just as exciting if I had done all those things.
As the daughter of a Mexican mother and a Ukrainian father raised in the United States, I often struggled with what it meant to be an American. My father emigrated from Europe when he was a young man; my mother moved to New York after she and my father married. And then I married a Mexican in Mexico. We were going to move to the United States and start our lives there. I could continue with my career goals and ambitions. However, as it happens so often, life took a different turn for me. Four months after our marriage, I got pregnant and my priorities shifted. My mother lived in the same city as we did so we decided that the best thing for our new family to do would be to sit tight until our baby was born. After our son’s birth things naturally changed. I continued to teach English as a second language, I took care of our son and I became what I never did think I would be: a housewife. The H word.
Living in Mexico has been a personal journey, it’s been a journey of growth and learning and this blog is a result of my ramblings to family and friends, diary entries, letters, videos, photographs and emails that I have scattered throughout our home, my mother’s house and on my computer. My hope is that this blog adds to the discussion what it is like to live in another country, different from the one you grew up in and call "home" even if you haven't been back for years. I want to compare and contrast different aspects, from politics, to religion, to gender roles and more, of what living in Mexico is really like, not some caricature of what Mexico is assumed to be in the media in the United States.
This blog is a reflection of what living in Mexico is for a modern day woman who has two nationalities, fluent in two languages, and culturally lives in two countries with very different cultural heritages. This is my Mexico in all its confusion and beauty, it is a place where I am still called a gringa but passed over for jobs because I don't look the part ( I don't have blue eyes and blonde hair, the stereotypical gringa). I used to struggle to figure out what it meant to be an American. Living in Mexico has helped me understand that an American is a person who lives on the continent of America; that being called a gringa is both a compliment and an insult and that I have the power to define what it means to be an American, Mexican, a Mexican-American, a Latina, or whatever label people stick on me. I can define what it means to me and like those G.I Joe public service anouncements I used to see as a kid, knowledge is half the battle. I think the other half is sharing that knowledge with others.