Blending

Saludos a todos!

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post, so this one will be catching up on my past 2 weekends prior to this one, with a later one to come about Chris’s visit and then Día de los Muertos and our upcoming trip to Cuetzalan!

Three weekends ago, we went to Mexico City for the weekend for a soccer game and music festival. The soccer game was incredibly fun–we were up in the nosebleeds (about 5 rows from the top), but when was the last time you went to a professional game for under 10 bucks?! The game was Mexico vs. Panama, a world cup qualifier, which meant that it was important for Mexico to win (both for the team and for our own safety…while we were quickly accepted by the Mexicans as fellow fans, we’d also be easy targets for airborne beer and food if Mexico lost!). Since I’ve been deprived of cheering my head off at ND games all semester, it was extra-exhilarating to be in a stadium of 100,000+ people all screaming for one team. While I feel at home here in Mexico, I am still very much aware of how much I stand out–with my accent, my clothing, with how I’m often walking around with a group of 5 other clearly-not-Mexicans, and with how I don’t put chili powder on my pineapple or mango (sorry, I just can’t!). However, at this game, in a huge crowd of green jerseys, I finally felt like another Mexican–if not ethnically, at least culturally. I was accepted by the other fans as another Mexican fan, one who sang (or, in my case, pretended to since I didn’t know the words) Mariachi songs during timeouts and who learned the cheers and understood the profanities that everyone around me was screaming. After an incredible, exciting win, we left the stadium high-fiving fellow Mexico fans and singing and cheering and smiling and buying cheap merchandise, and it was the sort of the high that I felt after the Stanford win last year! I had forgotten about how much fun that is!

We spent the next 2 days at a music festival called Corona Capital, complete with expensive tickets and a lot of bands that I didn’t know. While I can’t pretend that I went into it with the best attitude, I ended up having a great time! The day was a lot more fun than the night for me–the night was when the headliners played, so there were a lot more people (really, I don’t know where they all came from, but it was scary being in that huge of a crowd!), but during the day the venue was full of big open lawns with people spread out and listening to the music. I learned a lot of new bands that I liked, relaxed on the grass, danced at night, and had mind-blowing coconut donuts…it was a great weekend!

The highlight of these 3 days, however, was not any game or concert; instead, it was feeling like I was part of something bigger. I was not just a tourist dropping through the top destinations of a state; I was not hanging out in the international lounge at school; I was not the American who the doctors spoke super-slowly to in the hospital or who vendors struggle to sell products to in English until I tell them I speak Spanish. At the soccer game, I was part of the group because I was cheering for Mexico; at the concerts, I was just another 20-something year old listening to music in a crowd of Mexicans from all over. I didn’t get treated any differently than anyone else; for all anyone knew, I could have been from a European family in Mexico, or traveling to come to the concert, and it didn’t matter. For once, I could do what I wanted without standing out, and I felt like every other Mexican there. If I hadn’t gotten so sunburned, I probably could have blended in fully 🙂

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