Mexico has been in the news repeatedly for the past two years, and we all know why. A deranged toddler averred that Mexico has not been sending their best. Really? Has this clown ever been there? Has he been in the Southwestern United States much?
One thing I appreciate about being in Southern California, and having a second home close to the border now, is my proximity to all things Latin American, without any of the drawbacks of living there.
I have lived south of the border and while I enjoyed the cultural enrichment, it isn’t easy for a pampered American to live abroad anywhere, including in our own hemisphere, no matter how sophisticated the country.
Whenever we want to, we can drive a few minutes to Olvera Street in Downtown LA or, when in San Diego, hit Old Town.
Since I have been in Mexico half a dozen times, ranging from Puerto Vallarta, to Mexico City, to Tijuana, I can say with confidence, Old Town is the same thing — almost.
We get the benefit of the unique and delicious food, the cheerful, catchy music, the colorful art, and the fact that without Mexico and Puerto Rico, most Americans could only speak English, and that, just barely.
Don’t think for a minute you can learn another language with Rosetta or Babbel.
There is only one way, either you are raised in a multilingual household by native speakers from other countries, or you immerse yourself in another culture without the benefit of falling back on English.
Where else would our English heritage have learned to add hot peppers to our bland diet?
Who do you think taught us about chili and cheese fries?
How else would we have had the good fortune to travel close-by to resorts that cost a small fraction of those in Europe or Hawaii?
Even the Caribbean is prohibitive. Not Mexico.
Would we have the beautiful architecture of all the Mission towns in the sun belt without the early Church fathers like Padre Junipero Serra?
And, Snow Birds who can no longer afford Miami or San Diego, can live like royalty over the southern border.
As you know, if you have been in my community for the last five years, I am no fan of hot weather, so when I choose to travel, it is always north.
In fact, we just got back from a wonderful trip to San Francisco. But I would be unfair if I were not to acknowledge the priceless contribution of South America to our country.
It needs to be recalled, that the people who come here want to bring all these good things to us in return for a chance to prove how wonderful they can be.
These are not lazy, untalented, unskilled people, nor criminals. These are hardworking ambassadors that contribute to our society in manifold ways. Let’s not forget it, or the words on the Statue of Liberty.
Images: Chez BeBe assets/Old Town, San Diego. Click on each photo to view it large.