bilingual living

The Rollercoaster of Flexi-Mexi

Of the countless awkward positions I find myself in when living in Mexico, none are horizontal. There’s def a part of me that laments that reality and wishes I had a saucier tale to tell, but…. it has become super clear that is not the case for my children. They are so much more flexible than I. It’s almost embarrassing, except that I am really proud of them and have made note to follow their lead a touch more.

In my defense, a little about me:

I grew up, first, very poor. We are talking chicken gizzards and tomato sauce with rice for dinner – often. These were the cheapest foods available with nutritional content at the supermarket in the 70’s.  Then we moved “up” to a tony suburb of Los Angeles and ate fresh salmon as regularly as we had previously eaten gizzards. I lived a much posher existence with the ability to attend dance (or whatever else was of interest) classes and extra-curriculars in the 80’s. I actively participated in the closest thing you could to a debutante ball on the West Coast, and trust me that I rocked it. This is all to say that I grew and still am acutely aware of the social differences and expectations that accompany class and geographic differences. Mastering etiquette was as much of a delicious game of chess for me as mastering language is now.

My kids are different. They only know what the last 10 years of their life has presented, and they basically do not remember a time when we didn’t visit Mexico for extended periods each year. Their cultural capital is without strife financially and encompasses travel and multiple languages in only ways that I dreamt about as a latch-key-like child of a modern blended family. While I constantly compare and contrast my cultural expectations no matter where I find myself, they live our ‘Flexi-Mexi’ motto, and they’re cool with it.

We are heading to Jack's first soccer match tonight for 'Real Madrid' - he's mostly psyched to own a new jersey on top of the prospect of shooting a goal. And yes, I'm not lying when I report that my daughter, unsolicited, told me yesterday that she was "glad that I bring them to Mexico every year". It's true that my middle son cried with angst the day before his first day of school here, but by Day 3, they claimed it all good. That complaint alone made me tear up in the shadows thinking "What and why am I doing this to them?!", and yet it is from the same guy that runs into classmates around town who holler out greetings and playdate invitations.

Yesterday morning, I counted the days left in our stay. Today, I wish I could extend it.