Thursday, February 4, 2016

Memories: April 12th, 2014


The last three days have been hectic, this “Encounter of Students” has drained me off and my health has been going up and down since the beginning of the week. While I enjoyed several of the subjects and met interesting people I had more time to reminiscence more about my past.

One of the things that came through was while we were talking about the culture here in Tijuana, a strange mix of the idea of the “American Way of Life” with the national project of “Mexican Ultra nationalism”. The peculiar thing about this is that I've heard stories about the first and second half of the 20th century here in Tijuana and some of the most important things to pop into mind are the Casino Aguacaliente, made by none other that Al Capone; the dollar as a common currency and the peso as an unknown device which was looked upon with indifference; the musical stage was invaded by sounds coming from LA and ideas from down south, another peculiar mixture that could have only happened here. A more personal experience happened to me back when I was 5 watching TV, there in the screen was the American flag and I kept wondering why this why on the TV and not here in our backyards or somewhere else, so I asked my Dad and he looks puzzled then checks the TV and sighs while explaining me that I was looking at Fox 6, an American channel which was on the other side of the border and that I should ignore this as it was not from our country, he also explained to me what our flag looked like and why it was bad to salute a flag that wasn't yours while at the same time respecting them for who they are and what they think. No, English didn't seem to bother me at that point and even if I didn't understand it fully back then I could switch back through both languages with ease even if I didn't quite get every word.

I continuously asked myself why, why was this wrong in the end, as I grew up I lived in a Mexican influenced home, because both my parents had lived for more than forty years in central and south Mexico, thus it was odd for them to watch me use slang belonging to Tijuana and speaking in English for absolutely no reason, my Dad never had an issue but my Mom made fun of me and said that I should stop fucking around and do things the right way, which also reminds me the time she almost beat me to unconsciousness because I couldn't understand how to write a couple of letters or because I was a slow learner at school, I may still have a scar or two from those days.

From a different perspective now I understand why decentralization in Mexico is such a big thing and also why people from Tijuana and Baja California identify themselves with the region they live in and not the country, hell most of us would rather be American citizens if the US intervened and took over Baja California, not only we wouldn't mind losing our Mexican nationality but we also wouldn't mind joining them in putting some order back to where there is nothing but the effort of those who dared travel into the region, the peninsula of Baja California. A note of interest, that puts more into the idea of what I'm talking about, is that Tijuana is the city that is the furthest away from the capital, that is Mexico City, so it doesn't strike me as odd to feel like this now that I understand all those little details I just couldn't figure out when I was younger.

Well pity, my identity is skewered and my idea of nationality had been fixed at one point and then completely destroyed as soon as I joined my career, my understanding of culture is confusing and if someone ever asked me what is it like to be a Mexican I would tell them I wouldn't know because I have not a single clue and neither could I tell them what makes a Tijuanense a Tijuanense even after living almost 25 years in this city.

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