I recently read an article by Juan of Words about parts of his childhood in Mexico that he hopes his children will also experience. It got me wondering about my children’s earliest memories of Mexico.
Language and culture cannot be separated. Both Spanish and Guanajuato, Gto. are as much a part of my kids’ childhoods as English and La Crosse, Wisconsin. This summer, we are here for a few weeks before the craziness of fall starts, and I asked my daughter about her memories of this place. Predictably, these images tumbled out in Spanish and in no order. Her earliest memories are from when she was five years old.
A Mexican brand of bubble gum
Persiguiendo palomas en las plazas
Chasing pigeons in the plazas. The pigeons were never in any danger.
Aguas frescas en bolsitas de plástico
You can get drinks in plastic bags here. You just put a straw in the top and hold the top around the straw. My daughter remembers learning that you cannot put them down!
Very early in the morning the gas trucks pass shouting ¡Gas! very loudly.
Paletas de fresa
Strawberry popsicles here have whole strawberries at the bottom. They were a favorite when my kids were little.
These flowers do not grow in Wisconsin.
Hacer casitas con Katia, barrer y vestir al gato.
She build houses with a friend. They would sweep and dress the cat like a baby.
Buying corn with creama y chile from street stands. Yes, my children have always eaten everything in Mexico.
Un globo en forma de jirafa
A giraffe-shaped balloon she adored.
The city has lots of stairs, and they can be hard for little legs.
A rice cinnamon drink that is still one of her favorites and something I do not make in Wisconsin.
She watched Mexican soap operas with friends from the time she was very small.
Fruta para el desayuno. También fruta y verdura con chile en la calle.
Fruit for breakfast. Also, fruit and vegetables with chile in the street
No me gustaron los payasos, los alacranes, los perros.
“I didn’t like the clowns, the scorpians, the dogs.” She is referring to dogs on the street, not our family dogs.
Jugar Turista Mundial
Turista Mundial is the Mexican version of Monopoly. You buy and sell countries. They played a lot in Mexcio when they were young.
Navidad con la familia en Silao, las posadas, el nacimiento
Christmas and all its different elements
When I decided to teach my children Spanish, I knew that I wanted their language to be tied directly to people who were dear to them and to one place. I wanted them to have accents and complete vocabulary from one region. They do speak Mexican Spanish, although my oldest daughter has lived in Peru for six years now, so her vocabulary and accent have changed. What will never change for any of them are the memories and deep understanding of this part of Mexico.
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