Friday, November 9, 2012

Snapshots from Mexico


Some fun/interesting/perplexing/funny/humbling encounters or reminders I have experienced here in the last couple months...

Alice? or Alicia?

So here I thought I was traveling to a country where for the first time in my life, I wouldn't have to say at introductions, "No, it's not AleeSHA, it's actually Al-ee SEE-ah."  My name is Spanish for crying out loud! Of course Mexicans will call me Alicia, no problem!

Not so.

I had noticed that some people in my family, including the adorable little Angelina, who is one of my besties here, called me "Alice" a lot.  I thought, well, ok, right, to shorten Alicia...that makes sense.  Then I noticed that when I would meet kids and introduce myself, one of their first questions is always, "My name is Lupita, How do you say THAT in English??" They always want to know the English version of their names!  This is just to say that it is a well known fact here that some names, like Juan, Andres, and Pedro, have English language equivalents.  Well, add to that list, Alicia. The other thing I hear from kids when I introduce myself is, "Oh, like, Alicia en el pais de las maravillas!!" Like Alice in Wonderland!  Well, I put two and two together.  I'm not Alice to many because it's shorter, I'm Alice because they think that's my name, and Alicia is surely just what I'm calling myself in Mexico.
Me and my little bestie Angie hanging out. Typical thing to hear when I see her, "Alice Alice! Podemos jugar??"

The icing on the cake came the other day when I was talking to an adult friend of the family.  He was saying that, in many cases, he really likes the English pronunciation of the Spanish name better than the Spanish name! After listing a few names, his face lights up as he says, "Or like your name! Alicia...it is alright in Spanish I suppose..but Alice...that's really beautiful."

I didn't have the heart to tell him my real, live, actual, universal, not-just-here-in -Mexico name is Alicia.  Gotta love the irony....

Learning to cook...FAIL

When we have monthly volunteer meetings, we're all supposed to bring something to share.  Thus far, it's been a bit of a tradition to have guacamole, since everyone is obsessed with it (maybe not as obsessed as I am, but still).  Well for our October meeting at our coordinator Andrea's house, I decided I would be the one to uphold the tradition and bring the guac.  I was so excited because I had asked my host mom Socorro if she could help me make it, and show me the secrets of the absolutely fabulous guac that she makes.  

The day of the meeting arrived, and it turns out, Socorro helping me to make guacamole turned out more like, "Alicia, um, you can grab me a spoon...um, let's see, you can take the avacados out of their bag if you want."  The most important job I got was to juice two limes.  I couldn't even do that properly because for a while I couldn't understand what she was saying (note to self, exprimir = squeeze, juice something).  My moment to prove myself competent, and I failed.  At least I ended up with the most delicious guacamole EVER for our meeting!
The group at the October meeting/halloween party...about to enjoy the great food everyone brought!

Round two of cooking lessons came just the other day.  Socorro decided that she was going to explain to me how to make Mole Verde.  There were two bags of green powder sitting on the counter, and she had me try some from one bag, to show me what the seed tastes like, the seed that is essential for the mole.  In a pot she began stirring in the powder from one bag, then the other, all the while explaining things about consistency, color, etc.  Finally came time to try it...the face she made was priceless, and not in a good way.  She immediately took the pot to her daughter Liliana, saying something about how it tasted all wrong. Liliana tried it and made the same face...was the mole seed/powder old? What was the problem?? After some debate, the solution was found...one bag had indeed been the mole seed.  The other? Oregano. Oops! I tried it and put out the feeble suggestion of putting it with pasta....but well, a LOT of oregano was in there. 20 pesos gone.  This is still something we laugh over though...the first (and thus far only) time Socorro taught me how to make something, and we ended up with oregano soup.  


Our kitchen where the "lesson" took place.  A lot of magic happens here that's for sure

The other side of the kitchen.  Much of my home life is sitting at that table