I'm from Mexico City and lived in the U.S. for a total of more than 24 years. Now I'm back in Mexico. I realized I was seeing my country through the eyes of a native stranger. This is an attempt to process the differences, to explain Mexico to the U.S. and the U.S. to Mexico. With digressions along the way.

viernes, diciembre 31, 2004

Death to the Calendar as We Know It

My mother mentioned to me while we were walking the dog that it didn't really make sense to celebrate the New Year January 1st. I was a bit taken aback when she said this, since from what I've seen it's the only holiday she cares about. I'M the one who had always been saying it's just some arbitrary date. But it turns out she thinks it should be celebrated the first day of winter.
I have to say that makes a lot of sense. I mean, what the hell is up with the calendar we use? I propose some changes. I'm not talking about anything drastic, like changing the number of days in the week or months in the year, though at times that appeals to me also. Just some minor changes. Yeah...start the year the day that marks the cusp between the days growing shorter and shorter and them growing longer and longer. And how about we add a couple of days to February? I mean, why the hell does February have 28 days anyway?* There are enough months with 31 days that a couple could hand one over to good ole February. Leap year February could have 31 days. 7 months would then have 30 days, 5 31, except for leap year, when it would be six and six. You could make it so that the equinox or solstice would fall around the first or second of the month, which seems a lot tidier to me.
I also propose that we start counting the current era from 1970. Make that year zero.** Yes, it's because it's when I was born, but not because I'm some kind of egomaniac or anything, nooooo. I just want to have to dedicate the least thought possible to figuring out how old I am.
Unfortunately, things in the modern world have become so rigid and standardized that changing the calendar would be about as difficult as getting the US to use the metric system, for christ's sake.

So, uh...I guess to kind of reign myself back in to the topic of this blog I'll say something about the Aztec and Mayan calendars. The Aztec calendar is actually an adaptation of the Mayan calendar. They Mayan calendar was slightly more accurate than the Gregorian calendar. And it's very complicated, but it had three basic calendars, one based on the cycle of the Earth, one on the Moon, and another on the constellation we call Pleiades. The one used in everyday life, based on the cycle of the Earth, had 18 months of 20 days each, and then an extra 5 days at the end when you celebrated/mourned the death of the year. And one of their calendars has the new year starting the day after the winter solstice. Very civilized. But the system is way too complex. In some things the days are numbered starting zero, in others starting one. So I don't propose we use their calendar. Though they do have pretty cool names for their months.

*There's a myth that February has 28 days because Augustus Ceasar wanted his month to have as many days as Julius' month, so he stole a day from February. Even if it were true, why couldn't he have stolen from one of the 31 day months? And when did February lose it's other day? Calendar history is really fascinating. On the linked site you'll find some awesome info, such as:
1. Before the Julian calendar was introduced, priests in the Roman Empire exploited the calendar for political ends, inserting days and even months into the calendar to keep the politicians they favored in office. Tired of the chaos that this undependable system eventually gave rise to, Julius Caesar finally set out to put the long-abused calendar back on track.
2. A "tropical" year, i.e., the time it take the Earth to orbit the Sun, is approximately 365.242 days long, but this changes because of several factors, such as the gravitational pull of other planets.
3. Countries started changing to the Gregorian (current) calendar in the 1500s, though some countries like Russia and Greece didn't change until the 1900s, and the Orthodox Church in Russia still uses the Julian calendar.
4. It is a curious fact that although the method of reckoning years after the (official) birthyear of Christ was not introduced until the 6th century, by some stroke of luck the Julian leap years coincide with years of our Lord that are divisible by 4.
5. The Julian Calendar introduces an error of 1 day every 128 years, and to correct for this, when the Gregorian calendar was introduced they had to drop ten days from the calendar. (Can you imagine them trying to pull something like that now?)
6. In order to make up for the lack of days in a year that the Roman calendar had (which was a huge mess), an extra month, Intercalaris or Mercedonius, (allegedly with 22 or 23 days though some authorities dispute this) was introduced in some years.
7. Also in Roman times, leap years were considered unlucky and were therefore avoided in time of crisis, such as the Second Punic War.
8. From 1793 to 1806, France had a Republican Calendar that had 10 days in a week, 10 hours in a day, 100 minutes in an hour and 100 seconds in a minute (that really appeals to me).

**Yes, zero, not one. If we'd had a year zero, everyone could have happily celebrated the New Millennium on Jan. 1st 2000, satisfying their ignorant though more aesthetically pleasing choice without controversy.

In any case...Happy New Year's Eve everybody!

jueves, diciembre 30, 2004

More Tsunami, Sophie's Choice, and the Animals

OK...so I digress from the Mexico subject again, but I just can't get my mind off of this. Whole islands have disappeared. Now I hear the death toll is 125,000! Sumatra lost about 1/4 of their citizens. About half of those who died were children. I just finished reading The Sweet Hereafter, a novel about a small town that loses most of its children in a bus accident. Imagine a whole nation losing so many children! The impact that will have for years to come....
I saw on the news this Australian woman who said she was holding on to her two children so that they wouldn't get swept away by the water. She just couldn't hold on to both of them because she was going to get swept away too, so she had to choose which of her children to let go of. She let go of the oldest one, who was five, thinking he had a better chance than the 18 month old. Luckily her 5 year old made it by hanging on to a door. Several people in that family are going to need counseling. (I was going to say it bothers me that a lot of the personal stories I see on the news are of tourists instead of locals, but in the last segment I saw there were a few locals as well. Still, the numbers certainly aren't representative.) It reminds me of the randomness of tragedy, how the strangest stories surface. During the Mexico City earthquake of 1985, which of course pales in comparison to this, but it's the closest I've been to that kind of disaster, we had one friend who was on the 13th floor of a building that collapsed. Lying in the rubble, he saw a light from a crack. He climbed out of the building, over the rubble, and onto the street, dusting himself off. After he was out of shock, his shoulder started to hurt, and it turned out he had dislocated it. A friend of my aunt's, on the other hand, was in a two story building that didn't collapse or suffer major damage. But he panicked, and when he ran outside, he was hit in the head by a brick that came off of the façade of the building and was killed.
Another thing that I heard about the tsunami is that they have not found ANY dead animals, even in a wildlife preserve. They think the animals sensed the danger and ran to safety.

Foxilandia and Mexican Politics 101

It may not be as large a country as Bushland, but Foxilandia is just as steeped in fantasy. What is Foxilandia? It is the country people say President Fox lives in--because with the claims he makes about the country he governs, there's NO WAY it's the Mexico we live in! So...in order to proceed I need to give a little bit of background about politics in Mexico at the moment.
First of all, Fox has been president since 2000, and he has 2 years to go (we have a six year term, but no reelection in Mexico). He is the first president from a party other than the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) to win a presidential election in Mexico in more than 70 years. A lot of people were really happy about this, but I have to explain two things:

1. Fox is from the PAN party (National Action Party), which is the ultra-right party that has close ties to the Catholic Church, and to a secret organization called "el Yunque." Tons of politicians from the PAN belong to el Yunque (Loret de Mola [see news shows post] did an interview with Alvaro Delgado, author of the book El Yunque, la utraderecha en el poder that you can read about (in Spanish) here.) So, frankly, the only good news is that the PRI's hold was, at least temporarily, loosened (now that the PAN is doing such an awful job, the PRI has started winning elections again--most of the governorships up for grabs this year were taken by the PRI.)
2. Although I hear many Americans say Mexico has (had) a one-party system, thus nulling it's claim to be a democracy, at the state and local level, other political parties have had much more of an impact than small parties in the U.S. So in some ways Mexico's democracy is healthier than the U.S.'s. Of course there is plenty of corruption (just like in the U.S., but with a hell of a lot more public knowledge and acceptance of it). When Cuauhtemoc Cárdenas, the leftist candidate, won the election in 1988, it was stolen by the PRI (hmmm...sound familiar?).

In any case...so Fox has been President for four years, and he's from the PAN (furthest right of the three main parties). The head of government of the D.F. (sorta like the mayor), López Obrador, is from the PRD (furthest left of the three main parties). There is a RAGING WAR between the two, which currently centers on the budget for next year. They even had to call in the Supreme Court to settle the dispute. The weirdest thing about this is the way this plays out in the media. Fox does PSAs (payed for by the government, I might add) promoting his leadership. He claims that there is full transparency in government. That Mexican democracy is healthier than ever. That corruption is being extinguished. Thus...Foxilandia. I mean, is he really talking about this Mexico, the one I live in? For his part, López Obrador...well...he doesn't really say much, but he certainly is just as self-promoting. What I mean by "he doesn't say much" is...literally that! The guy utters like one word per hour. I don't know how this guy made it into government. He never answers a question directly, but unlike other politicians who answer with what we call the "Olendorf method" (zestfully and verbosely talking about something irrelevant), he just says things like "let's not get into that," or simply, "I'm not going to answer that." Seeing him on the news is absolutely surreal. But, well...at least he's on the left, right?
Ha ha ha...they're all corrupt. We had high hopes for the PRD, but you can't survive in Mexican politics without being at least a little crooked (or in any politics, I'm sure). Around April, there was a big scandal that is still a main news story over a video where someone from the PRD (René Bejarano) is accepting a bribe from this guy Ahumada. For what, we don't know. But it's played over and over again as evidence of the PRD's corruption. Of course, Ahumada bribed politicians from the PRI and PAN as well...but what was so disappointing was that even PRD was doing it now. Our last hope had fallen from grace. Poor Mexico. The PRI might win the next election just because the fight between the PAN and the PRD has reached such ridiculous levels that they make the PRI seem prudent (imagine that!).

Aside from the corruption, though, politics have really changed in Mexico. Fox makes use of tactics that are very similar to the type of presidential display that Reagan started (or at least perfected): image, image, image, no content. He even hired an American political advisor, Dick Morris (Bill Clinton's former advisor).

I think Fox is probably almost as stupid as Bush is. But what's the biggest difference between Foxilandia and Bushland?

Foxilandia doesn't hold the fate of the rest of the world in its hands.

miércoles, diciembre 29, 2004

El Privilegio de Mandar

There's a show that comes on Wednesday nights called "La Parodia" which has a lot of terrible skits, but one very brilliant segment. It's a parody of politicians and the government done in the style of a soap opera called "El Privilegio de Mandar" (the privilege of commanding). The comedian that imitates the head of government of the D.F., López Obrador, who I mentioned in the post about news shows, is part of these skits. They use whatever has been going on in the news and make great comedy out of it. The guy who imitates President Fox is particularly good. He's got his mannerisms down pat. I've always found Mexicans to be quite savvy politically. It's quite a different atmosphere from the U.S. For example, I've found that in very general terms, Americans seem to associate loving their country with showing some sort of allegiance toward their government. But Mexicans are fiercely proud of being Mexican while for the most part having utter disdain for and lack of trust in their government. They don't let the media and the government pull the wool over their eyes as much as Americans do. Still, when last I lived here, it was uncommon to see such frank criticism on television. Americans have had this all along. Perhaps the government has realized that this type of cultural expression lets people let out steam and is relatively harmless. It's something the U.S. learned long ago. In many ways politics in Mexico are starting to follow the U.S. model (though things are still markedly different here)...but that's a topic for another post.

Mexico Population

Mexico's population has doubled in the past 30 years. The country now has 110 million people. I was amazed to find out that in Spain, the government gives incentives for families with more than 2 children! Most of the world has the opposite problem. My mother worked doing volunteer work with women in Tlaxcala teaching them about reproductive health, encouraging birth control and regular visits to the gynecologist. She says that every time she felt she was making some progress, the Catholic Church would come around and destroy it. I think it is absolutely immoral to encourage people who hardly have the means to feed themselves not to use birth control! And unfortunately the Catholic Church in Mexico has a strong influence in these matters.

Donate to Tsunami Relief Fund

It's really easy to make a donation to the American Red Cross for the Disaster Relief fund for South Asian Tsunami Victims though Amazon. Just click here to go to the page, or go to Amazon's main page to find a link.

A lot of people have been collecting food and clothing to send, but unfortunately this isn't the best way to help out. Transporting the goods costs lots of money, and not everything is usable. If you donate money to a trusted relief organization, the funds can be used to purchase the exact type of aid that is needed.

martes, diciembre 28, 2004

Tsunami Update

I just heard the tsunami death toll has now passed 55,000. Considering there are still many people missing, I expect the number will be considerably larger. It boggles the mind. Seeing video of the grieving survivors and boards of flyers seems like a much larger version of September 11th. Except this time the anger can't be directed at humans (of course, blame will be found anyway.) What will happen to these areas that have lost so, so many people, all in one fell swoop? I really can't fathom that kind of devastation. I heard the earthquake that set off the tidal wave was 33 times stronger than the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, which killed about 25,000. It was strong enough to shift the axis of the earth 5 centimeters, and change the speed of its rotation.

Verb Tense Trouble

For some reason, a whole lot of people here use the subjunctive tense when they are supposed to use the conditional. I don't remember this being the case before. Perhaps it's just a recent trend. I've heard politicians and news casters do it on TV. It drives me crazy! For example, someone will say "Debiéramos ir al cine" instead of "deberíamos ir al cine." I even caught my dad doing it the other day.

Santos Inocentes

Today is the "Día de los Santos Inocentes" (innocent saints), which is I guess our equivalent of April Fool's Day. A day to play jokes on people, to make them "innocent"--in the sense of naive. It has an interesting variation, though, that's not a custom on April Fool's. If you ask someone to borrow something, and when they give it to you you say "santos inocentes," you can keep what they gave you (the joke being you weren't going to give it back.) So my mother announces first thing this morning that it's Santos Inocentes, and I lost all chance to fool anyone. I always gave back what I asked for on this day anyway, I felt too guilty.

lunes, diciembre 27, 2004

Downtown Mexico City

Originally uploaded by nativestranger.
Downtown Mexico City is a definite place to go if you're visiting, since it has so many historic buildings and an excavated pyramid. This is a picture of the "Catedral," which is in the main square, called the "zócalo." It seems the city and developers are making an effort to revitalize downtown, which is really a euphemism for gentrification, since downtown has always thrived in one way or another. At some point between my parents' childhood and my own it went from being a place that everyone went to for shopping and entertainment, to being more of a "popular" neighborhood. Commerce became aimed toward middle to lower classes, many elegant restaurants and hotels relocated, and it has been considered an unsafe place to walk around at night. Now they are opening up lofts and remodeling old apartments to attract young artsy people. I have a friend who lives downtown and he's a huge fan. It really has some of the best architecture in the city.

Consiguiendo Trabajo
Originally uploaded by nativestranger.
People regularly set up by the cathedral to advertise their labor. If you need a plumber, an electrician, a mason, you can go downtown and hire one here.

Originally uploaded by nativestranger.
On weekends particularly, the streets of downtown get filled with people and "comerciantes" selling their wares.

Bellas Artes
Originally uploaded by nativestranger.

This is the "Bellas Artes" (fine arts) building, where they have concerts and other cultural events. The art deco interior is definitely worth checking out.

Casa de los Azulejos
Originally uploaded by nativestranger.
Some houses downtown have been very well preserved, such as the "Casa de los Azulejos," which is one of my favorite buildings in the city. It's now a Sanborn's, which is kind of what Sear's used to be in the U.S.--a store that sells books, jewelry, electronics, etc., with a café.


Once in a while something happens that makes you feel very lucky. The earthquake and resulting tsunami have left over 22,000 dead! That's even more than the civilian body count from the intervention in Iraq (http://www.iraqbodycount.net/). I read that Italy and France have sent aid...the rest of the "first world" better get on it if they haven't already! I can't wrap my mind around that many dead. On the news I saw video of a man crying and hugging a dead boy...and each person of the thousands dead is one like that boy. What an incredible amount of pain.

viernes, diciembre 17, 2004

Sarcasm in the News

I just realized that the main difference between the Mexican and U.S. news shows is that newscasters in the U.S. are really not sarcastic. I'm talking about your regular evening news. I like my news with some sarcasm.

News Shows

Carlos Loret de Mola
Every morning we watch two news shows that are a refreshing change from U.S. news. These are "Primero Noticias", with Carlos Loret de Mola and "El Cristal con que se mira" with Victor Trujillo. I think what distinguishes these shows from how the news used to be here and how it is in the U.S. is the candidness with which the hosts give their opinions and present their critical takes on events and politics in the city. There is no hidden agenda. American newscasters try to give the impression that they are presenting simple fact. Occasionally they will insert an opinion, but they hardly ever do more than insinuate their politics. The main news show when I was last living here was given by Jacobo Zabludovsky, and things were very different then...a lot more like American news shows now, though of course more informative, since news shows here have never been dumbed down to the extent they have in the U.S. Zabludovsky was a lot more conservative, and he stated everything with absolute certainty in a typical newscaster voice. He came off as manipulative since he managed to express his opinions with subtle changes in intonation. This was also at a time when critique of the government in Mexico was almost entirely censured or self-censured.

Victor Trujillo
Now, Loret de Mola and Victor Trujillo present the news and very openly and blatantly make their opinions known. Their critiques are intelligent and funny...none of the fake chuckles and banter like they have between newscasters on U.S. shows.
One of my favorite lines from Loret de Mola, for example: Santiago Creel, the "Secretario de Gobernación" from the PAN (the ultra-conservative Catholic party), has been dressing up in a variety of outfits to seem like "one of the guys" (very much like Bush does). This is all taken as an indication that he is hoping to run for president in 2006. Loret de Mola remarked one day on his dressing like a "charro" (think Mexican cowboy) and then as a fireman. The next day he casually dropped the line, "Santiago Creel, sin disfrazarse de nada, apareció..." (without dressing up, appeared...). He simply stuck it in front of what was otherwise a straight report. Pure brilliance. Both Loret de Mola and Trujillo interview various government officials on the show, and they ask very tough questions. It's a pleasure to see the guests squirm and evade answering.
Victor Trujillo I don't find quite as funny, but his insights are right on the mark most of the time. He always ends his show with the following line: "Nada es verdad y nada es mentira, todo depende del cristal con que se mira." (Nothing is truth and nothing is a lie, it all depends on the lens with which you look at it.) Can you imagine a U.S. news show having that as their motto?!
But openly embracing their subjectivity isn't the only thing that I find strikingly different in these Mexican news shows. Trujillo had another show before his wife died that was even more surreal than most things in Mexico. He appeared as "Brozo el Payaso Tenebroso"--a boorish clown--on the show "El Mañanero," handing out incisive criticism surrounded by large-breasted women. It was crass, it was ugly, but it was better journalism than anything available on TV in the U.S.

Loret de Mola comes off as a square in comparison, but a few weeks ago when he interviewed López Obrador, the head of government of the D.F., they had a comedian who imitates him come on in the middle of the interview to speak to his real life counterpart. I suppose it's the equivalent of a comedy news show like the Daily News. There seems to be some controversy in the U.S. around suggestions that most Americans get their news from comedy shows such as that one, but I'd venture to say that the reason for this is that they present the criticism and humor that is so sorely missing in "real" news shows. Here in Mexico we get it nicely packaged together. Do I think this interferes with the objectivity of the news? I think that's a stupid question. Since there is of course no such thing as objectivity, no such thing as "fair and balanced," wouldn't you rather get opinion stated plainly and outright?

Minimum Wage

The government just approved a raise in the minimum wage of 1 peso and 35 cents a day (a DAY!), bringing it to a whopping $46.59 a day. That's about $4.15 US dollars. A DAY. Break out the caviar!

Do We Really Eat Crickets?

I think what I enjoy most about being back in Mexico City is the food. I laugh at "authentic" Mexican cuisine restaurants in the U.S., with their strange versions of "huevos rancheros." Not that there really IS an authentic Mexican cuisine. Traditional Mexican food is extremely varied and in constant change. For example, one of my favorite foods, "tacos al carbón," has only been around since the 60s. I don't much care for northern Mexican food, which seems to be what U.S. Mexican food seems to based on. For one, I like corn tortillas way better than flour ones. Even the restaurants opened by Mexicans that serve tacos al carbón just don't do them justice. The meat tastes different, the tortillas aren't just right. The closest I came to good Mexican food in the U.S. was a place in Chapel Hill called "Besa Mi Burro" that was owned by a Columbian! And it wasn't that the dishes were identical or faithful to anything I've had in Mexico, they just had the right distinctive taste.
There are dishes in Mexico that I'm sure foreigners would find quite strange: iguana, maguey (agave) caterpillars, ant eggs, and "chapulines" (crickets). My mother prepared chapulines for us the other day (pictured here), with "nopalitos" (cactus). They are fried in a red sauce and you eat them rolled up in corn tortillas. To be quite honest I prefer them when they are tiny and you can't quite make out they are crickets. But they are very tasty. Not all Mexicans eat these or any of the other strange dishes that got inherited to us from the indigenous peoples. I gave my mom a hard time all day after this meal saying "mommy feeds us insects"...well, because that's the sort of thing we do in my family.

martes, diciembre 14, 2004

Christmas Decoration-Topiary Correlation?

Now that the neighbors have had a chance to put up their Christmas decorations, I've noticed that there seems to be a correlation between the compulsion to snip trees into topiaries and the compulsion to place gaudy ornaments on them. Hmmm....

lunes, diciembre 13, 2004

Paseo de la Reforma

One of the main avenues in the city, and one of the nicest, is the "Paseo de la Reforma." The broad avenue has many roundabouts with diverse monuments, statues, and fountains which never seem to stay put. Any changes are usually cause for fervent protest (more on that to come in future posts.) This avenue was started by Emperor Maximilian for his personal transport from the Castle of Chapultepec to the Plaza Mayor. The avenue was at that time named the "Paseo de la Emperatriz" (Avenue of the Empress), until Maximilian was executed, when its name was changed to the "Paseo del Degollado" (Avenue of the Beheaded--though he was actually shot) and it was opened for public use. In the 1870's, after President Benito Juárez's death, the name of the avenue was changed to Reforma, after the reform laws promulgated by Juárez. This avenue is where you'll find the famous column of the angel of independence. The column was inaugurated the 16th of September of 1910 to celebrate the 100th year anniversary of our independence from Spain. We just call it "el ángel" for short.

The statue actually fell during the earthquake of 1957. Supposedly a friend of my dad's had the squashed head in his office for a while, but I never know which of my father's colorful stories I'm supposed to believe.
Some other fun facts about the column:
  • Since the city was built on a filled-in lake, 25 meter pillars were sunk to reach solid enough ground to support the monument. The rest of the city has been sinking, making it necessary to add 14 steps over the years.
  • The remains of several heroes of the "Independencia" are in a mausoleum inside the monument.
  • The angel of victory weighs 7 metric tons.

Another famous monument on Reforma, which was actually just moved and uncovered in its new location today, is the statue of Cuauhtemoc, the last Aztec emperor. Amusingly enough, the statue was just one roundabout over from the statue of Christopher Columbus, nicely illustrating the mixed history of Mexico.
The zoo, the Chapultepec Castle, the Anthropology Museum, the Museum of Modern Art...all of these are on the part of Reforma that has the most trees. Here are some other pictures of the avenue, including the Columbus monument:

viernes, diciembre 10, 2004

My Street

For starters, here's what my street looks like. Mexico City is divided up into neighborhoods called "colonias," and the one I live in is the Colonia Roma. Don't think the whole city looks like this, but this is a pretty typical middle class neighborhood. Notice our neighbors' fondness for topiary pruning, something which annoys my mother to no end. My mother says that when she was a child (1950s), the city was clean, full of trees, and only had about 3 million inhabitants (now it's over 20 million). At some point they cut down a lot of the trees, so in 1990 president Salinas de Gortari (whose brother, incidentally, was just murdered, but I'll get into that in another post) initiated the "Cada familia un Arbol" (A Tree for Each Family) campaign to "reforest" the city, and at least on our street, a tree was planted in front of every house. They did a really half-assed job of planting them, not giving them enough room to grow, and of course no one ever came to check on them again. The fate of each tree was therefore determined by its keeper. My mom, being a huge fan of plants, regularly pruned and fertilized ours. It survived, and did not have to suffer the ignominy of being turned into a little powder puff ball.

This is what is called an "eje vial," a larger street that is one way that carries heavy traffic. My block is between two of these, Medellín and Monterrey. This is Monterrey. As you can see, many buildings on these streets have businesses on the ground floor, making it a very convenient neighborhood to live in. I took this picture during a miraculous break in traffic...don't be fooled.

Life Changes / Cambios de la Vida

So, I'm in Mexico City, temporarily living with my parents after 16 years abroad. Those 16 years were spent in Los Angeles, New York City, and Durham, NC obtaining (or not obtaining, as the case may be) a variety of university degrees. Needless to say, being back here is a bit surreal. I was born in Mexico City and lived here from the ages of 9 to 18, but I've been gone a long, long time. The place has certainly changed, and so have I. My friend Oliver suggested I start a blog that would let people see the city through my eyes, the eyes of a native stranger. Along the way I'm sure to comment on completely irrelevant things, and as I'll be returning to Durham next year, I'll be playing the part of strange native soon enough. We'll see how it goes. In any case, welcome, and I hope you find something of interest here.

Pues estoy en la Ciudad de México viviendo con mis padres temporalmente después de estar fuera del país 16 años. Esos 16 años los pasé en Los Angeles, la ciudad de Nueva York, y Durham, Carolina del Norte obteniendo (o no obteniendo, dependiendo del caso) una variedad de diplomas universitarios. Seguro no necesito comentar que estar de vuelta es un poco surrealista. Nací en el D.F. y viví aquí de los 9 a los 18 años, pero he estado fuera mucho, mucho tiempo. El lugar definitivamente ha cambiado, y yo también. Mi amigo Oliver me sugirió empezar un blog para que la gente (especialmente estadounidense) viera la ciudad a través de mis ojos, los ojos de una nativa extranjera. En el camino seguro daré mis comentarios sobre temas que no tienen nada que ver con la ciudad. Y como estaré regresando a los Estados Unidos el año que entra, estaré protagonizando la parte de una extranjera nativa allá pronto. Veremos como sale la cosa. En todo caso, les doy la bienvenida y espero que encuentren algo de interés aquí.