It’s a little unusual traveling to a country that feels like home and having to register as a foreign national. That’s the first thought that crossed my mind when I was told I would need to fill out the proper paperwork to be allowed into Mexico for a few days. This would be my first time visiting Mexico City.
There would be many other instances on this trip in which the fact that I was not born and raised in this country would become painfully obvious. The word “painfully” is used here on purpose because when people ask where I am from I like to say “I am Mexican.”
It doesn’t feel so authentic when you’re having to present your American passport and being asked how long you will stay in the country.
Later on during this same trip an epiphany occurs.
I’m sitting at a local breakfast spot, one of those comida corrida places that the locals frequent where you can hear the sound of the city as you sit and enjoy your coffee over fruta and pan bolillo when I realized the American side of me was really showing up. Up until this point in my mind I can’t seem to understand why the waitstaff in Mexico are “so slow” compared to their counterparts in the states.
First there was the taco stand guy that brought us our tacos and never came back to check on us. Then there was the waitstaff at the flagship restaurant we visited that took off with our check and my pesos and took forever to bring back my change. And finally, there were the two waitresses at this place who I had asked for more coffee twice and who seemed to be serving it up to everyone else besides me. Actually, when I pointed that out to them they let me know the coffee was brewing and that they would bring it out to me when it was ready.
I turned and looked at my mother who at this point was starting to look frustrated too just because I was making such a big deal about the delays. Then it hit me. Here I am in this beautiful city, exploring the history and heritage of the country I love so much, with my mother who was also seeing everything with me for the first time herself, and all I could do was worry about how slow my coffee was being served? I took a second look around and noticed that all the locals were laughing and making small chat, talking about their days – their lives. And I was making faces and puffing hot air about nothing.
I realized then, they weren’t moving too slow. I was trying to move at my normal pace… too damn fast!
Le baje dos rayitas and we sat and had a conversation instead.