Paving the road to nowhere, one word at a time.

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Location: Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico

American born, living in Mexico since 1992.

Friday, December 31, 2004


The carne asada grilled at yesterday’s party was not very good so Joshua made do with the carnitas instead. The salsa wasn’t hot enough, not hot at all, and even though the people that I work with are mostly Mexicans, almost all of them live in the United States and prefer their salsa to be mild; and their carne asada is seldom sliced thin enough and the meat toughens as it cooks. The secret to carne asada is in the thin slices of beef, to grill for only a couple of minutes letting the marinade do its work and keeping the juices of the meat from escaping.

It gave me an opportunity to remind Joshua that once we arrived in Mexico, the food would come alive.

Later that evening we left work and took the trolley to the border, then walked to Centro while I pointed out the different aspects of Tijuana through my years here. The original footings of the old bridge, still poking out through the cemented Tijuana River; the plaza on the other side of the pedestrian bridge, renovated and relatively pretty compared to the old broken sidewalk up Calle Madera. I took him into El Fuente, we went to the back and shot a couple of games of pool.

We couldn’t have done that in the United States, even though he only drank a soda. Mexico is flexible. Here, it seems that rules are made to be exploited, much less bent or broken. On the way to get a cab, Joshua ate his first taco de lengua en salsa verde, cow tongue in green chile. He’s hooked.

When we arrived home, there were hugs and tears. The kids stayed up and watched movies until three or four in the morning, I went to bed and Rocio followed at some point as I slept away the Fiesta Bowl. The kids were all asleep in the livingroom when I got up this morning, after a cup of coffee I rousted Juan and Joshua and we went up the street and ate tacos de birria. We strolled the sobre ruedas and I picked up some chiles and fresh chorizo, I’ll make some sopes this afternoon.

This has become the best holiday ever. Joshua acclimated quickly, it is as if he has always been here. If I could get him to stay here for a couple of years, he would be speaking Spanish. Maybe he will. Maybe he will fall in love with Mexico as I have.

Juan and Joshua are playing Gamecube football as I type, after their game we’ll walk up the street and get some Tecate and a bag of Maseca, and maybe something else. When we get back, I am supposed to play the winner of their game.

Whatever happens in that game, I already know that I’ve won. Everyone wins when we’re all together like this.

Even on Monday, when everyone goes their separate ways, I am imagining that Joshua will know that he belongs here every bit as much as he belongs anywhere.

Or even more than that.


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