[Today is Spanish Friday, so this post is in Spanish. For an English translation, scroll down. If you participated in Spanish Friday, please leave your link in comments.]

Sólo en años recentes aprendí a pronunciar “Tijuana” correctamente. A oidos de hispanohablantes, los gringos a veces la pronuncian como es alguien en su famila… “Tía Juana.”

Fui una vez a Tijuana – era mi primera vez en salir de los Estados Unidos – y la unica vez que yo ponia pies en México, lindo y querido.

Yo era joven – no más que 10 años. Mis abuelos estaban viviendo en San Diego y cuando fuimos a visitarlos, dijeron un día, en vez de nuestras frecuentes visitas a lugares como Disneyland y Sea World, por qué no vamos a México?

Unos años más tarde, me puse a pensar que es injusto que fuimos a México sin pasaporte, sin planes, sin miedo, sin ahorrar dinero por pagar un coyote, sin ninguna vergüenza.

Yo era una niña, un poco molesta porque no pasé el día con Mickey Mouse, mientras yo estaba rodeada de niños más joven que yo, vendiendo chicle para poder sobrevivir.


Only in recent years did I learn to pronounce “Tijuana” correctly. To the ears of native Spanish speakers, gringos sometimes pronounce it as if it is someone in their family… “Tía Juana.”

I went one time to Tijuana – it was my first time leaving the United States – and the only time I set foot in Mexico, lindo y querido.

I was young – no more than 10 years old. My grandparents were living in San Diego and when we went to visit them, they said one day, instead of our frequent visits to places like Disneyland and Sea World, why don’t we go to Mexico?

Some years later, I began to think about the injustice of it – that we went to Mexico without a passport, without plans, without fear, without saving money to pay a smuggler, without shame.

I was a girl, a girl who was a little annoyed because I didn’t get to spend the day with Mickey Mouse. Meanwhile, I was surrounded by kids even younger than myself, selling chewing gum to survive.

13 thoughts on “Tijuana

  1. My parents are from TJ (Tijuana)! It’s a very tough city, but with very humble and nice people. Unfortunately, drugs, corruption and bad guys have given Tijuana a bad rep. I’m currently living in Italy, but whenever my husband and I have a chance to visit our families in San Diego, we always go to Tijuana for some good tacos de carne asado y birria.
    Great Blog!!

  2. Muy bien dicho. Y como todo en la vida, es solo con la madurez que aprendemos a valorar las cosas. Igual fui yo de niña, igual son mis niños ahora; que por mas que intente explicarles el valor del trabajo, o el valor de un alma, lo único que les interesa es el mundo de fantasía. Bueno hay que dejarlos hasta cierto grado que su mundo sea una fantasia, despues de todo ya será pronto que empezaran esos duros golpes inevitables de la vida que los bajaran de las nubes.

  3. Tia Juana! Jajajaja!!! Loved it. :)
    Me parece padrísimo que desde chiquita hayas tenido experiencias con la cultura latina amiga, even if you didn´t “value” them yet. Pero ves? Desde temprano ya estabas teniendo acercamientos con este mundo surrealista y maravilloso que somos los latinos.
    Love u!

  4. Your observation about how easily you crossed the border, and US citizens still cross the border, has struck me many times. Yes, we need a passport, but as you point out we are spared the danger and humiliation that accompanies so many trips Mexicans make to the US.
    Another strange twist on the border-crossing reality – my children can travel to Mexico when they please. The children of my undocumented friends, children born in Mexico, cannot go. They talk about the day that they too will visit the magical land they have heard so much about. It’s heartbreaking.

    On a much lighter note, here is my link for Spanish Friday:

  5. A few years ago we thought we would park the car on the U.S. side and walk over. Well, we missed the exit. The Mexican officer at the border told us to circle around and come back. We got lost. We must have seen the worst, because it was horrible. Such poverty. Our children were crying. Here’s the worst part: our daughter, who was 15 at the time, said she had forgottenn her passport in the hotel room. (She had insisted on carrying it.) So we were frantic that she wouldn’t be allowed to cross back over.

    Everything got better from there. We even went back the next day, this time crossing over on foot.

      • If you have become so numb to seeing people without limbs, sitting on the side of the road, looking hungry and miserable, then it’s a sad commentary on you.

        Furthermore, I was born and raised in Venezuela.

      • Aixa tiene toda la razón. Please don’t come here just to insult people who have left thoughtful comments.

  6. Great post!! Mi mamá siempre me decía dale gracias a Dios que tu puedes ir y venir de Puerto Rico a los Estados Unidos cuando quieras. Son muchas las personas que darían la vida por tener ese privilegio.

    Eso es que algo que yo le recuerdo a mis hijos cuando ellos se quejan de su vida. O cuando ellos oyen a otras personas quejándose de como viven en los Estados Unidos.

    Aquí está mi Spanish Friday, aunque está tarde. (blushing)


  7. Pingback: Chicle | Latinaish

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