My former neighbor of about 12 years started telling me about some places in L.A. that he grew up around. He mentioned streets that sounded somewhat familiar and others that were totally foreign to me. He knew I grew up in L.A., but I guess I failed to mention which part of L.A.. He asked if I’ve been to “Filipinotown” near downtown, I told him no. I’ve heard it but never been there.
Oh man, you’ve never been there? Your man is a “flip” and you’ve never been there? he said. Have you been to MacArthur Park?
“Nope!” I was getting a little annoyed by then. “The farthest I’ve been (as far as L.A. goes) are the streets of the Callejones” I said as I tried to hurry the kids into the car. “Other than that, it’s always been East L.A.!”
Oooooh, MAN he said You’re THAT kind of Mexican.
I gave a courtesy laugh and drove away. This was about 5 months ago. (kinda late, I know) but, I was watching George Lopez last night, and it got me thinking about what my crazy neighbor told me many moons ago and it got me agitated again.
What the maracas? I’m THAT kind of Mexican? What does that even mean? Since I have no business being in that part of L.A. then why should I even be there, que no?
I was so awestruck while driving to a blog event in L.A., that I got lost. Yes, I got lost because I was looking at a whole other world that is, I think it’s called West L.A.??!!
A little bit of history, if you will,
I grew up in East L.A. My Daddy had a little store on 1st street. My mom worked for Kmart for 25+ years in the city of Commerce. My sister and brother attended Roosevelt High School.
We would go to the East LA classic, every year! The football game of Roosevelt vs. Garfield, was a staple in our home. Even after my siblings graduated H.S. we would still go. I’m That kind of Mexican.
We took the bus to go shop at Downtown and the callejones. Even though we had cars. I’m That kind of Mexican.
We knew the shops on Whittier Blvd. like the back of our hands and would go there almost every weekend. I’m That kind of Mexican.
I grew up around El Mercadito and got my Mexican dresses there, for when I would dance for 5 de mayo at school. I’m That kind of Mexican.
The Elote man, knew he had to stop by my place, cuz heck, who doesn’t like a corn covered in cheese, mayo, chili powder and butter? I’m That kind of Mexican.
I love swap meets. (I had a good one where we used to live). Now, I go to an even better one, that we affectionately call “chololandia.” I’m That kind of Mexican.
When I was younger, I would shop at the “chinito” stores, not the mall. I’m That kind of Mexican.
At any party, if there are Cumbias or Salsa being played, you bet, I’m on that dance floor. I’m That kind of Mexican.
At Christmas time, we feast on Menudo, Tamales, and Buñuelos. I’m That kind of Mexican.
I don’t make my own Tamales. Lazy housewife that I am, I go to Liliana’s or Lolita’s. I’m That kind of Mexican.
I have Tapatio with almost ALL my food, even when I cook Filipino food. I’m That kind of Mexican.
My Mom is the best cook, hands down. I’m That kind of Mexican.
When I worked at White Memorial, and felt right at home. I’m That kind of Mexican.
When my Grandfather died in Durango, Mexico a long time ago, we DROVE there. I’m That kind of Mexican.
For “drinking the water” in Mexico, I got violently ill, and almost had to be flown back to the states. I’m That kind of Mexican.
I love my familia, small as it may be, they are everything to me. We have a Guero, and Salvadorean, and a Filipino in the mix. I’m That kind of Mexican.
The majority of the stuff George Lopez talks about in his shows, I can totally relate to because it has happened to me. I’m That kind of Mexican.
Now, listening to Rancheras, Corridos, or Banda on a daily basis or plastering an ox on the side of my van. I’m NOT that kind of Mexican. LOL!
I will admit to you, that leavening “East LA” before my teenage years, has changed my point of views on a lot of stuff. We moved to Pico Rivera when I was 12. Even more now that I’m in Orange County. Still, I am a Mexican at heart!
Question: Is there a difference with the Mexicans who live on the West side of town? Are the Mexicans who grew up in E.L.A., more Chuntier? What do you think it is?
I never got to ask him what classified me as being “that” kind of Mexican. He’s Hispanic. Chicano, as he like to be called. Crazy LOCO! I bet he didn’t even know what he was talking about. Little does he know, that I’m blogging about it!
Liz is a Mexican-American blogger living in Southern California. Married 19 years, and a mami to 3 kids, her content is inspired from living in and raising a multicultural familia. Liz has been blogging for more than 7 years, establishing herself as a nationally recognized Latina blogger. She often blogs in Spanglish and may throw in some Tagalog when talking about her hubby. You can also find her chit chatting away at @Liz_Cerezo on Twitter!