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Featured Post, Growing up Latina

Oh, you’re THAT kind of Mexican…

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.

san jose, pismo 072

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!

Hasta Luego!

Liz Cerezo

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!


  1. Lin

    Ha ha…this is a great post! I too, love it when the corn guy passes by our house. I can never resist a corn or a raspado, they're so good.And, that guy was totally wrong to try & classify you based on where you grew up. What a dork.

    25 . Aug . 2009
  2. Marcela Beatty

    This is great! I love the vanilla raspado with the syrup on top!!!!You know I work at County, in the heart of East LA, a lot of people ask me why I take the drive over there, or why I don't work at a private hospital like Huntington Hospital, I could, but there is something about the people over there. Nothing beats those patients, even after suffering head injuries, and not making much sense at all. I am hooked ( : Most, along with families are SO appreciative of what we do. I think we all have different experiences whether we grew up in Pasadena, East La or the West side. But at heart we are all Latinos, and everyone of us loves a corn, raspado or will most definitely start dancing when we hear music!

    25 . Aug . 2009
  3. teresa

    I grew up in ELA. Went to Garfield High… Go Bulldogs! Shopped in Whittier Blvd. Loved the raspados, not the elotes (in past tense cause now I can't get myself to eat them, I just don't know how they wash their hands! lol)What kind of mexican am I? I hate downtown, but love the allies. We never ventured into Boyle Heights. We stayed in our knook. But, I can get Chola Varata on you if need be! LOL. Question: Is there a difference on the Mexican's 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? There is always someone who is chuntier, regardless of where you are living, . You never want to admit that that can be you.

    25 . Aug . 2009
  4. Thoughts of a Mommy

    Your comments are sooo funny! Lin~I miss my elotes and Chicarrones, terribly! Marcela~ I know what you mean. I worked at White Memorial, and fell back in love with the community! Latino patients are the best!Teresa~ No, go Rough Riders!.. LOL I can't stand downtown either. I haven't been there in a while. My mom got sick about a month ago, and had to go to County, for the first time in a looooong time. Touring the "barrios" was exciting but, Girl, was I glad when she was discharged! Chola Varata!!! LOL!!

    25 . Aug . 2009
  5. RosalindawithDT

    Oh my! I love what you said and how you said it! It sounded like a corrido (a long poem with music.) And…now I know what kind of Mexican I am! Thanks.PS. Don't let that neighbor get to you.

    26 . Aug . 2009
  6. Carrie-in-TN

    Clapping over here, mama…Nicely put.

    26 . Aug . 2009
  7. Greenish Thumbs

    Love this. Can't stand it when other latinos are surprised that I enjoy dancing to rancheras and corridos. Like I'm supposed to only like rock???? Paleazzze…why you think I married my Mexicano? (am attracted to my roots that's why -plus he's super cute) People are often to quick to judge others. You hit it right on!

    27 . Aug . 2009
  8. Ms. Latina

    Love this post! Hope one day he gets to read your blog and see what kind of Mexican you really are!

    27 . Aug . 2009
  9. Silvia

    Liz love the post! you made me laugh so hard!!

    28 . Aug . 2009
  10. Annette

    Hahahha, there are Mexicans in West LA, off Western and Vermont! I'm mixed, but was raised Mexican, mi abuela and father lived in East L.A. before moving over to what is now Jefferson Park/Crenshaw District. Most of my friends were "your kind of Mexican", and sadly, I too can relate to "That" kind of Mexican (only Black girl dressed up for Cinco de Mayo and a quincinera) … anyways! Great post, brought back a lot of memories, and now I *almost* want to go back to the hood and find that pandederia that my dad used to take me too off Hoover and get some conchas. And my daughter loves the paleta man.

    28 . Aug . 2009
  11. Lisa Renata

    Ok, mujer you had me laughing like loca as I read your post. So if you where closer to LA than me, What kind of Mexican would I be? I grew up in Baldwin Park and then moved further east to Fontana (or funtuky like we dearly like to call it). Am I then THAT kind of Mexican? hahahahaha and top it with some chilitio and limon!btw- now that is two of you mami blogeras that when to the milkshake event…ooooh so jealous here. Oh well hope you had fun!

    28 . Aug . 2009
  12. Aracely--Daytrippingmom

    This is too funny! As a girl that grew up in City Terrace. I can totally relate. I spent my teenage years in Glendale and now live in Yorba Linda. It feels a world away but I'm an East LA girl at heart. Isn't it funny that people try to categorize you- Like OH you are that kind of Mexican? I now get – Oh but you aren't that kind of Mexican… Like that's supposed to be a compliment or something. Well no, not really. I'm thankful for my upbringing in East Los Angeles and for elote carts and the raspado man coming in my neighborhood. I am also proud that being a Latina means we come in all different, shapes, sizes and colors. Btw do you remember First Street Department store? I was just thinking about that place the other day and the big Sears on Olympic.

    28 . Aug . 2009
  13. Aracely--Daytrippingmom

    Oh and before I forget-I thought my sisters and I were the only ones that use the word Chunty or Chuntaro! LOL!

    28 . Aug . 2009
  14. AMGallegos

    I grew up at Brooklyn and Record in the 1960s and I'm still an East LA boy at heart too. Like others, I moved farther east too — all the way to Toronto, Canada! Believe me, it is a world away…

    30 . Aug . 2009
  15. Twenty Four At Heart

    I hate when people put other people in boxes. I grew up in LA County also … moved to OC with a job transfer many years ago. My family has such a variety of ethnicities it's ridiculous.

    02 . Sep . 2009
  16. Kikko de Mayo ala Ponzu « Thoughts of a Mommy

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    01 . May . 2010
  17. Art Rodriguez

    Perhaps he was saying that you were “That kind of Mexican” because like many in ELA or even Pico Rivera, few seem to venture outside of their little world. Beyond their neighborhood they have no idea of other cultures, religions and cuisine. Not until they grow up, go to college or move out of the area and then it’s whamo — CULTURE SHOCK. I, too, am that kind of Mexican growing up in ELA and having similar experiences like you. Except, my mom and dad made it a point to take us outside of ELA and not only hit the Garfield/Roosevelt classic, but UCLA games and drive to Korea Town for amazing BBQ or into OC for Vietnamese or Glendale for Armenian food, because thankfully, they were THAT KIND OF MEXICAN.

    12 . Jun . 2011

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