I have always loved celebrating Cinco de Mayo…..well as long as I can remember after having the privilege of having a Mexican roommate many years back named Emma Rosas. We were housemates way back in 1988 and still when I close my eyes I can see her sweet face and hear her soft voice speaking English with a Spanish accent. She was a Cardiologist visiting from Mexico studying and working at Mass General. She was full of goodness and I am sure her patients loved and appreciated her as much as we all did. She was my first and only Mexican (as of now) friend. She taught me how to make tortilla, refried beans and guacamole. Our fridge contained things I had never seen before 🙂 My funniest moments with Emma, which I can recall with amazing clarity is when she took me to a festival on November 1st (our All Saints Day)- at the Mexican Consulate in Boston. I thought it was some type of Mexican Halloween celebration. Instead it was a gathering to honor El Dia de los Muertos – The Day of the Dead. I think I was the only Blond Caucasian in the consulate that night and the singing, chanting and speaking were all in Spanish. Spanish way beyond my three years of High School Spanish afforded me. I remember hooting and hollering with the best of them, realizing what a great story this would make…not realizing it would take 25 years to tell it.
I remember the funniest part when the Mariachi Band showed up.
We all gathered around them in a circle and the singing and clapping continued. When all of a sudden the singer took off his Sombrero and threw it down at my feet. Not having a clue what to do, I picked up the Sombrero and threw it back to him. He laughed and threw it back to me. So….I did what anyone else would do, I once again threw it back to his feet! His dancing intensified with hands on his hips and I whispered to Emma to help me out here! She told me he was peforming the Mexican Hat Dance or what they refer to as the Jarabe Tampatio. He actually wanted me to dance with him! I will end my little trip down memory lane here. No one needs that visual…let’s say there was not enough Tequilla available to make me forget it 🙂
I remember how proud she was of her culture, her people and the customs of Mexico and it made me happy she felt I was important enough in her life to share them. Often times when we in America think of Mexico and the people, our images are negative ones. They are a people steeped rich in culture with a strong devotion to their people.
I value the people who have come into my life albeit even if for a short time. The day we bid farewell as she planned her trip back home, she left me a few trinkets which I hold near and dear. I knew it unlikely we would meet again, but maybe just maybe, we might be able to connect through Social Media. You never know who lives out their on Twitter and Facebook…..
Happy Sunday and try to reaching out to the Mexicans in your life. Adios!