Being Foreign, or Why I Don’t Understand Mexico Part II

Soonest Mended

By Robert Blakslee

queretaro-una-de-las-mejores-ciudades-gde

I’ve been living in Mexico for quite some time now. Life is good; my city is safe, rent is cheap, I like the food and it’s cheap too. But always and forever, in ways both obvious and subtle, I’m a foreigner, an eternal visitor. The only time I’ve been taken for a Mexican, to my knowledge, I was at a bar. It was very loud, so the girl mustn’t have heard my accent very clearly, and when I mentioned something about being an American (‘gringo’), she said something to the tune of, “Huh, you’re American? I thought you were just super ‘fresa’.” ‘Fresa’ literally means strawberry in Spanish, but in Mexico it means something like preppy, spoiled, and out of touch with reality. At the time I didn’t know this and thought she was saying I was very red.

But to be honest, as a foreigner I…

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In And Out of Place

Landscapes of Cairo

This week features a piece by Sara Salem, a PhD scholar based in Cairo.

Throughout my life I have gone through different phases in terms of relating to where I am from or where I belong. Growing up in Zambia with an Egyptian father and Dutch mother meant that a restless feeling of not quite being settled was always part of my life. During my teenage years I remember this expressing itself as a dramatic quest to find out “who I am” and “where I belong”—something that should probably be attributed to the fiction I liked to read or drama shows I liked to watch rather than some universal human need to belong somewhere. I quickly grew out of that and the question didn’t seem to matter so much anymore. When I was 16, I moved to Egypt, when I was 22, I moved to the Netherlands, and for now…

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