I don’t get homesick easily, and I’m a pro at taking twists on celebrations in stride. Smoked salmon plate at Thanksgiving. Red envelope ‘lucky money’ ceremony at New Years. Pickled herring and pumpernickel instead of a sweet pastry at a birthday party. Hot dogs a week after July 4 because that’s when we finally found a store selling the right kind of yellow mustard. These things don’t faze me. In fact, I kind of relish these weird cross-cultural experiences.
But I got a little homesick yesterday. It was Cinco de Mayo: the holiday that’s an Americanized excuse to hang out and consume tequila, beer, and gobs of Mexican food.
We went out of our way last night to have black beans, corn, lots of cilantro, lime, Coronas, margaritas, and corn chips. Things were almost perfect, aside from the slightly stale Mission tortilla chips – the only kind we can easily find – perhaps from the long trip to this continent? It cost us a small fortune ($49 for a 24 pack?! $3 for a can of black beans?!) but we ate, drank, talked about how we would have spent the evening if we were in America… and suddenly really, really missed San Diego. It completely snuck up on us out of nowhere.
We haven’t yet found any decent salsa here, nor can we find the chilis that we’d need to replicate them in our kitchen. There aren’t any tamales sold by sweet abuelitas or carnitas tacos threw together just so with perfected technique by guys who call you mija. Our family and friends aren’t here to laugh with over way too much cheese and endless chips.
So, we were homesick yesterday. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Mexican food and drink will be so much more appreciated the next time we’re back in California. Rico’s, Juanita’s, Roberto’s, Neto’s, La Takiza: Wait for us!