Stranger in a Strange Land

How to please your Mexican in-laws.

Dear Mexican: With a scant four weeks before I cram my mochila with a few clothes for me and a horde of presents for my future cuñadas, sobrinas y mi mera suegra, I found myself terror-stricken tonight as mi novio and I watched a home video of his family doing varios familial things like hiking to the top of a hill and battering a Barney-esque piñata on his mother's birthday. He will not be making the voyage with me, and while he swears to me that his lady-kin are muy amable and great fun, I am terrified! I do know his father, and we're great friends. The problem is that I have tattoos, which seem to be more taboo in rural Mexico. At least I'm going in December, when I might be able to hide them, depending on the weather in Guanajuato. Do you have any advice for a terrified, tattooed, white American (but Spanish-speaking) daughter-in-law-to-be on her first visit to meet the matriarchy of her future marido?
La Nuera Timblosa

Dear Trembling Gabacha Daughter-in-Law: Chula, you have nothing to worry about. You obviously love your guy, you're sensitive enough toward backward Mexicans that you don't want to offend them, and you know more Spanish than Carlos Mencia — you'll be adentro like Flynn. Good luck in Mexico, and don't drink the water!

Dear Mexican: The superstars of this century will be China, India and Brazil, which will crush American economic and cultural dominance. Their superstar rise will be owed entirely to a population willing to work without labor protests and devoted to national growth — even Africans in Africa, the poorest of the poor, say that the Chinese migrant workers extracting oil from Africa work hard and even on Sundays — and a society that is so education-focused, it will virtually do anything to make sure its kids not only graduate from high school, but also college and graduate school.

Why doesn't Mexico have this drive toward technology and math/science education that has virtually transformed India? India doesn't even have the mass economy like China, but they have billions and billions of dollars because of their brains. Mexico doesn't produce labor other than the kind that will scrub, wash, press and cut grass. This would be okay for the first generation, but the second-generation kids in America are not even close to Chinese-American or Indian-American kids in America. Have you ever heard of Chinese or Indian kids (who, by the way, don't speak their parents' language) dropping out of school or joining gangs? Have you ever seen Chinese or Indian kids resorting to menial labor?

Mexico has to stop with the whole quinceañera thing and start shifting to rewards only on graduation day. Mexico's whole obsession with family values could learn from the real family values that have uplifted the entire continent of Asia. Mexico, sadly enough, can't even keep refining the oil it owns because there are not enough oil engineers, geologists or mechanical engineers. Most of all, Mexico needs to stop comparing Mexicans to white Americans and realize that the epicenter has shifted to the East and Asian-Americans who will be this century's employers and businessmen.
A Captain of Industry

Dear Gabacho: Glad to see a gabacho finally admit that gabachos are as screwed in the 21st century as Mexicans!

 
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